Telstra-Big Pond has 12 islands in Second Life. And he touched on some of the challenges of a major company operating in SL. People had protested against the telco’s presence, but he accepted that this was a risk of doing business in Second Life.
One of the most interesting parts of his talk was how the second largest bank in SL just shut today, reflecting turmoil in international financial markets in the real world.
He also showed off some interesting sound sculptures in Second Life where moving through light shards made some sounds or even had triggered words. In the US, public funding is going to support the Auden project
Big Pond created the islands just in March, and their presence has generated three-quarters of a million dollars worth of press coverage. They now have the largest brand in SL in the world, based on Linden traffic and time spent on their islands.
They definitely have a good strategy in that they have focused the development on their islands to focus on activities, giving people things to do. I don’t spend much time in SL, but Suw did for a time. And one of her complaints after a time was that she didn’t find much to do. After flying around for a while, she got a bit bored.
Now, there is a VoIP service in SL that is supplanting text chats. People are coming to their Billabong Bar to talk and play music. They also are renting out plots of land on their islands. They struggled with a lot of issues about privacy and what types of services they would allow. Very un-Telstra issues such as what would be their policy for ‘escort services’.
What they are trying to do is to balance governance with a desire not to interfere. Traffic is up 35% since they started the tenancy agreements. Telstra is working with Linden on both software and hardware improvements to make the SL experience better.