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  ‘Electric Sheep’ Plan Virtual-World Ad Network  
Posted 2007-10-03 by Tony Walsh
The Electric Sheep Company, a third-party developer of tools, services, content and experiences primarily for Second Life, plans to launch an in-world advertising network. Aimed at residents looking to earn money by publishing ads on their land, at individual advertisers, and at ad agencies, the yet-untitled network is currently under construction, with the network's (likely interim) web page offering a means to sign up to become a beta-tester. Officially described as "for Second Life and other Virtual Worlds," I wonder what other worlds the network could reasonably be inserted into.

As with in-game advertising, context is king. Fortunately, most virtual world--as opposed to game world--environments are set in contemporary or otherwise ad-friendly settings. This makes advertising Coke in Second Life a reasonable venture, whereas in-game advertisers haven't historically understood that billboards for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalow don't belong on an alien fortress.

Incidentally, The Electric Sheep Company won't be launching the first Second Life ad network. Back in 2005, resident Rathe Underthorn launched the MetaAdverse network which reportedly earned only $600 USD in 4 months. I suspect if Underthorne had launched that system last year, his earnings would have been much higher. By the end of 2005, Second Life had collected 100,000 sign-ups, while today that number has nearly increased tenfold, with almost half a million users logging in over the last 7 days. That's a lot more potential eyeballs and clickthroughs than ever before.

I'm curious to find out if The Electric Sheep Company's ad network will be branded more interestingly than it currently seems to be. The Company launched its "OnRez" consumer brand a few months ago--I see an ad network as more of a B2B situation, but if OnRez is already doing well, the network might be more readily received by residents if it was branded OnRez. It seems only time will tell--unfortunately, the network's official site is detail-deficient.
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