A Gallery of Lies!

by Urizenus Sklar on 25/10/06 at 6:31 pm

The bullshit and hyperventilation about recent developments in Second Life has now officially turned into a theater of the absurd. Rohit Bhargava, a VP for Interactive Marketing with Public Relations giant Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, has a recent post on digitalmedia wire entitled “A Gallery of Virtual ‘Firsts’ from Second Life.” Readers of the Herald will be surpised to learn upon viewing the gallery, that the very first virtual concert in Second Life was Suzanne Vega, the first virtual clothing store was American Apparel, the very first virtual sporting event was the recent All Star Game hypervent, and the very first virtual hotel was Starwood Aloft. Nevermind the hundreds of concerts that we have attended over the last three years in second life, and nevermind the boxing matches and car races and archery tournaments and sailing regattas we have seen over the last three years, and never mind all the virtual hotels and rental properties that have existed in Second Life, and clothing stores…is this guy fucking kidding me??? This place has been wall to wall clothing stores since day one. Many people have made their livings selling virtual clothing here for the last several years. Meanwhile, a so-called new media company called Crayon has announced that it is the first business to be launched in Second Life. Very first business launched. Can you say “bullshit”?

What are we to say about this? Is this an attempt to rewrite history? More likely, I would say it is a case of a bunch of desperate clueless fucktards trying to show how bleeding-edgy they are, and, given that SL is the bleeding-edgy flavor of the month, they are wraping themselves in the Linden cape of bleeding-edginess. But they are being exposed as clueless frauds. If you are a corporation paying these people good money, get your money back now!, because they don’t know the first thing about this place and they are pissing people the fuck off. Whether they know anything about new media is another question, but I find it hard to imagine that they are anything more than old media dinosaurs wearing ill-fitting pixel clothing. The seams are showing. They don’t even know how to move their slide bars.

My favorite element to all this, however, is that Mr. Bhargava also has a post about blog etiquette, in which he says it is important to have good etiquette in your blogging and not be snarky. Well, stick this in your pipe you trembling little snarkiness-fearing bitch. Where we come from it is not merely bad ettiquette to falsely claim a “first” and ignore three years of pioneering hard labor by the people you are supposedly trying to market to, it is something of a crime to take credit for what others have done, and it is no less a crime to give credit to late-coming billion dollar corporations for what hard working people did all on their own many times over for three years. Until you learn that keep the fuck out of my way.

26 Responses to “A Gallery of Lies!”

  1. Dow Jonas

    Oct 25th, 2006

    Uri, it’s great to have you back : )

    It’s been so hard trying to counter this stuff.

    If you scroll down to the end of this Ogilvy concoction you’ll see my August 24, 2006 post rebutting his claims of “first” — I was especially indignant about the hotel thing because I’d like to think that my TSO-imported Flamingo Court/Motel of Last Resort was the first motel of SL. Haven’t heard any challengers yet!

  2. Satchmo Prototype

    Oct 25th, 2006

    Recent? LMAO… welcome back to the blogosphere but please give us something current. Prok nailed this one on the comments 2 months ago. The Internet moves fast on people eating chips in retirement.

  3. Mathew Ingram

    Oct 25th, 2006

    You know, Uri, for a guy who used to be a philosophy professor you don’t seem terribly philosophical about this whole Second Life attention bonanza. Obviously people are talking about “firsts” in terms of real-world companies getting involved in Second Life — turning it into some kind of us vs. them streetfight (complete with potty mouth) may get you all kinds of props from the hard-core SL crowd, but it makes you look like a raving loony to anyone else.

  4. Steve Hall

    Oct 25th, 2006


    You are right. I come from the world of marketing and advertising and we consistently lay claim to what we think should be ours with total disregard for what came before. I publish Adrants, a site about advertising and, just like everywhere other ad news medium, we’re all buzzing about Second Life. Becasue, after all, we’ll throw an ad in any new place people frequent:-)

    I say that is jest because my role as publisher of Adrants is to call this crap out and perhaps educate the ad industry about what’s right and wrong about venturing into new “media” – as we like to call is – such as Second Life.

    There will be tons of mistakes and missteps and marketers will sure anger residents to no end. It’s unfortunate but most marketers just don’t know any better. As you say, they haven’t been there from the start and are just clueless while acting in-the-know to their clients.

    I can assure you the man behind Crayon will be sensitive to this and will learn very fast the truths and lies marketers spout about Second Life and the right way and wrong way to do things here.

    I would be more than eager to speak with you or anyone else who might help me shed some informed light upon the dim witted ad community so that things might be set straight before the ad stampede begins as it inevitably will just it it does with every new thing.

    Oh, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m fairly clueless about Second Life as well.

