|First Life Marketing in Second Life||2006-04-16 08:39:00 GMT
by Kami Harbinger
I've long expected this to start happening once the world reached a critical mass, and unlike the paranoids, I don't see it as a bad thing, as long as they don't flood the world excessively. Big companies have a lot of money and talented people to use on creating content.
Second Life's population is not just in the best age demographic and has an unusually large female population, but it is also almost exclusively from the richest and/or most technical people on the planet. You can't even be in SL unless you have a pretty awesome computer, a high-speed Internet connection, are neophilic enough to try something like this out, and are smart enough to understand what's happening and find something interesting to do there. These are the people every marketer has wet dreams about reaching, because they set the trends that less cutting-edge people will follow.
The benefits are getting interesting commercial work in SL. Real art galleries, architecture prototypes, product translation, and games and simulations (Western Union's Stagecoach Island was cancelled, but apparently worked quite well). And under all this, there's good commissions for people in SL who are already skilled at building, scripting, etc. (<shameless>email me here or IM me in-world to discuss business!</shameless>).
The only danger is if the scummiest end of marketing come in and just spam up a few thousand shiny, scripted, self-replicating attack billboards. It's certainly possible to make some very aggressive "marketing". Everyone will hate them, develop a deep loathing for whatever position or brand is being sold, and probably treat it as a Grid-wide attack to be abuse reported and counterattacked. This has already happened in one virtual world (was it Eve Online?), and the sales campaign was a disaster because of the persistent annoyance. Less-intrusive virtual world advertising and product placement will not provoke a backlash.
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