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« Valuing Virtual Worlds | Main | Cory Linden Leaves the Lab »

December 11, 2007


Prokofy Neva

Actually, the story of Pontiac closing Motorati is not a rumour, it's just that you have to dig a little down their blog to see the story:

"So Long and Thanks for the Memories..."

No reason is given. Comments are closed.

as a side note - you mention about piping jpgs to typepad - this might be useful for you...


I'd love an alternative to SL - I really would. It's not that I've fallen out with SL, just that I want a little more control over my section of it. I'm frustrated at what I can not do because of cost or SL's technical limitations.

But really, right now what is there?

The 2008 prediction I'd like to see is "This is the new, improved SL - try it out!"


Prokofy Neva

No, that's not what I mean -- I don't like Flikr. It's annoying in a bunch of ways. What I want is the ability to take a snapshot and have it FTP to Typepad where it can be selected easily here. I'm so tired of having to resize and resave all the screenshots from SL -- after first hunting for them in folders.


Photos, SL & Blogs - the pain!

I have to take a snapshot (10L$ a pop), save it as a texture to my PC, convert it to a JPEG, upload it to my Picasa web album and then use the linking code to put it in a blog post. This is a ballache.

Why can't I just take a snapshot and have SL automatically save as a jpeg to my Picasa web album (or Flickr or Gallery or whatever web based photo album you use)?

Prokofy Neva

Actually, taking the snapshot and saving it to your hard drive does *not* cost the $10. That only happens when you upload it inworld.

Supposedly a new feature will have the screenshots saving to jpegs. However, having it save as a jpeg is only half the job, it still has to FTP somehow to that other server and then be accessed and uploaded into a blog.

Ann Otoole

The boat is at the dock and ready to be boarded with people and companies who will be a success. However there are firm requirements.
1. A stable and secure transport to and from SL via the internet using tried and proven commerce pipelines.
2. A means of dealing with the mass content theft in progress. Perhaps the mass ban of the primary identity theft countries is in order.
3. A stable system. This means someone other than the hippies smoking a tao pipe of chaos must develop, operate and manage "the product".
4. legitimate legal staff
5. customer support capable of handling the customer base
6. Ethics

and last but most important statistical process control and improvement of the entire spectrum of secondlife. Elimination of any and all who consider transparency in quality improvement to be a bad thing.

Never gonna happen.

Alberik Rotaru

The thing driving away serious incovolvement si the population limit. It is SL's greatest strategic weakness. I suspect it is the reason Philip was reduced to silence when he was asked recently what return on investment a company can expect from SL.

The answer is simple. Numbers drive ROI for companies, bands, orchestras, schools or whatever.

A sim will crash, or slow to such an extent that it becomes useless, when the avatar population rises much above 40. The Lindens need to fix this and fast. Anything else is fiddling while Rome crashes.


Exactly, Alberik. How can the current SL be anything other than a niche game and journo's wet dream.

There needs to be an end to sim crossing crashes, small av limits in sims, lawless griefing and theft, greater reach in to the population. And they are just a start.

SL needs to be free if people are to use it like they use the internet now.

Prokofy Neva

But what other world has unique instances with unique content on every server and more than 40? I'm not aware of any world that does. Those that have millions achieve it by having uniform company content generated across shards.

Ciaran Laval

Interesting that you mention Daniel Terdman, I was going to listen to him speak, right about now but nobody seems to have told Mitch Wagner that the grid had planned maintenance at this time.

Social networking is a non starter with the 25 group limit. That's nowhere near enough for people to explore. Sure people will probably want 25 groups or less eventually, but whilst they're looking for the right group they will want to join lots of them.

As for the likes of Coke, why don't they just pay me to put a Coke ad on the side of my store instead of investing in Islands.

Or why don't companies just dip in and out of the place, hire a plot from you to do a presentation, put on a little party, leave some notecards and disappear again. I don't see why they appear to have this all or nothing mentality.

In an RL mall near me, companies come and go, put on a display, hand out info and leave. RL companies should do that. I didn't even know Pontiac were here, this idea that I have to find them is ludicrous. Had I seen a Pontiac advert I'd probably have popped along. Not that I'd ever buy a Pontiac but that's not the point!

Of course the notecard system is not a good medium for advertising web based content, that is something LL need to get a hold of.

Nubo Timeless

Is just me? The text of the essay is truncating the leftmost characters of each line? IE6

Prokofy Neva

well typepad looks that way sometimes, not to me, but nothing I can do about it, sorry.

Ordinal Malaprop

It was always going to be the case that brands who came to SL without any clear idea of what it was that they wanted to do - and no particular commitment to doing anything involving real people in SL except as passive consumers - were going to leave. This is something I have been expecting. In a year's time there will probably still be corporate presence in SL, but it will be different; what is left will be a lot more world-related, taking advantage of SL's advantages, community, social connections, individual creativity and so on.

