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  TELUS Calls ‘Second Life’ Home  
Posted 2006-08-24 by Tony Walsh
TELUS Calls ‘Second Life’ Home
Sparkle Dale brings TELUS to Second Life.
TELUS, one of Canada's largest telcos, has opened up shop in the virtual world Second Life. I just attended the official opening, where a line of virtual phones modeled after Samsung-built, TELUS-serviced originals were being sold for a few hundred Linden Dollars each--the equivalent of $1-$2 in U.S. dollars. The all-digital TELUS showroom and product line was brought into Second Life by a company advertising manager, known in the virtual world as Sparkle Dale. A gamer in the outside world, Dale told me that getting TELUS to agree to the effort wasn't difficult due to the company's progressive nature.

While the virtual TELUS phones are spitting images of the originals, they don't offer any voice communication options. Ostensibly, the main function of the phones is to notify nearby avatars that the phone user is busy on a real-life call or instant messaging session (a mode that is set manually, not automatically). When put into busy mode, the phone emits a branded text message to all nearby avatars and plays a simulated ringtone. I'm not terribly impressed with the functionality. Were I to be harsh, I'd say the phones are nothing but spam-machines.

It bears mention that it's already possible to place a real-world voice call through a Second Life pay phone. Vivox demonstrated this technology to me earlier this year, and has already integrated VoIP services into the massively-multiplayer game EVE Online. While official integration with Second Life is still up in the air, I'm surprised TELUS would bother offering a virtual phone without leveraging the technology of a company like Vivox.

Earlier discussion of the TELUS effort can be found at and Virtual Suburbia. If you have a Second Life account, you can teleport directly to the TELUS store by clicking here.

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Comment posted by rikomatic
August 24, 2006 @ 4:17 pm
I think AT&T;should build headquarters in Second Life so they can give our chat logs over to the NSA.
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
August 24, 2006 @ 7:22 pm
I'm glad it's rikomatic this time and not just me who raises the issue not of our chatlogs in SL going to the NSA, which is less interested, frankly, and can get at them in other ways, but these SL-based companies operating thirdparty servers that can also collect all our chat on their servers. I raised this issue with Nexcom, which seems to be less active in SL now (is it even in business?) and got all kinds of hell for it but geez, any third-party entity in SL that scrapes data is going to get questioning. They may claim they dump all the data or don't look at it but they have the power to scrape and could be mining it.

Am I the only one who is noticing that this TELUS building is looking an awful lot like a cousin to the American Apparel building? They may be very good architects serving their customers but perhaps somebody ought to mention to these customers that there is no law that you have to make your SL buildings look like Savarin thruway restaurants in the 1950s. Also, while I recognize "lime is the new black," well, there are other colours in the pallette.

Finally, I'd be happy to give to TELUS or anybody else trying this biz in SL the one-liner I gave to Nexcom which their CEO impishly used on his profile for many months:

"If you think there's no use for a cell phone in a game where there are IMs, then you fail to see how sexy you're going to look with all that gear on your belt".
Comment posted by Torley
August 24, 2006 @ 10:33 pm
This is my surreal moment today. Who's next, Shaw?

What I also found that caught me was the furni in the store's for sale, but I don't recall TELUS selling chairs. Sort of a neat divergence point if a company sells a type of product online that they don't offer in "the real world".

Makes me wonder about select ISPs and LL offering bundle deals... ;)
Comment posted by crsh
September 2, 2006 @ 11:12 am
Aside from the fun novelty factor, I'm still sitting on the fence with the 'new' embrace businesses are taking to user-driven venues (blogs, SL, video-sharing, etc). The brand exposure is nice, no doubt there, but how does it go any further than that? How does it translate into actual gains (given that brand exposure and recognition are really hard to measure)?

I work for a marketing agency poised on selling the whole 'business blog' to clients, and it's working well so far; it's fun, it's new, but is it a valid business model? I doubt it. Why? Consumers are saturated, regardless whether it's TV or web or newspaper advertising, we (yes, we, I include myself), noticing new things is where it's at, but it doesn't go further than that, there's no retention; what we see is flushed out almost immediately because there's always something else to look at.

Where am I going with this? No where, just like the businesses I work for/with, I go with the flow and participate in this culture of denial that advertising at large suffers from; something's got to change.
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