On my drive home the other night from Seder I got to thinking about the types of first life companies and products I'd like to see in Second Life. Seems like I had a lot of time on my hands, right? Well, have you ever tried driving back to NJ from Long Island on a Jewish Holiday while your entire family was asleep in the car? If you have, then you know that plenty of ideas will jump into your head.
One of the things that disappoint me when it comes to first life companies jumping into SL is that they just view it as an extension of their web presence or as a place where they have to be before it becomes big. You know what I've seen when this happens? No traffic, no reason to visit, and of course a place that doesn't take advantage of a place where anyone can live a fantasy, be what they want to be, or a have real-time conversations instead of boring conference calls. Anyway, thanks to questions from my friend Jim over the weekend, here's a list of first life companies and their project that I'd like to see in Second Life.
- Following up on Coldwell Banker's launch, I'd like to see Bank of America either buy one of the SL banks or start up their own. I have about L$6,000 sitting in my account and I'd like to earn a little interest, but one of the things I learned in the official guide to SL is buyer beware and you might lose your money. A real life bank with a nice branding budget can make a lot of inroads in SL.
- GQ - yes the men's magazine. What I'd like to see is GQ with a men's store in SL for hair, skins, clothing, animations, etc - pretty much anything for men in SL because if you've ever tried to outfit yourself you are limited to urban, boring, or gangster looks. And, try and find some decent hair if you are a man and you spend all of your time searching, searching, and searching.
- Speaking of search, I think Yahoo should figure out a way to power the search in SL and make improvements to it. The search functionality is cumbersome at best and forget about searching on 3 term words. Plus, the business owners of the retail locations can include anything they want in a descriptions leading to a lot of wasted visits. So, besides revamping the search, I'd like to be able to have users tag the results with what they've found there and how accurate the search was.
- University of Phoenix - yes that pop-under, button placements, network buying online teaching institute. SL would be a great place for teaching classes and as opposed to boring screens, you can have an actual class, with people in the class room raising their hand, and streaming video of a lecture.
- Donald Trump - no I'm not insane. Think about what he can bring to SL in the way of products. First, Starwood has a hotel in SL and it is a great idea. You know why? Because getting a feel for a room you are going to book is difficult in a flat environment. How big is the room? Can you move around in it? How about the view? SL is perfect for this type of booking. Second, Trump can bring an instant credibility to gambling houses in SL which can best be described as buyer beware. A first life Casino owner can legitimize SL Casinos and at the same time provide a lot of branding opportunities for them.
Those are just my 5 favorite ideas. I thought of many more on my boring trip back from Long Island and of course have other ideas that I've presented to clients which I can't print here. Needless to say, just putting up a Second Life office will disappoint the marketer and the community. Building places and products that enhance the SL experience will pay big dividends over the long term.