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  ‘Shop OnRez’ Brings Slick Shopping Experience to ‘Second Life’  
Posted 2007-07-26 by Tony Walsh
The Electric Sheep Company has launched "Shop OnRez," its re-vamped, re-branded shopping system for Second Life fusing a web-based shopping experience with an in-world kiosk system, wrapped in a slick Web 2.0-esque aesthetic. Interestingly, the new consumer brand's only obvious connection to the Electric Sheep Company is a tiny copyright notice at the bottom of Shop OnRez web pages.

Vendors on the old "SLBoutique" system have been automatically migrated to Shop OnRez. On the plus side, the new system appears to offer improved functionality and accessibility for both sellers and buyers, increasing the lubrication of commerce. On the minus side, it appears that some manual adjustments will be required of vendors, not the least of which is re-deploying in-world inventory boxes. This isn't a big issue for small vendors such as myself, but I can imagine it could be a headache for those with dozens of boxes in-world.

The system's new Terms of Service will be of interest to any legal beagles--it seems to be at least as long as those for Second Life itself. A stellar job of ass-covering there, in my completely unqualified legal opinion.
  Study: Young People See Technology As Means to End  
Posted 2007-07-24 by Tony Walsh
MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft released summary findings today from surveys of 18,000 tech-savvy young people across the globe indicating that technology itself isn't as important as the activities technology facilitates: Namely communication, social networking, self-expression, and entertainment.

The surveys also found:
  • Marketers are as influential and important as friends.
  • Digital communications and social networking compliment, rather than compete with TV.
  • Technology enhances, rather than replaces in-person interaction.
  • Japanese young people generally don't have their own computers until college-age, but do use mobile phones.
  • Chinese young people look to the internet to connect with others, since they have no siblings.
  • Young people of Italy, Brazil and Australia use mobiles to meet up, socialize, and take pictures.
  • Danes "can't live without" mobiles or TV. The Dutch "can't live without" email.
It's worth reiterating that the surveys were conducted with "tech embracing" kids and young people, therefore conclusions like "Young people are now constantly connected," or "There is a powerful link between TV and the Internet," uttered by MTV Network's Fahey Rush are forgone, in my opinion. How would the survey have been different if the other side of the digital divide had been polled?
  links for 2007-07-24  
Posted 2007-07-24 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-07-23  
Posted 2007-07-23 by Tony Walsh
  AdSense For Games?  
Posted 2007-07-20 by Tony Walsh
Google AdSense is coming to games, according to notes Kim Pallister of Microsoft Casual Games jotted down during the Casual Connect conference. AdSense, in case you aren't aware, is Google's widespread ad-serving program, in use here at Clickable Culture and zillions of other blogs and web sites. It's easy to set up and can be quite profitable with enough clickthroughs.

I'm glad to hear that AdSense is coming to games. Hopefully the system will be as easy to implement as Google's traditional AdSense program--embedding code directly into Flash or Shockwave games would be ideal. One benefit of embedded ads is that it actually makes piracy of AdSense-equipped games profitable for the creator--the more exposure the game gets, the more potential revenue. AdSense inside games could also work well inside Facebook (although I've heard clickthroughs on Facebook are abysmal). Any way you slice it, the development is good for indie game-makers.
  links for 2007-07-20  
Posted 2007-07-20 by Tony Walsh
  Electric Sheep Company to Launch New ‘Second Life’ Shopping Site  
Posted 2007-07-19 by Tony Walsh
The Electric Sheep Company plans to launch a new third-party Second Life shopping web site to replace, which acquired and relaunched last year. Merchants who have existing shops on SLBoutique will be migrated over to the new service, "Shop OnRez," next Monday, July 23, with the new shopping site set to go live on July 24.

According to the Sheep, "Shop OnRez will be the first service of OnRez, our consumer software brand, and there will more to follow." More of what, I wonder? In the short term, Shop OnRez merchants are promised a better, more dependable, and more usable e-commerce site, with selling capabilities extended deeper into Second Life. I sell a few items through SLBoutique (under avatar MiraWhirl Mainline) and look forward to checking out the new digs. Hopefully the transition will be seamless--some vendors sell dozens (if not tens of dozens) of items, so having to tweak individual goods for the new service could be a major pain.
  links for 2007-07-19  
Posted 2007-07-19 by Tony Walsh
  ‘MTV True Life’ Seeks Virtual World Fanatics  
Posted 2007-07-18 by Tony Walsh
MTV's True Life hopes to document your adventures in avatarism. A representative of the show's production team asked me to pass on a call-out in the hopes of enticing eligible candidates out of the woodwork:
Does your virtual avatar make you feel confident behind your computer screen? Is there something interesting or unique about your life online? Are you able to lead hundreds of people in games like World of Warcraft but find yourself shy in real life? Did you meet your significant other online? Is your online avatar completely different from who you are in real life? If so, we would love to hear your story.
If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and live another life on the web, email us at: or with your story. Please include your name, age, location, and pictures of you and a description of your avatar.
Yup, another virtual-world documentary [1,2,3,4] is underway. I think I've spoken to about six producers from virtual-world-related docs for both film and TV in the last 12 months. I don't mean to criticize any of these projects, but I'm concerned that audiences will get burned out on the subject matter by the time two or three of these documentaries are released, which could be bad news for those which aren't first to market.
  Zombies Infect Facebook  
Posted 2007-07-13 by Tony Walsh
Zombies Infect Facebook
Armies of bloodthirsty zombies are infecting Facebook. The Zombies Facebook game, made possible because the platform was recently opened to outside developers, has become Facebook's most popular, with over 1.3M users infected at the time of this writing. I've been following the Zombies invasion for just over a week, finding that its user-base has grown at a steady rate of around 65,000 users daily, or about 45 users per minute. I'm a bit surprised the population hasn't increased exponentially, but then I'm a lousy number-cruncher and statistician.

Zombies is, by design, a viral game. One's first introduction to it is usually through a "Zombies Invitation" sent from a friend, so there is social pressure to participate right from the outset. Invitations may be ignored, or one can "Start Biting Chumps!" with a few mouse-clicks. The objective is to build up zombie points and zombie status by biting friends, but I personally won't try it out, so don't bother biting me. From what I gather, it's possible to establish an entire zombie army. Zombies has been so successful that its creators have added a Vampires game along similar lines. About 300,000 users have been vampirized.

Continue reading: Zombies Infect Facebook
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