Real Money in Virtual Worlds?

14 comments

I keep reading articles like The metaphysical economies and Second Life's PR Avatar, and am wondering, is there any money in marketing in these virtual worlds?

I have been getting blog comment spammed daily with POS WOW gold sites. Is there market demand for this sort of stuff? Any TWers playing virtual worlds in a more meaningful (profitable) way?

Comments

It akin to wasting money on myspace marketing to spam bots

Sites like that are akin to marketing to spam bots on Myspace.. there is no way that this stuff makes sense.

First Virtual (Real) Millionaire

http://money.cnn.com/blogs/legalpad/index.html?cnn=yes

Anshe Chung, a real-estate tycoon in the digitally simulated world known as Second Life, has apparently become the first virtual millionaire--i.e., someone whose holdings in a make-believe world are legally convertible into genuine U.S. currency worth more than $1 million.

It looks like Second Life might have real marketing opps.

There is real money there.

There is real money there. But it's not a market that's worth going after for SEOs IMO. The normal practice is to set up Gold farming shops in china or somewhere where the labor is cheap. You're better off using those same energies to setting up cheap link monkey / web 2.0 stuffing shops.

The WOW stuff

The WOW stuff is coming from China according to my teens who are so called "experts" on the game. Chinese players earn Gold (points) by spending 18 hours a day on the game using multiple accounts earning Gold that is marketed to aggregators in the U.S. and elsewhere.
1,000 Gold can be sold/bought for roughly $10 to $30 U.S.
The game has strict rules concerning buying Gold however you can trade the points (Gold) with other players. Farming for Gold can lead to a permanent ban by Blizzard.

MikeMore is right

Every one should listen to MikeMor on this one! Only $600,000 is exchanged daily on SecondLife; it's so small! Not worth most SEOs' time. Just leave it to the more entrepeneural among us to create new verticals...

MMORPG

I think MikeMor has answered the gold question well. From someone who has been a paid PR avatar, I can say there *is* decent money involved. I have a gaming/social networking/blogging/advertising background though, so I'm not sure there's a widespread call for work like this.

MMORPG players are savvy though, so if the avatar isn't 1-transparent and 2-providing some sort of value, they'll actually do more harm than good.

Funny story

Funny story of a guy paying real money for virtual sex

??

Isn't that what happens when someone joins a porn site?

I "wasted" over 20 hours of

I "wasted" over 20 hours of my life trying to make sense of Second Life's virtual economy, when I read an article in Popular Mechanics about people who were making 6 digit incomes selling not only digital products, but virtual digital products.

There is room for SEO in this space, but it doesn't necessarily have to occur in the game itself. For example, the game's primitive in-game "communications network" is pretty inefficient, and finding goods and services (even though they're viritual goods and services) within the game can be frustrating and time consuming. As a result, websites are popping up all over the place whose sole purpose is to sell "virtual" goods that can be used in game. Amazon.com's of virtual products & services, anyone?

This sounds like a playground SEOs would be quite comfortable playing in....

Not to mention

the next eBook: How I Made Millions In SecondLife.

So who's going to be the first Virtual "Rich Jerk."

I see some serious potential

I see some serious potential in these places... any developing area can be completely exploited by an SEO-type bent on mastering it. I also see these places as being a great place to launder money. Where ever real money is spent on virtual goods I see an opportunity to profit.

It's a conduit

for more than money.

Good site for marketing

Good site for marketing (advertising) by product placement and branding I would think, if you want to reach the SL demographic. Like any frontier there has to be opportunities if you get in early enough.

WoW gold selling sites do

WoW gold selling sites do make cash but it's kind of affiliate like (small $ per sale, needs high traffic to be worthwhile).

Second Life is a very unique entity though - making money from MMO's is completely different. SL openly embraces virtual to real world transactions, where MMO's are primarily games and don't encourage real life commerce.

I've said before, I think the core benefit SEO's can drive from MMO's is the viral marketing scope (which IMO is Digg-like, but has been around for much long and largely ignored). Making money directly from the games themselves (selling gold or items) is a high volume, low profit industry - as has been mentioned eariler, is farmed from Eastern nations - a very saturated market and barely worth attempting to exploit (you can really only compete on price and reputation as the exact same product is being sold through the same channels of communication).

Think of it this way - a non SEO looking at our industry may consider making money from affiliate marketing to be the same or similar to exploiting a social network such as Digg. It isn't - they are both very different, requiring different skills and approaches and both have different benefits and pitfalls.

Any MMO community will be tech-savvy, happy to link (on forums, blogs, etc) without thought of PageRank or SEO, happy to spend money online and is a tight knit community where things can go viral quickly.

Second Life on the other hand, while sharing many of these traits, is more akin to Myspace than a game. Sure, people network and may play it like a game, but more and more people use it as a business tool, which is a core concept that MMO's don't share with SL.

TBH I found the SL interface clunky and the world was much more laggy than MMOs so I gave up messing around with it after a few hours. One cool feature I did like though was the over-riding soundtrack of user submitted music, which I think has potential for aspiring musicians.

MG

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