Would you take on a Second Life?

If you haven't got enough of real life, try getting a second one--literally. Businesses and consumers alike have been flocking toward Second Life, a 3-D virtual world currently inhabited by over 6.

If you haven't got enough of real life, try getting a second one--literally. Businesses and consumers alike have been flocking toward Second Life, a 3-D virtual world currently inhabited by over 6.6 million "residents" across the globe. Founded in 2003 by Linden Lab, Second Life blossoms primarily on user-created digital content and has a flourishing marketplace where millions of Linden dollars--the unit of trade--are exchanged each month.


A shopper's life in Second Life
Copyright 2007, Linden Research, Inc
For those unfamiliar with Second Life, imagine a place where residents live, work, play and trade--not too tough to imagine since it sounds exactly like the life most of us live in the real world. In fact, Linden Lab describes it as a fully-functioning economy, complex social structure included. That's the main reason why I haven't adapted to life (pun intended) on Second Life or virtual worlds like it. Why leave the office and an environment where you have to deal with a complex social structure only to go to another one in cyberspace? But, over 6.6 million people--or so it seems--have found reasons and a desire to live a Second Life. In fact, research house Gartner has predicted that four-fifths of Internet users will have a virtual life by the end of 2011. And some organizations have started to recognize this growing phenomenon, as well as its potential impact on their business. While some have dismissed notions that virtual worlds could have any real effect on a company's bottom line, businesses like Dell Computer, Toyota and Adidas, have decided to play it safe and opened virtual offices in Second Life. I'm not too convinced either that setting up presence in virtual worlds could be passed off as a valuable marketing or branding exercise. After all, with over 6.6 million residents already in Second Life, your company will have to deal with the same problem as most businesses already do in the real world--getting your brand name heard in a crowded marketplace. Would your company set up shop in Second Life or other virtual worlds? Mail me your thoughts or leave your comments on Talkback.