SydSim is on its way

Telstra have announced the development of a replica of the Sydney CBD on their suite of islands. It’s a development with business firmly in mind:

“At SydSim, real world businesses will soon be able to explore the commercial opportunities available in the virtual world, by renting an office or shopfront at the virtual location of their existing real world premises.

This is an opportunity to secure top-notch locations in a 3D virtual skyscape of Sydney’s CBD, and see what sales, marketing and employee collaboration opportunities are available, without the fuss of setting up their own island.”

When we contacted Telstra and asked when SydSim would be a reality, we were told it was already live. All I could find this evening was the start of a build on two new sims: Martin Place and Loftus:


There’s never been any doubts about Telstra’s commercial focus within Second Life – this is an obvious evolution from the successful land rentals and the recent expansion of two more sims. I’d imagine there’ll be no problems selling the SydSim real estate – the real challenge will be managing lag issues on what is already a popular neck of the woods.

What’s not in doubt is Telstra’s committment to SL – the other Australian Telcos have some major catching up to do in the virtual world sphere.

Check it out in-world

The Pond expands

As Tateru Nino has reported on Second Life Insider, the Pond have added another two sims: Pondagon and Pondi Beach.

An increase in rental property is an obvious driver for Pondagon in particular. Pondi Beach is off limits at this stage – maybe some surfing competitions are on the way? I personally would like to see a ‘Find Harold Holt’ treasure hunt….

The Pond gets brief mention in Telstra financial results

I noticed that Telstra’s Second Life presence, The Pond, got a brief mention in the end of financial year profit announcement from Telstra head, Sol Trujillo:

“For the fourth successive half we have increased our retail broadband market share and absolute broadband
revenue growth outweighed the fixed line decline for the first time. Innovations such as our Web 2.0 I-Pond
user interface, BigPond TV and a Second Life presence not only enhance BigPond’s formidable customer
value proposition but also represent further steps in our integration strategy and our evolution into a media-
comms company”.

As we mentioned a couple of weeks back, The Pond are offering land rentals, which I’d imagine will make the presence more profitable. When I dropped by during the week there was already a fair amount of activity:



If you’ve decided to rent from Telstra, we’d love to hear from you about what specifically attracted you to the proposition?

The Pond offers land rentals

The Pond are promoting a rental land auction in conjunction with advertising on


The reserve amounts are quite reasonable and it’ll be interesting to see what the level of interest will be. What will be even more interesting will be what businesses or residences will end up there. There’s a key sentence in the information provided: “BigPond reserves the right to make its own judgment about the suitability of any potential tenant of The Pond”. You can assume Optus won’t be allowed to set up shop on The Pond….

The full notecard available in-world reads as follows:

“The Pond – Residential Land Sale Process

On the 26th July 2007 we will publish some web “For Sale” pages on, which will allow you to offer a MONTHLY TIER amount for your preferred Lot in LINDEN DOLLARS .

A link to the relevant URL can be made by touching the in-world Info Map at the central information site. You can also search the Trading Post in the Entertainment & Electronics > Video & Computer Games categories.

An offer will imply acceptance of a minimum rental period of three months at the rate offered. After three months you, the tenant, will continue to pay the same monthly Tier in LINDEN DOLLARS.

These Trading Post web pages will have a reserve price associated with each Lot, which is the minimum Tier offer we will accept for the Lot.

RESERVE PRICES (Monthly Linden Tier)
Some lots are slightly different sizes, yet have the same reserve price.

L$ Tier Meter2

$10,800 8,192
$6,750 4,096
$4,050 2,048
$2,160 1,024
$1,350 512

If you want to make an offer, you will need to register with the Trading Post. To register as a buyer you need to have an acceptable email address.

No credit card details are required for registration, unless you cannot provide an acceptable email address. BigPond will not have access to your email address or personal information at any stage in the process.

We suggest that you using your Avatar name as your user-name on the trading post (eg. Very_Mulberry or ThreeD_Raymaker), but this is not a requirement. If your Avatar name is not the user-name used for bidding, then it is up to you to make your Avatar name clear by including it in conditions attached to your offer.

We will keep the offering process open for 7 Days. During this offering period, we will periodically review, reject and respond to any low offers, allowing you to place a new competitive offer if you desire. BigPond cannot guarantee that any offer that is not explicitly rejected will be accepted.

At the end of 7 Days, Thursday 2nd August at 18:00 AEST, offers will be closed. At this time BigPond may accept an open offer for each property, which will most likely be the highest offer. BigPond reserves the right to make its own judgment about the suitability of any potential tenant of The Pond.

BigPond will use the Avatar Name details provided with the winning offer to contact the Avatar in world via IM, at which time the Property Statement, Residential Agreement, and General Terms notecards will be given to the Avatar.

Payment of the monthly Tier at the Land Vendor by the Avatar will constitute acceptance of the terms contained within documents.

Upon payment, BigPond will transfer ownership of the Lot to the Avatar, for their enjoyment for the duration of the tenancy.

Tier payments are required monthly in advance, and can be made at the Land Vendor in-world.

Full Terms and Conditions incorporated in the Residential Agreement and General Terms will be available for viewing at the Information Stand in-world, as soon as possible.”

BigPond and ABC make debut on NWN’s Headcount

Veteran aussie SL writer Tateru Nino has released her Mixed Reality Headcount for this week, and as promised the Telstra and ABC presences were measured and feature prominently – The Pond at number four and ABC Island at number eight.

Tateru has invited comment on the stats.

Icons under scrutiny

As reported on, there’s increasing scrutiny of iconic Aussie landmarks in SL and the copyright implications of their use. The two under the microscope at this stage are the Sydney Opera House (found on both the BigPond islands and the Australia sim) and Uluru (on the BigPond presence).

The article asserts that Telstra have confirmed they didn’t approach the traditional owners of Uluru for permission, so this is a grey area that may to attract a lot of attention. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald however, quotes Telstra denying breaching any copyright. Either way, the resolution of the issue will set a precedent that will hopefuly provide some clarity for future development.

What are your thoughts – should people be free to replicate iconic Australian landmarks in a virtual world? And if so, under what conditions?

(Thanks to the Mindtracks blog for pointing to the story)

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