InfoWeek had an excellent article on Second Life a few weeks ago. Some choice quotes:
Well, in theory...
Do you think we could have gotten more PR if we gave away $1million in Times Square?
"Having trouble understanding what your customers really want in a pair of jeans? Let them design the jeans personally. Ditto a car. Or a new kitchen. Want to increase brand awareness? Open a storefront where shoppers can virtually browse your products, "engage" with them, and become more loyal. Hope to convert browsing into real dollars? Add a link that sends them to your Web site, where they can hand over their credit cards.
It sounds good. The problem is that none of this is happening. The virtual stores are empty."
Linden Lab's traffic counter--which awards points based on how residents divide their time within each 24-hour period--showed total traffic at Reebok's store, which opened in August 2006, at 741 in mid-January. The Sears store, which opened in early January in partnership with IBM, was at 964. Toyota's showroom opened in November and topped the corporate retail destinations at 1,955. By contrast, Second Life's Elements Lounge--one of the most popular sites--displayed 133,217 traffic points.
I give up control all the time, I let my agency think for me.
"Companies need to investigate before they jump in ... try to understand what the community values, and how to give it to them," says Garrett French, a partner with Bold Interactive, a community marketing incubator. The first thing businesses must do is give up control, he says."Littering is bad, mama didn't teach you that?
One of the most disconcerting aspects of wandering through the beautiful but vacant commercial spaces of Second Life is that none of the major companies has bothered to "staff" its virtual space.