    Steve Hall

  5. Divo Dapto

    Oct 25th, 2006


    I went back to Neville’s post to see his exact wording: “And by the way, when we launch on Thursday, we will be the first company to be launched in Second Life.”

    Let me do my best to explain:

    - we are launching our company, crayon, in Second Life. NO official launch events or releases in RL are going out until we launch in Second Life
    - his wording states, “to be launched” as opposed to “opening a secondary office”
    - to our knowledge (and of course, we stand corrected AND will acknowledge and celebrate any companies that came before us), we are the first “Real” company (whatever that means anymore) to launch in Second Life.
    - we’ve done this for 2 reasons: a) because we intend to use SL as our primary base of operations and b) because we believe in SL, its residents and community (although I must admit that I’m blown away by the anger, pettiness and in-fighting I’ve seen)

    We are a company of bloggers, podcasters and SL residents…we’re not paying lip service to our committment to SL and we’re not trying to steal anyone’s thunder.

    Instead of throwing stones, please tell me who WAS the first company to launch themselves in and through SL i.e. a physical/real company that chose to use SL instead of traditional methods.

    Our whole philosophy is about embracing new approaches such as blogs, podcasts, the Web, Consumer Generated Content, and of course SL, and helping marketers make smart, relevant and meaningful decisions about how to invest in these worthy alternatives.

    It made sense to walk our talk in this case. If anything, the headlines generated would have only further validated all your – and the community’s – hard work thus far…

    Perhaps you don’t want SL to grow and prosper. Perhaps you just want it to stay the way it is. It is so ironic that the people who resist change the most are the ones that are in fact part of it…

    Divo Dapto

    PS I am a blogger, podcaster and SL resident too. I also get damn angry, but I’m also the first to acknowledge when I’m wrong and apologize


  6. Urizenus

    Oct 25th, 2006

    No Mathew it is not even a little bit “obvious” that when people are claiming firsts they are claiming “first real world company in the game”. If that is what they want to claim then that is what they ought to claim. Yet no one does that, even below the fold!

    I also don’t see how you intend to rationalize the claim of Crayon, launching tomorrow, that they are the first corporation to launch from SL. Not even approximately true.

    Now if I were to get philosophical on you I guess my point would be something like this: if you understand what is happening here in SL it is the breakdown of RL and VR so that staking a claim of firstness using sortals like “first *real world* company” means you just don’t get the philosophical impact of what is happening. At. All.

    On the “us vs them thing” I have no idea why you are attributing that sort of thinking to me. On the contrary you seem to be the one who thinks that the real world/virtual world dichotomy is meaningful. I don’t. I just see people making false claims that debase the valuable contributions of hardworking people logging three years of 40, 60, 80 hour work weeks in SL, and sometimes more. I don’t care if the false claimants come from what you call the “real world” (funny I thought SL was part of the real world, but nvm) or if they come from Mars. They should not take credit for what others have accomplished.

    And as for my “potty mouth”, well gee, I’m sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, but I can assure you that my anger is not being exaggerated here, and that I am doing my best to keep it in check. I can also assure you that there are people on the grid who are much more angry than I am, and with good reason. You would be angry too if you spent years developing a line of clothing and selling them in your stores, working at least 60 hours of week, and then having a corporation pay someone to build a story that few people will visit, and then read all the media hype about how *that* store is the first clothing store in second life. It is outrageous, and if you spent any time in the grid you would know that people are really. fucking. pissed. off.

    And on the question of whether outside readers think I look like a “raving looney”, I really don’t give a flying fuck. Not even a little.

  7. Urizenus

    Oct 25th, 2006

    Divo, in the first place the fact that Crayon is trying to justify their blatant falsehood by trading on some distinction between “launched” and “started” is nauseating. Is the difference that they had to have a party when they started their business? I know and now they know that they *still* aren’t the first to launch. Electric Sheep and Millions of Us certainly had launches, as no doubt did many other businesses. Giff Constable was kind enough to let them off the hook when he pointed this out in the comments thread to their announcement:

    “Neville, I will say that both Electric Sheep and Millions of Us did launch in Second Life, but I’m gonna stop there cause I’m really not here to spoil your fun.”

    But Crayon has yet to back off from their claim. So who should apologize.

    Why it is supposed to follow from my remarks that I don’t want SL to grow and prosper is utterly beyond me. Is progress now supposed to extrude from giving credit to people who *didn’t* actually make the progress and achieve the actual firsts? I would have thought that it could only help to spur progress if we give proper credit to the people who are doing the hard work and achieving new goals, and not people who come along years later and falsely claim the achievements for themselves.

    Oh by the way, as I posted earlier tonight, tomorrow the Second Life Herald will be launching the first birthday party ever in second life. woot!

