Australian business interest growing in Second Life?

In the next two weeks I’m involved in two separate events that have the same purpose – to raise awareness of the opportunities that Second Life presents. The first has a corporate focus and the panel discussion involves key people from Telstra, REA and the ABC involved in their respective Second Life presences. The second one is also business orientated with a communications flavour.

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In both cases, there’ll be up to a hundred representatives from Australian businesses, most of them medium to large operations with varying understanding of virtual worlds. A while back we wrote about Australian business taking a ‘wait and see’ approach – this may still be the case but there’s certainly no shortage of forums where SL is being presented as an innovation option.

Real Estate Life – the full story

As promised, we spent a little more time checking out ‘Real Estate Life’, the island launched by the REA Group. There’s a lot of emphasis on space and it’s certainly not a build that has logo saturation – the main building certainly has its fair share but otherwise it’s an understated approach.

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We caught up with Dave Platter, Corporate PR and Internal Communications Manager from REA to ask a handful of questions:

Lowell Cremorne: What was the impetus for the decision to develop a presence in Second Life?

Dave Platter: The web has changed a lot since we got started with our first site 12 years ago. SecondLife represents one possible vision of what the web of the future will look like.

We want to be a part of it so we could better understand how it works. That way we can apply the lessons we learn to our 16 real estate websites.

Lowell Cremorne: You’ve mentioned a primary aim is to engage with the SL community – how do you plan on achieving that?

Dave Platter: Launching the REA Group island is the first step. But in one sense it’s the least important of all. What’s really important is building relationships. So our next step is to spend more time in-world, using the island as a base and perhaps a place for meetings and events. We’re walking with baby steps and we will use what we learn from other Second Lifers to help us decide what to do next.

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Lowell Cremorne: Do you have a timeframe for your committment to Second Life – are there success metrics that would lead you to leaving if they weren’t met?

Dave Platter: At this point the only thing that would cause us to abandon SecondLife would be if we simply decided there was nothing else useful to learn there. But, given the vitality of the community and the innovation the platform displays, there probably is a lot to learn in SecondLife.

Lowell Cremorne: Will the islands have any staffing?

Dave Platter: They won’t have full-time staff for now. It’s not a retail store or even an information booth, although there are some information screens. Rather than waiting on the island for people to drop by, we’ll seek out people, places and events of interest, and also sometimes we’ll invite others to come by.

It’ll be interesting to see how the island fares over coming months – there’s no shortage of near-deserted corporate presences around Second Life. If the enaggement strategy espoused is put into practice, REA may be one of the success stories.

Check it out in-world

Real Estate Life is latest aussie entrant into Second Life

Back in July we reported that the REA Group(best known for the realestate.com.au site) had an island under development. The development is now complete and is called ‘Real Estate Life’.

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We’ll do a more detailed tour of it later this week, but here’s what REA are saying their objective with the presence is to “learn from and build relationships with other in-world inhabitants and entrepreneurs”.

The build itself is described by REA:

“The island is relatively modest, with a small, inviting building, which includes a reception area, meeting rooms, a boardroom and large screens that provide information about the company‚Äôs websites.

The building sits on what is in fact the largest of four closely placed islands. Each of the other three has an outdoor gathering area for meetings and events.”

Watch for a fuller report later this week including an interview with REA about what they’re hoping to achieve. I’ll be surprised if there’s not some significant mainstream media coverage given the previous focus on virtual real estate in SL and the long timeframe since the last Australian corporation entered the fray.

Check it out in-world.

REA Group on the way into SL

Jana Gillespie, director of Big-Bit Australia Pty Ltd has let us know that the REA Group, best known for its site realestate.com.au, has signed on for an SL presence. There’s nothing to see at this stage but the island is present in search and is called ‘Real Estate Life’:

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The presence will represent the group’s worldwide operations and contain a community area with events and seminars planned. It’ll be interesting to see if they decide to get into virtual real estate. Will Anshe Chung and the other large land barons end up having another big player in the arena? It’d make for an even more interesting market.

(disclosure – Big-Bit are a paying advertiser on SLOz)

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