Advertisers have decided that they want to have a presence in Second Life, even though they don't know what it is, really. Throwing money at a technology you don't understand? Check. Inflated traffic figures? Check. A vague sense of urgency coupled with 6 and 7 figure outlays? Check. No way to measure return? Check. Hey, look, they've put the nineties back together again and they call it Second Life.
Once you put in several hours flailing around learning how to function in Second Life, there isn't much to do. That may explain why more than 85 percent of the avatars created have been abandoned. Linden's in-world traffic tally, which factors in both the number of visitors and time spent, shows that the big draws for those who do return are free money and kinky sex. On a random day in June, the most popular location was Money Island (where Linden dollars, the official currency, are given away gratis), with a score of 136,000. Sexy Beach, one of several regions that offer virtual sex shops, dancing, and no-strings hookups, came in at 133,000. The Sears store on IBM's Innovation Island had a traffic score of 281; Coke's Virtual Thirst pavilion, a mere 27. And even when corporate destinations actually draw people, the PR can be less than ideal. Last winter, CNET's in-world correspondent was conducting a live interview with Anshe Chung, an avatar said to have earned more than $1 million on virtual real estate deals, when Chung was assaulted by flying penises in a griefer attack.
Hey; Have a Coke and a smile and a flying penis. Here's half a mil. Make it happen.