Second Life businesses feel the squeeze

Businesses in the Second Life virtual world are closing down for a lack of traffic, according to a study by a Queensland University of Technology researcher.

Businesses in the Second Life virtual world are closing down for a lack of traffic, according to a study by a Queensland University of Technology researcher.

The Australian reports that QUT postgraduate student Kim Mackenzie ventured into Second Life using her own virtual persona, or “avatar,” to examine the success of ventures in the online world.

She found that while businesses had purchased land and created “amazing, innovative” interactive areas with features including games, competitions and virtual cinema-screenings, they were still struggling to attract avatar traffic.

As a consequence, many businesses were shutting down the Second Life branches, Mackenzie found.

“These sites were almost empty of avatars, so despite these really creative and innovative applications of virtual capabilities, when I was there it appeared they were unable to attract Second Life residents,” Mackenzie says.

But Mackenzie remains optimistic that the virtual world has a long term future. “It will be a very powerful medium for companies to utilise in the future, but there needs to be time and commitment given to it, and people need to be aware of it, and feel comfortable with it first,” she says.

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