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Sunbelt Software (they keep the bad guys out)

Sunbelt Software (they keep the bad guys out). Cast your eyes down the list of companies in Second Life and one thing’s for sure – you’ve heard of almost all of them. Entrance into SL to date has been predominantly led by progressive marketers working for global brands. These Tier One organisations are companies that have the budgets to explore SL and learn as they go along.

A new trend is now emerging.

Tier Two organisations – companies that are well known in their respective categories but not neccessarily known globally outside of their sectors are starting to examine the benefits of virtual world marketing. Interestingly, in many cases, these types of companies actually have more reasons and more business model benefits for integrating metaverses into their operations. For some, there are brand new revenue streams and communication benefits.

Autodesk is a great example of this new opportunity with their developer outreach strategy. Another is Sunbelt Software an anti-spyware and anti-virus solution provider. Sunbelt is benefiting from the awareness of being in SL but also integrating some of their real-world products on a virtual basis. Virtual product demonstrations if you will.

Using virtual platforms to demonstrate and/or visualise software applications will be a key growth area in SL because platforms such as Second Life offer something that websites do not – the ability to examine and interact with software tools in a shared collaborative environment. Continue reading →

The Second House of Sweden

The Second House of Sweden. Well, it took a while but now the Second Life Swedish Embassy has arrived. Hot on the heels of the VisitMaldives virtual tourism project, The Second House of Sweden becomes the second (literally) official embassy in SL. The main building is a replica of their real world headquarters.

When people think of Sweden, two things normally come to mind, Ikea and Abba. So, a virtual showcase to present Sweden is a great idea, as is virtual tourism marketing in general.

Demonstrating their committment to this project, the island was officially opened (and simulcasted) by Swedens Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Commenting on the project, Olle Wstberg, general director of the Swedish Institute said:

Social media, such as Second Life, offer new opportunities for dialogue, spreading information and creating the conditions for us to reach the important early-adopters group in different parts of the world,

Read more Travel and Tourism articles here.

Continue reading →

Virtual trademark protection

Virtual trademark protection: The Reuters SL blog has an interesting article about the threat/opportunity posed/available to brand owners (and in particular luxury brand owners) concerning the replication and creation of unofficial products in Second Life.

The Reuters post mentions Benjamin Duranske, founder of the Second Life Bar Association and his excellent blog Virtually Blog, so excellent in fact, it’s on the K Zero blog roll. Continue reading →

Wirecard. Virtual virtual banking

Wirecard. Virtual virtual banking. German-based financial services company Wirecard recently opened up their Second Life Island.

Wirecard is basically a prepaid payment card service enabling secure and fast payment for primarily internet-based services. They also allow peer-to-peer payment and the service is validated via mobile phone.

The company doesn’t have branches in the real world, so their virtual presence is really the closest people can get to the company (and brand) in terms of interaction. It’s a neat idea. They also have (very helpful) representatives available in Second Life to explain the service and answer questions from resident visitors.

As this timeline shows, Financial Services is a category rapidly embracing virtual worlds, with companies in sub-sectors such as trading, corporate finance, real estate and consumer credit launching into Second Life to create relationships with the valuable target markets residing in it. Continue reading →

Microsoft (Visual Studio) Island

Microsoft (Visual Studio) Island. Following on from an initital foray into Second Life a couple of months ago with their Vista launch, Microsoft now has their own dedicated island.

The island, Visual Studio Island is themed around the software application of the same name. This application is an integrated development platform for programmers who design standalone and web-based apps. But that’s enough about that.

The launch of the island centred around a treasure hunt (for eggs) and those lucky enough to find them and crack some codes were given free virtual land. Continue reading →

Sky News launches

Sky News launches: As planned, the Sky News virtual office/studio launched yesterday to coincide with the Guardian Hay Festival. And, unlike many SL venues, it’s what happens inside the building that’s important on this island.

This is the first media owner venue to properly bring news into SL (a Rivers Run Red project) and there’s a lot of features and functionality to enjoy here. The main aspect of the venue is the virtual Sky News Centre, complete with an audio feed from the RL centre as well as streaming video of Sky News show on the plethora of screens and monitors.



Part of the roadmap for this venue is the re-creation of news events and stories and this will be the sweetspot for enabling residents to engage and interact with the news – this is what metaverse marketing applications is all about : Engagement. Another key success factor for metaverse marketing is integration and there’s lots of it here. Continue reading →

Autodesk and their developer community

Autodesk and their developer community. Already, there are several business models that are uniquely suited to metaverses. For the technology sector, one of them is the ability to create meaningful outreach into developer communities – creating shared collaborative spaces to provide third-party companies and individuals with the ability to interact with companies and their software applications.

Back in November 2006, Autodesk launched their island in Second Life specifically for this purpose. Autodesk is a global software company that develops 2D and 3D modelling tools for sectors such as Architecture, Engineering and Construction. And, recently, they opened up the island to non-developers.

The island is divided into several zones. Continue reading →

Virtually trading. Saxo Bank.

Virtually trading. Saxo Bank. Danish online investment bank Saxo recently launched Saxo Bank Island in Second Life.

Over and above a primary strategy of creating a presence to position the bank inside the virtual economy, Saxo has created a trading application that teaches residents how to trade currencies. Further plans on this theme include in-world seminars for live trading stategies.

Stephan Martinussen, Saxo Bank Head of Product Development stated:

We didnt want to sit back and wait, we wanted to learn along with the rest of the virtual world of Second Life. Some people compare the early days of Second Life to the start of the Internet. I don’t know that I’d go that far, but I do think if we had waited to make the best of business opportunities on the Internet, then we wouldnt have gotten where we are today. When theres a new major trend online, we need to be part of it.” Continue reading →

First Meta to launch virtual financial services

First Meta to launch virtual financial services. Singapore-based start-up First Meta is to launch credit card and corporate finance services shortly into Second Life.

Credit cards will be offered to residents and virtual property developers will be targeted with commercial banking.

Second Life has seen a number of financial services companies enter recently, with several more on the way. Due to the economic backbone of Second Life, it’s a no-brainer for companies offering financial services to set-up in virtual worlds. Afterall, in a way, it’s just another ‘country’ (albeit virtual) with residents, currency and transactions. Continue reading →

Renault F1 and ING. Second Life is the Pits

Renault F1 and ING. Second Life is the Pits. And the race track.

Adding to the list of automobile brands already in Second Life, the Renault F1 racing team in partnership with ING have opened a truely immersive experience into the world of Formula One.

It’s been extremely interesting to watch the strategies deployed by automobile brands and organisations in SL. Companies like Mercedes, Pontiac and Nissan have created virtual venues that have strongly leveraged their brand values in a very positive way. They have done this by understanding the uniqque dynamics of metaverses and then committed to reaching out to their target markets.

And with any type of marketing/media platform, there’s good examples and those which are not so good. Unfortunately the Mazda and BMW venues (to date) fall into the latter category. Here’s a timeline of the car brands to date in SL. Continue reading →

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