Internet Industry Association launches

The old saying ‘if it rains, it pours’ applies in Second Life this week. The Australian Internet Industry Association (IIA) is launching their SL presence tonight.


IIA Island contains a sizeable sandbox, cafe, freefall platform and assorted buildings. The launch is being held tonight at 6.30pm AEST. The plans for the launch are:

“Streaming music of original Aussie bands is being supplied by The artists will be in attendance (as their avatars) to support the launch and mingle with the guests. To coincide with tonight’s launch, a short legal forum will consider legal issues relating to 3D virtual worlds. Nic Suzor and Nick Abrahams are recognised legal experts in this area and have agreed to present at the forum in the Andrew McLaughlin auditorium commencing shortly after the 6.30pm launch.”

I was interested to note one of the key sponsors was Optus – a small foray into Second Life for Telstra’s largest competitor but at least a start.

It’s also worth noting that the AIIA (Australian Information Industry Association) launched in May in a more modest way. So we now have an IIA and an AIIA – and both demonstrate the increasing commitment of the IT industry in Australia to Second Life.

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 site) had an island under development. The development is now complete and is called ‘Real Estate Life’.


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’s 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.

Electric Sheep have virtual ad network in development

Over on Clickable Culture, Tony Walsh has pointed to Electric Sheep’s ad network in development (beta sign-ups located here.


Such developments will go down like a lead balloon with some residents and there’s previously been a movement against the proliferation of ads.

What’s your thoughts? Would you place advertising on your land if you were paid?

Virtual Melbourne has arrived

Melbourne Laneways is a new build featured on ABC Island. It was created by Gary Hazlitt and Ben Zabelin from The Project Factory on behalf of the ABC and Multimedia Victoria, who have produced an associated publication titled ‘Would Your Business Benefit from a Second Life’ (download here).

The public launch was held this evening (Thursday night) at 7pm AEST with a good roll up of aussie residents:


The creators describe the build as such: “The project uses real-life images of graffiti, architecture and objects found in Melbourne’s iconic city streets, and recreates these to produce a completely interactive world where people can explore mysterious laneways, clubs, puzzles and cafes.  
Head of Virtual World Development at The Project Factory, Gary Hayes, says: ‘We wanted to catch the vibrancy of the Melbourne Laneways and the architecture of Federation Square.  Second Life gave us the ability to animate these buildings and give them the movement that we feel they want.’ ”

There’s a lot to explore in a fairly modest area. Without giving too much away, here’s some glimpses of what to expect:



And there’s even a cafe you can drop by with a well-known face behind the counter:


It’s great to see an iconic part of Melbourne in Second Life. Now, where’s Hobart?

Check it out in-world

Australian developer offers international dialing in-world

Australian Second Life developer, Big-Bit has launched internet-to-phone and advertiser services for properties in SL.

The partnership is with internet telephony provider, Wusic. What it allows is for residents to make phone calls to the real world. Their announcement claims:

“Users will be able to enjoy voice services that will enhance their experiences in virtual properties. Avatars from virtual worlds, social and business network members will be able to conduct voice conversations with users not logged into virtual properties. Specifically for virtual worlds companies already established will be able to receive voice calls and covert leads which would otherwise have been lost if not for the ability to speak to a sales or service representative.

This service offers companies an innovative way for getting products launched in social and virtual networks.”

Is this a service you’d find useful? I can see the functionality of being able to involve people not in-world in an SL event – how else would you use it?

Disclosure: Big-Bit is a paying advertiser on SLOz.

More than just the jitters? Australian business in Second Life

One of the most commonly reported aspects of SL is its relationship with RL business. A year ago, the reporting was predominantly rose-shaded and that continued up until recently when some US business reduced or ceased their SL presence. The mood change in the mainstream media was noticeable and to a large extent its continued. Even in the SL blogosphere there’s arguably a more sceptical tone adopted in relation to corporate presences – there were always sceptics but there’s now a wider acceptance of the pitfalls of doing business in SL. That said, corporations continue to set up shop – Peugeot are a recent example.

In an Australian context, Telstra and the ABC’s launches remain the largest to date with a few smaller presences either established or under way. Is it just our relatively small population that explains the state of play or a fundamental case of ‘wait and see’? launches – Linden Lab chases business a little harder

Linden Lab have announced the launch of, dedicated to businesses and other organisations wanting to find out about the opportunities Second Life may present. Notice I said opportunities and not threats. I spent five minutes looking around the site and couldn’t see any information alluding to the challenges and threats of doing business in SL, though to be fair there are lots of links to external resources which will contain some of the downside.


