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Second Life Helps Generate Second Income

Posted by SIM on April 19, 2007

More and more entrepreneurs making money in virtual world
By Christina Friedrichsen – Business Edge

When Vancouver fashion designer Nyla experienced Second Life for the first time, she knew that she was on to something.

Nyla (she dropped her last name), owner of House of Nyla, a company that specializes in haute couture for women, was looking for a unique way to showcase her designs and Second Life seemed like the perfect place.

Not only would the online virtual world give her a place to create a 3-D virtual boutique so that customers could see her fashions on 3-D models, it would give her exposure to thousands of people who had never heard of her.

She invested $100 in virtual real estate and was well on her way to creating an online presence in Second Life when she realized that the potential for her company was much bigger than she had dreamed.

What Nyla realized was that Second Lifers are an image-conscious lot and that fashion plays a big role in how avatars (virtual beings) express their identity.

Why not transform real-world fashions from House of Nyla into virtual clothing in Second Life?

Although Nyla is not a graphic designer, she taught herself the computer programs she needed to make it happen.

In the one year that Nyla has made the leap to Second Life, she has opened a dozen virtual stores and is making a living from the income.

Nyla still designs fashions for real life, but her virtual fashions are becoming an increasingly large part of her business.

“I’m making a lot of money … It’s like a virtual slot machine,” says Nyla, who is a graduate from Helen Lefeaux Inc. School of Fashion Design in Vancouver.

At her busier stores, she is getting 100,000 Second Lifers per day and is selling hundreds of items per week.

Her virtual dresses sell for $6 each.

She says one can “make good money here and live off it no problem. This could pay all your bills, your mortgage, everything,” she says.

Her plans include a line of virtual men’s clothing based on the real-life clothing line she has created for her husband.

Nyla is part of an increasing number of entrepreneurs generating income from virtual worlds such as Second Life.

Although many of the individuals make money from creating virtual items, such as clothing, hair or houses, the big money is in real estate and sex (avatars can work as escorts and strippers, and individuals can design sexual props for Second Life), says Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot (Basic Books: 2006).

Dibbell’s book is a memoir about the year he gave up his job as a journalist to make a living buying and selling virtual artifacts in the game Ultima Online.

His goal was to make more income in-world than as a freelance writer. He succeeded.

“By the end I was making $4,000 per month. I could have sustained that and probably would be making more than I do as a writer,” says the Indiana-based author.

A decent living, yes, but nowhere close to the income generated by virtual real estate tycoons such as Second Life’s Anshe Chung, the world’s first virtual millionaire.

According to Dibbell, developers such as Chung purchase “raw” virtual land from Linden Lab (the company behind Second Life) that they use to create virtual communities, usually with a theme. The developers then sell or rent this developed land to Second Lifers.

Although there is money to be made in Second Life real estate, few are as successful as Chung, says Dibbell.

“There are very few making the kind of money Anshe Chung is making,” he says.

Most entrepreneurs on Second Life make just enough to cover their Second Life expenses and maybe “go on an extra vacation each year,” he says.

“For them, the money is not the point in many cases,” he says.

Dibbell says the most successful entrepreneurs, such as Anshe Chung, know what Second Lifers want.

“(Chung) has a keen sense of what people want in Second Life and what they are there for,” he says.

Adam Gillis knows what Second Lifers want.

Gillis, a student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, is taking a semester off to work full time for and Company, a tourism company in Galveston, Tex.

The company has hired him to create a virtual representation of Galveston Island in Second Life.

“It is the first SIM (simulator) commissioned by an official tourism agency, recreating the city of Galveston within Second Life,” he says.

Gillis says and Company approached him after seeing a virtual representation of Ottawa’s Winterlude festival that he created for Second Life last year.

“They saw it and hired me on the spot,” says Gillis.

Gillis, who is also a photographer, says he started out in Second Life showcasing his photography in a virtual gallery.

Not only did he hope to get exposure, his motive was to make money selling virtual photos to Second Lifers who would purchase the digital images to hang in their virtual homes.

“I sold some, but not to the point where it was worth it,” he says. After that, he began designing virtual homes for Second Lifers. As he honed his designing skills, more and more people approached him for custom work.

In January of this year he began working on the Galveston Island project for and Company.

“From the planning to the building, I’ve pretty much done all of it,” he says, adding that his wage is comparable to a designer at a design firm.

Gillis says the company behind the project is hoping that the virtual world attracts tourists to the area.

“They are looking for a way for people to sample the city – to go and get the feel of it, the vibe of it … and to make plans to actually go there,” he says.

Gillis says for those who aren’t ready to pack their bags, there is the option of renting a virtual home on the island for $10 per month.

“We’re already at 95-per-cent capacity,” says Gillis.

As for Gillis, he’s heading there this summer. In real life. For real money.



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Electric Sheep Co.

Posted by SIM on January 29, 2007

Digital Dealmakers: Sibley Verbeck
By Daisy Whitney
January 29, 2007

The player: Sibley Verbeck, CEO of Electric Sheep Co.

The play: Electric Sheep Co. creates content for online virtual worlds. Electric Sheep inked a deal with Showtime last week to craft the virtual world for its “The L Word” show using the virtual-world technology known as Second Life. The site launched last week on Showtime’s Web site and includes, for instance, a neighborhood cafe that serves as the hangout for “The L Word” characters and which will host virtual-world events such as speed dating. Electric Sheep also worked with MTV last year to create a virtual world for “Laguna Beach” in one of the first examples of a network debuting an online virtual experience for a show.

The pitch: A virtual world is a new communications medium, Mr. Verbeck said. “You feel like you are in the same place with another human being when you are logged into a virtual world.” Users can create avatars for themselves and then interact in the online world.

Pros: An online world is an immersive experience that can deepen a viewer’s loyalty to a show, and also allows for interactive advertising and sponsorship opportunities.


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SL Merchandise

Posted by SIM on December 30, 2006

Buy SL Merchandise From The Following Reputable Dealers:

SL Boutique – Avatars, Buildings, Clothes, etc.

Cubey Terra – Aircraft, Hovercraft, Submarines and other vehicles

SL Exchange – SL Currency Exchange, Real Estate, Auctions and Forums

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