Second Life Marketplace Search Tricks, Pt. I

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While Ever the Avie toils at the Learning Island portal, I thought I’d hop right in with some tips I’ve picked up over the years through my own trial-and-error and a considerable amount of Googling my way through SL forums and blogs. I love knowing how to Do Stuff Better, and with a venue as massive in scope as Second Life, there’s always a lot to learn and discover. While first and foremost on a new member’s to-do list should be learning to use their SL viewer of choice and the in-world controls, I’d say that mastering the Second Life Marketplace would be a helpful next step. With only a dozen or so default avatars to choose from when one starts a brand new account, it’s all too easy to run into someone (or several someones) struttin’ around with your exact likeness. What’s the fun in that?

Kat wrote an interesting post the other day about her experience with helping a friend start a new Second Life account, and remarked about how frustrating the endeavor can be. She asked if anyone knew of some Second Life Marketplace search tips that could help her narrow down inexpensive options to help outfit a new account, and the question was right up my alley. Ever since I discovered the MP, I’ve been looking for ways to hack the search results to be more specific and targeted, and while its interface and capabilities leave a lot to be desired, there are a few ways to make Marketplace searches more fruitful:

NOT / AND Search Parameters

One of the biggest frustrations in searching for Second Life Marketplace freebies and cheapies is that you’ll virtually always end up with search results peppered with demos. And this is understandable, since the majority of SL merchants offer demo versions of their products free of charge (asking even L$1 for a demo grinds my gears, but that’s a topic for another day!) Still, it’s commonplace for sellers to occasionally offer gifts, brand promos, and incentives on the MP for little-to-no cost, so what’s the best way to find these gems and keep the demo listings from cluttering your results?

Use “NOT demo” in your searches! Here’s an example: let’s say you’re looking for completely free, non-demo hairstyles. You would visit and do the following:

1. Type hair NOT demo into the search box. The word “NOT” needs to be capitalized for the search limiter to work properly. Then click Search.

2. Because “hair” is a pretty broad search term, we want to narrow down the field a bit. The MP categorizes hair under Avatar Accessories / Hair so that’s the category we want to refine our search to.

3. Now we’re seeing lots of non-demo hair, but the prices are all over the place. So to only view truly free hairstyles, enter two zeros into the empty boxes under Price in the left column, and click Refine Search.

4. From 98,000+ results to just over 300, hell yeah! If all went properly, here’s what the end result will look like. I’ve gone the extra step to set the Items Per Page count to 96 (the highest value), and the Sort By field to Best Selling. Other good options are Age: Newest and Rating: High to Low.

Second Life Marketplace Search
Second Life Marketplace Search. (Please click for a full-size image.)

If you’re willing to spend a certain number of Lindens on the items you’re searching, you can always expand the Price limiter by typing different values in the boxes, or by using one of the preset ranges like L$0 – L$10. However I do want to point out that unfortunately you cannot run a “NOT demo” search without an initial keyword. Meaning, it’s presently not possible to navigate to the Hair section and just search “NOT demo” and find all of the non-demo hairs; the Marketplace will instead return “No matching items found”. A bummer, I know! I’ve tried different wildcards in the search string, but thus far I’ve only found that the MP will recognize limited boolean operators. (Kindly excuse the geek-speak.) If anyone has been able to get a wildcard-based search to work, I would love to know about it!

One more thing to note: some savvy (read: shady) Marketplace merchants have figured a way around the “NOT demo” search parameter by putting varietals like D*E*M*O in their listing titles. It’s obnoxious, but thankfully somewhat rare. Until/if Linden Labs lets us completely bypass listings marked as demos, it’s an annoyance we have to deal with. Just do those folks a favor and don’t buy their products. That will send the message loud and clear!

The “AND” expression is another way to curate specific results. Let’s say you’re looking for a pair of jeans, but you only want to see mesh options – no system layers, no appliers. You can search for “jeans AND mesh” and the Marketplace will narrow the search to only show you listings with both of those words in the title. You can combine this trick with quotes as well; “leather pants” AND mesh will return only products with the phrase “leather pants” and the word “mesh” in the listings.

