Most people don't think of Second Life as rich media. But it is.
In the past, I've defined rich media as "digital advertising that deviates from 'standard' display advertising in that it is interactive, engaging, or informational or it breaks free of basic, accepted IAB-determined online standards, often taking advantage of broadband connectivity." Advertising, or "shops," set up in Second Life satisfies this criteria and is potentially the most engaging form of rich media to date.
As I write this, there are just over 1.4 million residents in Second Life, with over $704,000 spent in the last 24 hours. Though the number of users isn't going to bowl anyone over, the spending should. This vibrant virtual economy is thriving and growing. As marketers and advertisers, we should certainly pay attention to this and determine our entry strategy.
The challenge is that most of those dollars are either going directly to Linden Labs or being exchanged between residents -- real residents with real businesses. Most entries from first-life (real-world) companies have been met with the same gusto as the fourth Applebee's entering your formerly quaint hometown. These corporate entries represent the classic over-commercialization that many first-life citizens loathe, which is embodied in the film (and book) "Fast Food Nation."
Although entering Second Life as a brand or company is currently very PR friendly, I implore all who read this to pay close attention:
I could go on, but this should give you a good idea as to your line of thinking when evaluating your Second Life prospects.
Build relationships -- not islands.
Hey, I may put that one on my virtual T-shirt.
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Ian Schafer, CEO and founder of Deep Focus, consistently redefines the way entertainment properties are marketed online. Ian founded Deep Focus in 2002 to bring a holistic suite of interactive marketing and promotional solutions to the entertainment industry. The company's clients include America Online, Dimension Films, HBO, MGM, Nickelodeon, Sony/BMG Music, 20th Century Fox, Universal Music Group, and many others. As former VP of New Media at Miramax and Dimension Films, Ian was responsible for their most popular online campaigns. He's been featured as an expert in online entertainment marketing and advertising in numerous media outlets including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Advertising Age, and CNN.