Monday, July 16, 2007

When will they get it?

The Dutch PCM Web (Personal Computer Magazine) picks up a story by the LA Times that companies are getting disappointed in Second Life. It is another sign of old media living in total oblivion of what is going on.

"After an enormous hype om Second Life more and more 'experts' are getting sceptic on the added value of Second Life to business. Online visitors aren't big shoppers, but are mainly looking for entertainment" reads the introduction. Where did this come from? There's hardly a real life company to be found in Second Life that's actually selling stuff. If it ain't on offer, we can't buy it.

"Successfully promoting your company inside the virtual world of Second Life shows to be harder than expected. More and more marketing departments conclude that Second Life residents feel like visiting their online stores. "Actually there isn't any convincing reason to be present in Second Life" says Brian McGuinness, a Hotelchain bigshot in the LA times, and thus his company left Second Life"

Most of these 'marketing departments' probably have never seen Second Life from the inside. Many companies just use Second Life as another medium for corporate communication... without understanding it. It's back to the early 90's when serious companies launched crappy (excuse me) Frontpage websites.

In most cases there wont be a ROI (return on investment) indeed for the year to come, or even the year after. When will companies see that Second Life is not a commercial, a product flyer?

There are companies that dig SL though. Have a look at Intel and Cisco giving tech meetings and classes on Java and other skills. take a look at Philips taking surveys, or at ABN Amro organising sponsor events for non profits.

Forrester shows brain!

One of the most telling lines in this article is the following quote: "Analists from Forrester (yay, the big reasearchers) have calculated that at prime time there are only about 35,000 to 40,000 visitors in Second Life"

Okay, prepare for another research paper (usual rates about $ 1.000,- US dollar / hard cash) telling you the same the counter on this webpage -an many many other websites - will show you every single day.

The good news is: You don't even need to pay me L$ 1,000 to get this info.

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Anonymous Dobre Vanbrugh said...

I completely agree Veejay, it starts to feel like missionary work (erm, sort of). Its very tough to tackle the negative media attention and for companies like ours it is becoming a pain in the 'you know what'. Because we are now experiencing that clients start to hesitate, being heavily influenced by this kind of articles and scared that their 'you know what' is at stake.

On the other hand I also see a new wave of companies coming in that have a more developed vision on virtual worlds and are convinced about the future. Companies like Philips, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (though not present in SL), PA Consultants...they are experimenting, innovating and embracing the community. They clearly acknowledge the importance and potential of the 3D web and see Second Life and others more as a cathalysator for future developments...

Monday, July 16, 2007 3:44:00 PM  
Blogger Aleister Kronos said...

Maybe I'm paranoid, but there seems to a deliberate effort on the behalf of some media to deepen the (Gartner) Trough of Disillusion regarding SL and Virtual Worlds.

Wells Fargo are oft cited as an example of a company no longer in SL. True... but they've decamped to Active Worlds, another VW. They are still exploring the Metaverse.

Meanwhile the flood of European companies, financial institutions and universities continues unabated. As does the rolling growth of Japanese sites.

Any talk about "making money" in SL (for RL companies) is completely missing the point. While the days of "cool press" for announcing a presence in SL probably ended about a year ago.

There are, as you've highlighted, many innovative uses for SL now appearing. For me, it is (to quote Mitch Kapoor) "the end of geography" that is so exciting - and delivers a clear ROI. But this is just the tip of it.

I do not object to "people who know" making valid criticism - but ignorant dismissal is another matter.

Monday, July 16, 2007 3:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Dobre Vanbrugh said...

Good point Aleister. In any way the whole discussion is too much focussed on marketing, leading to conclusions about'empty corporate sims'. Apart from the fact that an empty corporate sim in many cases points at misunderstanding of what makes good virtual branding and communication (i.e. not creating experiences, not adding value, no interreality and last but not least not looking at proved concepts by virtual world innovators), it is also a very wrong thought that a virtual world can only be valued by means of 'traffic' and immidiate ROI. Not all RL boardrooms are full every moment of the year, not every event space is filled every second. Things are programmed, events are planned, meetings have a beginning and an end. Its such a pity that the opportunities for virtual teamwork, cocreation, conferencing, prototyping, testing unsoweiter are hardly mentioned. Lets say what the future will bring when virtual spaces are linked and a 3D web emerges...

Monday, July 16, 2007 5:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Dobre said...

its 'proven concepts' right? There i go with my EuroEnglish...

Monday, July 16, 2007 6:07:00 PM  

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