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More Second Life Statistics

Second Life DeskAccording to ComScore research, in March 2007, active Second Life residents came from these regions:

  • 61 percent from Europe
  • 16 percent from the States
  • 13 percent from the Asia-Pacific region

According to Linden Lab’s self-reported data last February, 54 percent were European and 31 percent from the U.S.

Gender breakdown:

  • 61 percent of residents are male
  • 39 percent are female

That’s very close to Linden Lab’s self-reported data last February: 60 percent male and 40 percent female.

The study calculated that about 1.3 million people ran the official software and logged into Second Life in March 2007. This represents an increase of 46 percent in the number of active residents from January 2007, ComScore said.

Second Life’s own figures state that it has more than 6 million residents and that 1.7 million have logged in during the last 60 days.

More details about geographic breakdown can be found in the Cnet article.

Related Links:
Making Sense of Second Life Statistics

Cnet: “Europeans latch on to ‘Second Life’

Vandalizm in Second Life

Wikipedia is a notorious stalking ground for overzealous, nasty political shenanigans and vandalism. But this high profile defacing is the first I’ve heard of in Second Life:

Edwards’ Second Life Headquarters Vandalized
by Shankar Gupta, Tuesday, Mar 6, 2007 6:00 AM ET
THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE JOHN Edwards campaign in Second Life suffered an attack by vandals last week, when shortly before midnight, the virtual building was defaced by a group of Second Life users bearing “Bush ’08” tags.

Second Life John Edwards vandal attack

Although the Edwards campaign on its blog identified the vandals as Republicans, a commenter on the blog claimed responsibility in the name of a Second Life griefing group called “Patriotic Nigras.” The group claimed to have simply done it for laughs–or, in their own words, “lulz.”

“Guess what: we’re not Republicans. In fact, I’m one of the most hard-core liberals I know,” a pseudonymous commenter wrote on the Edwards blog. The commenter’s affiliation with Patriotic Nigras was discovered through his pseudonym, “Mudkips Acronym,” by the webzine 10 Zen Monkeys.

The Edwards campaign said that an abuse report against the perpetrators had been filed with Linden Lab, Second Life’s developer.

The vandalism of the Edwards campaign HQ isn’t the first high-profile attack Second Life has seen. In December, when CNET interviewed controversial Second Life businesswoman Anshe Chung, a virtual real estate dealer who has been described as Second Life’s first millionaire, the theater was attacked by griefers who bombarded Chung with flying, animated phalluses.

Source: MediaPost

Second Life John EdwardsOkay, I visited the John Edwards ’08 — a very small parcel consisting of a one story open air building with helicopter landing pad on top, and an open area with podium, two TV cameras, billboards and (love this) virtual folding tables with free John Edwards t-shirts in the corner. Plus campaign posters promising that “John Edwards ’08. Tomorrow Begins Today.”

Second Life John EdwardI saw no defacements by the time I arrived, but I heard a Nazi “sieg heil” off in the distance. I spin around and diagonally connected is another area and building similarly decorated. Yet there were goose-stepping black dressed avatars marching along to the seig heil chant. John Edwards vs John Edward

The campaign posters were similar except they read: “John Edward ’08. He Can Read Minds.”

It’s a clever spoof promoting celebrity “psychic” John Edward.

Second Life John Edwards

UPDATE:

Second Life Mario AttackI did a bit more digging into what vandals do in Second Life. Of course, they post videos on YouTube (who doesn’t?). I couldn’t find an Edwards one up (yet), but other examples are there: Bombarding a location with hundreds of animated Mario (from Mario Bros), or dropping cubes all over a couple dancing on Valentine’s Day.

I know it’s wrong, but I have to laugh. It’s like a college prank. Location owners can eject items left behind on their property, so nothing is permanent. Of course if these pranksters came every day, that would be harassment and akin to a Denial of Service attack.

Cost of Building a Second Life Presence and Campaign

According to this article on what agencies are charging to develop marketing programs for brands in Second Life:

“An initial build might cost a client between $75,000 and $100,000. Another $50,000 might pay for six or so events at the site. Monthly support fees could add another $10,000 a month to the cost.”

Why so high you might wonder? Consider the following…

    Second Life Drafting Table

  1. Start with your Strategy and Creative brainstorming, which will determine what your destination may be. Then factor in labor for Design, Developers, Project Management and Quality Assurance.
  2. How will you promote the destination and what will that cost? (Promotion both inside Second Life and in the real world.)
  3. Do you need to hire virtual staffers to appear at your destination and interact with visitors?
  4. How “permanent” is your destination in SL and how often will you stage events to drive traffic to your destination?
  5. Second Life Ferris Wheel

  6. Finally, don’t forget these basic costs:
  • You need to create a member account ($10/month, $22.50/quarterly, or $72/annual)
  • The price for portion to entire region ranges from $5-$195/month based on the number of square meters you want. Here is the land pricing chart
  • Want more land? You can own a private island, which costs $1,675 for 65,536 square meters (about 16 acres) to setup. Then monthly land fees for maintenance are $295/month.

