Forbes Starts Hating on Second Life

by Pixeleen Mistral on 19/06/07 at 8:45 am

American Apparel disappointed in SL, Starwood Hotels’ Aloft sim to be sold

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs Desk

Allison Fass reports that the metaverse can be a “can be a weird, chancy place for real-life brands” in a story for the July 2 issue of Forbes, and notes that avatars enjoy having sex and playing pranks instead of getting warm fuzzy feelings about real life brands. What on earth are those avatars thinking of – don’t they understand they are meant to be compliant RL marketing hype recipients?

Still, this is good information to know – and may explain why the Linden fanboy network recently upgraded the bad press threat level to Orange. Look for all remaining fanboys to spread out across the blog-o-sphere to defend the Lab from criticism, and teams of canine furries to patrol SL looking for unattended suspicious packages, bottles of liquid over 3 ounces in size, and outspoken critics.

I do have to wonder how effective the fanboys will be. Ms. Fass quotes Lenovo computer’s Web-marketing vice president David Churbuck as saying, “There is nothing to do in Second Life except, pardon my bluntness, try to get laid”. While I respect Lenovo, I can’t really completely agree here – you can also play house, play store, play war, and ban people from your land while trying to get laid.

The Forbes story then takes an ugly turn as Aloft hotels V.P. Brian McGuinness notes it is hard to come up with compelling reasons for people to stop by – and Forbes reports that Starwood plans to hand over its Aloft Second Life real estate to another user.

But the SL beatdown is by no means over. A disappointed Web director of American Apparel, Rasmus Schiönning, is quoted as saying sales from the metaverse retail operation have been “insignificant”. Erik Hauser, from Wells Fargo’s digital agency laughs and says, “Going into Second Life now is the equivalent of running a field marketing program in Iraq.”

Between the ongoing technical issues bedeviling our world, the ever-present sex-scandals, and the imminent expiration of 1-year leases on many of the early real life metaverse marketing pioneers, look for more of the mainstream media to start hating on SL. Not to worry though – the LL fanboy network is still recruiting. This gives residents something else to do in SL – defend the homeland.

57 Responses to “Forbes Starts Hating on Second Life”

  1. Crissa

    Jun 20th, 2007

    American Apparel makes terrible products in RL, of course when exposed to a vital market that they don’t control – they fail. Duh.

    There’s many RL companies that do well in SL. There are others who seem to have no sense of what to do.

    But hey, I like going to the educational events at the spaceflight museum ^-^

  2. Luca V

    Jun 20th, 2007

    American Apparel in SL wasn’t bad as far as creation goes, it’s down to the fact that people expect “weird and whacky” from the fashion market in SL. Personally, the idea of bland and average clothing was quite good, especially the fact that the tighty whiteys and socks were probably the best of the line that Aimee Weber produced for AA. I will grant that there are better ways it could have been done, but it was still a nice change from gravity defying dresses and bikinis with no straps that somehow stay on the chest.

  3. Freddy

    Jun 20th, 2007

    “I wonder if this will be the spurring of recognization that maybe Second Life isn’t great for a real life advertising billboard” – Artemis Fate

    ding ding ding! we have a winner

  4. Bullshit Caller

    Jun 20th, 2007

    I understood almost everything except the part about furries “looking for unattended suspicious packages, bottles of liquid over 3 ounces in size.”

    WTF? Is this some furry meme that I haven’t heard about? Is it some kind of underhanded jab at furries? A compliment? Is it secret code for “the american health care system is in crisis?” Or did you just type some random words that made sense in your sleep?

    Please enlighten me on this. Should I be looking for bottles of liquid? Should I avoid bottles less than 3 ounces? What do I do with it if I find one? WTF are you talking about? This is really bugging me now!

    Sounds like either you are a furry and dont see it, or you’re not a group or persons being stalked by furries.

    There are groups of furries who like going around and spying or stalking anyone who disagrees with them or talks shit about furries or are their definition of “bad people”

    I see them coming in all the time to various sims, hell, I’ve seen them go into shops and plant bugs when they thought no one was looking.

    They arent the only ones that do this, granted, but there are those who do, either to brown nose to the lindens, or to be controlling assholes and listening in for people talking shit of any kind.

  5. Dirk Singer

    Jun 21st, 2007

    If you try and treat consumers like cretins, you are bound to fail and Second Life is no different. The problem is that a lot of brands a) try and carbon copy their RL model and expect residents just to go for it, b) replicate what residents already do – and do well (for example, there are 100 better clothes retailers than American Apparel), and c) treat it as a one-hit PR wonder rather than making an investment and building credibility.

    On the numbers, I’ve said it before elsewhere, but I think that a large part of the problem is the whole orientation process. You land in a huge orientation island with 50 other or so people and personally I think that the sheer mass causes confusion and encourages anti social behaviour. When I created an alt and arrived in orientation island I was greeted with noobs asking “where is all the sex I heard about!.”

    In our office, five of us have Second Life AVs. But three exist in name only, their owners having given up pretty much after the first hour in SL.

    However, it’s by no means all bad news. The fact that regular residents are spending 90 mins a day online is incredible, and this is an audience that uses SL as a substitute to watching TV. Hence marketers have to get their act together and think of clever, engaging ways to target them.

  6. shockwave yareach

    Jun 22nd, 2007

    “Reasons to go to Aloft”

    Are they running a club? Some sort of game (not casino) where you roam the hotel looking for treasure or trying to escape monsters behind every door while struggling to solve a puzzle? Are their other people there? Is it used to host parties, offering its space for rent as a happening place to take your friends and play?

    If you built a real life hotel and had nothing to do, chances are you’d be equally ignored. Don’t be too shocked when people in VR who are interactive and here to play say “So what?” when you bring up your hotel.

  7. Montana Corleone

    Jun 24th, 2007

    “Hence marketers have to get their act together and think of clever, engaging ways to target them.”

    Actually, that’s the point. I don’t want to be targeted. I get targeted absolutely everywhere else. As was said earlier, SL is an escape from RL. Leave us one place free of corporate and marketing hype and bullshit.

    As for Aloft, I always wondered what they were smoking. Why do you go to a hotel usually? To sleep. Do you sleep in SL? No, you log off and go to your real bed lol. Now, if they’d put pose balls and SexGens in the rooms, we could all have gotten laid ;) And that would have shown they understand SL better and gained our respect. I saw the hoo ha, went to look, and thought mmm, average build… If that’s the ‘quality’ of their RL rooms, I’ll stay elsewhere. So to me, that was negative marketing.

    American Apparel? Never heard of them before SL. As one of the 75% of users who live outside the US, I don’t care a jot. Thinking SL is a US sandbox rather than a global entity might be one of the problems for marketers.

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