Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Happy Holidays

See you next year.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The holy trinity of web 2.0

Another great article, this time by Adario Strange - that's not even a Second Life name;) Adario looks at a number of 06 developments from the neutrality debate to big media's reaction to social media.

But this is the best part:

"Currently, the rock stars of this new version of the Internet could almost be called The Holy Trinity of Web 2.0, with Jimmy Wales as The Father (Wikipedia), Digg’s Kevin Rose as The Son (as he has been largely responsible for the mainstreaming of social news and Web 2.0 ethics) and, of course, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, as the barebones spirit permeating the entire space and defining, on a very elementary level, the central idea behind digital destinations fueled solely by visitors.

But not everyone is buying into the pie-in-the-digital-sky. Referring to Wikipedia’s new Web dynamic as “digital Maoism,” virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier wrote, “The hive mind should be thought of as a tool. Empowering the collective does not empower individuals—just the reverse is true. There can be useful feedback loops set up between individuals and the hive mind, but the hive mind is too chaotic to be fed back into itself.”

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Online Video: Cody Willard's "Google Put"

Cody Willard has a powerful article on Financial Times about the future, near future, of online video.

From the article:

"Nothing drives me crazier than when people point to the huge, early successes of MySpace and YouTube, clearly the respective de facto standards in social networking and in user-generated video, and try to explain that they have “won” the game. Nothing could be further from the truth. YouTube is certainly a home run, but it is a home run on the fourth pitch in the first inning of internet video. YouTube is to internet video as the original three TV networks were to television."

Some good snark:

"Unlike the video sites of the “Great Dotcom Bubble”, such as Mark Cuban’s (purchased by Yahoo for a bubblicious $5.7bn back in 1999) which about 12 people anywhere ever used back in the day, people today are actually watching internet video."

The Google Put:

"And as the new video internet sites find their own legs and gain their own momentum and viewership, the monetisation will continue, because the audience is there already. And Google knows how to monetise audience.

That means that any company with a decent brand that generates serious traffic on the internet is going to get bought by Google, or by any of the Google-wannabes who don’t want Google to buy it first. I call this “The Google Put”.

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Second Life: 2 Million

Second Life passed the 2 million mark sometime last night.
And what's next?

Tateru Nino: "Assuming flat growth, 3 million in 55 days. 8 February GMT."


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second Life ROI

Ilya Vedrashko has a nice post up at the HHblog about ROI in Second Life.

From the post:

"Bret Treasure points out that traffic statistics for the branded islands such as Adidas’s are much lower than for resident-run in-world companies in spite of all the media buzz. The developers of these properties argue back that it is the buzz itself that’s most valuable for the respective brands and that the press coverage alone justifies the investment.

Here are some of the aspects of user behavior that are hard to study in the traditional web environment but that are perfectly observable in Second Life:

  1. Socialization on both macro- and micro-levels
  2. Interaction with 3-D objects
  3. Consumption
  4. Production"
Go read the article for the full descriptions.

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Kavai Conglomerate Group: David Chan

The Street has an article about David Chan, whose in-world company Kavai Conglomerate Group began offering Second Life bonds last week.

From The Street:

"Chan says he sold 250,000 Linden, or nearly $1,000, in bonds last week.

"I began to look into the possibility of either establishing a bank, go public or issue bonds," Chan says. "The first two choices were deemed too complex, and I went with issuing bonds to enable my company to expand further."

"Before my bonds were issued to private investors, I decided to expand that offer to the public as I saw the Second Life economy began to mature," says Chan. "We would love to turn this financial Wild West into a viable market, and hopefully we will be the first company to seize this capital market."

"The bonds are not tradeable yet, but could be as our technology level is increased to support that infrastructure," Chan explains.

The bonds sold last week range in duration from short three-month commercial papers to two-year bonds; the yields also range accordingly, from 15% to almost 21% annually."

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IBM Creates 3DWeb Group

Via 3pointD, CNET is reporting that IBM will create a group in January to handle 3DWeb initiatives. Not really a surprise considering the 3D Web initiative was one of the announced $100M innovation projects for 2007.

From CNET:

"Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technical strategy and innovation at IBM, led the company's response to earlier technologies that rewrote the rules of the computing industry, such as e-commerce and Linux.

