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Tangs in Second Life?

December 18, 2008 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

Impression of Tangs in Second Life

Link to full article (subscribers only)

Yesterday I received a call from a Straits Times journalist who told me briefly about Tang’s plans to launch a virtual store in Second Life, and asked for my thoughts on this. I learnt that homegrown company First Meta was behind this initiative. I applaud them for being proactive in generating interest in Second Life, and Tangs for daring to explore a medium that is newer than the Internet and hasn’t become mainstream yet.

The questions that came to my mind were:

Why now? Interest in Second Life probably reached its zenith one or two years ago. The friends I used to meet regularly are no longer on Second Life. We’ve gone back to browser-based or simpler chat platforms. Tangs already appeals to its customer base via traditional media, partnerships with real-life credit cards. And it already has a website. Singaporeans are much more likely to visit Tangs because of their traditional media advertising, than through Second Life. Then again, better late than never I suppose, if you want to explore a new channel.

Is it to make money? If that’s the purpose, I don’t think it will be sustainable. You don’t sell virtual dresses for very much money, and there are lots of other stores in Second Life to compete with. However I was told the virtual store was to be used for branding purposes. As a Second Life fan my impression of Tangs could go up a little because I like innovative and adventurous companies. However I’m already pretty favourable towards Tangs as I’ve been a member for years, and I was planning a visit before Christmas anyway, with or without a virtual store.

How can it be sustainable? I was told the virtual goods would only come from the women’s department, and that there’d be new designs added (but how regularly?). It would be interesting to see if there’s anything I’d be willing to spend my load of Linden$ on. However, my avatar already has a lot of clothes and accessories, many of which were given for free, so there’s a lot of inertia for me to buy anything new. Nothing goes out of fashion so much in Second Life as in real life, because you can be as quirky and retro as you want to be.

Doing a funnel analysis:

How many active users are there in Second Life today?

Of those, how many are Singaporeans, Malaysians, tourists or expats who’ve known of Tangs / have visited it before?

Of those, how many know of the forthcoming Tangs virtual store?

Of those, how many will visit the virtual store?

Of those, how many will gain a better impression of Tangs? (if that is the objective)

Thanks anyway to CHH for the prominent quote.

Excerpts to give you more info on what’s happening:

When the virtual Tangs opens in March next year, visitors will be able to buy clothes, hairdos and different looks for their characters, said Tangs assistant vice-president of marketing and communications Lin Pei Hua.

Shoppers can expect to see items from Tangs’ ‘signature lines…but with a tinge of fantasy’, in line with players’ desire for a ‘larger-than-life’ appearance for their online personas.

Users can pay for their purchases in Linden dollars, the game’s currency, or via a virtual credit card. Credit card bills are paid monthly in Linden dollars, which can be converted into real money.

More floors, ‘stocked with usable and desirable items by well-known Second Life designers’, will be added over time, said First Meta co-founder Aileen Sim.

First Meta, which operates Second Life’s credit card system, is helping Tangs to create the store and find tenants.

My quote:

REPEAT VISITORS?

‘I visited Adidas and Dell in Second Life, those were big budget, well- made stores, but I did everything I wanted to do there on my first visit. The second time I went back, nothing had changed, and I haven’t gone back since. This (sustainability) will be Tangs’ challenge - give me a reason to go back and spend.’

Second Life user Vanessa Tan

INSEAD in Second Life

May 20, 2008 1:30 AM | