Second Life Enterprise Provides Huge Step Forward for Virtual Business

Secondlife_logo_qjpreviewth Linden Lab took a huge step forward in the growing market for virtual collaboration and business telecommuting with its announcement that companies could now purchase business-grade Second Life software.

Organizations as far-flung as IBM and the Navy are in on the new software, which also has an upscaled security and authentication process and the ability to protect sensitive company information, launches Linden Lab into all new forms of virtual interaction.

Pixels and Policy investigates what Second Life Enterprise means for the virtual business industry.

Moving the Workplace Online

One of the biggest benefits of Second Life Enterprise over the existing version of Second Life is the fact that Linden Lab's business environment provides enhanced security and business networking tools. For $55,000, companies receive seven dedicated business islands decked out with ampitheaters to meeting rooms.  

Perhaps the feature with the most potential involves granting Second Life Enterprise users the ability to transfer content produced in the standard Second Life world to their new business server:

Existing Second Life customers can move the content
they created in the hosted iteration over to the Second Life Enterprise beta
environment, effectively saving their work. Second Life Enterprise can support
up to eight regions simultaneously and 800 concurrent users in the same

This fully realizes the possibility of rapid prototyping of real-world goods without the risk of the general population taking notice.Sure, islands can be locked down and visitors can be hand-picked, but the Second Life security system isn't foolproof, and Second Life Enterprise takes this into account by sequestering users on a private server.

Businesses previously lukewarm to entering a world where sex shops and flying penises abound now have a private way to take advantage of the virtual office, complete with the same quality content creation tools open to regular Second Life users. 

A New Model for Corporate Involvement in the Metaverse

This is the opposite of the American Apparel theory of Second Life – instead of attempting to attract visitors, companies will work on internal operations and projects in relative seclusion, with an eye to traditional real-world product launches. 

Perhaps the most useful addition to Second Life Enterprise will be how small-time content creators can reap financial gain from companies already shelling out $55,000 for Linden Lab's private server kit. Coming soon: The Second Life Work Marketplace.


By opening up Second Life's sprawling content creation market to corporations – and by allowing small producers to profit off the potentially massive corporate interest in purchasing ready-made products – Linden Lab manages to please all parties.

This is a shrewd business move, with the potential to grab the Lindens a financial share from both corporations and individual creators. It could be the spark of innovation that keeps Linden Lab ahead as new worlds come online.

13 thoughts on “Second Life Enterprise Provides Huge Step Forward for Virtual Business”

  1. I thought the “American Apparel” theory was to make a building with nothing to do in it. PLEASE don’t attach them with the generic theory of attraction-building in Second Life. Realize AA was nearly four years ago. Do you judge Facebook by Facebook of four years ago, too?

  2. Ron, Isn’t your business still based on that 4 year old model? Looking at your web site it would seem so.
    LOL – you cannot even keep your own dates on your site current.
    Ron we still judge you by the Ron of four years ago.
    Peter Wainwright
    Wainwright Virtual Design, Inc.

  3. @Peter
    No, you fundamentally misunderstand. American Apparel was a building with literally nothing to do. If you look at an attraction based model – like The Weather Channel sims in Second Life by my company, The L-Word from Electric Sheep, or even the core Greenies Sim – these are places where the branding is embedded in the overall experience and there’s lots to do. I don’t blame Aimee for the failure of the AA sim – I’m sure that was a marketing person basically going to Aimee and demanding to “build me a store”, but that’s besides the point.
    As for the website snipe… seriously? I took a look at yours. Yo, glass house. Stones. Just saying.