It is all part of a general process of adjustment that these brands are going through in terms of advertising and PR on the net. They are quite often utterly mired, organisationally, in "throw a catchy tune and a flashy video up and people will have to watch it" - which was, a quarter of a century ago, innovative with MTV and so on, but now just looks antiquated.

The thing is that they will blame the platform and move about through There and IMVU and Kaneva and so on, and they might meet slightly more success there due to the different natures of the worlds, restrictions on content and other attractions for people, but in the end they will fail in every case unless they actually offer something which people want to view, because people in There are not intrinsically different to people in SL and they don't care about things being thrown into their face which don't offer them anything to participate.

The numbers of MDCs will decrease certainly as the bubble reduces in size and there are fewer opportunities to sell services, but really, it was never a huge bubble anyway.

Khamon Fate

I always love the shapes of Ordinal's paragraphs.

Prokofy Neva

I guess Cory Linden picked up stakes before any more Metaversals could:

Well, hats off to moo Money for scooping the story of the year, the Herald was asleep at the switch, and all I did was predict it exactly a year ago:

Tammy Nowotny

The CSI:NY project ran into one huge problem right from the get-go... and ironically it had nothing to do with SL per se. The file servers which were supposed to uploads the OnRez viewer crashed. (The OnRez viewer is a nice alternative to the official SL client, by the way...)

The SL part worked flawlessly. And they did get the file servers up in time for the West Coast feed of the episode.

The writers strike means that the network (I had to look it up to see which one it was... it was CBS) will likely be forced to rerun the October 24 CSI:NY episode.

The OnRez viewer is designed for lower-end hardware than the LL viewer. (It loads textures more quickly and it has only mininal atmospheric effects.) But many TV watchers have 'puters which can't even run the OnRez. However, some of them will be getting new hardware for Xmas.

One issue SL and similar metaverses have to worry about is what to do about legacy hardware. Linden has chosen to be be a liitle bit (but not too far) ahead of the commonly used platforms, which is a good strategy... if they can hold out long enough for the hardware to catch up with their software.... and if someone else doesn't actually succeed in siphoning off the cutting-edge techies.

Blaccard Burks

I have a big smile on my face after reading this blog. Corporations today are filled with people who for the most part don't have a grasp on Real Life issues anymore. The absurdity of someone test driving a virtual Solstice and watching it get stuck in sim boundries makes me wonder if people leave with a great feeling of wanting to purchase the real deal.

Maklin Deckard

"The absurdity of someone test driving a virtual Solstice and watching it get stuck in sim boundries makes me wonder if people leave with a great feeling of wanting to purchase the real deal."

Stuck at the boundry? Hell, I fell through the damn world on my test drive...three times.

Plus, their adverti-car I have to BUY? I figured it'd be free or very low cost, since it IS advertising for them. But for what they are asking, I can get some damn slick cars from FELLOW PLAYERS for what they are charging for the adverti-car, solstice, whatever it is...the little rounded thing that falls through the map.

Anyway, pontiac just flat out doesn't get it.

Jake Reitveld

Ultimately I think the failure of these companies in SL is two fold, and in both cases is related largeluy to the limited experience of the so called "conbsultants" who brought them here.

The first fialre of course is not to ackowledge how the world is used. Making a virtual car in a world where everyone can fly is nonsensical. Yes some of us will buy cars, planes, jetbikes, power arounr etc. But that has more to do with the novelty of the item and the quality of its execution.

In truth, many products, duch as vehicles and soft drinks, have oly limited application in SL and limited penetration. Such compnies benefit very little from having an entire sim. They do benefit from having specialty stores in high traficc consumer areas, selling things in SL that people do use-clothes, sploders and animations. Pontical, for examble would be in a position to offer freebie animation overrides with built in 'sploders. It would be cheaper than building eight sims, and more effective agt making newbies aware of the pontiac brand. Same with coke. Also, why not advertise in Virtual worlds with billboards and such, paying fees to the owners of spaces for them. A Pontiac Dance Ball in a popular club, will garner far more brand recognition than building a competing club on a island somewhere.

It is much easier to go to residents than to make residents come to you. The american apparel and armani stores were beutifully executed, but they were on their own sims, isolated from the mainstream of SL commerce. If you are going to put armani in SL, or american apparrel, its better to put the stores in malls and shopping districts that are well used.

Secondly and improtantly, product lines must be competitive with those that are being built by the residents. American and apparel both had beautiful builds for stores, but put nothing into the clothes they sold. Come on people, you can't expect to attain market penetration agaisnt desingers like Starley Therian of Celestial studios, or some of the otehr desigers in SL. Anf not just established FIC type designers-ther is a huge influx of new talent out there.

Armani, with money and talent, could have paid a good desinger to come up with a fall colelction, using Armani designs and put this in rental stores. And then the could have hired some resident sho desinger to execute armani shoes. With good product, the armani cachet would go far. But Armani came to SL with a million dollar bid, and non-competitive clothes. Thier failure was a forgone conclusion.
RL companies have substantial intellectual property to take advantage of-pontiac could translate hyperslick concept cars into virtual realities. Otherwise, who wants a pontiac in a world where I can own a ferrari?

