Newsflash: Second Life Still a Waste of Time, Money

And It's All My Fault

By Published on .

You have to admire Web 2.0 boosters for their super-hero-like ability to miss the point. Witness this top ten list of why brands don't get Second Life or don't want to get it. That's a whole lot of words wasted on examining why the majority of marketers aren't rushing into Second Life -- and those that do, simply shrug and give up after a month or so. See, it's all the fault of the stupid marketers. They just don't get it.

And Second Life naysayers like me? We just don't get it either. Nothing to do with it being a clunky fake world inhabited by only 1.3 million active users. Nope. Not at all.

This is exactly why the Web 2.0 crowd makes me want to bust out a stick and start whacking. After they hit you with 5,000 words of steaming horse pockey about socio-virtual-graph-branding consumer empowerment (or whatever the hell it is they prattle on about) and you, like a normal person, blink slowly and say, "Wait, you want me to involve my business with that? No way!," they respond with, "Oh, well you just don't get it."

There's a big difference between not getting it and simply thinking something is a waste of time and money.

But don't just take the word of a crank like me. Check out this little nugget delivered by PC World in its list of 10 Biggest Web Annoyances:

"We found it interesting how few of our readers care about them. More than half of our survey takers said as much, while another 25 said that they aren't bothered at all by the quality of virtual worlds. ... Yankee Group analyst Christopher Collins points out that while social networks like MySpace and Facebook continue to show phenomenal growth, the biggest virtual world, Second Life, has experienced a lower rate of traffic growth since its October 2006 peak. ... Newcomers to virtual worlds (many of whom were attracted by the media hype) often leave for good after struggling with the basics of moving their avatar around or communicating with others 'in-world.' Their efforts aren't helped by the sites' often-clunky user interfaces or by regular software glitches."

(And you can thank Unbeige for setting me off on this topic.)

But who you gonna believe? The virtual-world boosters or your own lying eyes? Just forget that it takes the average person two and a half real days just to learn how to sit down in Second Life. Skip the fact that the overwhelming majority of consumers don't care about Second Life, much less use it. Also forget that even if a business wants to bother chasing the 1.3 million ACTIVE Second Life users, many of them don't particularly want corporations crowding into their utopian world. Just gather around your little blog fires and keep telling yourselves that the real world just doesn't get it. That's a solid business plan right there.
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