Inbound Marketing – Lead Generation DO or DIE

Over the past decade I’ve had the opportunity of assisting hundreds of companies with their lead generation and marketing efforts. One thing is for certain, marketing has dramatically evolved over the past 10 years. In today’s digital age, people are engaged online now more than ever. We now have communities, activities, group gatherings, and meetings happening in a parallel digital universe. We chat, meet, study, attend seminars, watch movies, find dates, take courses, work, and consult Google for all our questions. The ability to find and distribute information to your online audience has become incredible. For small to mid-sized companies with budget constraints, it’s crucial they take advantage of this opportunity. Otherwise, companies may find themselves resembling the picture in this post.

More new digital technologies have evolved than ever before allowing small companies to compete with their larger rivals on an even playing field. This playing field “leveler” I’m speaking about has come about through strategic inbound marketing. Launching an inbound marketing campaign can literally create a lead generation machine for your company at a fraction of the cost of traditional outbound marketing such as radio, television, print and mail. It can also significantly reduce your pay-per-click and ad spends online by driving more leads to your company through organic search. Its crucial today more than ever before that your prospects “find you” online when looking to buy. Continue reading Inbound Marketing – Lead Generation DO or DIE

Is Brazil Set to Become a Virtual World Superpower?

Brazilflagshirt China and the United States have shared dominance of the
virtual world market for years on the backs of games like Lineage and World of
Warcraft, but a new entrant may be on the horizon.

to a study by Deloitte,

rapidly industrializing Brazil is prepared to sate
its citizens’ craving for virtual worlds by expanding its commercial Metaverse
presence. Wired Brazilians are prepared to build virtual worlds that appeal to
the Latin American community.

Who’s ready for some creative destruction? 

Continue reading Is Brazil Set to Become a Virtual World Superpower?

China Bans All Foreign Investment in its Virtual Worlds

Gold-farming-china-wow7go-530 This morning's policy report is a depressing follow-up to our recent story on how Brazil is aiming to join the ranks of major virtual world hubs.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication, the state's official video game regulatory body, announced today its intent to bar all foreign investment and partnership in Chinese virtual worlds and online games.

It appears Chinese gamers will be seeing Red for the forseeable future.

Continue reading China Bans All Foreign Investment in its Virtual Worlds

Should Second Life Reduce Land Fees to Encourage Growth?

2424380718_699d8d6fc8 If recent information surrounding the land leasing rates of Blue Mars is accurate, Second Life may have a real competition on its hands.

That's because the Blue Mars land leasing system is rumored to be not only simpler to use, but cheaper than the Second Life tier system.

Starved for competition for so long, Second Life might not be able to compete with an upstart new virtual world unless it re-evaluates its business model and gets back into fighting shape.

Continue reading Should Second Life Reduce Land Fees to Encourage Growth?

Dusan Writer on Pixels, Policy, and the Barbarians at the Gate

Today we have an excellent syndicated post from Dusan Writer, Editor of the information-rich Dusan Writer's Metaverse. A well-researched thinker and virtual worlds writer, Dusan has provided comments and critiques on Pixels and Policy articles in the past.

In Digital Barbarism, Mark Helprin lays down the gauntlet against the Creative Commons, open source and machines:

"Very clearly, the choice is between preeminence of the industrial or of the collective, of improvisation or routine, of the soul or of the machine. It is a choice that you have perhaps already made, without knowing it.

Or perhaps it has been made for you. But it is always possible to opt in or out, because your affirmations are your own, the court of judgment your mind and heart. These are free, and you are the sovereign. Choose."

Now, Mark sets up his argument as a battle – one in which the lone artist must rail against the gathering forces of darkness, the code kiddies at the gates, the collective enslavement to the power of technology, and how the digital age is upending traditional notions of property and creation.

Continue reading Dusan Writer on Pixels, Policy, and the Barbarians at the Gate

Industry Increasingly Doubtful Over Second Life’s Sustainability

Beatlefest_Blarney_10-09-2006_1077x808pxBashing Second Life is a time honored tradition, but a recent piece critiquing the world's long-term potential may be the most compelling.