"I have been playing a strong role in helping us start our 3D Internet and virtual-world efforts. We are launching a new EBO in this area in January--that is, an emerging business opportunity--much like we did with Linux and the grid," Wladawsky-Berger said Tuesday. IBM believes the virtual realm has potential for training, conferences and commerce, he said.

IBM employees have a significant presence in Second Life, Wladawsky-Berger said. "I think that there are close to 1,000 people in our Second Life community now active, and perhaps several thousand more that have avatars that are not that active," he said."

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GSD&M's Joel Greenberg: Metrics in Second Life

Giff has posted an email from Joel of GSD&M talking about metrics in Second Life. Go read the whole thing, really.


"The most interesting email out of the thread came from Joel Greenberg of GSD&M, who was a driving force behind their Idea City presence in Second Life."


"From a larger strategic view, people’s perceptions of Reuters as the place to turn for leading edge tech information may be the most important metric, but one that can’t be measured from the typical ROI of usage numbers.

It’s my opinion that it’s more important for brands to go in-world and begin experimenting than to nail down all metrics and ROI before they do. Because the medium is still young, the value of experiments is extremely high (especially with the PR value experiments can bring even if you fail), but the costs are fairly low.

Metrics are important, but using the imagination to expand your thinking about what you should be measuring is the most important."

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Agency for Virtual Nomenclature and Addressing (corrected)(with feeling!)

Rik Riel points out that ICANN has announced it will seek to control, or will control, virtual address locations.

From the post:

"In a surprise announcement at the ICANN Board Meeting in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Vint Cerf, chair of the ICANN Board, declared that the US-based agency responsible for the web's domain system was now taking charge of assigned names and locations in the virtual world. Mr. Cerf is expected to be holding a virtual press briefing on this at the new Second Life Headquarters of ICANN shortly (direct teleport SLURL.)

From Vint Cerf: (corrected!)

"So, as of today, December 12, 2006, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will be forming an ancillary body entitled the Agency for Virtual Nomenclature and Addressing (AVNA.) AVNA's authority will supercede the naming authority of such private companies as Linden Labs and Blizzard and will be the first contact point for virtual world residents, MMORPG players, and other denizens of the evolving metaverse seeking to procure the use of particular names and virtual locations.

Our first order of business will be the levying of regular fees for all virtual land, object and avatar names. For your convenience, these fees will be payable in Linden dollars, There bucks, Everquest gold or any of the other standard virtual currencies. Then we will begin adjudicating intellectual property disputes for companies that feel that their trademarked names and images have been illegally appropriated by virtual world residents. Finally, we will engage in a lengthier and much more complicated process of creating multi-verse name and identity tracking so that whether you are on gmail, Everquest or myspace, you are always known by the same identifier. This, we have been assured by government authorities, is the basis for a secure and stable multi-verse environment."

I am not quite sure I understand this but nice T-shirt Rik!

(Updated) Holy Mackerel! Did I really spell the godfather of the internet's name wrong and he came here and left a really funny comment? Could it really be!?! I loves the internets.

(with feeling) Welcome Second Life Herald readers!

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Second Life to Break 2 Million Soon

Tateru Nino at Second Life Insiders muses about the coming 2 millionth resident in Second Life.


"That's a million signups in ... what? 57 days?

Everywhere I go, I meet creative, talented, thoughtful, witty, kind or just plain interesting people.

Sure, resources are stretched, everything's tumultuous, and we've got no idea where we're going...but would you rather be anywhere else? Obviously not - because you're still here."


The Grid Review Launches!

The Grid Review launched today, or last night, or sometime before I saw all of the posts about it.

From ESC: Giff

"The Grid Review's goal is to deliver the best Second Life news machinima, from the serious to the irreverant. We welcome user submissions from all Second Life residents. Whether you’re a Second Life Peter Jennings or Jon Stewart, we want to see you in action. Please see the submission guidelines for more information on submitting your machinima clips."

Here is one of the anchors, Moo Money:

Business Communicators of Second Life:

"Grid Review seeks to present Second Life news in machinima format with submissions from residents. It kicks off with such initial news categories as Building/Architecture, Business & Economy, Editorial/Opinion, Entertainment, Fashion, Policy & Governance, Social Trends, and Tips & How-to's.

