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Why did all large RL companies leave SL?


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I remember the big SL boom in 2006 - 2008. There were numerous large RL companies in SL - Showtime, NBA, STA Travel, CBS, Intel, various movie sims, Coca Cola...where did they all disappear? Why don't I see such large projects in SL anymore? Just wonderinf if anyone has any thoughts on this ;)

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the experiment failed. simple as that. when the economy was hot and people were spending in SL, then it was worth it, but the downturn in the economy meant people were less inclined as they didnt have the extra cash, , coupled with the amount of RL time to maintain it just means it was no longer worth it. Companies had enough to deal with in RL. But IF the economy (world) ever comes back, they will be back. multinational companies have a talent for sniffing out money.

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Ah, completely forgot that the economy went down the drain, so companies started saving. I don't think it has to do much with SL residents spending money as these sims were promoting their RL business and things there were free ;)

I kinda miss it - they had good quality events, contests with RL prizes and such. Let's hope they will really come back sometimes soon!

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The primary function of pretty much any company is to make profit.  

This is done by a) increasing revenue and b) reducing costs.

They found out that SL has no tangible return on investment.  You can't consume their RL goods or services here and simply having an advert in SL, since that's all there presence was, is more effectively accomplished by popping an advert up elsewhere given the costs and effort of the marketing to the size of the audience involved.

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Malarwen Hall wrote:

There were numerous large RL companies in SL - Showtime, NBA, STA Travel, CBS, Intel, various movie sims, Coca Cola...where did they all disappear?  Why don't I see such large projects in SL anymore?

Just wonderinf if anyone has any thoughts on this
;)

These companies disappeared, because they cannot won't sell sex alongside their products to you in either SL or RL .. :robotindifferent: 

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I can tell you one main reason and I write with a little authority on the matter as an organisation that I once worked for sent me to SL in late 2006 to investigate marketing and exposure opportunities in SL.  We quickly concluded that SL had near zero marketing and exposure opportunities.  Apart from one off occasions of having LL flag up the news that your organisation had taken up a presence in SL to its residents or that RL media publicise that you have then that was the apex of any publicity and exposure you were going to get in SL.

In real life you can place commercials in newspapers, on TV, billboards or establish a shop, which you know will have at least a certain amount of traffic through them.  In SL there is no such captive traffic and even the busiest places will rarely have over 100 people passing through them.  Furthermore, a quick look at the top ten sims for traffic would quickly put off any company or organisation, apart from Playboy and Hustler, from trying to acquire some on-sim advertising space in those busy sims.

Moreover, if say Mercedes bought their own sim what would drive traffic there (some pun intended)?  What could that sim provide as an experience that was unique and surpassed their own website?  The most it could ever achieve would to be a very expensive link to their website or a visitor's local dealership and if you were really going to buy a car or any real life item would anybody really think, 'Let me go check that out in SL first!'

I might also add that the reliability of the hardware and software of LL in those days compared to now was terrible.  It was not uncommon that the servers could be down for 24 hrs, TPs not working, inventory not loading, friends lists stuck on loading etc.  All these things did not give businesses any confidence to invest in the platform. On top of that SL's growing reputation at the time amongst the media as a den of scandal, illegal gambling and deviant sexual activities is not something any business or organisation would willingly want to be associated with.

Nowadays if I was a business and I wanted my products exposed to the SL population I'd just pay for an advert on the Grid Status page or wait till LL start doing pop up ads on the viewer or in local chat.

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People come to SL to forget about RL.  Marketing studies showed that people in general avoid anything reminding them of RL while they are in SL.  Even when the economy was great, few people paid any attention, and in fact avoided places where RL products were promoted.  If the company offered SL versions of their RL products people weren't buying it.  They preferred to spend their money in SL stores to keep the money in SL rather than have it line corporate pockets.  So the only way that corps marketing their RL products in SL could attract crowds to their venues was when they gave out money or had live music events and people cleared out almost immediately afterwards.  SL as a marketing tool for RL products failed.

