I have been at the opening of IBMs innovation centre in Dublin today where one of their focus areas is virtual worlds. All in all a very interesting day. I learnt a few things:
- There were over 18,000 visitors to virtual Dublin in SL on Monday (visitor defined as an avatar who spent more than five minutes in the area)
- Spam has arrived in SL (inevitable I know, and I can almost hear Alan saying that the only things more certain than spam are death and taxes). In a parallel to link farms on Google certain venues are apparently making themselves look more popular by paying avatars a linden dollar an hour to sit in their premises. They also give them a little piece of software that makes it look like they are moving their mouse to fool Lindens into thinking they are active. The aim of all this activity is to increase traffic by artificially boosting their position in the most popular rankings.
- In a parralel with the early days of the internet I’m hearing from IBM that the first place a lot of companies are looking to experiment with the 3D internet is inside the enterprise. Apparently companies are looking to build “intraverses” – which are like metaverses except the are inside the enterprise. This reminds me of intranets – like the internet, but inside the enterprise.
- I’d lost track of just how much activity there is in this space. There are well over 100 virtual worlds now – SL is the most visible but there are a number of other successful (and even profitable) ones – including ActiveWorlds
- SL are introducing (and may already have introduced) a quick way to get started. You will be able to click a link and get started in a predefined area with limited capabilities with a much smaller download. For example John Mahon who runs virtual Dublin is setting it up so that you can get directly into his Dublin area by clicking from his website. You will come in an avatar dressed as he has chosen with instructions on what to do that he has created. This should make the site much more accessible.
- SL is now largely hosted on Amazon’s S3, but they are still struggling with scaling problems.
- Despite all this it is still REALLY EARLY DAYS in this corner of the internet world. If the mobile internet is at 1997 this is more like 1987.
I am really intrigued by all this activity. I’m not sure yet if it will translate into a deal in the near future, but there is enough here to keep me looking! Plus I love messing around with this stuff.
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