Grid Review is accessible on the web, but is not [yet] available in-world on the Edelman sim. You are invited to submit your machinima and 3pointD hints that there may be some tools or features in the works to facilitate machinima production."


" I believe there may be some facility in the works to help you produce those pieces, though I’m not entirely sure."

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Escaping the Pre-Roll

The Next Net has an interesting review of VideoEgg's strategy.

Commenting on the pre-roll, post-roll problem:

"And instead of getting caught up in the debate about pre-roll vs. post-roll Web video ads, VideoEgg has come up with a much more elegant solution. During a video, an unobtrusive banner or clickable text pops up along the bottom edge of the video window, which serves as an invitation to see an ad. If you click on it, the content switches to a Flash video or animation ad, and when you close it the video resumes where you left off. VidoeEgg claims that one ad for the Nintendo Wii that is running on Bebo and Hi5 videos is getting a 7 percent click-through rate, which is quite high."

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Om Looks at Venice (from afar)

Om hears a little about the Venice Project: "Someone who got to use the service wasn’t very kind. “To sum up, very bad interface, no text description of what the buttons mean, quality of video goes up and down very much, not really much better than a good flash file that you size up 250%.”

Here is one of the screen shots OM found - go see more and bigger.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Growth of Second Life: Zee Linden

A big post of stats from the Lindens today.

Zee Linden:

"The orange graph shows that the number of Premium Residents has grown from 5,000 at the start of 2005 to over 36,000 at the end of November 2006. The blue line shows that the number of Premium Residents has grown 10 to 40% each month since 2005. "
The Second Life world is made up of over 3,500 regions of land. A region is 65,536 square meters of land simulated by approximately 1 server CPU, making the combined world of Second Life nearly 4.5 times the size of the island of Manhattan Island.
In November of 2006, Residents spent more than 6.4 million hours in-word – that’s more than 10 times the number of user hours in January 2005. Similarly, the monthly peak number of Residents in-world at the same time, concurrent users as seen on the Second Life home page, has grown dramatically, reaching over 18,000 in the past couple of weeks. It’s estimated that about 30% of user hours are spent building and scripting content in-world, and that women make up a little less than half of the total user hours each month.
We first launched the LindeX in October of 2005. Since then more than $15 million dollars worth of Lindens has been bought and sold on the exchange – with $2.6 million traded in November alone. Since October of 2005 our Residents have cashed out almost $8 million with about $1.1 million of that in November.
Basically, this means that Linden dollars are cycling through the economy about 2.2 times each month. In November of 2006, there were about a trillion Linden dollars in circulation and about 2.4 trillion L$ passed between Residents, implying an economic velocity of 2.4. The economic velocity has been surprisingly steady as the economy has grown. The average monthly economic velocity in 2006 was about 2.2x with a standard deviation of 0.16x and a median of 2.3x."

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Metaversatility (Corrected)

Second Life Insider reports that a new in world builder has announced itself.

From the website:

"Metaversatility is a virtual world development company that fosters community, entertainment, education and commerce in on-line spaces. Our portfolio of ongoing and completed projects continues to grow, and we are eager to put our communication and technology skills to work on behalf of select organizations."

From the team page it looks like a number of UT Austin professors have signed on.

Correction from the comments!

phiak: "Our academic influence, Dr. Aaron Delwiche, is a professor of communications at Trinity University in San Antonio, not UT Austin. While we have another PhD on board, he's not a professor but a veteran of software architecture."

Thanks for the correction and good luck!


Virtual Life TV

More on the Rivers Run Red project from SLNN:

"The premiere of the Virtual Life TV Network will launch with an in-world showing of the SciFi Channel movie, Velocity Trap. The film screening will take place in Avalon's screening room at 12 noon SL Time on Dec. 18, and tickets will be distributed via lottery. Only the first 25 people interested in the event will be invited to attend.

“It will be a one-off event which we will use as a test-bed to see how residents respond to viewing long chunks of video content in SL, and to gauge what is the best way to present this content,” said Rob Marchant of Rivers Run Red, the British virtual development firm that created"

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The Venice Project, sort of Live

Janus says the project is live:

"We set out to try to merge the best of TV and the best of the Internet and I think we have just taken a big step on a long journey. For a few months we have been quietly testing with a small circle of people. Now, we’re going to expand that circle – with more and more people getting invited. If you want to take it for a spin, get an invitation from an existing beta tester.

