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The Unofficial Guide to Building Your Business in the Second Life Virtual World: Marketing and Selling Your Product, Services, and Brand In-World [NOOK Book]


One of the hottest trends in pop culture, Second Life(R), is a virtual, 3-D "world" that exists on the Internet. Populated by tens of millions of users, Second Life(R) is an opportunity to network with others, buy and sell products and services using real currency, and advertise your brand in a thriving, receptive environment.
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The Unofficial Guide to Building Your Business in the Second Life Virtual World: Marketing and Selling Your Product, Services, and Brand In-World

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One of the hottest trends in pop culture, Second Life(R), is a virtual, 3-D "world" that exists on the Internet. Populated by tens of millions of users, Second Life(R) is an opportunity to network with others, buy and sell products and services using real currency, and advertise your brand in a thriving, receptive environment.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Business as we know it is being revolutionized by Second Life, a Web 2.0 application that enables registered users to create animated identities called avatars and to construct and spend time in virtual worlds represented by these avatars. In the process of building these online worlds, users have also created new virtual marketplaces for buyers and sellers. Second Life users can convert Linden dollars to U.S. dollars, and avatars can give tours of both virtual products and real-world products, directing other avatars to online billboards, movies, and virtual meetings. Sue Martin Mahar, a longtime Second Life resident, and Second Life guide Jay Mahar here show how enterprises (including Fortune 500 firms like IBM) are strategizing ways to use Second Life to gain competitive advantage. This guide shows entrepreneurs how to assess potential opportunities and conduct business in Second Life and includes many handy lists of practical dos and don'ts. With Second Life continually evolving, business possibilities there are in fact limitless, as this book shows. Essential reading for all entrepreneurs and recommended for both the general public and business students.
—Caroline Geck

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814412725
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 1/14/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,138,218
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Sue Martin Mahar (West Orange, NJ) is a respected resident of Second Life® and a freelance writer.

Jay Mahar (West Orange, NJ) is a sought-after guide on Second Life®, who has been very successful in designing and building businesses for both himself and others.

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Read an Excerpt

1. Genesis of Life Online

While the idea of a functioning virtual world has been with him since he started programming computers in the fourth grade, Philip Rosedale made the virtual world a reality when he introduced Second Life® to the public in 2003 through his company,

Linden Lab®. Now, even with improved visual display, navigation, and increasing popularity,

Second Life® is still in its developmental years. In many ways, it’s just like watching the Internet evolve into Web 2.0.

The Internet was initially misunderstood as being a complex tool for the hightech niche market. But as Internet companies formed and grew, they released userfriendly technology that opened worlds of communication possibilities and simplified things for the masses that would soon follow. Not until computers were widely used in offices, stores, libraries, schools, and the general marketplace did the Internet become a common part of our culture. The general public embraced the Net as an essential personal tool for information, for communication, for shopping, and especially for building and marketing businesses.

Just as the Internet prompted us to think outside the box, virtual worlds—and

Second Life® in particular—will prompt innovation and creativity as you begin to think about your business in entirely new ways. A key way Second Life® changes how we use the Internet is that, through a 3D simulator, it provides the platform for realtime interaction in a virtual-world environment. What makes this so appealing for business? You can use Second Life® to:
• Market real-world products or services.

• Sell virtual-world products or services.

• Participate as a developer and owner, not just as a user.

The Search for Intelligent Life

Jay, my spouse and coauthor, joined Second Life® in June 2006 as avatar Apple MacKay when there were only about 235,000 members. I watched as he feverishly absorbed all he could about this 3D world. My first perception of Second Life® was that it was a bit

4 The Unofficial Guide to Building Your Business in the Second Life® Virtual World desolate and raunchy, but I admit that my suspicious wife attitude was at work as a watched from over Jay’s shoulder. He spent so much time in SL™, leaving me alone in the real world, that I decided I had to join him on this virtual-world journey. I had never played any computer games, never been in chat rooms, never had an interest in this kind of thing before. But Jay was spending a lot of time learning Second Life® a and his enthusiasm led to the proclamation that this was the future of the Internet.

Hearing that, I decided there was nothing stopping me from getting a better understanding of it too. When I first logged on in August 2006, as Nasus Dumart, Second

Life® had already grown to 403,000 members. With the careful guidance of Jay and his avatar Apple MacKay, I quickly realized why he was so excited: The potential was beyond anything I could have imagined.

Because creating this three-dimensional world takes an understanding of physics, mathematics, and social structuring, and because residents were responsible for building this amazing situation, there had to be intelligent life out there using it for something beyond gambling and sex. And I charged myself with finding it. I resolved that if I couldn’t find people I liked, I was not wasting more time. I set out with high standards, and it didn’t take long before they were met.

Using the Second Life® search tool, I used keywords, such as “university,”

“business,” “museum,” and city names like “Paris,” “New York,” “London,” “Tokyo,”

and, yes, even “Hollywood.” Using other keywords, I found dance halls, temples a cathedrals, art galleries, racetracks, classrooms, rain forests, and even the solar system. a also set out to find witty people to talk to. I am not sure how I found Three Lions

Pub, built and owned by Phil Plasma, but I am sure glad I did. This was one of the first places I arrived at and felt immediately comfortable, without knowing another soul. The Pub was a breeding ground for situational comedy. The type-chat was as funny as any Benny Hill Show, The Young Ones, or any other BBC comedy hit.

