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Advertising in SL


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Hello SL comunity.

I was out of SL for a long time, if i'm not wrong it should be around 3 years. Because SL and the story that surrounds it was far away from what was my job i never thought about SL from the perspective of work/business. Mainly used as one way of relaxation. As my business has expanded in the last year to web design, hosting, etc, i start to encounter more and more clients who are willing to spend money in online advertising.

Just around Christmas i got one client who aside of usual job i did for him asked me what i think about advertising in virtual world e.g. SL. Long story in short he got some info about OpenSim and now is looking for the alternatives/possibilities. How i was out for a long time i put that request on hold and decided to check what is the situation in/with the games (but here we'll stick with SL).

Well i spent some time trying to see if things could work out and i must be honest it doesnt look promising, not even close. Maybe i was unable to spot the benefits of advertising in SL although i doubt it. First i saw the price didnt change and even 300$/mo for a sim was somehow "real" before few years this is not anymore the case. Today i can lease great server for that price, something in range of at least dual-quad processor, 64/128 MB ram and few ssd in raid. I'm sure this could "take" several sim alone without any problem.

With huge cost by today's standards i had hard time to see what could bring to anyone who would like to advertise here, aside of money sink (?) or some sort of weird prestige. It could be EU timezone doesnt hold anymore as it was before, and even then it was not great, or SL just lost that "spirit" it had back then.

Only places what looks to have any moderated/decent traffic are wierd adult sims and few clubs, frankly completely useless to me. I saw many nice places but they sit empty with really low or non-existent traffic. Like i said before, it doesnt look promising and i dont like to play with client money just to make few bucks.

Any thoughts on this subject?

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Advertising for most rl businesses, the very few that actually used sl for such things, went out of the window a very, very long time ago. In fact, I honestly can't remember any existing beyond 2009/2010 that weren't privately owned sims used primarily for their use for in-house type stuff and not advertising to people within(or even outside of) sl. I do think quite a few were gone even before that.

In other words, I can't picture sl being a viable option for any business for advertising purposes unless their entire target audience, or at the very least the majority of their target audience, already knows about and exists within sl. It's simply not financially smart for most businesses, nor productive, hence why very few businesses ever used sl for such purposes and even less stuck around after a trial period. 

So I suppose it would depend entirely on the actual project in mind, the target audience, the desired results, as well as the budget available. I can only think of very few instances wherein sl, or any virtual platform/world, would be a wise advertising model these days for the general public(aka, outside of sl general public). OpenSim, would be even worse than sl, even if only in exposure alone, it's far more void of population than sl, by a long shot.

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Certainly not mass-market stuff. Just no market there at all, and little prospect of it in any virtual world beyond (maybe) product placement in embedded content, someday, when there are millions of active users.

On the other hand, if a client's business is 3D games or hardware, and if one really believed that the Rift and its competitors will trigger a renaissance in immersive virtual worlds, then in that very specialized market: maybe, if they have deep pockets and only very long-term expectations of high-risk return on a "getting feet wet" investment at this point. I mean, actual sales would probably only come with Linden's next-generation platform, but there could be substantial first-mover advantage when that goes live, so some advance experience on SL might be worth something.

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Online advertisement isn't SL advertisement. When you left 3 years ago, all the companies were already gone. The costs of a sim isn't even that much of a problem, regular adds in newspapers cost the same or more, if they are a little more complex. But fact is, those companies had misconseptions about how their presence in SL would turn out.

I could talk a lot now about how SL isn't dead, how its a small market, how its different to other online advertisements....but I'm sleepy and it just makes me groan when I read the usual "ew...adult sims!", so here is one single point I want to throw in: SL is international, but unfiltered. You do not know whos looking at your adds...and if they can even use it.

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One of the problems you'd face is that there really is no advertising network in SL.  You'd have to secure locations and place every single ad by hand.  All the clubs, etc are pretty much individually owned and operate autonomously.  Really the number of impressions you'd get would be minuscule. 

The other thing is the ads would have to be big, flashy and quite frankly obnoxious to get peoples attention....and that is something that in SL people tend to hate.  In fact, LL has policies covering advertising in SL.  LINK.  This will limit what you are able to do also.

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Advertising in SL for RL business never really worked, even back in the heyday when SL was the media darling.  Marketing studies done at that time said SL residents don't want to see RL advertising in world because they don't want to be reminded of RL in SL

Nowdays SL is used by RL organizations mostly for education, training and meetings to save travel expenses.