The next months will bring many additional product features both on the end user and content provider side of things. And, importantly, more and more content. What you’ll see now is a preview of some of the categories of content you will find."

The Venice Project Homepage.

See the offical blog here.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Picture Production Company in Second Life


"The Picture Production Company announced a plan for a permanent in-world facility which will bring RL films to SL residents. This entails the purchase of an entire 256-square meter island sim and the construction of a dramatic new building where the company can provide exclusive streaming content to Second Life residents as well as other film-related products. The building is expected to be ready in March 2007.

“We aim to create an exciting home from home in Second Life for film lovers from around the world," PPC's Head of Interactive Marketing, Dannyboy Lightfoot, says. "It will allow PPC’s clients to engage this ever growing, key audience using the ground-breaking viral and experiential marketing tools that only Second Life has to offer.”

In an exclusive interview with SLNN, Lightfoot and architect Liam Kanno of V3 gave further details of their vision. In Lightfoot's words, "We want to build a community in SL of movie-lovers….we'll bring that community whatever it demands - freebies and competitions, content, Q&As, as well as exclusive opportunities to get more involved in the film industry. " PPC sees Second Life as a good opportunity to advertise new films."

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ABN AMRO in Second Life


"Ranked as the 20th largest bank in the world, ABN AMRO invested in 25 sims and is now one of SL's largest landowners. ABN AMRO will offer islands for young professionals, mortgage advice, product advice and seminars.

For now, the bank is not planning on bringing banking activity to SL. ABN isn't going to partake in SL transactions, loans for SL purchases or mortgages for SL real estate. The bank did not fully address the question as to how it intends to generate traffic in its regions. The added value of an SL office as opposed to a RL visit to the bank was not illustrated well either. If one of the greatest aspects of SL success is offering something more to the residents, it has yet to be seen how much continued interest there will be in ABN AMRO's presence."

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iVillage Second Life Girls Night Out

iVillage is going to start a bi-weekly "Girls Night Out" in Second Life.


"iVillage, an online community for women established in 1995, is coming to the virtual world of Second Life in the form of a bi-weekly Girls Night Out that will seek to showcase existing content rather than draw people to a branded location, according to Marc Schiller, CEO of digital brand strategy firm Electric Artists, which is launching the initiative in partnership with the Electric Sheep Company (who are, of course, sponsors of this blog).

Every two weeks, according to Schiller, a different curator will lead a group of iVillage members on a short tour of interesting locations around Second Life. Tours will take in things like tutorials, music, interesting builds and many other subjects, and will also seek to “highlight the great women who are doing amazing things in Second Life,” he said. The first tour, led by Electric Sheep Cory Edo, will kick off on Thursday, December 14th.

“Second Life has an incredibly rich community of women. I didn’t really see that the brands coming into Second Life were addressing these women at all,” Schiller said in an interview with 3pointD. “What’s needed in Second Life are not more branded islands, but letting people know what the great things in Second Life already are. This is about iVillage extending what they already are on the Web, a place to bring women together.”

ESC Cory:

"The other really cool thing about this is: Ivillage foots the bill for the things you’d normally need to invest in to organize a great discussion/tour group. They take care of the land, the loft, the tour HUD, and the promotion - you just come up with some great ideas and organize a tour. You’re free to concentrate on the stuff that really matters - the tour you organize, and being host to a wide variety of people from across the globe."

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Third Party Second Life Registration

Several companies are now offering a third party registration process for Second Life.


"The third-party registration API Linden Lab is about to make available will allow organizations to establish a direct relationship with potential Second Lifers from the get-go by facilitating SL registration right at the point of contact via their own corporate web sites.

In fact, both Dell and NBC are ready to roll with this, - they have already integrated it - encouraging people to register for a Second Life account at their corporate web sites. The API isn't quite ready yet as planned, but both have their registration features ready to go.

Dell has done a particularly nice job of tying their SL presence into their web site. Their “choose a region” menu on the home page includes Second Life as a bona fide region, and selecting it takes you to a very attractive page about their SL presence. The page contains a handy direct teleport link as well. NBC also has a registration page for their Second Life Very Virtual Christmas promo."

