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Linden Lab's new chief marketing officer.


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LL has hired a new Chief Marketing Officer, Steven Feuling.

Business Insider article.

Notes:

  • Feuling was an ad exec at Dentsu, Kmart, and Bloomberg.
  • "Planning a marketing blitz."
  • "Second Life won't harness user data to bombard people with ads ... We will never be Facebook, or Meta, in terms of that. ... We don't believe that it's additive to have a billboard for a soft drink kind of outside of your virtual home" - Feuling.
  • Transactions of virtual goods totaled $650 million in 2021, with content creators pocketing more than $80 million of that. - LL.
  • Feuling is in the middle of negotiations with three advertisers and a major ad agency.

Anyone met the guy yet? Has he been seen in-world?

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5 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Unless they are from K-Mart's "glory years" (possibly part of the majority "older" SL demographic...but..)?

One can only hope they are.  I just look at association with kmart iffy lol.   mom worked for them for 22 years before they punted her with all those close outs,  then she went to target after, which has taken care of her,  even after her MS got her badly sick.

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There is a fundamental, almost willful, misunderstanding of the modern corporate metaverse at play here. Meta didn't rebrand the entire shooting match just to make a toy virtual world without legs and vomit inducing VR hats, but they are just fine with everyone superficially thinking that. If you're laughing about the legs, you're taking the bait. The best example of the modern metaverse concept is Disney world (the theme park), you show up for one brand and come home with 3 others, take that premise and apply it to online spaces and properties.

The metaverse is only a very online chat space in the early 2000s, so unless there is some kind of time travel involved that's not going to fly. Even if we take the Ready Player One model, that can't happen in Second Life, broad swathes of the player base are simply not consumer brand friendly ... I remember getting poked at the hello kitty event because my entirely dressed avatar was insufficiently "covered up" (and that's a brand that will happily put it's face on actual sex toys).

Linden Lab might not leverage the significant amounts of very personal user data the platform generates to directly target its own users, but they would be negligent to the point of incompetent if they didn't use that data to identify and target other people with promotional material for Second Life. There isn't a bigger untapped cohort of all-together better people to pad our ranks, but there are a whole lot more people just like us.

Which brings us neatly to the proverbial fly in the soup. Second Life has never been able to successfully manage expectations. The idea and potential offered have incredible transformative legs that invariably get yanked out from under users as the reality of the platform, it's limitations and wider perception come into play. For the few who manage to get over the initial technical short comings, the reality of our world can't stay hidden for long. 

The grand and vibrant virtual economy and opportunity to earn money is a great lure, but it loses some of its shine when coupled with the realization that the bulk of content creators are working long hours, deploying high level professional skills and barely holding their heads above the poverty line. The majority user effort that goes into making Second Life is done for love. Of the cited $650 million in virtual transactions, only $80 million makes it back out the door and into people's hands. That's a shockingly low ratio of return. For every $8 that works it's way though the system, someone, somewhere, makes a dollar.

We don't need creators, we need consumers, and that's an entirely different marketing preposition. Hoping to attract creators with the promise of a pay check and then hoping they stay on as consumers when that invariably falls though, is at best ridiculously inefficient. The decades of high signups and low retention tells a simple story, people came with an expectation and left. The longer it took them to leave, the more hostile they are to the platform as a whole.

This story isn't easy to unpick, no one likes to admit they came with high hopes and failed to achieve them, rather the blame is placed on platform failures, technical problems, content and groups of users. SL is slow. SL is hard. The viewer was confusing. It's all about sex.

When a new user bails out because of a janky first experience where they failed to find other people or something to do, that's about the best possible failure we can have. They at least might be back to try again later.

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3 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

At least it's not Wal-Mart.

You mean you are glad we dont have the CMO of Wal-Mart, one of the most successful stores in history and still making tons of money? The same company that is credited for the decline of K-Mart of whom LL's new CMO was in charge of advertising. The same CMO of K-Mart between 1999 and 2004 during the period K-Mart couldn't turn itself around to a profit and declared bankruptcy in 2003 of whom other than a 10month stint as head B2B (business to business) marketer in Bloomberg has not had any CMO or marketing role since?

Also, if his LinkedIn profile is correct then he has actually been working with LL since December 2021. Haven't seen to much interesting things marketing wise for 6 months... 

_________________________

As a CMO he is also completely missing the point of Second Life (like many Lindens) and where it sits in the current metaverse trend. Especially when he quotes stupid things like  "he's also targeting content creators who develop and sell virtual goods on Second Life. Developers are a big part of driving users to a platform and building an economy. Roblox executives often proclaim the importance of their growing developer community during earnings calls". It just shows he has no experience in such things for the future of SL.

Anyone can read those Roblox earning calls and sure their developer community earns a lot but this new CMO has failed to understand that it is users that are more important to Second Life, not developers and that is why Roblox said developers are important to them. We have plenty of developers already with one of the largest user content creation libraries. SL needs users more than developers and whilst developers are important, Second Life offers no incentive for them to come as the platform is simply not up to par with other content creation platforms like Roblox and Epic and cant offer what the masses or this new CMO want.

That is what he doesn't understand, it is the quality and quantity of what is on offer with Roblox that makes them a success and draws in users. Something SL cant compete with in its current form. Based on those Roblox earning calls it shows a user to developer ratio of 150:1 (in lowest terms 150million/month users to 1million developers).

