Is Second Life Quickly Approaching the Afterlife?

July 20, 2007

Life just wouldn't be any fun without fads: pogs, Pokemon, Barney, Britney Spears...However, there is always that rare fad that transcends temporary obsession and becomes ingrained in our culture (think YouTube). For the past year, it has seemed like Second Life was going to become the next wave of the Internet - "this is how the entire web will operate within the next few years," was a common cry from media outlets, both large and small.

However, it seems that the day of reckoning may be approaching for Second Life. A recent Wired article details how companies are dumping money into the virtual world, but have yet to see any pay off. The article makes it seem as if most companies can no longer even begin to justify their presence in Second Life, but they've simply heard about it so many times that they believe it's necessary to be there in order to be successful on the web. Seems like the beginning of the end to us over here at NMC.

Much of the misleading hype is due to the number crunching presented by Linden Labs (the creator of Second Life). While the company claims more than 7 million Avatars (every Second Life user creates an "Avatar," which is their identity while they're "in world") inhabit the virtual world, many of those are duplicates and there are only 4 million unique members. Of those 4 million, only 1 million had logged in within the previous 30 days of the article. The numbers keep dwindling with further inspection, and eventually the article concludes that the market for a US company is about 100,000 active members/week. Still not a terribly disappointing number, but to think that the original figure was 7 million, and then you must realize that large companies are dumping tens of thousands of dollars into this fledgling virtual world. The NBA put a lot of work and money into building their own island in Second Life, but they've had less than 2,000 visits since its launch in May.

Second Life is the perfect example of an Internet fad blown out of proportion. When it comes to the web, people are quite often looking just a little too hard for the next big thing, so they're willing to latch onto whatever their consultants or the media tell them - no matter how poor that advice sometimes is. At New Media Campaigns, we keep our ear to the ground and are always looking out for the new trends on the web - however, before we never advocate that our clients spend a boat load of money on something that has yet to show if its really worth it. We've been in the web design and marketing business for years and have developed quite the discerning eye. We only recommend proven methods to our clients that will help them win online and get the greatest possible ROI. If you've got an idea or heard about some hot new trend, we'd love to talk with you about it and help you decide whether or not it's the right fit for your website.

We're committed to giving honest advice about what we think will most help your website -not what is going to pump up our price. So, if you're looking for an honest web design firm that's committed to helping you get the most out of your website, get in contact with us. We'll keep you updated on the Second Life situation, but our prediction is pretty dismal and this thing looks to be going down quicker than the Titanic. Let us know what you think and if you've had a successful stint on Second Life.

Clay Schossow
Lead Project Manager



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