Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Amsterdam in Second Life sold for US$50,000

The Amsterdam sims, a popular Second Life destination with canals, houseboats, and a sexually explicit red light district, sold on eBay for US$50,000 on Monday, one of the largest sales of a Second Life business by a private developer.

The detailed re-creation of the European city was put up for auction starting at US$20,000, but the property with acquired outright with a single bid at the higher price by eBay user nedstede2769. The identity of Amsterdam’s new owner, who is based in the real-world Netherlands and has no eBay feedback rating, is unknown.

Amsterdam was created by Stroker Serpentine (real life name: Kevin Alderman of Tampa, FL) from high-resolution photographs of the city. The adult content-filled area was among the most popular Second Life sites. According to the eBay listing, rental space for merchants in Amsterdam has a wait-list several months long.

Neither Serpentine nor Amsterdam’s new owner were available for comment.

Serpentine plans to focus his efforts on building a new, larger, adults-only business within Second Life, according to a report in InformationWeek. Serpentine, who got started selling sunglasses back when Second Life had only two thousand users, has since branched out into numerous online ventures under the real-life umbrella Eros LLC. He also maintains an adult toy and furniture business.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Calvin Klein Launches Scents in Second Life

The nose knows nothing in virtual worlds, but that hasn’t stopped Calvin Klein from launching a virtual version of their new ck IN2U fragrances for men and women in Second Life, according to a press release. The virtual launch accompanies the real-world launch of the same scents today, March 21. Since avatars can’t smell, the virtual perfume bottles will enable SL users to spray each other with bubbles that “initiate dialogue,” as the release puts it — probably requesting the sprayee to engage in a Calvin Klein animation. There will also be “graffiti bottles” available from the Calvin Klein build, put together by Justin Bovington’s Rivers Run Red on their Avalon island in Second Life, where Calvin Klein is holding a L$1 million photography contest to accompany the launch. Finally, if you’re in the UK you’ll be able to click through to a Web site and order a free sample.

Why Second Life? As Lori Singer, Calvin Klein Fragrances’ VP of Global Marketing, puts it in the release, “ck IN2U speaks the language of a generation connected by technology — the aptly named technosexuals.” Unfortunately, she also goes on to note that Calvin Klein has trademarked that word — not an indication that the company is completely in step with the generation it’s trying to reach.

Singer does point out something very interesting, however: “They are the first generation to be defined more by their means of communication rather than fashion or music.” This is actually a great observation about the cohort I occasionally refer to as “the 3pointD generation.” The technological “revolution” is just that: it’s the strongest force affecting the culture of the developed world at the moment. Whether this also means punters wants their perfume in pixels remains to be seen. Smell you later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

RatePoint Inc. launches avatar rating system in Second Life

RatePoint, Inc., creator of the universal platform for social ratings, today announced the general availability of a unique technology for use in the Linden Lab® 3D virtual world, Second Life®. RatePoint connects people based on their personal tastes, and presents personalized rating information so that users can make more informed decisions about everything from products, services, websites and now Second Life Residents. This new Second Life technology is an extension of RatePoints free People Powered RatingsSM service and is available at

When it takes off, RatePoint will provide Second Life Residents with the power of both eBay's rating system and Facebooks social networking, said Second Life power user Joe Munkeby. This has tremendous implications from improving the Second Life Residents experience to helping accelerate the growth of Second Life.

RatePoints Second Life extension leverages RatePoints unique rating system to provide personalized ratings for Residents in Second Life. As RatePoint members build a ratings profile, they are connected with other members called dittosSM. A members dittos are leveraged to determine personalized ratings on everything from websites to Second Life Residents.

RatePoint members can also provide comments (GABs) so that they can share a review with the community. RatePoints unique algorithms allow for highly relevant, customized information to be shared with like-minded individuals. This same concept is now applied to the world of Second Life.

RatePoints Second Life Extension has two components. First, Residents can install a private view panel that displays any Second Life Residents five star rating in their immediate vicinity. RatePoint members with this view activated can see the ratings of all residents in the Second Life environment and rate them, regardless if they are members of A Resident can also install an optional rating icon that displays their individual rating to other residents in public view. This rating hovers over their head for all Second Life Residents to see. This can be used to show off a users rating status to all other Second Life Residents even if they are not a member of RatePoint.

In general, the Web 2.0 experience is one of community involvement and user input in design and functionality, said Mike Rowan, co-founder and CTO of RatePoint, Inc. What RatePoint can offer is the ability to provide disintermediation from the aggregate information provided by most rating services. We are committed to continuing to build applications that will help focus community commentary and will grow with the needs of popular online environments like Second Life.

Second Life Residents can download the RatePoint Ratepack, which will then allow for Residents to rate each other and leave comments. Second Life Residents interact in a variety of ways in this environment said Rowan. RatePoint provides an additional layer to their experience whether they are interacting socially or having a business transaction in Second Lifes rapidly growing economy.

Generally, communications within Second Life require physical proximity of residents to hear a conversation; the same is true for this rating technology. Once a Resident approaches other residents, they are able to see their respective ratings, and also rate the resident.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Second Life gets nuked by online terrorists

Second Life player Marshal Cahill decided to take things into his own hands. He was unhappy what the development of Second Life and decided to set off virtual nuclear bombs near two in-game stores from American Apparel and Reebok.

Cahill, the self proclaimed political officer of the newly formed Second Life Liberation Army, wants Linden Labs to give his army an opportunity to control their environment through voting. It's a bit unclear whether he wants this voting authority to be granted to his army only, or all of SL's denizens, but either way, I suppose it was just a matter of time before this sort of "political unrest" made it's way into the online community.

Seems like an awfully long way to go to protect the integrity of a game that has dubious uses in the first place, but I have ceased trying to understand Second Life and it's bizarre ways a while back. Although, one commenter on The Last Boss' article on the subject managed to encompass my feelings on the situation:
I just have no desire to play this "game" unless it turns into some war torn wasteland, like Escape from NY or some such nonsense... That'd be awesome.
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