There are still companies in SL, however their focus is not marketing.  They use SL as a platform to collaborate with staff located all over the world, sometimes to show clients product models in 3D  for staff development and training as well as meetings and conferences.  Most don't care about attracting regular SL residents to their sims and you can't find them using search.  Many have of their sims are closed to the public.

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Being a bit nerdy.

Mercedes is just a common used name for the cars.

The manufacturer is Daimler Benz and the cars model names are like W123 or so...

Anyway, they had a presence on SL long ago. You could see their cars and some about their developments even on other areas. Still have a space suit made by them offered as a freebie :matte-motes-grin:

As said the traffic is just nothing like put your cars on display at local fairs or even malls.

Plus the cost for bring your car models (or other products) in SL.

It´s just not worth it, starting with the cost of a sim !

Monti

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

There are still companies in SL, however their focus is not marketing.  They use SL as a platform to collaborate with staff located all over the world, sometimes to show clients product models in 3D  for staff development and training as well as meetings and conferences.  Most don't care about attracting regular SL residents to their sims and you can't find them using search.  Many have of their sims are closed to the public.

SL is still an awful platform for even these functions.  I know SL had a medical team role playing Emergency Reponse or something like that but for me, the biggest stumbling block for any corporate use is that the graphics chipset which is the most prevalent in business computers is the absolute most awful for SL!  That being the Intel GMA series.

The simplest most basic function of any meeting/conference use, typically sharing a Powerpoint presentation isn't a native SL feature.

Whiteboarding? nope!

Conference polls? nope!

You've only got to go to the likes of Livemeeting, Webex, Skype to find all of those ready to go and they just need a web browser as the client.

Even things like showing 3D models, much easier done using a web client and whatever browser plug-in is required.

Media on a prim?  Sure but if you're going to show a web page on a prim inworld to an audience, why give them a clunky client that will run badly on most office PC's when they can use use a web browser and view the web media natively?

I'm not saying people don't use SL for this, just that it's a bloody awful platform for doing it compared with methods which are exclusively designed to do so and the hardware constraints are a double kick in the teeth.  The opportunity to do this within SL are long gone.

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Mercedes-Benz or Mercedes-AMG if you want to be really nerdy, both are a division of Daimler AG.  :smileywink:

Thanks for mentioning that they were in SL, couldn't remember if it was them or VW.  Then again it may have been both.

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Probably for most companies having their own website is far more useful than having a presence in a virtual world.  When companies did start coming into SL there was probably a 'me too' effect, since for a very brief time, it might have looked like being in SL was a cool thing to do.  Strange as it might seem now, Second Life did experience a kind of gold rush, when it also received a lot of media hype.

Also the Second Life graphics weren't good enough to do justice to products.  Now, with mesh, that might be less true, but I think SL has a long way to go before it can become a virtual showroom for complex manufactured items.

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A lot of good reasons have already been raised. The ROI one is simply stated, but very true. I liked Amethyst's and Sy's posts as well, and others. It's important to remember SL was a different place back then, most RL brands had gone even before sculpts arrived.

Further issues with SL was the lack of control given to land owners, and the fact that SL [still] provides very few features to actively affect a users experience.

A few infamous griefing incidents at high profile events (floating pink things, trolling over political affiliations/business ethics) started scaring brands who couldn't kick griefers before they took down the sims or otherwise drove people away. This also terrified PR departments as brandnames were being forced to 'manage' their SL presence 24 hours a day, especially after such things hit the tech news circuit. There were many occaisions where SL spilled over into RL news, and not many of the stories were flattering.

Many RL brands also wanted to create specific experiences in SL, limiting things like avatar choices/outfits/inventory, movement styles and speeds, and camera motion/placement. Granted, they wanted to distort the SL experience and replace it with their own more limited experience, but SL never had an official capability for this, so the SL world seemed (to them) out of control and impossibly inconsistant. There was also no way to turn these avatar visits into real money, because user information couldn't be obtained (like it can be, via Facebook/etc), and of course Media on a Prim didn't exist (with its ability to place cookies, or allow users to move fluidly into an online shopping cart). A lot of these things are now good things for SL, but they're bad things for business.

