OK, I promise this is the last post about Second Life for this week, but since I blogged about this way back in June, I just gotta tell you the news. Several Second Life residents have set up shops on the world’s most popular retail shopping site, Amazon.com. They want to use its virtual environment to actually sell physical goods via Amazon.com.
Linden Lab of San Francisco, creator and operator of Second Life, doesn’t track the Amazon goods sold, since Linden doesn’t make money from the sales. Nevertheless, the extension of Amazon.com’s reach into a place with more than 1.3 million residents has potential for big sales over time, given Second Life’s growth rate. Since September, the population of the online world has jumped from 735,000 subscribers to more than 1.3 million. Second Life residents do a total of about $6 million worth of business a month, up from about $2 million a few months ago.
This is an unprecedented linkage between one of the largest online virtual worlds and the world’s largest (physical) online retailer. Inhabitants of the Second Life online universe will now be looking for real-world money by setting up stores powered by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
I have to imagine that anyone savvy enough to reside virtually in Second Life and build a community in that environment probably already knows about Amazon.com’s role as a real-life provider of goods. But that’s not what’s at stake here.
Turning a “browser” into a “buyer” requires the right combination of mood and environment — and Second Life inhabitants are by nature more tuned in to this than most.
As for Amazon, the 1.3 million citizens participating in Second Life ain’t no small potatos. That a demographic ripe for mining. Now whether it becomes a fixture in Second Life will be left up to its members, as they are the ones who will continue to build the revenue-sharing virtual stores and write the scripts needed to integrate with Amazon’s web services for third-party retailers.