  4. Ron,
    I think my point is, your company is still stuck in that era. Have you created any projects since 2008? Which is nearly two years ago? All other work was created in 2007, which is just about three years ago?
    I got these dates from your SL Developer listing, why haven’t you added new projects?
    Do you have anything new?
    Not a snipe. Facts.
    I’m just sick of hearing from so called ‘experts’ who haven’t done anything for years. Those early projects like AA, Adidas, Toyota were pioneering, easy to “snipe” at in hindsight.
    Many more companies are more relevant and creating great projects now in 2009/10. Especially what’s happening in Blue Mars, OpenSim and Metaplace.
    I had to listen to your drivel at this years SLCC. You managed to say an awful lot, without actually saying anything. Then you “sniped” about the organizers, way to go Ron!
    You’re also fundamentally misunderstanding your own jargon. According to you, AA was a building with nothing to do? You go on to praise ’embebbed branding’, the AA shop was an ’embedded brand experience’ it was total brand. It was not a failure, AA is all about PR. They got that, don’t measure what the SLer’s got out of it, as the real reason to be there was for the column inches and media attention. Something they got, they still get 4 years later. A failure? I think not. It wasn’t anything more than it was designed to be. A 3D advert.

  5. Peter,
    There’s no reason for such hostility, but I’ll answer your questions:
    1. Yes, we’ve had business since 2008. Like most Service Providers working in virtual worlds, a lot of clients do not allow us to talk about projects until they are done. That said, we have just finished the release candidate for the Enterprise Orientation experience for all of Second Life working with Linden Lab. We kinda think that’s a big deal. Facts? Uninformed conjecture. Had you asked without hostility, you could have come off like a human, instead of a jerk.
    2. “Hindsight”? I’ve been critical and supportive of virtual world projects all along. Perhaps you’re just reading the wrong blogs. I can provide a long list of colleagues who will attest to the insight I’ve provided over the years – not hindsight.
    Compare that to — have you done any virtual world projects?
    3. Blue Mars, OpenSim, and Metaplace all have a lot of potential. I’m following them, my company researches them, and we add valuable assets to our portfolio of virtual worlds that we work with. But those don’t just automatically replace Second Life. They supplement.
    4. I sniped about the organizers? Really? You know absolutely nothing. I’ve been working with the organizers the whole time. Perhaps you should ask them before you lay allegations. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy what I said in the one panel I was on, and I wouldn’t mind talking about it and hearing feedback on the SLCC Business Google Group – so that other people can be involved in the conversation.
    5. Agreed that AA’s main goal was to make a PR splash. But down the road, it wound up giving them negative PR. We can debate about the success, but that’s a side-issue. You prove my point – AA had a fundamentally different goal and method than attraction-based virtual world locations.
    So what’s up your butt, anyway? Why the hostility?

  6. Ron,
    As for the SLCC, perhaps you can talk about what happened after 2006? I understand from a conversation I just had in Second Life, your team my want to hear why you didn’t come back. Only to return after the REAL organizers of the SLCC broke off to have the real spirit of SL event in Las Vegas.
    Happy to hear your side of those events.

  7. Ron,
    I’m done here. As this is turning into the discussions we used to have on Pi. Fruitless and energy sapping.
    Ron, good luck.

  8. “REAL organizers of the SLCC broke off to have the real spirit of SL event in Las Vegas.”
    Oh, I see, you’re a tea-partyer. That’s where the hostility is. For the record, there was exactly one organizer (from 2006 and 2007) for the Second Tea party: Nethermind. There has literally been on the order of a dozen volunteers. I’m sorry, but Moo Money and Stroker were not SLCC “main organizers”. It also is no surprise that Stroker broke off, considering he’s suing Second Life. While I wasn’t involved with SLCC from 2006 – 2008, your criticism was that I “sniped” the organizers of this year’s. Since I worked on SLCC this year and have continued to work with the organizers, that’s simply not true.
    If you do check back, I ask you to man up and admit you’re wrong about at least some of my points. It’s a whole lot easier to run away when faced with your “facts” being disputed.

