The Hype of Second Life

Second Life is a virtual world where virtual people spend money, buy things, have houses, party and do just about everything they do in the real world.
My warning to you is to not get caught up in the hype. Enjoy Second Life for pleasure, but not for your business.
Large businesses have the time, money and overall resources to establish a presence in Second Life. They do it for several reasons:
1) for bragging rights to be able to say they did it
2) to be the first person on Second Life and learn about this world before others do it (to be ahead of the game)
3) media attention
What does this mean to you?
If you don’t have the massive resources of larger business you SHOULD concentrate on blogging, RSS, podcasting, social media and any other Web 2.0 technology that will really help your business grow.
You should NOT focus on having a presence in Second Life.
I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to read much of the media hype surrounding Second Life and think that it’s the next best thing since sliced bread.
Second Life’s community of almost 4 million residents is very impressive. Keep in mind that probably half of these users are not active. In fact a little over 1/4 of these users have logged in, in the past 60 days.
4 million or 1 million “people” is a lot of eyeballs, but think hard – is investing time and money in Second Life a good way to use your limited resources.
I think not.
What spurred my comments is something I read in Integrated MarketingTo help workers gain some of that time back, depo consulting, an Internet consultancy firm based in the United Kingdom has set up virtual offices on Second Life, a 3-D virtual world.
depo consulting, apparently can afford to do this, or did it for media attention and that’s fine. But YOUR business should be careful about investing in Second Life.

One thought on “The Hype of Second Life

  1. Chester Orbit

    I thought that as you referenced us in your article (depo consulting) I’d just let you know that I absolutely agree with your appraisal of the situation.
    Although it is inexpensive to establish a presence in Second Life, you need to have a real understanding of why you are there. Second Life is – largely – a social environment. It is totally pointless having a facility and not staffing it. We only staff our office between 3 and 5 – but if we didn’t staff it at all we might as well not be there.
    This makes sense for us because we do business with large organisations that can invest without expecting a short-term return. We might meet these guys in Second Life – but the billing is done in the real world.
    Also, bear in mind that there are only something like 22,000 people on Second Life at anyone time – ignore the 4 million registered users – so if your business model is aimed at selling stuff to the Second Life residents, don’t expect to be making a fortune. It is also worth considering that most stuff in Second Life is being sold for prices that real life businesses can’t compete with.
    Don’t get me wrong – I genuinely believe that Second Life (or whatever replaces it in the future) has real potential. If you want to use it for meetings and events it can save you money (and help the environment) in an entertaining, although sometimes frustrating, way. But as you point out, you can join in for pleasure and get most of the benefits of the environment for next to nothing.

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