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Second Life Forest: Electric Sheep Responds

Giff Constable from leading SL 'agency' dropped us a line with his thoughts about what we said about Second Life in our article, Brands Led Blindly Into Second Life Forest.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK

Giff Constable from leading SL ‘agency’ dropped us a line with his thoughts about what we said about Second Life in our article, Brands Led Blindly Into Second Life Forest.

On the Internet analogy, you wouldn’t recommend that brands not have their own website would you? Reaching out through portal sites can be
useful, although there was an awful lot of wasted money during the
early/mid internet years trying to buy eyeballs on portal sites.
However, I still think that most brands should have their own website,
even if it is only a component of the marketing strategy. What you
are seeing in SL are just the beginnings of people experimenting and
trying to learn what works and does not work on this new platform.
Naturally it is hard to be a leader without making a few mistakes and
attracting a few arrows.

Analogies to web portals do not make sense right now because of the limitations on population density in SL. Large groups cannot form in
one place in SL — it is simply not possible under the current
technology. People gather for certain shopping destinations, certain
events, or certain clubs but then disperse in small groups. Bringing
a brand into the mainland exposes its experience to certain problems –
for one, you cannot control the quality of the work around you; more
importantly, you cannot ensure that you can provide a reasonable frame
rate/lag performance to your visitors. You cannot control what is
around you, and frankly a lot of brands don’t want to be next to a XXX
club or a casino. Even if you buy a plot today on the mainland that
seems relatively safe, that could change at any moment. The current
zoning tools are too new to see the effect they will have.

I think it is a reasonable strategy to start by having people opt-in to your experience and marketing by coming to your island. Yes you
have to do things to bring them there, but people in SL are looking
for quality things to do. There is a dearth right now. Once they come
to you, they can then take your brand out into the mainland with them.

On the separate topic of replicating reality versus virtuality in
design, I think there is a time and place for both and you have to
choose carefully how you want to inspire and immerse people. For some
thoughts on this see: http://blogs.electricsheepcompany.com/giff/?p=11

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PSFK Writer Piers Fawkes, PSFK
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