Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shoestring Marketing, Linden-style

It's not everyday I get an email from Linden Lab that isn't about an outrageous "Incident Report" (I was so not aiming at that guy), so I was quite curious as to what this was all about:

For those of you who can't click the graphic to read the whole spiel (probably because you are in Australia and this unrated gaming content is BANNED), I will give you the gist of it:

You can win 10,000 Linden dollars if you post the URL of your favorite XstreetSL item (from the Home & Garden category, only!) on the Linden Lab Facebook wall!

Yes, that's right you have to go from their virtual eCommerce site to their social media networking page if you need to buy more blood packs for the blood fountains in your virtual dungeon. They couldn't have hit on more Web 2.0 memes unless they made you Twitter about it first and plurk it up afterwards.

So much for you Immersionists, or those thousands of profiles that read "Keep RL separate plz k thx bai!" We avatars now must get out into the larger metaverse and tackle the dangers, the perils, the colossal cacophony of redundancy that is Second Life 2.0! Get ye to Facebook, avatar, and Twitter too!

The rewards are huge, all of 10,000 Lindens. That's about $40 U.S., a truly massive show of marketing muscle in this era of weekly layoffs and economic panic. It's good to see the Lindens being frugal, but maybe they could've thrown in some free "Power Idling With M Linden" t-shirts.

So how do I you win this plum cherry of prize? Enough have people have to click "I like this item" on the Facebook Wall when they scroll through all the other, uninteresting entries and choose "GIANT KITTY COUCH CHAIR WITH 6 POSE SIT ANIMATIONS NEKO" which is clearly the most exciting item of all.

Just keep scrolling down the wall until you find it, and choose "Like" with your Facebook account. What, your Avatar doesn't have a Facebook account? Your Avatar's been banned from Facebook for not being a "real person"?

Sorry then, you're not eligible for this contest!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Second Life Users Fleeing in Droves for Third Life

Growing waves of virtual world users are leaving the familiar, established world of Second Life for a new meta-virtual experience, collectively called "Third Life," a new study suggests.

"Given the lag, the software conflicts, and the general emptiness and lack of purpose in the public spaces of Second Life that we have seen of late, it's no surprise that more users are retreating to a safer, if more solitary, existence," says Professor Rayburn Happysocks, founder of the Virtual University Roleplaying Group's Department of Metanomics.

"For these users, occasional emails, random Twitter updates, and other tenuous connections with their Second Lives are a safer social venue than actually venturing into an alien and hostile 'grid.' "

Dr. Happysock's thesis, funded by tip-jar donations and underground poker games, shows that more than 45% of the avatars on his friends list are now forgoing all primary virtual world contact, instead favoring a more ephemeral connection with friends through email, blogs, and social networking sites like Ning.

"These users don't have a reason to actually go into the metaverse anymore," he says. "They feel more secure with a meta-relationship to their former metaverse status," he explained. "Twitter updates and Flickr pictures are less threatening than actual in-world experiences. It's all about re-establishing a comfort zone against the alien external world."

Other scholars see a dark social trend. "This malaise is far deeper than Happysocks in his usual technophile Extropian libertarian optimism would suggest," says Doctor Killbob45, Human Paladin Level 70. "Let's step back and remember: Many avatars fled the first world for the virtual world precisely to escape the bonds of social obligation, status, and hierarchy.

"Once we become enmeshed yet again in those same hierarchies, the inevitable result will be panic and further retreat."

"Then comes the Predator drones," he whispered, in his penultimate podcast.

Shortly after posting his thesis, Doctor Killbob45 cancelled his WOW account, stopped answering his avatar's email, and abandoned his 4028 sq. meter Mainland estate, the "Erotic Pegasus Encounter Zone."

It is rumored that he now devotes all his waking moments to modding up stories about Linux distros on Slashdot and Digg, while saving up bus fare for Akihabara.