Linden Lab has built famous virtual ‘3D’ world namely ‘Second Life’ (let’s call it SL for short). It was talk of the town, as I remember for two good years in 2008-2010. Although the idea is very interesting, since then, it has been overshadowed by ‘classic’ social networks such as Facebook. What could be a possible way to revive SL and bring it into main stream again? I guess it needs a change in its business model. So what is its current business model? In SL, anyone can log into and roam around – It’s a free world. However, one can buy ‘land’ in this virtual world and set up interesting ventures, such as buildings, artefacts, exhibitions and so on. And just like a website, people purchase goods. If this is all promising, what part of business model is pulling SL back? My guess is – It is an empty market, probably because of incomplete market ecosystem. So if it can be built, SL should thrive again. Is there any example where market ecosystem is built but it does not have capabilities of SL? There are at least two – Amazon and eBay. It can be any, but Amazon looks slightly better.
Why Amazon? Amazon addresses a broad spectrum of market ecosystem – From product catalogs to selling goods to servicing to analytics. Moreover, it is a very integrated ecosystem from point of view of both, consumers and producers. With SL at their side, Amazon should be able provide personalized services such as help-desk integration, virtual salesmen and so on. Virtual Reality integration should close the gap vis-à-vis real shopping experience. Only missing thing, as to my knowledge is ‘auctioning’ and that’s where eBay has slight edge.
Why eBay? It is literally a virtual marketplace. Individual buyers and sellers make deals and eBay facilitates. There can either direct deals or auctions. eBay provides transparent information about sellers such as feedback and so on. If I were to imagine a virtual marketplace in SL where consumers are approaching a virtual auction in 3D, it sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Finally, what is your take? Please leave it in comments below.