Michael Hickins, a writer for InformationWeek, combines the concerns of various media outlets and virtual world skeptics into a readable and disconcerting piece on the potentially grim future of Second Life.

Then again, skeptics have been calling Second Life's death for years. Pixels and Policy investigates whether Hickins has the proof behind his predictions.

Continue reading Industry Increasingly Doubtful Over Second Life’s Sustainability

A Closer Look at Blue Mars and Corporate Content

Bluemars02 Monday's article outlining how Blue Mars appears to be setting up a content creation system tailored toward established businesses stirred up some strong reactions in our e-mail inbox.

Virtual entrepreneurs raised on Second Life's individual development environment protested Avatar Reality's "brazen sop" to large companies, as one commenter posted.

Blue Mars had its defenders, exemplified by commenter Rock Vacirca, who gave us a tongue lashing for ignoring the intricacies of Blue Mars's 'terraforming' system. Vacirca argued that the registration process discourages the intellectual property theft currently rocking Second Life.

At the prompting of readers both for and against the article, we explored further into Blue Mars's content creation plans. What we found further confirms our worries.

Continue reading A Closer Look at Blue Mars and Corporate Content

Blue Mars Gives Corporations a Monopoly on Content Creation


   Will players accept very restricted development tools?

We received our strongest hints yet that Avatar's Blue Mars is moving towards an in-world policy that would make large corporations the sole licensed content sellers in their virtual realm.

I spoke with Blue Mars guide Summer Studio about the ins and outs of getting content built in Blue Mars.

As you might recall, our review of Blue Mars praised its graphical beauty and hauntingly realistic character models while slighting it for feeling empty. Now, we don't mean empty in the physical sense. We just felt something was, well, missing from Blue Mars.

That missing something is content creation, and by the look of things, individual users have some serious hoops to jump in order to unlock the modeling power of CryEngine 2.

Continue reading Blue Mars Gives Corporations a Monopoly on Content Creation

Minnesota College Offers a Degree in Second Life

Little Saint Paul College in frosty Minnesota is about to go global. The liberal arts school in Minnesota recently launched a program to teach the essential Metaverse programming and scripting skills to students via virtual classrooms. A just-released article in Finance and Commerce sheds light on Saint Paul's plan to immerse its students in the skills of the future.

The college is offering two new two-year degree programs. The Metaverse Application Design program provides training in graphic design, animation and art for the 3-D realm. The other program, Metaverse Application Development, is based on the college’s computer science curriculum and features courses in 3–D computer graphics and Java programming, among others.

Because the technology renders geographical distance irrelevant, the college has been able to form virtual learning collaborations with universities in Germany, Switzerland, England and Australia, along with the University of Oregon.

Talk about a cheap way to expand your college into something groundbreaking. Now, for the cost of a few dedicated computers, Saint Paul College can connect with universities across the country and across the planet in educating young Metaverse consultants-to-be on the ins and outs of the business.

This isn't SPU's first venture into the virtual world. They already offer a course in Second Life fundamentals, and SPU recently funded a program to create a virtual library that serves as a hub for virtual worlds and technology discussion.

I know I belabor the term by using it so often, but this really is nothing short of shrewd business. As Metaverse entrepreneur like Aimee Weber shows in her recent partnership with big-time automaker Peugeot, there is big money in virtual worlds for those who can create quality content. A college that provides a formal education in scripting and content creation will produce graduates with a competitive advantage over humble liberal arts grads like myself.

Visiting and writing about a world like Second Life is one thing. Having content creation skills is another, greater thing, as it allows the avatar (and the player) to physically alter the universe around them. Content creation is an entirely new level of immersion, a level to which unskilled visitors like myself are not privvy.

Will these graduates be the ones responsible for a boom in virtual worlds? Could Saint Paul serve as the Mountain View or Silicon Valley of the content creation world? One can hope.