A Virtual Virtual eBay

from the does-not-compute dept

Okay. I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t understand the appeal of “There” – the online virtual world that has gotten some hype. I’ve pointed out before that it seems very similar to previous attempts (and failures) to build 3D online worlds, where people just get together to do nothing. People can already do that for free in various chat rooms. The big innovation in There’s world is that people need to buy and sell the clothes their avatar wears. I’m not sure this is really a huge innovation, but they claim people are spending money to do so. In fact, they say the most popular area of the game is the in-world auction house, where people can use a eBay-style site (I’d say a “virtual eBay”, but eBay is already virtual, isn’t it?) to buy and sell their virtual clothes. If people are willing to do, that’s great for them, but I have trouble believing that such an economy can sustain itself, as it’s entirely based on marketing to build perceived value. The items, themselves, have no intrinsic value – and the point at which enough people realize that, the market will collapse. Interestingly, the folks at There admit that most of the people using their version of eBay aren’t actually conducting auctions – but are using a “buy it now” feature. Considering eBay just got dinged for $30 million for using just such a “buy it now” feature, I wonder if There is opening themselves up to a lawsuit. One other random aside: finding my old post (or any info, actually) on There is made incredibly difficult by the problems of trying to do searches on the word “There”. Doesn’t seem particularly conducive to search engine marketing.

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