The real failure is really, thought, that of the consultants who brought these companies here with promises of virtual island bliss, and left these corporate artwork monster builds unknown, and unseen by most of the population. SL is the dynamic and populous virtual world that everyone says it is. But you have to go to where the residents go. It is entirely possible, even in this 9 million resident world, to have an island and sit there, utterly alone, with no traffic, as Pontiac, Amrani, Wells Fargo, and American Apparel have learned.

Jake Reitveld

I hate typepads spamming filters. One cannot say anything any more. I am censored without even being given an opportunity to know why.

Prokofy Neva

Actually, it's something wrong with typepad right now. And what's happening is your comments are going into a spam filter without any spam words in it. And then I have to rescue them out of there, except some seem to spontaneously post.

Michael Monello

Full disclosure: I work for Campfire, the company that concepted and produced Motorati with Leo Burnett Detroit, Electric Sheep Company and Millions of Us.

While I cannot comment on Pontiac's decision to leave, I thought I'd chime in on a few misconceptions from some people in the comments thread.

1. Making a virtual car - Of course a virtual car is superfluous. Just about everything you buy in SL is completely unnecessary to the experience. People buy virtual cars for the same reason they buy bling, or clothes, or furniture -- they like cars and they are participating in car culture. It's just as valid a purchase as virtual furniture or a virtual house. Nobody involved in the project from the beginning ever believed SL was about the driving experience. In fact, before we did anything in SL, we invited a group of residents who had already been creating cars and car-related builds to come and speak with us. We knew going in that cars in SL are more like fashion than transportation.

That being said, in my opinion Francis built a great car for Pontiac.

2. Charging for the car - because we met with residents and started a dialog with them before moving into SL, we heard from in-world car builders that they were concerned Pontiac would crash the economy for their products, so we decided to charge money (with all the money donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation). We didn't want to come in, give away free cars, and crash the market for those who had built it up to that point.

3. Comparing Motorati to American Apparel is wrong on several accounts. Motorati is a real community of residents, while AA was a true corporate build. Outside of the one Pontiac sim, everything else on Motorati was built and maintained by residents.

4. Pontiac dance balls/freebies. This takes a very traditional view or marketing and suggests that what Pontiac was looking for was raw impressions. This is not the case. A Pontiac dance ball may be popular, but that's not much different than a banner ad, and you can buy a heck of a lot more banner impressions for a heck of a lot less money that doing something in SL.

I know it's easy to look at corporate builds, lump them all in the same group, and find all kinds of reasons to criticize them -- for some it's even a pastime, but we didn't walk blindly into SL thinking there would be millions of people on the sims all day. We had a good understanding of the limitations of the platform and we also knew we were entering a completely different space than anything else out there. Motorati was designed to be about dialog and community from day one, not raw brand impressions. SL excels at the former and is dismal at the latter, and marketers are learning that a smaller number of deeply engaged people might be more valuable than a huge number of people (the ones who don't own DVRs) passively watching a spot for 30 seconds.

I do appreciate the comments of many of the residents, even the ones that criticisms. You can't please all the people all of the time, but Pontiac did actually enter SL with a great respect for the residents and looked to partner with people rather than build a giant empty monument to the brand. Pontiac was looking to add to the community rather than simply market to them, and I believe Motorati bears that out.

economic mip

Remembers Tor Myhren's statements on Second Cast. Virtual worlds "Case Study: Pontiac" starting at 1:47 mark. Then the fact that campfire took 16 days to respond. So not willing to critique Millions of Us or the Sheep at this point, but basically while it took a while, this project did not meet expectations to the point where it was canned.

Prokofy Neva


I don't know who you're talking to, but I think you're talking to some other critics, not people posting here.

First of all, you don't explain *why Pontiac left*. If you can't explain that for NDA type reasons, well, that's yet another comment on the SL scene. But if everything is so wonderful, and you have all these counter-arguments, then naturally it begs the question: why leave?

You certainly don't have to tell *us* about vanity pixelating purchases. The point is, however, that, you want the cars to work, and they didn't work so well.

Nobody complained here that I can see that you charged money; it's a good thing to charge, precisely for the reasons you state.

What I find sort of disconcerting about this whole Pontiac thing as I contemplate it is that it all has this kind of "paid-for" feeling. That is, people came there not so much to "make community" as to sell their brand, get noticed, get seen, be around a brand name, etc.

How do I know that?

Because when Pontiac pulled out, they didn't remain behind. Once their free land and opportunity for visibility was pulled, they had no desire to stay, or even to try to preserve their builds somewhere else. They are content creators. They went back to their businesses, and looked for their new gigs. Let's not be sentimental here, that's what it was about.

It's a commerce community: a commercity.

: )

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