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giftees might work

like mesh models of stuff that are made by RL brands. Give them away for free (giftee) to people who join the brand group

cars, whiteware, weapons, shoes, etc

probably a good one would be hair and makeup sponsored by a RL beauty product company

if the company pay for the models to get made (at RL creative prices) then will be any number of SL creators put their hands up for the work. They can be paid out of the marketing budget (plus some fee for you the marketeer)

+

will be some KPIs to meet tho. Mostly I think:

how many uniques got the product/model?

where in the world are the uniques?

answer is:

get the gift

wear it, or rez it and touch

it gives you a code in the IM and a link to the sponsor webstore. Buy some stuff in the RL. Get a discount rebated in L$

+

the point of advertising (the giftees) is to get people to the webstore yes

the L$ rebate is what drives people to get even more giftees bc get gift to get the code. No code. No L$ rebate

 +

ps eta

why it never worked before is bc before we never had mesh

 

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First thanks to everyone who replied to this topic for your time/help/input.

@Tari Landar
Yes same thing i notice just before i left SL, many RL companies disappeared from the grid. At that time i was thinking maybe they changed location but i never bother to check as my interest in SL rapidly began to decline. For OpenSim i agree and this is the main reason why i come here even the client heard of OS in first place.

@Qie Niangao
With product placement in SL is always a problem what is the product. If i will represent company that produces hair implants then i have good amount of steps/directions i can take to do a job for the client. The problem is what if my client is poducing working machines. I cant put drilling machine on your dress and if i deliver as "addon" to the package i lost control over the advertising as usualy people like to (immediately) trash that. For the rest, more or less i agree with you.

@Syo Emerald
The price is always important. LL is charging 300$ for a sim what is running with other 3 up to 7 other sims (i guess based on experience how this stuff works) on obsolete servers what in today terms no one would take even for free. Sorry but the prices do not have any justifications to be so high. With this situation it makes everything even worse.

@Perrie Juran
Nothing new to me as we have same situation in RL where are some rules/law what dictate how you can advertise. On other hand this rules you linked do not apply to me as you can see at begining of that page "This article is about the mainland, and does not apply to private regions (islands), where the estate owners choose how they wish to run their own estates".

@Amethyst Jetaime
It would be nice to put my hands on that studies, probably later today when i grab 2-3 hours i will try to find it. That could give me better picture of the situation and save me some time even at this point i'm more on side to advise the client to drop this idea.
----

Advertising was always money sink but in return you get some benefits (there are too many and no point to list them all). The problem is here that part of "benefits" is under big question mark. Even if i mask that advertising with something more common in SL (free stuff, low cost/free rents, clothes, hairs, etc...) i'm not sure if will be able to bring traffic. Store - almost everyone buy on MP, rents - people do not stay for long, theme park/sim - people dont go there, and so on...
Because i must take out of the story any sexual content the only thing what looks to attract people are clubs/live events and there are too many of them. My time cost too much to bother with SL club or events as part of my job so only options are:
1. Give this part to someone in SL but i know right now it will not work. First thing i need a contract and here the story ends in 99.9% of cases. Other 0.1% is people who will fail as one who can do this job already have a working club or place with live events.
2. Offer to working club or place with a lot of events part of the land for free and use their traffic to advertise. Honestly I have not dedicated any time to this idea so I'll stop here.

At the end reading all your comments only reinforce my view that this idea does not make sense. I will see in next few days for other people opinions just to be fair to the cause but at this point i do not expect too much.

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Unexpectedly i got "help" from LL to see what would be my next step or direction to take. From ToS under 2.3:


Except as otherwise described in any Additional Terms (such as a contest’s official rules) which will govern the submission of your User Content, you hereby grant to Linden Lab, and you agree to grant to Linden Lab, the non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, modify, display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and sell, re-sell or sublicense (through multiple levels)(with respect to Second Life, Inworld or otherwise on the Service as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service), and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. You agree that the license includes the right to copy, analyze and use any of your Content as Linden Lab may deem necessary or desirable for purposes of debugging, testing, or providing support or development services in connection with the Service and future improvements to the Service. The license granted in this Section 2.3 is referred to as the "Service Content License."


Which translate in "everything is ours to do as we want". From my perspective this is equal to "business suicide" as almost all my work is based on IP.

Strange no one mention that but then i could check better first time i was reading their ToS (still wonder how i manage to miss this part). Well this is it, end of the story as nothing else is now important. At the very mention of these rules to my clients their head would explode immediately.

Anyway thanks again to all who posted in this topic.

