Why Second Life Users & Linden Lab Need to Honestly & Openly Address SL's "Weird Sex" Branding Problem
Above is the top upvoted comment on that Reddit "Today I Learned" topic about Second Life I mentioned yesterday. It's yet another illustration of why I don't think it's realistic for either Second Life users or Linden Lab to pretend like SL doesn't have a "weird sex" branding problem. Reddit's /TodayILearned group has nearly 9 million subscribers, and a good percent of them (perhaps 10-20%) are reading this comment. And so, if those millions aren't already like this Redditor "kidamy", and they don't remember notorious, widely-covered "weird sex" incidents from Second Life's 12 year history, comments like his will be their first impression of Second Life. (But really, thanks to countless "weird sex in Second Life" memes like this one, any extremely active Internet user is going to have that brand association already.)
Which brings us to a very important realization about product branding:
Once a brand is associated with a divisive or deeply negative connotation, it's nearly impossible to remove that association from the general public perception.
Note that I say "divisive or deeply negative". Because many Second Life users will think, "But there's nothing wrong with weird virtual sex, you're just a prude if you think otherwise!" Even if that were true, however, the fact remains that many or most of the public does indeed believe weird virtual sex to be strange/offensive/etc., and that assumption isn't about to be changed any time soon.
In fact, there's generally just three ways to remove a bad branding association: