Who, What, Why?
Enterprise uses of Immersive Environments and Virtual World technology for collaboration. As CTO of vComm Solutions and co-founder of Flying Island I'm particularly interested in the ways that collaborative 3D immersive environments might help bring dispersed teams together

Neil Canham
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View Article  Second Life Affiliate Program - free advertising for Linden Lab?
I read about the new SL affiliate program, got briefly excited and signed up.  The idea is that you run adds on your blog, and any click throughs that result in registration and conversion to a premium account within 30 days land you $5.  Now $5 sounds a lot in the world of micro-payments and miniscule ad rates.  So let's see if this is a good deal.  Currently around 10000 people a day sign up to Second Life.  Total registered users somewhere near 18 million.  These sound like big numbers - so far so good.  But according to a recent post on SL stats only 0.1% to 10% of users who sign up actually get through orientation and spend any time using their new account, the others find the experience too difficult, confusing, or lacking in goals. So now only 10 - 1000 people a day are becoming new users.  Now the real sting - payment is only if the user signs up for the 'premium' paid account in SL, not the free account that most people use to dip their virtual toe.  In theory those 'premium' accounts should be attractive as they are the only way to really own land.  However, users on free accounts can rent houses or land, and the rental market is now so large and established there is little incentive for premium.  So exactly how many people have premium accounts, and what percentage of new users take them?  These stats are hard to come by, the only reliable figure is that the last time figures were released at the end of 2008 there were some 90000 premium accounts. Total, and dropping.  Add in the fact that getting confident enough in SL to want to make the jump to premium can take a while and the user must convert to premium within 30 days - now that $5 is starting to look quite elusive.
Clearly Linden Labs want to try to revive the Premium membership - the current beta program for Linden Homes for premium members and this Affiliate program seem to indicate that.  But I can't see how this affiliate program is going to work or help, and it appears to my naive eye as just free ads on blogs for SL.  Anyone want to straighten me out?
View Article  Backchat Gets a Slap - noise, poise or joys from Back Channels?
Is there anyone in the world that doesn't get irritated by people talking in the cinema? You are mentally 'somewhere else', then you get dragged back into the darkened room with the sticky carpet and popcorn on the floor. You lose your immersion and sometimes the plot. Being asked about the plot, well that's another perfect way to make sure you miss something. This is all so obvious and so cliched that I shouldn't need to mention it. So why when we are engaged in a collaborative coming-together to watch a presentation or video livecast or some other info-share in the metaverse do we suddenly think that back-channels are the greatest thing since sliced time? The chat channel will be buzzing,IMs will be flying, people will be diverting each other off to tweets and plurks and various other trendy emmissions. And all of this is suddenly good, and I'm immediately a dinosaur for saying otherwise. Well there has been a big debate raging recently over this on the ThinkBalm Linked-In group. One post summed up my feelings perfectly, and with the permission of the author, Christopher Simpson, Professor of English at George Brown College I've copied it here:   more »
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