  8. Hiro Pendragon

    Oct 26th, 2006

    Wow, that’s just … wow. Every single thing was wrong on that article! What’s surprising is that most of the actual events or builds listed *never even claimed to be the first*.

  9. Urizenus

    Oct 26th, 2006

    That’s a good point Hiro. It isn’t necessarily the people that are doing the builds that are making these false claims. Which makes you wonder just where the nonsense is coming from.

  10. Espresso Saarinen

    Oct 27th, 2006

    when you say “it is not merely bad ettiquette to falsely claim a “first” and ignore three years of pioneering hard labor by the people you are supposedly trying to market to,” you miss the big point. we are not their intended market. it is the ten million who will come into sl in the next two years who are their intended market. and they intended every possible square meter of sl to be covered in advert slime to sell to them.

  11. Urizenus

    Oct 27th, 2006

    That is part of it Espresso, but I think a big part of it has nothing to do with marketing to people in SL, but using SL as a way to buff their credibility as bleeding edge marketers. In that sense, the message they really are trying to get out there is intended for people that would never think of going into SL or dabbling in fringe culture. In effect, they are saying “while you go to the Opera, watch Fox News, and play golf, we will be helping to sell your shit to this prime demographic category and you won’t have to get yourself dirty rubbing elbows with those technogeeks and gen-X slacker hipsters.” That is how I read it. And of course if you spend all your time at the opera, watching fox news, and playing golf you will probably be uninformed enough to believe they can deliver on this. After all, they have an office in a videogame. How bleeding-edgy!

  12. John Wall

    Oct 28th, 2006

    I can completely understand why you are pissed, it’s like you had a neighborhood of cool shops and stores for years and suddenly, over about 3 months, you’ve had a Big Box Store, “Hip” coffee chain, and some store with “cool” clothes (that are in every town from NYC to East Buttcrack, South Dakota).

    But this is just textbook evolution of business. You only have three choices:
    1. Be the “pissed off guy” talking about how SL has been ruined, lamenting how cool places like The Well were replaced by AOL chatrooms (if there’s anybody out there old enough to remember that). And don’t be fooled, you can make a good living doing this.

    2. Sell your soul to “The Man” and acknowledge that SL will never be as cool or private as it was, but understand that by being nice to the newbies (especially marketing people with budgets from F500 companies) you could make some money and get paid for doing what you love. (An exception are people already making money in SL, for many, the hoardes will be new competitiors.)

    3. Find the next big thing and jump up there with the other “technogeeks and gen-X slacker hipsters”. Create the next small fun group. The problem with this is that from a buisness prospective, pioneers are best known for being found dead on the trail with arrows in them.

    So are you in it for the love or the money? Love is down path 3, money down path 2, if you want to try both you have to go Don Quixote and fight off the big wallets of the virtual McBarnes & Starbuck Depot…

  13. Urizenus

    Oct 28th, 2006

    John, as it happens I totally remember when the well gave way to aol chatrooms, and I even remember when aol hooked up to the internet and began invading it and everyone called the aol newbies “assholes online”, but this is different. Way different.

    When people from aol came to the internet they didn’t falsely claim that they were the first ones there, nor did they call themselves internet pioneers. They were newbs and they new it, and they learned and adopted and helped make the internet what it is today.

    *These* online assholes, on the other hand, are falsely claiming firsts and are attempting to rewrite the history of second life.

    So, in addition to your four options, I see a fourth option: welcome the honest immigrants who are here to learn and contribute, and call out the frauds that spread lies in an effort to take credit for the accomplishments of others and burnish their reputations as 1337 bleeding edgy marketing d00dz.

  14. John Wall

    Oct 28th, 2006

    Sounds good, I hear you more clearly. And never give up the snark, it’s no fun (and not half as entertaining) without it.

  15. Rohit

    Oct 31st, 2006

    I don’t fear snarkiness – I just don’t respect it. But I do understand your point – and posted my response several weeks ago in an addendum acknowledging that this was more of a gallery of corporate firsts in Second Life (a point conveniently missing from your post). And as much fun as your snark-driven view is to read, it doesn’t reflect the openness and interest we have seen from other Second Life residents in working on “marketing” campaigns such as the recent Intel Living Windows event with Versu and Millions of Us. Marketing that involves the community instead of isolating it will continue to win praise from most SL residents.

  16. Urizenus

    Oct 31st, 2006

    Rohit, two points. First I read your backpeddling post saying that what you really truly meant to say was that these were coporate firsts, which makes me wonder what meat space media company the Metaverse Messenger was. It wasn’t the first Newspaper, but it might have been the 20th. Second, I have no freaking idea what you mean by corporate firsts. Many of the clothing companies in Second Life are incoporated and paying taxes, and have been doing so for years. There is even a forthcoming documentary on one of them. Does your list really just boil down to this?: 1st Companies that Rohit has heard of opening in Second Life?

