Thu, Jul 26th 2007 1:32pm
It seemed pretty obvious from the outset that all the corporate interest in Second Life was driven more by hype than clear thinking. Company after company set up shop in the virtual world, either coming up with some pointless way to try and do business there, or more frequently, for marketing purposes. The only problem for marketers? Second Life is a pretty worthless place to try and sell people on your company's brand and products. Wired gives a laundry list of drawbacks, but the biggest is that very few people actually use Second Life. As has been pointed out before, the number of active SL users is nowhere near the number of "residents" it's supposed to have. SL claims more than 7 million residents, but that's just the number of how many avatars have been created. Linden Labs, the company that runs Second Life, says that 4 million people have created avatars, but just 1 million have accessed the world in the past month, and less than a third of that had visited in the past week. And within the world, people seem interested in little more than gambling and sex, Wired says. Still, companies that build in-game properties for big corporations say they're doing booming business, thanks to many marketers' lemming-like attraction to fads. A quote from Coke's director of interactive marketing sort of sums things up: "This is not about reach anymore. This is about connecting. It's about establishing meaningful, impactful conversations. So when people ask, 'Why Second Life?' I ask 'Why not?'" It's lovely that he wants to have these "meaningful conversations" with people about Coke. It's too bad that the lack of real interest in Second Life and the marketing efforts within it show people aren't interested in having those conversations with him.
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