OFFICIAL: Second Life To Become Giant Advertisland

by Alphaville Herald on 24/04/08 at 12:39 am

Unclear if Coke or Procter and Gamble will purchase avatar behavior patterns

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Any lingering doubts about the advertisland direction that Linden Lab has set for teh 3D Interwebs were erased last night when the new emperor of Second Life was named – Mr. Mark Kingdon, formerly of the e-vertising consulting firm Organic. The new emperor is to be referred to as “M Linden” – and is expected to rule Linden Lab and the virtual empire of “Second Life” with a firm yet benevolent hand starting May 15.

Mr. Kingdon’s qualifications appear to be related to pulling troubled media companies out of nearly fatal tailspins – if this this story from 2000 is any indication. Perhaps M Linden’s tailspin reversal superpower has something to do with the Lab investor’s enthusiasm. Outgoing king Philip Linden was effusive in his praise of the new emperor saying, “he will have an intense focus on improving the in-world experience and stability and reliability of Second Life”. A few older residents thought they might have heard that sort of promise nearly continuously for the last few years – but hope springs eternal.

However, Istar Writer raised questions about the gameplay in the new world order, saying, “So the head of a digital advertising agency will be the head of Linden Labs. Banner ads, targeted search, clickstream analysis, SL traffic analysis, are these coming to our SL world soon? (Cookies are already here unless you know to turn them off) Are my avatar’s behavior patterns going to be sold to Coke or Proctor and Gamble?”

13 Responses to “OFFICIAL: Second Life To Become Giant Advertisland”

  1. Gordon Wendt

    Apr 24th, 2008

    Wow Pixeleen are you sure that you haven’t been body swapped with Prok this is more her type of story. I agree that the spector of SL being sold out to advertisers is scary but this guy’s background alone isn’t enough reason for me to think that he’ll do that to SL… yet. I’ll wait until he does his first real release before jumping to that conclusion.

  2. Lewis Nerd

    Apr 24th, 2008

    Actually it would make sense for “basic” accounts to be given advertisments to look at on teleport screens, for example, as a way of actually bringing in some much needed revenue.

    Like many things, free versions are full of adverts, pay a premium fee to remove them.

    I don’t actually have a problem with that, unless it starts becoming too targetted and intrusive (I’m sure you’ve heard about the debacle with Phorm).

  3. Just Me

    Apr 24th, 2008

    Typically, CEOs jump from industry to industry. A manufacturing company CEO might move to an advertising company when (s)he switches jobs and vice versa. I would welcome advertising popups on free account screens if it meant that more money was available to code a stable platform, fix bugs, add features, etc.

    Oh, and I have a free account.

  4. Spankubux

    Apr 24th, 2008

    Uh, if you’re going to produce an opinion piece, please label it as such. This is not reporting.

  5. Nacon

    Apr 24th, 2008

    OOHH, now youre saying it’s OFFICIAL? Where were you for the last 3 years?


    (did someone set your PC’s date back 3 years or did retardation plague get a hold of your brain?)

  6. Cocoanut Koala

    Apr 24th, 2008

    “Advertisland” doesn’t work very well.

    Why not stick with what I coined a year or two ago when I predicted “Advertising World.”

    Or, if you don’t like that one (since its initials are AW, calling to mind Active Worlds), try “Advertising Land.”

    At least you are finally “covering” this story. Past couple of days I’ve had to go elsewhere for news on this (such as Prok’s blog), as here the usual hot and timely griefer’s report was at the top.


  7. Franz Carver

    Apr 24th, 2008

    Does the SL program have a form of cookie???

  8. cookie craver

    Apr 24th, 2008

    A chocolate chip one I hope

  9. JimBean

    Apr 24th, 2008

    OFFICIAL: Pixeleen Mistral is the new Prokofy Neva.

  10. DinkyHockerShootsSmack!

    Apr 24th, 2008

    Yeah, Pix has jumped the prokshark.

  11. Dr. Internet

    Apr 26th, 2008

    Who cares? second life is dying anyway.

    This time next year, SL will be in its death throes, and only goreans and furries will be left in their ad-ridden shit hole of a game.

  12. Jessica Holyoke

    Apr 26th, 2008

    Yes, Pixeleen jumped the gun…if it weren’t for Robin Linden asking at her Office Hours how residents would feel about seeing RL advertisements in Search similar to Google AdWords a few months ago.

    So now, we have a proposed plan from months ago coupled with a CEO that has experience in implementing said plans.

    As for SL dying? I think Gwyneth Llewelyn mentioned it best when she said that SL is the ONLY user generated content platform. just isnt’ …well, there. As long as people want to create, (not saying creation is the *only* thing) SL will live.

  13. UncleBill

    Apr 29th, 2008

    At least from what I’ve seen, M Linden hasn’t made any statements that would indicate he’s planning on turning Second Life into a giant Coke commercial. However, lets consider what bringing more RL advertisers into SL would mean for us.

    Obviously, the only reason to do this would be to generate more $$, more money for LL to work with. Where would this $$ go? Well, ideally, back into Second Life. Its a buggy, crash prone, unstable nightmare of an experience for a good number of us, and its pretty clear that where technology goes, there are very few problems that can’t be fixed without throwing money at it.

    Better servers and higher paid coders *should* lead to a smoother running world. Now, the anti-capitalist types have gotten pretty good at rattling their swords agains *any* kind of corporate intervention in SL, and while I think that most of their fears are overblown, there are some valid issues that should be addressed.

    1. Corporate Reputation. Any company worth its salt is going to need to be certain about the outlet its attaching itself to. You don’t see Budweiser sponsoring KKK rallies, for example. So would some of SL’s more *diverse* communities be a deterrent for some companies. I think possibly, but what SL really needs to invest in is better PR. While the odd story about IBM or educational entities using SL does pop up, there’s a lot of *is it cheating?* and ageplay noise out there that should be controlled.

    2. Advertiser Stable. Ok, so who would advertise in SL? Seems some of the tech culture are early adopters: IBM, Intel… there’s probably a lot more. I think, though, that catering to the *gamer* crowd might be a good move as well. So, maybe put up a few EA billboards. Jolt, Pizza Hut, set up a Starbucks island, its all possible. And I’d be surprised of companies like this wouldn’t at least entertain the notion. The late adopters on the Internet suffered, this is common knowledge, there’s your selling point.

    For the residents, worried about encroaching capitalist influences on ‘your world’, there are way to keep it a partnership. Maybe tier rebates could be offered for giving up space to advertisers.

    Nobody wants to see a world filled with avatars sporting Hooters T-shirts beneath a Coca-Cola sunset, but there are realities that need to be addressed.

    Sites like Youtube and even Napster changed the way media worked and is created. The Internet changed business models across the globe. The fact is, our *First Life* is full of these things. In the timeless words of the Joker “you bought it already.”

    The fundamental appeal of Second Life is the possibilities of interaction it offers. If LL can balance that with the opportunity to bring in more revenue and use it to enhance the experience of its residents, then I say go for it.

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