Companies Go Virtual/Where The Crowd Is

The New York Times offers a lucid look at Second Life and the rise of corporate activity therein.

It has a population of a million. The “people” there make friends, build homes and run businesses. They also play sports, watch movies and do a lot of other familiar things. They even have their own currency, convertible into American dollars.
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But residents also fly around, walk underwater and make themselves look beautiful, or like furry animals, dragons, or practically anything — or anyone — they wish.
This parallel universe, an online service called Second Life that allows computer users to create a new and improved digital version of themselves, began in 1999 as a kind of online video game.
But now, the budding fake world is not only attracting a lot more people, it is taking on a real world twist: big business interests are intruding on digital utopia. The Second Life online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sun Microsystems, Nissan, Adidas/Reebok, Toyota and Starwood Hotels.

It seems the fantasy offering found in an avatar, which also lends anonymity, is highly appealing to many people. I’ve never been a gamer, but I can image that gamers are taking to Second Life like a fish to water. And wherever there’s a crowd, you know marketers can’t be far behind.
[UPDATE] Podcaster/blogger/author/consultant Joseph Jaffee, is opening “a new marketing company” in Second Life on Thursday. He says, crayon is a shape-shifter; a mash-up; a company that integrates the best of the consulting, agency, advisory, thought leadership and education worlds.

About David Burn

Fired up to write it down. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Chief storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands.