When I first joined 10 Yetis all that time ago (uh, 2 months now!), I was assigned a little project, involving Second Life, which I at first thought was totally geeky and just for sadacts. A bit of research led me to the fact that many businesses were making money out of Second Life, and building brand recognition through their presence.
I completed the research anyway, which was ultimately trying to answer the question 'Could a Second Life presence be beneficial to us and/or our clients?'. I delved into financial implications, time commitment, the social makeup of the users of Second Life, the success of other PR companies on there etc, and presented my findings in a shortish report you can read here:
It was decided that we could not justify the expense and commitment to the platform for the fact that return on investment was so low, but we are still open to Virtual World platforms, supposing another one addresses the issues that Second Life poses.
PR Week ran a great article today detailing the success of various PR companies in Second Life, and came essentially to much the same conclusion that we did as a company last month, which is that although there are many flaws, particularly due to the ambiguous user stats, Virtual Worlds could and probably will in the future present themselves as a great tool for businesses to develop in.
It rightly says that Second Life is also not the 'media darling' it once was, with some very negative stories making headlines at present about Second Life, with a small population of the user base being paedophiles and sexual predators; who due to the fact that Second Life's content is entirely user developed, are creating childrens playgrounds and such in which to act out fantasies. NOT GOOD AT ALL! Kind of glad we didn't invest our company in Virtual Worlds at this time, although it may be an idea for the future, as we need to remember that Second Life is not the only platform in development.
Watch this space!
A place where some don't even have a first...