Overall SL makes a non-sensical choice for a corporate environment (it adds complication, stacks failure points, requires constant IT support), and a ridiculous one for 'white collar' promotions and branding (The experience isn't consitant, can't be controlled, and again requires constant IT support). Online marketing has moved past the stage of showrooms and seminars by about a decade now, and SL has nothing to offer when compared against the slick monetization giants of today.

 

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I may be mistaken here, but I seem to remember that LL were working on a plugin so people could view SL on a web browser. Maybe I'm thinking of a different platform. What I see as a major downfall for business involvement in SL is that you can't "surf" into a sim. As metioned already, you need an account, client and quite high-end graphics capabilities - moreso, now that mesh has become commonplace.

I could, though, see opportunities for recreational use by business on SL. I have worked for companies that have gaming computers for recreational use by their staff during breaks and stuff. Rather than forking out for theatre tickets, gym memberships and "away days", some companies may find it more cost effective to have sims on SL where remote training and even home-learning could take place. People learn quicker if the learning process is novel and fun. Themed sims at a "bulk buy". "homestead" or perhaps "business rate" could be attractive to such companies who are currently forking out for online games for their staff to play. Keeping your staff focussed, even during recreation breaks and even as recreation when off duty could increase company loyalty... maybe (if such a thing still exists).

As SL is becoming more interactive, with more interactive in-world games coming on stream, there may be opportunities for "real life sales", 3D demonstrations with links to their sales web sites. Although I think the hope that the web would become 3D in a matter of years may have been a forlorn one. Maybe some day people will be able to "surf in" to SL, but at the moment that is not possible.

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RL economy was taking some hard hits at that time as well..

that may have had something to do with it also..

the world market was about to go crazy and it was showing signs of in before 2006..and 2008 was the crash..

 

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Malarwen Hall wrote:

I remember the big SL boom in 2006 - 2008. There were numerous large RL companies in SL - Showtime, NBA, STA Travel, CBS, Intel, various movie sims, Coca Cola...where did they all disappear? Why don't I see such large projects in SL anymore? Just wonderinf if anyone has any thoughts on this
;)

I enjoyed visiting those as well when I first began SL.  There was also a sim based on a RL high-end fashion store (Saks Fifth Ave. comes to mind but I could be wrong).  I checked the sim out and it was the first time I saw clothes on "hangers" in SL and set up like a RL store.  As I understand it, the company was utilizing SL to introduce new designs and, based on their sales in world, would then offer them RL.  The sim didn't last long so I guess that idea got scrapped at a sales meeting.

Now that you mention it, I think I have a scooter thingy from the Coca Cola sim. *Makes note to look for that in world.*

 

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They left because SL is a terrible place to market your goods and services. Texas Instruments was making a big marketing push for their DLP HDTV/Projector technology back in 2008. They advertised in print, on the web and probably on TV (I don't watch, so don't know) and they had an island in SL. I visited their island shortly after arriving here in 2008 and it became immediately clear that SL was no place to market a RL product. In the time it took me to read a typical DLP print ad, I was barely able to navigate to even one of the kiosks on the TI island, must less cam in to read the marketing literature or view imagery that was lower quality than the print version. I visited the island several times and was always the only one there.

National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday" show also had a presence in SL back then. I routinely listened to the show on my radio, and heard mention of questions being fielded from SL. So, I went to visit a couple of the Friday afternoon shows in SL. It was a mess. The audience chatter was a sea of snark and childish humor like you'd expect from an infohub coupled with a few frustrated people attempting to carry on a discussion related to the show's topic. Ira Flatow and the TOTN-SF crew never let on that SL was an adolescent playground, but they did eventually pull the plug on the experiment.

SL is of interest to only a small population of people and, within SL, advertising is even more problematic than in RL. If SL was such a wonderful place to market, advertise and sell, there would not be an SL Marketplace, which is really an RL marketplace.

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I wonder how much the SL Demogrphics affect this. 

If it isn't a part of the thinking of the vast majority of people who really get involved in SL to dislike big corporations.

For me at least, the last thing I would want to wear in SL is a pair of Nike Sneakers.

I guess you could say I have a bit of anti-establishment blood running in my veins and perhaps this is very true of many if not most of the people who really get involved in SL.