The intro blurb pretty much sums up the pitch Linden Lab are putting to business:

“The Second Life Grid is a full-featured service platform of revolutionary technologies that support the globally renowned virtual world experience, Second Life. The Grid offers a comprehensive system of infrastructure, consumer features, tools, and services that allows any organization to provide its own unique immersive experience in the world’s largest interconnected virtual world.”

The formalisation of support programs for groups of non-English speaking new users is a welcome addition. A lot of other services already provided such as the ability for a company to offer their own registration and orientation portals, have been brought across to the new site.

In retrospect, this is an obvious thing for Linden Lab to have done and it’ll be interesting to see the impact it has on conversion rates for business – you’d think a more integrated approach for business would remove one of the barriers to jumping into the SL experience.

AIIA forum discusses opportunities and threats for Australian Business

On Wednesday 29th August, the Australian Information Industry Association held an in-world forum entitled: “Are Virtual Worlds relevant to my Marketing Effort?”.


Moderated by yours truly, the panelists were:

1. Lise Robiani (Lisa Romano), Project Manager, Strategic Development, ABC Innovation – ABC
2. Gizzy Electricteeth (Kelly Yeoh), Virtual Worlds Engineer, IBM
3. Caliope Voss (Mandy Salomon), Senior Researcher, User Environments, Smart Internet Technology CRC – Swinburne University of Technology
4. Texas TimTam (Grace Roberts), Founding Director – Second Life TV Network & Cattle Puppy Productions

The discussion ranged from engagement strategies to brand opportunities and threats with a variety of questions from the twenty or so attendees.

An audio transcript should be available soon and we’ll add it here.

More pictures from the event here.

Coldwell Banker Australia’s non-presence in Second Life

I came across a press release dated August 23rd from Coldwell Banker Australia, touting its win of an innovation award, partly for its Second Life presence. To quote from the press release:


HOPE ISLAND,QLD. (August 23, 2007) – Coldwell Banker Australia is pleased to announce that Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has won the 2007 Inman News Innovator Award in the franchise category. The announcement was made at the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference in San Francisco, just one day after Coldwell Banker® made history by being the first national real estate brand to market a real home in the virtual 3-D world of Second Life. Inman News is a
leading independent real estate Web site and media news service.

Mr Alex Caraco, chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Greater Australia said, “Coldwell Banker has a long and distinguished history of keeping up with customer’s demands in regards to property information and innovative forms of consumer control, this award recognizes that we have become “the next generation” real estate brand” Coldwell Banker entered the second phase of its involvement in Second Life recently when it unveiled a 3-D reproduction precisely matching the specifications of a newly constructed $3.1 million home in Washington, currently listed for sale by Coldwell Banker. Users can visit for immediate access to the “real world” home and to Second Life.

Previously, Coldwell Banker became the first national real estate company to open a virtual headquarters on Second Life and in March began selling 500 virtual homes to Second Life members.

“Second Life is a great example of our willingness to explore new channels,” said Charlie Young, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “We are gaining insight into the potential of 3-D as a marketing vehicle and learning how a tech-savvy consumer wants to interact with the brand prior to even contacting a sales associate.”


Of course, Coldwell have been in SL since March but I thought I’d contact the Australian contact listed in the press release to ask what the Australian operation’s involvement was with SL. The response was:

“Coldwell Banker Australia at this stage is not involved in Second Life , the media release was an announcement of the brand’s initiatives.”

Here’s a perfect example of a subsidiary attempting to look innovative by riding on the coattails of a parent company. It’s one of those examples where there’s zero interest in engaging with SL residents and maximum interest in hyping the perception of innovation.

Get your face into SL

Avatar Island is the home of the CyberExtruder, a fully automated process that merges your RL face with your SL one.


The easiest way to explain the process is to reproduce the notecard you receive when you lay on the operating table:

“Thank you for choosing the CyberExtruder face creation service for you avatar. This simple and fast process will automatically prepare your new face texture within minutes. The steps involved are as follows:

· Pay the sign in front of you; $2700L for one face, $4000L for 2 and $5400 for 3

· After you complete the lab machine process, you will receive a personalized webpage link, click it

· Follow the guidelines on the web page to produce the best results

· The system will prompt you to locate a photo on your computer for uploading

· Within a minute or two your new face will sent to you by email

· To apply the face texture to your Avatar: upload the image file (File -> Upload Image) then apply it to your character using Face Tattoo under Edit Appearance

IMPORTANT: Make sure you have modify rights to the skin you will be wearing with your face BEFORE you begin. If the skin is not modifiable the face tattoo option won’t be available once you have uploaded your face.



I haven’t tried the service as yet, and it’s not cheap but if you want a face that at least resembles your RL one, it’s probably worth the gamble.

Thanks to 3pointD for the heads-up

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