It seems like everyone and their grandma is setting up shop in the marketing utopia that is Second Life with uncharted success, but it just can't be that easy.
According to Forbes magazine, it's not. And not just for the reasons you think. Although many marketers did find that there weren't as many people hanging out in Second Life as maybe mainstream media would have them believe, there were a whole can of virtual worms they could have never predicted. Apparently, many residents of Second Life don't seem to like corporations coming into their virtual territory and companies have been subject to pranks and protests that were somewhat unconventional in nature:
American Apparel, the first retailer to set up a virtual store on the site, in June 2006, is all but shuttering its Second Life shop, which attracted more critics than shoppers. Not long after it opened, a group called the Second Life Liberation Army--its members are grumpy about commercialization on Second Life, among other things--shot American Apparel customers with virtual guns. Rasmus Schiƶnning, Web director for the company, says the retailer is disappointed by "insignificant" sales from the site...Wells Fargo (nyse: WFC) stopped using Linden Lab's clunky technology to run the financial company's virtual Stagecoach Island (from its own Web site) four months after setting it up in September 2005. It no longer has any connection with Second Life. Laughs Erik Hauser, creative director of Swivel Media, Wells Fargo's digital agency: "Going into Second Life now is the equivalent of running a field marketing program in Iraq."
All in all, it's not Second Life's fault that it didn't work out as a marketing medium for the companies. These marketers should have known that at the end of the day this kind of the PR would have only benefitted one company - Linden Labs. Kim Phu
Sex, Pranks and Reality [Forbes via NWN]