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  Birds-Eye-View Advertising in ‘Second Life’  
 
 
Posted 2005-11-10 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 

Giant user-created letters placed over the Second Life landscape state the obvious.
A recent update to the virtual world of Second Life increased the detail of its overhead map, making visible user creations that had previously gone unnoticed. User-created dwellings and other objects are now plainly visible, much like the ground detail seen in the satellite photos used in services like Google Maps. A few of Second Life's more enterprising residents have turned this new map feature into a way to communicate by creating large letters facing skyward. These objects are displayed on the map as a form of rudimentary text.


Jillian Callahan's "Phase 5" lettering, seen from above.
Jillian Callahan, Second Life's self-designated Jet Girl, is using floating "prims" (primitive objects) high above her aircraft sales area to advertise her business "Phase 5." Callahan told me via private messages that the idea of advertising by creating giant letters became obvious when she viewed the updated map. She tinkered with her prim-placement until it was just right. "I kept swapping a pair giant 'Hi!' prim-signs of different colors, leapfrogging them upward," she said. "From there the idea of having a little but obvious sign pointing out my business was a no-brainer." Whether the advertising will be effective is another matter. Callahan said that with recent technical problems hitting Second Life, it's too early to tell.


Callahan's "Phase 5" lettering as seen from below, at cloud-level.
Some residents have expressed concern that Callahan's creative advertising might be considered spam, but user-created advertising already runs rampant in the virtual world. In most cases, Second Life advertisements echo real-life billboards and kiosks, but Callahan pointed out that there are real-world applications for bird's-eye view ads, too: A post on the BeADesignGroup.com blog considers how Google Earth and Google Maps may make real-life rooftop ads a possibility. The post asks "...what if satellite images and/or aerial photos will be updated more frequently, and people will use roof-tops for advertising? Consider big convention centers, or hotels that are very spread out...Viewers would see the large ads while looking up an address near-by...Will this ever happen? We'll see." Until rooftop ads show up in the real world, the virtual world of Second Life seems an excellent test-bed.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
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