A cosmetic change was made by Linden Lab several years ago, when the decision was made to change the name of the land parcel popularity statistic from "dwell" to "traffic." In the most recent town hall, Cory Linden has announced that the statistic, which has been gamed since it was introduced, will be removed: "Removing the current traffic metric is part of the new search project, so the goal is to pull it as soon as possible." Many artificial systems were put into place by Linden Lab to encourage community building in the early days, to attract the initial user base. Many of these programs, such as subsidizing events with money, and giving bonuses to more social players through rating systems, have already long since departed our grid. Once a system can be gamed, Linden Lab either morphs it into something else, or removes it, which is completely understandable. Dwell had actually replaced an earlier system with voting booths, where avatars would click a booth to register their vote as approving a place, once per day. You can still see some of these booths around the grid, although they do nothing.
The benefit of gaming traffic hasn't been what it once was for some time now. Traffic used to pay out a daily bonus to the land owner, and determine the monthly "Developer Incentive Awards", or "Dwellopers," as they became nicknamed. Frankly, it amazes me the amount of money and server resources people are willing to waste just to seem popular, which is the only current benefit of having an obscenely high traffic number. While I will miss it as a metric of how much foot traffic my plots get, it was always a fuzzy metric, at best. More accurate systems are now available, that track actual visitors, and how long they each stays on your plot. Traffic was always somewhat tainted as a metric, since camping chairs and other methods ruined the purity of what a single traffic point was worth. The only way to get a truly valuable metric is to have one that isn't tied to popularity in a search listing or financial rewards in any way. Hopefully the end of traffic will lead to a better reporting system for all of us.