I wrote a short article for the CADM (Chicago Association of Direct Marketing) Interactive SIG which was published in this month's adMarks. I have reproduced the article below:
Many marketers are busy enough in their first life but a savvy few are starting to experiment with Second Life.
Second Life is a virtual world that you enter through your Internet-connected computer. To many it looks a little like the game The Sims (one of the most popular computer games ever). To others this is the nearest thing to the movie The Matrix.
Second Life allows you to enter as an avatar and explore a world created by its inhabitants. Ever wanted to live in sprawling mansion overlooking the sea? Well, if you cannot afford to in real life you might be able to buy or create your dream house in Second Life. Ever wanted to change how you look? You can look like anything - and we mean anything - in Second Life. Your avatar can look like you, but if you wanted to you could equally be a six-foot tall rabbit in a wedding dress.
Established companies like BBH, Dell, IBM and Leo Burnett have already staked a claim in this virtual world. If you are using the Internet to market yourself or your company you should strongly consider setting up your virtual shingle in Second Life.
Creating an account is fairly straightforward. You can experiment and create an avatar for free. However, if you want to build or sell your skills then you need to pay Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, a monthly fee. Second life has its own virtual currency (Linden Dollars) that inhabitants use in a thriving economy but a real living can be made. One of the most celebrated landowners in Second Life is Anshe Chung who is said to make over $150,000 a year from renting out properties and other deals. Some Second Life inhabitants can give up their real life day jobs and make more money online. Residents can convert currency (which fluctuates due to supply and demand) to and from Linden Dollars. The current rate is abut 250 Linden Dollars (L$) to the US Dollar.
Existing businesses like Apple and Best Buy have mirrored their retail experience in Second Life. University professors have brought their students and classes to the world. Marketing professionals have made the jump too. When Crayon launched as a new marketing agency its primary location was Second Life. For Crayon's less computer-friendly clients it has offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco and Westport.
Tech tools like e-mail, webpages, IM, VOIP and mobile cellphones have been a godsend to marketers as new ways to communicate and connect with their audience. Second Life opens up an entirely new arena in which to play.
Labels: CADM, second life