Why? Well to begin with, Parker's source, an article in the L.A. Times, notes that despite claims of 8 million users, there are only about 30,000 to 40,000 actual users on line at any given time. Most of whom are in the virtual brothels and strip clubs. (Hey, there's a reason why "one of the most frequently purchased items in Second Life is genitalia.")
Which again leads us back to the drumbeat of "Your Brand Is Not My Friend."
People come to Second Life to meet like-minded people, to play and have fun. And since your brand is not one of their friends, they don't want to play with you. Ever. Second Life is all about fantasy. It's where people go to escape from consumerism and advertising. Making it one of the last places they're going to be receptive to your messages.
Second Life, in particular, has amused me, since every brand with a digital agency-- and more than a few political candidates-- rushed to "develop a presence" on there as a way of establishing their hipster chops.
I mean literally everyone from Reebok to Starwood Hotels to John Edwards.
And rather than face more eye-rolling and "they just don't get it" sighs from the Web 2.0-niks on staff, clients and agencies have willingly gone along for the ride without ever really understanding where they were headed.
AND YET ANOTHER
Rather than start a whole new post, the Wall Street Journal [pay site, sorry] has an article today about how TV networks are using Twitter to try and get buzz about their shows. But, as the article notes:
Marketing through Twitter -- as with any new technology -- isn't a slam dunk. Sending marketing messages on the service could alienate users who see Twitter as a way to talk to their friendsThough I'd go a step farther and say "will alienate" rather than "could." Marketers trying to infiltrate Twitter and its microblogging siblings (Jaiku, Pownce) was more or less inevitable.
PS: Props to David Burn of the always-excellent AdPulp for actually transcribing the WSJ Twitter article.
Toad, your post is right on the mark but I believe it's okay for marketers to experiment with new channels like Second Life. That said, too many swallow the hype and end up over-investing or clumsily attempt to befriend consumers.
Transcribe? My typing skills aren't that good.
I pay the fools for the right to lift their precious copy.
I just wanted to note that at 40k concurrent users, Second Life has more people using their service at any one time that Amazon.com, which I believe claims a concurrent usage of about 30k.
Or maybe we should write that off too as a flash in the pan :)
And New York City has 8 million people, Steve.
I'm not sure what your point is. People go to Amazon to buy things. They go to Second Life to dress up like kangaroos and play games with people in online brothels. So it's the last place they want to meet an advertiser.
Your numbers prove that Second Life is a very successful game. Not sure how or why that translates into a marketing opportunity. Or do you propose we also start inserting coupons offers into the Community Chest deck in Monopoly?
PS: Welcome to The Toad Stool
i agree once again oh toadster. marketers have to learn and adhere to the rules. they can't just stick their noses into something simply because they're being rejected elsewhere.
e.g. Leo Burnett desperately trying to prove its online savvy by being THE FIRST to have an office in second life. embarrassing.
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