Second Life Gets a Second Look — Should You?

A couple of recent stories/blog posts in the Wall Street Journal and CIO take a second look at Second Life.  While Second Life certainly has captured buzz and imaginations, many, including myself, are still assessing its value as a way for companies to reach and communicate with its customers.

Certainly, it’s easier to understand why consumer brands like Coca Cola have a presence (nice job with their vending machines by the way) and even large technology brands like IBM and Cisco are there.  First, they have the deep pocket resources to devote to it. Second, it affords them the opportunity to reach early adopter types who are important arbiters in promulgating trends, which in this case are social media and communications. But what about the vast majority of businesses? If you set up shop or hold an event, would anyone come?  Is there even a relevant audience for your goods or services?  For most today the answer is probably no.  But what about two years down the road?

When I think of all serious gamers out there and their comfort with virtual worlds, it’s easy to imagine how Second Life could move beyond its current bleeding edge status.  The question is how soon?  And for which companies? Tell me what you think.

UPDATE: This story in the LATimes casts more doubt on the applicability of Second Life as an environment for marketing.  Does this make you think even harder about virtual worlds?