Tateru's Monday Reality Mix
Tateru Nino's weekly look at recent real world incursions into Second Life
After months of spotty attendance, a major real-world corporation has finally managed to attract enough Residents to rocket into the Top 20 most popular sites in Second Life. The secret of their success?
That's right, T-Online, the largest ISP in Germany, is paying people breadcrumbs to have their avatars sit, dance and sunbake while the users turn their attention onto something-- you know-- interesting (like occasional nudity). Does a crowd of virtual bodies matter, if nobody cares who you are?
If camping chairs aren't your thing, after the fold there's the Chichen-Itza, a digital art exhibition, 1-800 Flowers, Bershka - a teen fashion brand on the adult grid, a new book, and more!
Camping chairs dispense Linden Dollars in exchange for non-interactive occupation of a site. Visiting T-Online, I saw avatars stumbling or standing about, sometimes flirting or panhandling, while waiting like vultures to pounce on the next open camping chair if someone should log out or leave. You know the scene.
There are two islands. T Online Beach, which is primarily a camping installation, and T Online Island, which is the main office with some lesser camping setups nearby. Both sims are PG with rules barring sexual behavior and weapons. The beach is pleasantly built, open and attractive with marine life offshore, and a limited social scene seems to have developed with at least some friendly chatter, among the camping zombies. There were a number of seating and social facilities around the island that don't pay the user, but they seemed to be largely unused.
I initially strolled around taking in the scene, and was accosted by two panhandlers begging for Linden Dollars. A (non German-speaking) island security officer sent them away but declined to answer any questions about the island and his role in it. Having gotten a big bag of no-comment from the man, he referred me to the corporate island adjacent to the beach, and to seek out staff there, though he declined to name any names. I visited several times and only once encountered a security officer in attendance.
The corporate side of the build is attractive and interesting, if a little prim-heavy. The carpets are excellent work, quite different to the usual fare, eye-catching and appealing. Upstairs there is a photo gallery where it seems that anyone can drop a 1:1 aspect ratio image for display. Dozens have been put in, and dozens more spaces are free. At least that's the theory. In practice, this seems to be limited to the T-Online staff.
As for the staff, they have yet to be in evidence. The corporate island contains several buildings, mostly modern offices, but the real crowd draw is the camping chairs in the southeast corner of the island, which are, as you might expect, always full.
During several trips to the island, I asked 22 of the visitors present about T Online over a period of time. Nine did not answer. Six did not know who T Online was. Four thought that the island was operated by T-Mobile (a different arm of Deutsche Telekom). Three knew about T-Online, but were located in the southern hemisphere, well out of T-Online's service area. Granted, this is hardly a comprehensive poll.
If T-Online is promoting their services - I don't see it. If they're promoting their brand, I think they've missed the mark, but heck, the comparative pittance that it costs to feed the camping chairs isn't going to break the budget either.
Mixed Reality Happenings
- Famous Mexican archaeological wonder Chichen-Itza has been recreated in Second Life. [Second Life Insider]
- The digital art gallery NOEMA opens a new exhibition entitled "Free Radicals" (SLURL) [Juli Burgess]
- Teen fashion brand Bershka is preparing to open an island on the main grid. Some preliminary images are available on flickr. [Atomo Hosho - Mosi Mosi]
- 1-800-Flowers opened in Second Life. Paull Young has the scoop. [Young PR]
- BMW say they have something surprising going on at BMW New World2 (SURL). I can't figure out what the surprise is.
- MS Fly, the airborne scavenger hunt supporting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society opened yesterday, and runs all week.
- America's Cup action in Second Life. Virtual sailing goodness for fans of the sport. [SLNN]
- American new media agency Centric and Japanese metaverse developer Metabirds are combining to capture a larger share of the development market. [SLNN]
- Tim Guest's Second Life autobiography went on sale yesterday. Moo Money reviews it here. [Second Life Insider]
- Microsoft Xbox island has appeared on the map. No announcements yet as to what will be done with it. [Second Life Insider]
- Japanese MP opens office in Second Life, but is it legal? [Second Life Insider]