Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conspicuously (Conveniently) Absent?

Yet to Ride the Virtual Worlds Wagon

So here we are, in the second (or perhaps third) wave of virtual worlds evolution. We've seen some successful early adopters - and some case-study worthy failures.

And yet, there are still some almost obligatory entrants, which remain conspicuously absent.

No, I'm not talking about the fields we all know are still emerging (such as education) or not yet supportable (gambling, or banking). I'm talking about the businesses that, given the constant flow of announcements, we really might expect to see in a virtual world by now.

For example...

1. Where is the Avon Lady?

I simply can't believe that the Avon lady is not yet a fixture in all of our worlds.

The timeless salesperson of "hope in a jar" translates as well into any virtual world as into any region in flat land. Did you know there are over 700,000 Avon ladies in Brazil? I have not seen a single one in Second Life, nor anywhere else virtual.

Some of you are laughing now, but am I joking?

2. Grocery stores

If you've followed my posts (and The Wishfarmers) you already know I am not about to suggest that grocery stores are a good candidate for virtual worlds. On the contrary, I think they are extraordinarily bad - possibly second only to soft-drinks in the dire prospects of connecting with the audience.

But that alone doesn't explain their absence. Plenty of ill-advised campaigns have been undertaken on behalf of even less relevant products.

So where are the virtual shopping carts to complicate my essentially web-based purchase? I don't want to see it - I just want to know where it is.

3. Heavy Metal Music

Businesses in other musical genres have taken the leap: Where is the hairy, ear-splitting mosh pit crowd?

Yes, I'm dead serious: Metal is big business . . . very. Three of 2007's top 10 albums were heavy metal.

Do metal-heads just not like virtual worlds? Do they even have computers?* Perhaps they're simply waiting for a virtual world they can operate while plastered.

Platform developers: Please remember to include the staffs of "Cream" and "Kerrang" in your product test cycles.

4. Oprah

Actually, this is not a business - it's an autonomous nation-state.

We can only presume that the reason behind this absence is the imminent debut of The Opraverse.

5. Viagra and Those Other Pills Too

Again, I'm not advocating this, I'm just saying: I'm relieved that one of these hasn't sponsored some gigantic phallus hat yet.

Barriers to Entry: A Blessing in Disguise?
I suppose we will simply remain grateful that some of these have never made it past the login screen. Particularly that last one.

If I've overlooked an implementation that conflicts with this, drop me a line - we sure wouldn't want to miss one of these glorious milestones!
*Psst: Yes, some of us do have computers.

Shameless Plug

Are you Slayer? Dudes, call us. That would freaking rock!

Are you Oprah? Please call us, ma'am. Yes that would be quite nice.

Innovations - not decorations