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Perrie Juran wrote:

I wonder how much the SL Demogrphics affect this. 

If it isn't a part of the thinking of the vast majority of people who really get involved in SL to dislike big corporations.

For me at least, the last thing I would want to wear in SL is a pair of Nike Sneakers.

I guess you could say I have a bit of anti-establishment blood running in my veins and perhaps this is very true of many if not most of the people who really get involved in SL.

I like this idea, Perrie. But, even within SL, merchants have found it beneficial to advertise outside on the marketplace. I think that's probably because, just like in RL, searching on the web is easier than searcing in-world, whether that world is virtual, or real.

ETA: my rebuttal makes less sense as I think about it. It's not as if RL companies are advertising products in the SL marketplace. I really think the SL economy simply isn't worth the effort for RL companies, and that may well be due our creative and/or anti-establishment bent, which either makes us hard to sell to, or makes our population here too small to sell to.

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financial and..........

the sexual reputation that is tagged with SL.  As a gamer (wow, swtor, lol, tera, gw2 just to name a few), most other non-SL gamers that i know think this is an erotic rpg.  Big RL companies won't be associated with that. I miss them, they had fun sims.

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I really don't think it was the sex that caused them to leave. It was the fact that SL did not live up to the hype. The hype was that SL would be the next evolution of the internet. The internet had just started moving into web 2.0 which was having websites not powered by host generated content but powered by user generated content. We see that now like tumblr, youtube, facebook, etc. SL was thought to be the next thing after web 2.0 as a kind of virtual internet where instead of just browsing a website you would have an avatar that could visit 3d virtual sims. A company sim would be like a company website. I think there was a point when the ball was rolling and the bandwagon was being hopped on but people just didn't stay because SL was too hard to learn and the system requirements were too high.


Guess what improvements have been made to SL? Make it harder to learn and make the system requirements higher.

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Miko Kuramoto wrote:

financial and..........

the sexual reputation that is tagged with SL.  As a gamer (wow, swtor, lol, tera, gw2 just to name a few), most other non-SL gamers that i know think this is an erotic rpg.  Big RL companies won't be associated with that. I miss them, they had fun sims.

You are right about the bad reputation about sex. However, I've always said that SL is like the internet. If you can imagine it you can find it...if you look. People who are against porn don't stop using the internet just because it can be found there. RL companies don't remove their websites either.

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Malarwen Hall wrote:

 

Miko Kuramoto wrote:

financial and..........

the sexual reputation that is tagged with SL.  As a gamer (wow, swtor, lol, tera, gw2 just to name a few), most other non-SL gamers that i know think this is an erotic rpg.  Big RL companies won't be associated with that. I miss them, they had fun sims.

You are right about the bad reputation about sex. However, I've always said that SL is like the internet. If you can imagine it you can find it...if you look. People who are against porn don't stop using the internet just because it can be found there. RL companies don't remove their websites either.

Not a very strong argument, Malarwen  : On the Internet,while representing your company as a website,  affiliation with porn-websites is not neccessarily implied, although those pioneered the internet itself in many areas. With Second Life that non-affiliation was harder to shake. Especially when certain TV-reports came out, which I will not mention for the sake of the discussion.

I'm not saying though that SLex was the ONLY reason big companies left, if present at all. There must be a myriad of other reasons as already mentioned by other posters in this thread. Not being able to make revenue here at all, might be considered a reason, that likely weighted most heavily on the final decision to pull out of Second Life as a whole.

 

 

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Like Sy, my current visit on SL was motivated by my employer requiring me to look into it. Someone had heard IBM uses it for telepresence, and we do fly every employee in from across the world once every year for training purposes. The requirement in hardware upgrades, additional employee training and so on immediately disqualified SL in that regard.

Then someone wondered if there was potential for marketing. Weeeeellll... even if we somehow, magically managed to get _every_ SL resident to look at our marketing, it's still pathetic compared to RL.

Bottom line: SL is a toy. There are ways SL could evolve to be useful for businesses, but not with LL at the helm, sorry. Lack of vision, if nothing else.

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