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Dario Kobichenko wrote:

Unexpectedly
i got
"
help" from
LL to see what would be my next step or direction to take. From ToS under 2.3:


Except as otherwise described in any Additional Terms (such as a contest’s official rules) which will govern the submission of your User Content, you hereby grant to Linden Lab, and you agree to grant to Linden Lab, the non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, modify, display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and sell, re-sell or sublicense (through multiple levels)(with respect to Second Life, Inworld or otherwise on the Service as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service), and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. You agree that the license includes the right to copy, analyze and use any of your Content as Linden Lab may deem necessary or desirable for purposes of debugging, testing, or providing support or development services in connection with the Service and future improvements to the Service. The license granted in this Section 2.3 is referred to as the "Service Content License."


Which translate in "everything is ours to do as we want". From my perspective this is equal to "business suicide" as almost all my work is based on IP.

Strange no one mention that but then i could check better first time i was reading their ToS (still wonder how i manage to miss this part). Well this is it, end of the story as nothing else is now important. A
t the very mention of these rules to my clients their head would explode immediately.

Anyway thanks again to all who posted in this topic.

All you asked about was advertising.  Advertising involves Trade Mark, not Copyright. 

So if all you were doing was putting up signs with pictures and the like it wouldn't be a problem. 

LL makes no claims on Trade Marks. 

Which would be why we may not have thought this was an issue.

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seems to me all you done is given a whole bunch of reasons why you dont want to do this

you presuppose already that your client is not going to like it. Yet in your original post you said that it was your client who suggested they might be interested

bc seems you only just got into advertising (which you also said) then I think you got lots to learn about the advert industry

the first rule is: dont presuppose what the clients likes are going to be

more people kill their own budding business by saying No on behalf of the client even before the client themself have had time to digest/consider the options. Options which should have been presented to them by the person engaged (meaning you)

you havent established yet that your client isnt going to do this

clients arent really interested in what you (the advertising agent) do or dont like. What they are interested in is what are their options on a customer-facing interface (whatever that interface might be)

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Perrie Juran wrote:

All you asked about was advertising.  Advertising involves Trade Mark, not Copyright. 

So if all you were doing was putting up signs with pictures and the like it wouldn't be a problem. 

LL makes no claims on Trade Marks. 

Which would be why we may not have thought this was an issue.

To be honest i don't feel comfortable to talk about my business in public but you right and i should come out with few more details e.g. i should use term marketing instead of advertising (my mistake). Because of this accept my apology for the confusion and it was not my intention to blame anyone just at that moment i found it strange that no one mentioned pretty important part of LL ToS (in the event someone misinterpreted my post).

In any case it is clear that Second Life is not good for what i was looking and frankly i find it surreal that any company would agree with LL rules.

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Dario Kobichenko wrote:

In any case it is clear that Second Life is not good for what i was looking and frankly i find it surreal that any company would agree with LL rules.

Those rules, however, are pretty much universal in digital content distribution. I mean, many businesses of all sizes advertise on Twitter, but their terms are nearly identical in this regard.

The Linden ToS has been controversial for other reasons, specifically because they're applying this legal boilerplate where it really doesn't work: to User Generated Content, where those users/creators need much more control over the distributor's rights. About such rights, rather different priorities are held by advertisers (and microbloggers) than by virtual world content creators.

(None of this is legal advice, of course.)

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Dario Kobichenko wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:

All you asked about was advertising.  Advertising involves Trade Mark, not Copyright. 

So if all you were doing was putting up signs with pictures and the like it wouldn't be a problem. 

LL makes no claims on Trade Marks. 

Which would be why we may not have thought this was an issue.

To be honest i don't feel comfortable to talk about my business in public but you right and i should come out with few more details e.g. i should use term marketing instead of advertising (my mistake). Because of this
accept
my apology for the confusion and it was not my intention to blame anyone just at that moment i found it strange that no one mentioned pretty important part of LL ToS (in the event someone misinterpreted my post).

In any case it is clear that Second Life is not good for what i was looking and frankly i find it surreal that any company would agree with LL rules.

There has been so much debate and discussion about the implications of the TOS it gets crazy.

But here's an interesting point.  The TOS was written for 'individuals,' not 'companies.'

Linden Lab has a particular way they deal with Non-Profit and Educational Institutions.  There are RL Universities and Schools that have a presence in SL.

If you have companies that want to invest in SL, the question would be whether LL would negotiate separate terms with them.

But to the subject of Marketing in SL, here's an interesting article about Toyota in SL.  I'd also recommend this article, specifically the section "Virtual Strip Mall" at the bottom.

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