Three Lions Pub was built when Phil Plasma was laid up at home recovering from a real-life accident. To alleviate his boredom, he joined Second Life® and built a place where he could enjoy a few laughs with friends. He established simple rules: introduce no commercialism of any kind, do not camp (leave your avatar unattended) a respect others, and have fun. He built a traditional style English pub. Word caught on across the globe. English and European residents of Second Life® felt at home, along with a few U.S.-bred British junkies, just like me. People began volunteering their time to manage it at all hours, providing DJs, bouncers, hosts, and flocks of people.

To Phil Plasma’s surprise, Three Lions Pub in Burton Village, SL™ became one of the most popular social destinations in all of Second Life®.

Because this was definitely a U.K./Euro crowd, I found myself logging on to

SL™ in my midday hours to catch some of the prime-time banter. That’s when I realized that this is as interactive as entertainment gets. Giff Constable, Chief Operating

Officer with The Electric Sheep Company, said, “If something shows it has an audience, it will be given a look. Entertainment companies in need of fresh ideas a take notice. The whole scene was wonderfully entertaining.

Hello Out There in Virtual Land

When I first heard Internet radio, with its live DJs and live performance, in Second

Life®, I sensed it was an important and largely undiscovered medium.

In August 2006, when virtual life became a reality for me, there were fewer than half a million Second Life® residents, and barely 10,000 simultaneously logged on each day. Imagine being one of only thousands to experience broadcast television for the first time. I felt the same excitement and emotions the generations before me must have experienced seeing their first television program. Like the Internet, television was not popularized for decades after it was created. Though broadcast television was possible as early as 1928, radio programs remained the global entertainment standard through the Great Depression and World War II. By the 1950s, television reigned supreme. Most television programs during that time were broadcast live. In Second

Life®, the term, “live” is also known as real-time. Not only can you hear a performance as you can with radio and see a live performance as in television, virtual worlds also allow you to interact, in real time, with the audience and with the performer. Using type-chat, I cheered for one such performer; then the performer, using a microphone a spoke directly to me. The first time I heard a performer say my avatar name, thanking me for a tip and attending the show, I nearly fell off my chair. Interaction makes all the difference.

After a few months of exploring, I began to tell close friends and family about this amazing and indescribable world called Second Life®. Word spread through the media too. Second Life® became a lively subject of conversation. No

matter what a person’s knowledge of virtual worlds was prior to speaking with me about my experiences, I detected a pattern of insatiable curiosity, discovery, and delight.

Second Life® has received so much press coverage that most people are not surprised when you talk about it anymore. In the May 14, 2007, edition of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World—The Time 100, Philip Rosedale is featured under the category of Builders & Titans as a Master Builder of Second Life®’s Alternate Reality. The New York Times has been featuring articles about Linden Lab and Second Life® since 2004. The topics range from technology to job potential and relationships. Morning news programs like The Today Show and CBS Sunday Morning have demonstrated Second Life® for their audiences. It’s even made its way into prime time television on CBS’s popular program CSI: NY and NBC’s hit, The Office. Second

Life® has found its way into scripts, commercials, and books. Prior to these television cameos, demonstrations, and news articles, it used to be that you had to explain what an avatar was. Since the rise in popularity of Second Life® in 2007, that is hardly necessary anymore.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 About Second Life 1

Ch. 1 Genesis of Life Online 3

Ch. 2 A Virtual Melting Pot 23

Pt. 2 Getting Started 41

Ch. 3 The Essentials for Creating and Maintaining Your Second Life 43

Ch. 4 Your Virtual Real Estate 65

Ch. 5 Creating a Business Plan 81

Ch. 6 Netiquette and Codes of Conduct 103

Pt. 3 Virtual-World Business Values 115

Ch. 7 Commerce 117

Ch. 8 Education and Training 133

Ch. 9 Coordination and Innovation 147

Pt. 4 Business Strategies 161

Ch. 10 Business Relationships 163

Ch. 11 Marketing 2.0 181

Ch. 12 Selling Your Products and Services 201

Ch. 13 Networking 213

Ch. 14 Meetings 227

Ch. 15 Staffing the Metaverse 241

Pt. 5 What's to Come 253

Ch. 16 The Evolving Metaverse 255

App Second Life Lingo Glossary 263

Index 265

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2009

    This is the best business guide to Second Life

    Jay and Susan have written a book about Second Life at just the right time. Second Life has emerged as the best platform to provides businesses with a stable entreé into the virtual worlds that presage the 3D internet. It takes experienced guides to get you started, and the Mahars fit the bill. It takes a team to do this, because it is ultimately a social platform. This is why "Building a Business in Second Life" succeeds: it projects the mutual experience of two people who know both real world business principles and the unique realities of virtual reality. Start here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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