Sometimes you’ll get outliers in your search results with these tricks, and I believe it may have to do with the search function using the listing’s description in addition to the title to parse results. But ultimately you’ll still get more targeted results with NOT or AND than you would without them.

I hope this is helpful! I’ll post more fancy tricks soon; for now I’ve got a shopping cart full of freebies and a newbie in desperate need of a makeover. Stay tuned to see if I ever get off this dang island! :)

14 thoughts on “Second Life Marketplace Search Tricks, Pt. I

    Kat Feldragonne said:
    May 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I shall be using these tips immediately! I do wish, however, that the categories also made more sense. For example, why are there categories for avatar components, avatar accessories, and avatar appearance? And how did they decide which sub-categories went where? While I’m wishing, I’d love it if people/merchants used only appropriate keywords on their listings. When I type in ‘steampunk clothes’ as a search term, I shouldn’t get see genitals as the first 10 items. -.-

    Liked by 1 person

      Ever Afterr responded:
      May 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      Yay! So happy it was helpful to you.

      You’re totally right re: the MP categories. Those avatar categories are super confusing and convoluted. Why not just nest all of the various sub-categories under one Avatar heading, you know? I always get confused when looking for hairstyles especially; thinking of hair as an Accessory just doesn’t compute.

      I know what you mean about the keyword shenanigans too. It doesn’t matter *what* I search for on the MP – I swear I always end up seeing a cock on the very first page of results, and I have to quickly refine the search to get it out of my eyeline. Thanks for keeping me immodest, LL! ;)

      Liked by 1 person

        Kat Feldragonne said:
        May 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm

        Perhaps things will be a tad better after they roll out the new MP changes. One can hope!


    Editorial Team said:
    May 5, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Fantastic idea for a blog, Ever. With the clock ticking on a new avatar, I always advise newbies to go to this link and work their way through the links. Within a couple of hours playing it’s easy to have a great looking avatar. I should also point out that First Lady Skins also have a ‘free for avatars under 7 days old’ offer on at the moment, where you can pick up a ‘more mature’ looking skin in both black and white varieties.


    Liked by 1 person

      Ever Afterr responded:
      May 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you so much for that link, Ella! I knew I’d seen something like it before but couldn’t remember the site. You’re the best! ♥

      I'm looking forward to checking out the SL Naturist community; it's something I've grown more and more fascinated with through reading your excellent blog. Do you have any recommendations for a good 1st visit place for one who's new to Naturist sims?


        Editorial Team said:
        May 6, 2015 at 1:33 am

        I’ve been asked that question before, Ever, and it’s something of an ongoing project. Of course, not everyone joining SL will want to be naturist, so that planned post has rather ballooned into a wider post for tips about searching for ‘lifestyle’ type sims, be they naturist, Gorean, furry, ‘war gaming’ or anything else, hence it not ever being quite finished as yet! :)


    Achievement Unlocked! | Happily, Ever Afterr said:
    May 5, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    […] In the other window, I had my browser trained to the MP site, and I was using the tricks from my Second Life Marketplace Tips post to find some freebies. I figured it would be nice to have a small cache of avatar goodies on […]


    […] a frugal Second Life can be a taxing one, fraught with hours spent on freebie hunts, frequent marketplace searches, and fingers crossed that a benevolent brand or two will graciously release a free gift or offer an […]


    readmeri said:
    May 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Love this! I had no idea limiters worked on marketplace and it’s something I’ve been wishing for very intently, lol. Thanks for a great blog.

    Liked by 1 person

      Ever Afterr responded:
      May 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you, Meri! I’m so happy this post was helpful to you. Love your blog! :)

      Liked by 1 person

        readmeri said:
        May 13, 2015 at 4:11 am

        Thank you! Seems we were at each others around the same time, lol.


    […] into your Second Life account, which may be spent on a huge variety of digital goods. (Check out my Second Life Marketplace Search Tricks post for tips on browsing SL’s online […]


    LorenaX said:
    August 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

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    A Little Secret – Antihuman Junk Shop said:
    March 29, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    […] search string that filters out the stuff I don’t want to buy. Ever Amaranthine has a little more to say about search strings over at her […]


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