Motorati Closes: Second Lifers Just Crash Test Dummies?

by Alphaville Herald on 02/01/08 at 6:55 pm

by Urizenus Sklar, Michigan Business Desk


SLNN has reported that Pontiac’s Motorati Island is closing less than one year after its grand opening. It is kaput. No more. Expired. Pushing up daisies. Finished. Naturally no one is saying why, but it is a sad day on the SL business scene, since (as I argued in an interview on Michigan Radio last year) Motorati was one of the few corporate builds that seemed to get SL right — offering not a ghost island, but regular events and races and offering free land for people who were making contributions to Second Life car culture. While SLNN reports that Pontiac may have something else in the works, informed sources contacted by the Herald doubt that this is the case (and Pontiac isn’t saying).

One quote in the SLNN article summed up the situation perfectly:

Shiryu Musashi, owner of the Musashi-Do Fashion Shop and Musashi Motorsports housed on Motorati Island, commented about Pontiac’s decision to leave SL. “It’s pretty normal; I don’t think it means much – just that another advertisement campaign ended.”

Sad but probably true. Until corporations stop thinking of SL as an advertising billboard and start actually building something of lasting value the metaverse is is going to be in Neutral and the gauges are going to read Fail.

10 Responses to “Motorati Closes: Second Lifers Just Crash Test Dummies?”

  1. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Jan 2nd, 2008

    Except in the eyes of these corporations, SL isn’t even remotely viable as anything BUT an advertising billboard.

    These companies are worth billions, and turn profits of hundreds of millions per year at the LEAST. The amount of money to be made in SL is absolute peanuts to these people.

    SL is just not a viable interest for big business.

  2. Lao-Tzu

    Jan 2nd, 2008

    My guess is that to some, SL seems “bigger” than it truly is and Pontiac expected more.

  3. janeforyou Barbara

    Jan 2nd, 2008

    The big companies dont need to go to SL to do business, thay dont need SL to build a brand.
    Thay can do it just for fun tho.. or can trye to make a VR office in SL to invite oversea partner in a meetingroom using voice and picks,, but as loong as its SL its more ” playing” for fun then business.

    But for them that wish to use SL to create a small business and build a brand this is how to do it :
    1. Find out what you want, what your destination, find out what the users in SL want, find out how the marked are for the produckt you choose to sell.
    2.Learn to build,or hire a pro, and own it all your self 100%, do not trust anyone if thay are not RL with you.
    3. Stay on top all the time,, you need to use 5 hours a day or more to serve your costumers, se all you do in loong terms,, nothing comes for free so invest in marketing, use 2 or 3 year, if your timing are right you get a business.

  4. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 3rd, 2008

    We’ve all been repeating to ourselves so many numerous times the mantra that “Pontiac got it right” and “Pontiac worked with the community,” that we forgot to ask ourselves why it wasn’t working, and now why they left.

    I had one simple operating theory: they left precisely because the Sheep left. The Sheep had nursed them along originally, and put staff on them. When they cut back staff, they had less staff to hand-hold clients. Especially clients whose contract was at an end. I had a simple question: did the Sheep basically just keep staff available to run/show up at/events for these clients to create “community,” and could they simply not afford to do that anymore?

    Oh, sure, I realize they gave people land to create, um, car culture. And there seemed to be actual events and people participating and blog HUDs and stuff.

    But I have to say, that when I flew there repeatedly in the last month, ever since getting tipped off that Pontiac was pulling out, it had that same tumbleweed feeling as any other corporate sim.

    Oh, sure they gave people land. And what did they do? They put out their stores lol. They sold clothing and furniture that I suppose was tenuously related to “car culture,” but it wasn’t like you could hang out and kick back and go to truck pulls and eat baby back ribs off garbage can lids every night. It was just a store. With cars.

    It being Second Life, the cars didn’t work very well.

    There were neat night clubs like the underwater one, but never a soul in it. There was Callie Kline’s cool villa — but who sat by the pool? It all had this Sunset Blvd feel to it — builds made for money, by people who got a chance to make stuff for money and showcase their stores. I’m all for that! But…let’s not pretend that’s all you need to “make a community”.

    Did Shiryu Musashi hang out there and do “car culture”? Doesn’t sound like it, he just sold his cars. Good! RL corporations *should* help people sell their content. But…people who sit and make high-class content all day and sell it aren’t customers to buy Pontiacs are they?

    Did they sell any RL cars? At some point, somebody does ask that question.

    Shiryu Musashi once did a drive all around Second Life, back when it was smaller and you could do that reasonably (it might be impossible now, they are adding sims so fast). He would post pictures on the forums, and you could wait for him to roll into your sim. That sort of thing was fun and “community spirited”. But cooped up on a corporate sim, how could he really be visible except to the 40 or 70 people who teleported in to fit on the sim?

    I also found it kind of annoying that the whole Motorati website perpetuated this whole “big boobs sell cars” American myth — but then, I guess that’s Second Life for you, and real life too.

    Everybody got paid at the end of the day, nobody lost, but why is somebody calling this “building car culture” or “building community”? It’s just advertising.

  5. Blak Hax

    Jan 3rd, 2008

    “sad but probably true. Until corporations stop thinking of SL as an advertising billboard and start actually building something of lasting value the metaverse is is going to be in Neutral and the gauges are going to read Fail.”

    Uri, motorati was was a prime example of a corperation doing something “lasting” for the SL fags, they housed
    car shops, a racing track for the idiots who wanted to see who’s script was faster and that concert venue.

    So basically, For major corperations…. SL is just fail, the average SL user is never gonna buy a pontiac solstice or a mercedes C-class, there is no way SL would ever be a useable sales tool, a magazine ad would generate more sales.

    If anything they need to use SL as more of a billboard and keep the community at bay.
    Have some link directly on the corperate product website “take a test drive online” have an account registration point on the site and keep the customer away from the hardcore SL users, essentially taking advantage of linden lab’s software and servers but not the cesspool that is Second Life.

  6. Simon says

    Jan 3rd, 2008

    Actually, I read this reported in The AvaStar weeks ago…

    But nice of you guys to bring us old news over the festive period!

  7. Anonymous

    Jan 4th, 2008

    So does the Avastar still stalk people and attempt to gather RL info? Or, wait… that’s in the past, right?

  8. whatever

    Jan 4th, 2008

    GOOD RIDDENCE!!!!! I’m sick of rl businesses in SL.

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