    Look I don’t have a problem with PR or marketing, I really don’t. And I don’t have a problem with large corporations coming into second life. But I wish to gopod that people would actually do their homework. Do some research before you shoot your mouth off. And if you get caught in a ridiculous lie, don’t fall back on your PR prevarications. Your are giving your profession a bad name (well, confirming negative impressions). Just say, “wow, I fucked up. sorry.” Is that so freaking hard?

    And while you may think you are winning praise from “most SL residents”, I seriously doubt that you have done the surveys to back this claim up. If you have, I’d be happy to see the raw data from your survey and review the methodology of it, because it would be quite an unexpected finding (I doubt that 1% have heard of you much less praised you). Did you count alts? People online? Oh wait, you didn’t do a survey, you just made it up. Well I guess that is how you do marketing research.

    Once again, I don’t have a problem with PR or marketing. I just have a problem with people that phone it in.

  17. Divo Dapto

    Oct 31st, 2006

    Uri – just to be clear, if you want an apology, you got it. We are not about taking credit for others’ hard work.

    Being “first” for us is about continous improvement and innovation. It’s a cultural imperative. It’s not about press releases and it’s not about buzz for buzz’s sake.

    Please remember that this big outcry came from one of the team’s personal blogs, not our official release. And the motivation was always about validating SL, i.e. choosing to launch in SL as opposed to a boutique hotel in New York City (which from a press standpoint might have been a safer bet)

    We are not Ogilvy or any other large agency for that matter…we are not an advertising agency and we are not about replicating the bullshit from RL. We are a company of bloggers, podcasters and Second Life residents. We are also a start-up and so whatever has projected the image that we are “the man” is just plain misguided.

    Anyway, I hope we can meet up when I come to Michigan. Are you game for a podcast interview over a cup of coffee?


  18. AdPulp

    Oct 31st, 2006

    Ad Guys In “Ill-Fitting Pixel Clothing” Busted By Second Lifer

    UrizenusSklar at Second Life Herald is pissed that Madison Avenue interlopers are claiming firsts in Second Life, when in fact they are nowhere near first. It is a case of a bunch of desperate clueless fucktards trying to show how…

  19. brinking

    Nov 1st, 2006

    Lessons from Second Life

  20. Rohit

    Nov 2nd, 2006

    Let me offer you what you’re waiting for … Wow, I fucked up. I’m sorry to the SL residents that felt ignored by the list that I included in my original post. To amend it, I am changing the title of the original post on my marketing blog to be “A Gallery of Marketing and PR in Second Life” and adding a note to the original post that reflects this. I believe this more accurately reflects what the list is, not a collection of firsts but simply a gallery of efforts in SL that I found interesting and think are of interest to other marketers. On the point of winning praise, you may be surprised to find that there are many SL residents who actually embrace newcomers to their world, even if they happen to be corporations. It is sad that you think this would need to be proved by market research. But I have no surveys to offer you. Only the fact that the reviews on blogs and discussions about our Intel campaign have been overwhelmingly positive. You are welcome to conduct a survey of your own to see what the reaction was in the broader SL community of folks that saw it. I would love to see the results.

  21. Urizenus

    Nov 2nd, 2006

    Rohit, thanks for the mea culpa on the 1sts.

    But then you follow that up with a shifty disingenuous rhetorical move. I never said that I don’t embrace newcomers to the world. Quite the contrary, I have encouraged many people to enter, and I also encourage corporations and marketing firms to enter. I just don’t like it when newcomers or anyone else enter and act like idiots.

    Furthermore I did not say that there are few people who embraced newcomers or even you and your projects. What I doubted was your claim that your Intel project had been embraced by “most SL residents.” I doubt that most residents know about you or your project. Maybe many people did embrace it. I suppose it depends on how many you think many is.

    I think that one reason typical PR strategies tank so badly in online communities is that there is always a written record of what we say. It makes errors and rhetorical shifts more or less blatantly obvious and there are thousands of eyes there to point them out and see them once pointed out.

    May I suggest that more care in our claims and the words we impute to others might be a more effective strategy in this medium than the usual rhetorical dodges that work in radio and television?

  22. 20 Tips for Marketers Entering Second Life

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  24. Jack Lucas

    Dec 6th, 2006

    Thing about Second Life is when you join you are offered a choice of Avatars. All have nice smiley WHITE faces, unless you want to pose as a Racoon.
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  25. Dave Eggert

    Jan 30th, 2007

    Crayon screwed up royally, there’s no doubt. And what have they done since? Zip.

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