Second Life, a business opportunity?
Have you heard of Second Life on the radio, seen it on the television, or maybe read about it in the papers ?
This article is aimed at answering the question, "Is Second Life an opportunity for your business ?"
What is Second Life
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world, ie one that only exists on a computer (or in this case many computers) that is entirely built and owned by its residents, also know as avatars (or av's). Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and at the time of writing - early September 2007 - is inhabited over 9,300,000 people from around the world with 1.6 million of them having logged in in the past 60 days.
From the moment you enter this online world you'll discover an enourmous digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and possible business opportunities.
Businesses are able to exist on Second Life because residents keep the rights to all their digital creations. This means that they can buy, sell and trade with other residents using a virtual currency called the Linden Dollar. Is is estimated that the online marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions of Linden Dollar. These can be brought, sold and converted to US dollars at several online Linden Dollar exchanges such as slexchange.com. The US Dollars can then be withdrawn into the real world and into your business bank account (of course you should account for this income).
How does this help my business ?
Of course, not all businesses can transfer their business model into a game like SecondLife - for example a cleaning company would not have any reason to try and set up in the virtual world. However, there are many examples of businesses that can set up and carry on business, these would include architects, business consultants, dj's and even estate agents. In fact any one that provides a service could run a virtual equivalent on Second Life.
Then there are people who run businesses only in Second Life, two such examples are Beck-Nemeth-Enterprises who let "vitrual shops" amongst other things and Paws-4-Thought run by an inworld builder of furniture, teddies, artwork and other items whike others build items inworld but sell through external sites such as slapt.me
If you are not interested in running a business inworld you might want to consider advertising inworld - with 271,000 people having logged on in the past 7 days (Linden Labs Economic Statistics 20th February 2008) that is a lot of potential people that could see your advert - of course, the virtual world is a large place and there are large areas that are empty but there are also many large shopping areas, themed areas and clubs that are busy.