I signed up for Second Life this weekend to see what all the hoopla is about. A lot of marketers are getting ink by doing campaigns inside this virtual world. Adidas did a campaign in Second Life. Starwood Hotels launched a chain of hotels. Sun just had a virtual press conference. Gotta keep on my toes.
This is like Doom meets MySpace meets Yahoo Chat. Plus, you can actually spend money there. You enter Second Life and use the arrow keys to walk around a 3D virtual world. You can grab stuff, chat or IM with people and do funny gestures and it's all pretty intuitive. I'm not a gamer at all, but I managed to lose two hours of my life on Saturday. Of course, the pervs have been the first to move in here. There's strip clubs and "mature" events pretty much all over the map. I visited a night club (ok, I checked out the strip club first) with a "live DJ" called Voodoo Lounge. I followed instructions to make my avatar dance on the dance floor, but then I left the dance floor and couldn't get him to stop dancing. So, already I'm a virtual social misfit.
Anyhow, in this club was a sign: "Click here for a free Voodoo Lounge jacket." Bam. Advertisers—wake up! Say I'm Coke. I could give away a Coke jacket. And everyone who encounters my character in this world will see this ad for Coke on my virtual back.
I had a debate with Theo on Sunday. He said he checked it out, but he wasn't impressed with the graphics and thought it generally sucked. But, he doesn't hang out in chat rooms either, and about 300,000,000 people do. I think the not-so-state-of-the-art graphics is what's going to make this a huge success. A lot of user-generated-video-start-ups tried to figure out how to get high quality video distributed online. YouTube said, screw quality, let's get it up there. YouTube won.