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Outeroperability or interoperability?

Interoperability, Teenage+ Worlds

Outeroperability – there’s a word. Well, actually it isn’t a word at all (try a Google search on it).


It’s a word meant to mean the opposite to interoperability – the as yet unproven process of enabling avatars to move from one virtual world to another



When thinking about the process of actually moving from one world to another, several avatar-related issues crop up, such as:




If you move from one world to another, what happens to your name if someone in the virtual world you’re heading to has the same name? Continue reading →

25 Nov

Which came first – The Apple store or the virtual shop?


Close your eyes and imagine standing outside of a shop.

It’s quite a small shop occupying a relatively small space on the street. On the outside of the shop, branding is minimal and large glass windows allow a clear view straight inside, uncluttered by window displays.

You walk into the shop.

Continue reading →

25 Nov

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 3 – Dynamic Merchandising


Creating 3D representations of real world products and using them as the prime focus for a retail transaction or environment is called dynamic merchandising. Both metabrands and real world products can use this technique to sell.

Interestingly, the concept of dynamic merchandising is also the basis for a newly emerging marketing facet in virtual worlds – Product placement. Related article: Supersize Me, design values in virtual worlds.

Learn about Static Merchandising here.

Here’s some examples of dynamic merchandising….

25 Nov

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 2 – Static Merchandising


Part 2 of this series explaining virtual retailing focuses on Static Merchandising. This is defined as the presentation of real world products in a virtual world using 2D displays.

This is the area some real world brands are mistakingly looking hardest at. Static merchandising relates to displaying real world product images in a virtual store. Although many companies think this is virtual retailing, it is the weakest application of it. And of all five of the categories explained, this is the one that offers the lowest level of engagement.

Why? Because a really crucial point with virtual retailing is this – if the experience and process is better delivered via another channel (such as an e-commerce website) then whats the incentive to use virtual retailing? If theres no added value in place, then its highly unlikely to be a revenue stream worth pursuing for the foreseeable future.

Disappointingly in this context, the attributes of virtual worlds (collaboration, interaction and on-the-fly customisation for example) are not being maximised (or even considered in some instances) and the perception that the ?¢‚ǨÀúcoolness of having a ?¢‚ǨÀúvirtual store is sufficient to drive response and sales. I would argue that this is a short-term strategy with limited upside for real world brands looking to penetrate the virtual retailing marketplace.

Interestingly, static merchandising in its execution is actually ironic. Why? Because virtual worlds are 3D environments. Displaying a real world picture in a 2D picture format is an under-utilisation of available resources.

Here’s some examples of Static Merchandising.

Continue reading →

24 Nov

Virtual Ford Model Search

Virtual MTV continues to push content hard into their range of worlds. MTV already has brands such as Pepsi and AT&T running promotions and here’s their latest initiative – ‘M by Mariah Carey’s Virtual Ford Model Search’.

Here’s a link to the supporting website. The competition is based at the Virtual Hills venue and asks residents to create their avatar model and then meet the experts for a chance to be the first virtual Ford model.

What are the chances of the winner actually being male?

World of Warcraft ups the anti with TV push

In a recent post about virtual world advertising, the use of PPC advertising by There and Kaneva was highlighted.

Also in this post was the explanation that pretty soon we would be seeing more mainstream media channels such as TV, print and radio being used to promote virtual worlds. Well, World of Warcraft has upped the anti with their latest advertising push with a campaign titled ‘What’s your game?’.

Here’s the first TV spot featuring none other than William Shatner.

And here’s the second one with Mr T. Continue reading →

There goes CosmoGIRL

CosmoGIRL magazine, the teenage spin-off of Cosmopolitan has opened a themed village in There.

Rather than create a standalone virtual using the There platform, as virtual MTV has done, instead, CosmoGIRL village is integrated into the main There world.

Michael Wilson, CEO of Makena Technologies in a statement, is all about fashion, socialization and shared activities, which aligns perfectly with the main interests of CosmoGIRL!s readers

Brands placed already into There are achieving healthy levels of engagement with the residents and as MTV is showing, third-party placement is working as well.

Continue reading →

21 Nov

Brand partnering Can be possible in virtual worlds

Teenage+ Worlds

In Second Life, the concept of brand tie-ins and partnerships has been slow to get off the ground.


  • Companies are currently more interested in understanding how their own brand is managed in a virtual space
  • No policies in place to manage virtual brand tie-ins
  • Limited (but growing) selection of available partners

We’ve seen a small number of examples in 2007, such as Reuters/Acura and Intel/OCC.

Virtual MTV on the other hand has been quick to explore the avenues available for brand tie-ins. Across their range of virtual worlds are discreet opportunities for residents to engage with brand partners. Why are they discreet? Because they blend in with the surroundings similar to the real world.

A great example of this is Pepsi. Scattered across venues such as Laguna Beach are Pepsi vending machines.

pep.JPG Continue reading →

Intel says Hi to HipiHi. HiPiHi says In to Intel

The often-titled Chinese Second Life, HiPiHi has announced that Intel will have a presence in-world at launch. Intel is apparently launching Intel Island on 160,000 square metres of virtual land.

Tech sector companies were very quick to embrace virtual worlds (as this analysis shows) so it’s highly likely others will follow the lead set by Intel.

Commenting on the Intel move, Xu Hui CEO of HiPiHi said:

‘As Chinas first company to enter into the virtual worlds market, HiPiHi has already attracted Intel and P&G which are well-established multi-national companies. We believe that there are other companies of such stature who will join us in the future and take HiPiHi to the next level such that it will add value and attract more enterprises and consumers to join us. ‘

But wait a minute, there’s an alarm bell ringing. ‘Intel will launch Intel Island on 160,000 square metres of land’. Could this be another virtual mega-build opting for a spatially-driven idea rather than conceptually created? In other words ‘we have all this land to fill, let’s build it out with big buildings’. Let’s hope not.

Marketers considering virtual world strategies should remember that No Brand is an Island – a strategic assessment of virtual world marketing strategies.

Continue reading →

20 Nov

Which country has the most brands in Second Life?


Anyone who follows brand entry in Second Life (I know there’s a few of you out there) knows the answer to this question – the USA.

So, let me ask you another question. Which country is in second place for brands in SL?

The answer is after the jump. Continue reading →

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