Surprise! Throwing Resources At a Fake World Could Be a Waste - InformationWeek

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9/20/2007
11:06 AM
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Surprise! Throwing Resources At a Fake World Could Be a Waste

For some reason, Second Life, the virtual world that caters to those among us who aren't satisfied with what they have in the real one, has infiltrated the social life of many, many people I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.

For some reason, Second Life, the virtual world that caters to those among us who aren't satisfied with what they have in the real one, has infiltrated the social life of many, many people I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.It has also managed to perpetuate the myth among many fine upstanding companies that participation in this Internet-based, very fake world would somehow be good for business.

Witness IBM, Toyota, Coca Cola, and a host of other businesses setting up shop in Second Life. For what end I still have yet to figure out. Branding? Marketing? With whom? The people who have the time to spend hours with their avatar, or Second Life persona?

Have any of these companies generated any additional revenue in any shape or form as a result of establishing a presence in Second Life? I couldn't find any evidence of it. They are starting to have real world troubles though. An Italian labor union in disagreement with IBM over a pay issue is planning on holding a strike outside IBM's Second Life headquarters later this month.

The AFL-CIO reports on the planned strike and asks its members to participate in support of the Italian workers.

There is one comment to the AFL-CIO's request and thankfully it's one with some common sense: "What the hell is this? I know that the internet can be a powerful organizing tool, but this just seems kind of silly. I hope things work out O.K for our fellow workers in Italy."

To take this comment one step further, doing business in Second Life seems kind of silly. Maybe the big guys have the resources to waste getting involved in what is really just a more sophisticated version of Life but small and midsized businesses certainly don't.

Have any of you taken the virtual leap with your businesses? Are you making any money? What is it doing for your business? I really want to know.

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