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Second Life Bonds

Investment company Tristar Financial is going to offer bonds in Second Life.


"Kavai Onizuka, Chairman of Kavai Conglomerate Group, said that the timing is right to offer a more advanced way for people to invest in SL's bigger projects. "We feel that right now is a strategic time for SL's economic markets to mature to a more refined level– to support the development of more complicated financial offers such as stocks, banking, and lending," he said.

Although several other banks have established themselves in SL with daily dividends, Tristar is hoping to pioneer the bond market. It will be the first of the banking institutes to claim that 100 percent of the investments will remain in SL. "Our business philosophy encourages us to look at opportunities for the long-term through actual development in the local economy," Onizuka said. Bonds carry a greater time commitment than the bank deposits that allow for withdrawal at anytime. He said that the longer time commitment would allow his company to better commit to SL projects."

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Philip Rosedale on Virtual Economies

From B2.0s December cover story, a few words from Philip on the virtual economy of Second Life:

"I have been in meetings with VCs who said, ‘I cannot buy into the idea that people will pay for virtual items.’ And they are wearing a Movado watch. I ask them, ‘Why did you pay $900 for something you can pay $9?’

The ground rules for creating an online economy is that somebody has got to be able to make money. You need to be able to make money if you want to. If you want to get big you have to be able to turn that money into real currency. We have more than one million residents spending more than $500,000 a day in Second Life. Our GDP and per-capita-GDP is growing at a staggering rate of 200% per month. The exchange rate is 270 Linden Dollars to one U.S. dollar. When you buy currency you are buying it from the market. We literally have to manufacture dollars and sell them into the economy. We inject new money into the economy. We act like the Fed."

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cisco in Second Life: Update

As seen on Second Life Insider, Cisco launched its presence in Second Life.

Click here to see the Cisco machinima overview:

From the press release:

"In conjunction with today's announcement, Cisco is excited to begin its journey in Second Life, a 3D interactive social networking metaverse, with the opening of our Cisco campus (in Second Life look for "Cisco Systems"). The Second Life community represents a new opportunity for businesses to interact with the public in a creative and fun virtual environment."

From the Cisco blog:

"Today we open two campuses: The first is for the SL community to come and learn about our products and services, as well as offer us suggestions on how we can become a bigger (and better) part of Second Life. The campus also has an amphitheater for events, and an area for the soon-to-be-built Cisco Field .

The second island is for our community, our customers and employees to interact closely with each other and Cisco technical and executive staff. Part of Cisco’s focus this year is the Carbon initiative: to save the environment by cutting down on travel. This new virtual campus is part of that philosophy, offering training and education in Second Life to our partners, as well as executive briefings and technical support.

We are also expanding our Cisco Network Academy program into the metaverse by offering extension classes to NetAcad instructors and students. It is our goal to bridge the Real Life with the Second Life, and offer support and services in both"

From the comments!

Nobody Fugazi was at the event - here are some of his highlights.

Text excerpted from event notecard:

"Today, we’re proud to announce our launch here on Second Life. The Empowered Branch is a key part a Cisco Campaign called Business Unlimited.

The cornerstone of the Empowered branch is the Integrated Services Router or ISR for short. The adoption of the ISR has been growing very quickly just like the population of Second Life. Also, like Second life, our Business Unlimited campaign is about helping our customers and partners unleash their potential – the same way second life citizens can realize their dreams."

Insider humor:

"There was a lot of strong wording related to SecondLife and community. One of the more amusing questions asked was, "is the SL city council easier to deal with than the Fremont one?" - to which the response was 'no comment'. That sounds about right."

Final thoughts:

"Unlike a lot of other sims, Cisco's presence loaded quickly and seemed focused on getting people in groups. They get points for that. And not launching a big press release campaign also gets points - the people who did show up were interested in Cisco (I am, I used to teach Microcomputer networking and Cisco's a big part of that).

There's plenty of video around, and information is there - literally - for the asking.

Will it last? I think so. And I'm very interested in the training aspect of this, as I expect many other people may be. Time will tell the realistic approach of Cisco in becoming a part of the greater SecondLife community sound good, but will it happen? Those interested in Cisco should find out at Cisco Systems (132,132,34)"

For more pictures from Nobody Fugazi check here!