It adds up quickly, doesn’t it?

In my travels through Second Life, I come across so many vacant places. You can’t have a Field of Dreams attitude about it. Just because you build it, it doesn’t mean they will come. You need to constantly work at promotion and improvements to make it a premier destination.

What’s your experience with planning for Second Life? Please let me know.
Thanks.
-Roland

Brand Development for Second Life

Finally an article on what agencies are charging to develop marketing programs for brands in Second Life.

“An initial build might cost a client between $75,000 and $100,000. Another $50,000 might pay for six or so events at the site. Monthly support fees could add another $10,000 a month to the cost.”

But I’m disappointed that the article didn’t go further.

Second Life Beach“Creating a virtual destination packed with interactive content takes more than an expert in the digital stitching that keeps “Second Life” together. Artists, writers, marketing gurus and others are often needed to develop everything from the look and design of a project to event programming within the space that will keep people coming back.”

Of course, no one says how they demonstrate a return on investment.

“A lot of these companies are treating it as marketing research and development.”

Great, so what are they learning?

Second Life vehicles“A good campaign, you can expect a lot of people to pick up and use your virtual product for hours.”

So how did people find out about it? What tactics were successful at driving traffic to the SL destination(s)?

I find it frustrating that these journalists gain access then get lazy and just regurgitate the basic info we’ve all read/know already.

Making Sense of Second Life Demographics

Second Life DeskA recent Reuters article became a good source of Second Life statistics beyond the self reported activity stats on the Second Life Home Page.

The following statistics are based on data released by Linden Labs (owners of Second Life):

Gender self reported
60% male
40% female

The average Second Life user is 33, according to self-reported data

Age of active users:
18-25 27.5%
25-34 38.8%
35-44 21%
45+ 11.5%

On the teen grid, where ages range from 13 to 17, the average age was 15.

Active residents by country:
United States 31.19%
France 12.73%
Germany 10.46%
United Kingdom 8.09%
Netherlands 6.55%
Spain 3.83%
Brazil 3.77%
Canada 3.30%
Belgium 2.63%
Italy 1.93%

“Europeans make up the largest block of Second Life residents with more than 54 percent of active users in January ahead of North America’s 34.5 percent, according to new Linden Lab data.”

“In a related blog post, Linden Lab Chief Financial Officer John Zdanowski aka Zee Linden addressed the much-disputed Second Life usage numbers. He said that unique users — consolidating multiple accounts held by a single user, and eliminating people who have registered but never signed in — totalled 1,974,607 in January, equal to 63 percent of the “total residents” figure that is displayed on secondlife.com.”

“Approximately 10 percent of unique users have logged in for 40 hours or more. Committed usage at this stage of Second Life’s growth requires a great deal of effort,” he said. “Clearly not everyone is going to find relevance, and be able to build on a technology at this early stage.”

Second Life PlaygroundSo, imagine a scenario where we would want to exclusively target North American females, age 18-25, with a promotion or presence. How big is our audience?

Assuming…
Total Residents: 3,664,703
Logged In Last 60 Days: 1,253,228

Starting with 1,253,228 active residents
390,882 (31.19%) North American
107,492 (27.5%) age 18-25
42,997 (40%) female

Roughly 43m prospects that fit the profile. Then, the challenges become:

  1. What to build in SL?
  2. What to offer?
  3. How to find them and drive them to the destination?
  4. How to get them to engage with the brand?
  5. How to get a repeat visit?
  6. How to get them to tell a friend?

It’s a lot of work and expense, and your not likely to reach every one of those 43m females. Be cautious and think through whether SL is the appropriate place for your efforts. A CPA program on some targeted media properties or a target pay per click campaign may get you better return on investment.

Please share your experiences with Second Life marketing and statistics.
Thanks.
-Roland

Article: A brief history of the virtual world

This is an interesting article you might enjoy: “A brief history of the virtual world

A few excerpts:

Second Life“Fully 3D social spaces have been around at least since the mid-1980s, and some would argue even longer than that.”

“So what can Second Life and There and other virtual worlds offer that all that real-life stuff can’t? That’s simple: All the cognitive stuff like flying, wild dress, different modes of communications.”

“Some criticize the environments by saying they take people away from “real” contact. But for several decades “real” contact has become a complex recipe that includes phone, telex, messages/letters/memos, media, etc. Face-to-face conversation is a smaller and smaller fraction of our communications. I see virtual worlds as bringing us a bit back toward embodied person-to-person conversation but also allowing people to have a creative element–“come visit my cool place, see my cool garb”–so it is more engaging, colorful and expressive.”

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