Roblox has expanded because it offers quality entertainment, easy onboarding, social dynamics and is fun to users for a demographic that is more sociable in such virtual environments than SL's demographic with very little cost to users. Second Life offers very little of that and so most user doesn't stick around. That is what needs fixing in SL primarily quality, onboarding and onboarding cost for the user. Without that no amount of marketing is going to help.

Lastly, this little gem shows he has no previous knowledge of Second Life's B2B history. 

"Feuling is also using his experience as an ad exec at Dentsu, Kmart, and Bloomberg to help brands understand how they can build virtual events in Second Life and sell branded digital goods, like sneakers that can be worn by avatars."

That ship sailed a long time ago and I highly doubt his marketing expertise can convince the plethora of RL companies and brands to even consider coming back to SL. For a small list of previous companies that bailed on SL long ago you can go here: New World Notes: Tateru's Mixed Reality Directory (blogs.com)

Taking his "sneakers that can be worn by avatars" suggestion, where is he planning on getting these companies from? Adidas, American Apparel, Best Buy, Calvin Klein, Reebok, etc. They have already been there done that in SL and wont come back. The same for many many other items such as phones, drinks, clothing, furniture, electronics, etc. Most jumped ship to Avakin Life on Android where they actually make money as opposed to loosing it with SL's high cost.

Worst still, many entertainment brands that make Roblox and Fortnite the forefront of the metaverse with things like live music etc have equally left Second Life never to return as it cant offer what the competition can now. Companies such as Warner Bros Music, Universal Music Group, Sony (responsible for many live events in Fortnite), Phoenix Film & TV, NBC, MTV, etc.

It would have been different if LL upgraded SL over there years to stop these companies leaving or actually employed a CMO prior to now.

Plain and simply this new CMO has not done his homework on Second Life and it shows BADLY.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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13 minutes ago, Drayke Newall said:
3 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

At least it's not Wal-Mart.

You mean you are glad we dont have the CMO of Wal-Mart, one of the most successful stores in history and still making tons of money? The same company that is credited for the decline of K-Mart of whom LL's new CMO was in charge of advertising.

Yes, because Wal-Mart is evil. I'd prefer not giving my money to a company that hires executives from evil corporations.

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4 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Yes, because Wal-Mart is evil. I'd prefer not giving my money to a company that hires executives from evil corporations.

Every business is evil. It is that way in a capitalist business world. They are after a profit and will promise anything and step on anyone to do it.

Take Linden Lab for instance, they are no different. Promise things and deliver the bare minimum to appease their customers to ensure they continue to pay. For a different take, look at this new CMO saying x, y, z about making Second Life better. Go read a few articles of his interviews with the media and whilst it seems to look like he has Second Life's interests at heart, it is more about Tilia.

Things like "Feuling is pitching Linden Labs' virtual payment system Tilia to game developers and content creators in hopes of getting more of them to use it" He is not implying content creators of Second Life here. or suggesting that Tilia is the reason people make real money in SL and using that to draw in clients.

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12 minutes ago, Drayke Newall said:

Things like "Feuling is pitching Linden Labs' virtual payment system Tilia to game developers and content creators in hopes of getting more of them to use it" He is not implying content creators of Second Life here. or suggesting that Tilia is the reason people make real money in SL and using that to draw in clients.

I read a few other articles, and you are misinterpreting the mention of Tilia in various descriptions.

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15 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

I read a few other articles, and you are misinterpreting the mention of Tilia in various descriptions.

Not really. The articles read as a thinly veiled "look what we are doing for SL" but read between the lines or under the veil as Tilia is great look at how it has made people lots of money in Second Life. It is an advertisement for Tilia. Here is an another of those articles and I will quote some of that thinly veiled Tilia advertisement. Second Life Hires Its First CMO to Market The Metaverse - Voicebot.ai

"There is real money on Second Life, too, thanks to its  Tilia virtual payment system and connected market. Content creators can create and sell digital goods through Tilia, which the company claims saw $650 million in transactions last year, $80 million of which went right to the developers." This is nothing more than Tilia advertisement. Not look at how great Second Life is or what it can offer but look at how much a virtual world can make using Tilia.

If it was for both they could have worded it vastly different to imply both.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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6 minutes ago, Drayke Newall said:

If it was for both they could have worded it vastly different to imply both.

They seem proud of Tilia as a way to accomplish what they are advertising -- SL as a way for developers to make money.

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LL have historically always been obsessed with "the next big thing", this strange Second of the Life is an unknowable glass goose that lays golden eggs. You can't distil this place down into a power point presentation to inform the powers that be. The finical side is understandable, but it's a bit like following a monster and analyzing it's poop. Hoping to find ways to make it turn one way or the other, or how to make the eggs bigger. Interacting with the goose is forbidden, for it may shatter or turn and crush you.

Second Life isn't some "thing" LL make or even control, we're a fledgling virtual nation driven by billions and billions of personal interactions, we're a social hive mind prone to long periods of boredom and flights of fantasy, we're a chaotic slow boiling potion that threatens to evaporate or overflow the pot.

They think that by controlling the stage upon which the world is set or by adjusting the flow of currency, they can somehow encourage growth or direct change. They can't because they aren't able to hear or sing the song this magic needs, for they are a corporation.

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8 hours ago, bigmoe Whitfield said:

Kmart is not something one normally wants associated with.

Why am I thinking of "Attention K-Mart shoppers --- we have a Blue Light special in the Prim Department!"

Edited by Kimmi Zehetbauer
Keyboard adding stuff....
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