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Lots of tongues wagging about Rapture, the new social network project from Shawn Fanning.


"Napster founder Shawn Fanning is about to launch another new project in the social networking space: Rupture is a social site for online gamers that has already raised seed money from investors including Joi Ito and Ron Conway."

Business Week:

"Rupture was inspired by Fanning's newfound love of online gaming. During the past year and a half, he's become a big fan of World of Warcraft, joining a guild and climbing up the ranks of players. The more he played, though, the more he became frustrated with how hard it is to communicate with other players, organize game playing together and learn about other gamers' identities, online and offline."

Susan Wu:

"But there’s still market opportunity for someone to provide a cohesive and comprehensive toolset that sits atop the core WoW experience - wrapped up in a UI targeted towards the average user."

Venture Beat:

"Experts say this is a promising area, because millions of gamers have formed communities with each other through playing, but their interactions have been limited by the confines of proprietary software. Why not open up these interactions to the full richness of the Web, let gamers flirt with each other, communicate offline or any number of other things?"

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EA: $5M in In-Game Advertising over the Holiday Season

The folks at the Emerging Media Lab point to a WSJ (subscription only) article about EA and In-Game advertising. Spokesperson Jeff Brown talks about the potential holiday revenue.

From the post:

"Based off what Brown is saying, EA expects to pull somewhere between $4 million and $5 million in advertising revenue from placements within its “Need for Speed: Carbon” racing game. Just under half of that revenue is expected to come from dynamic advertising placements powered by recently-Microsoft-acquired Massive Interactive.

While video game prices have been increasing, they haven’t matched pace with production costs, so advertising revenue, especially if it’s going to account for nearly half the cost of producing a game, is a really attractive prospect for a lot of developers."

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More Second Life Advise for Businesses

Ian Schafer has some advice for businesses thinking about using Second Life as a platform.

From the post:

"Although entering Second Life as a brand or company is currently very PR friendly, I implore all who read this to pay close attention:
  • Spend time in Second Life first.
  • If your company enters Second Life, you are Wal-Mart.
  • Give back to the community.
  • Second Life's economy is currently thriving, it's as vulnerable as any other.
  • Fools rush in.
  • Work with the right partners.
  • Read the Second Life blogs."


Lonelygirl15 and Product Placement

Lonelygirl15 is not content with the revenue from Revver alone. Now the creators are gunning for product placements.

From ClickZ:

"Bree is a fictional character, but she lives in the real world," Greg Goodfried, one of the creators of scripted video blog Lonelygirl15, told ClickZ. "She interacts with products on a daily basis. She has to use a cell phone. She has to drive a car."

Going forward, ad products will be more creative. Sponsors will be attached to specific sections of the site, such as the video responses or the forum. A sponsored video contest might take the theme "Proving Science Wrong," a takeoff on Bree's tongue-in-cheek video entries of the same name. "We'd let people upload their own 'proving science wrong' videos. Have it sponsored by, say, HP and [the winning] fan gets a new laptop," said Goodfried."


ITU Internet Report 2006: Digital Life

The ITU Internet report for 2006 is out and it and its called "Digital Life." There are a ton of great charts and graphs.

The entire report can be downloaded here. (PDF)

  1. Going Digital
  2. Lifestyles
  3. Business
  4. Identity
  5. Living in the Digital World

Susan Wu: The First Virtual Venture Capitalist

Susan Wu is a VC at Charles River and is one of the judges for the Edelman/Electric Sheep Second Life Business Plan contest. And she is a blogger.

Susan describes what she is looking for in
business plans:
  1. The team, and its authenticity and empathy for the user experience.
  2. Unfair advantage.
  3. Attractive market.
Susan also highlights the value of virtual goods:
  1. Virtual goods can confer real economic utility,
  2. It can be much cheaper to buy virtual goods than procuring them via more traditional methods - such as actually spending the requisite time necessary in-game or in-world,
  3. Virtual goods can generate attractive investment returns.
Ultimately Susan sees problems for Second Life. "I also think that their high technical barriers to participation and the fact that SL is a closed standards system ultimately deters them from reaching mass market adoption."