  9. This isn’t a *huge* step forward, although we appreciate *your* need to suck up.
    It’s just a good thing that naturally follows on from user demand — “take me away form other people I don’t like and find have too much bling and bad taste”.
    So now the businesses have not only lock-down islands but firewalled silos, even though geeks are constantly screaming at us that we can’t have walled gardens and silos because we need to allow their hooks into Facebook etc so they can have widgets to develop.
    Which brings me to the giant step BACKWARDS on this product — the notion that a Soviet-style state store with only filtered and approved “solutions proviers” can sell to the behind-the-firewall people.
    You’ve COMPLETELY misrepresented this program as follows:
    “Perhaps the most useful addition to Second Life Enterprise will be how small-time content creators can reap financial gain from companies already shelling out $55,000 for Linden Lab’s private server kit. Coming soon: The Second Life Work Marketplace. ”
    You make it seem like any small-time creator can “reap financial gain” *as they can now on the main grid in an open economy.
    But the Lindens have said in fact that only 30 Gold Solutions Providers, who have been pre-approved developers who paid a fee to be in the program (!) will be allowed to sell to Enterprise customers — an outrageous giveaway which amounts to creating a chaibol type corrupt relationship between government and big state-affiliated companies.
    Wrong, wrong, wrong — and hopefully people in the Enterprises themselves will help Linden Lab see how wrong it is and just go around their GSPs and insist on content that can be easily purchased and licensed automatically without “specially connections”.
    So, all that firewalling and all those tools to copy content just legally for use for SLE — while of course, threatening the IP of everyone on the main grid by encouraging those copying tools and “site licenses” (corporate purchase of content provider work-for-hire) rather than encouragement of IP.
    If this were the case “opening up Second Life’s sprawling content creation market to corporations – and by allowing small producers to profit off the potentially massive corporate interest in purchasing ready-made products” — I’d be celebrating SLE emphatically.
    But I’m denouncing it because it is NOT opening anything of the sort except another line of revenue for the existing FIC, the feted inner core that the Lindens have nurtured and fed their contracts to since day one of their beta.
    I’ve been protesting this in the loudest possible way because it is a precursor for in general shutting off an open and free economy and allowing only certain licensed providers to make content out of fear of illegitimate content — or worse, bad taste!
    But in order to thrive, the economy of the Metaverse has to be free, just as it is in liberal democracies in RL — there is no future in creating Soviet-style collective farms with some of the animals more equal than others.
    P.S. I guess your flinging doesn’t fling very far if you think IBM and the Navy are some kind of wildly different enterprises.

  10. So what are we seeing here, two Gold Service Providers fighting each other to make one look bad so the other can get more lucrative contracts? Or one brass-only Solutions Provider trying to slam a GSP to try to get noticed? I’m puzzled.
    We need some program notes for this one.

  11. Go back and read what the Lindens actually wrote, and even their press release, instead of your tech press digest of it:
    “Coming Soon! The SL Work Marketplace
    And, there’s a third option that we’re very excited about. Today, we’re also announcing the Second Life Work Marketplace, set to launch in Q1 2010. The SL Work Marketplace will be the first virtual world application and solution marketplace in the world. It will allow large organizations to download entire regions of collaboration tools, meeting and event solutions, training solutions, work avatars, business-oriented environments, and much more, into their stand alone SL Enterprise environment and make enterprise-wide use of that content under an organizational site license. For Solution Providers and content creators, this opens up a whole new market for work-related content. Initially, we’re only accepting content from Gold Solution Providers and Recommended Application Providers, but we will open up the application process to a broader audience soon.”
    Oh? When? And how? And with what? This isn’t just impatience or jadedness on my part — this is a frank report on the actual problem the Lindens created by hinting at the need for a Verified Merchant process, but without really a way of verifying their thousands of free accounts, many of which in fact are content providers and quite a few of which are *good and excellent* content providers.
    Currently no payment need be on file and not even a real-life name needs to be filed to code and latch on to the SL servers a third-party opensource modded viewer, such as some that copy content.
    Yet to make a potted plant to sell to the office people, I’d have to sign up with RL idea and verify that my IP is my own (something coders don’t have to do in opensource projects).
    Something very wrong with this entire process and you need to take a far closer look.

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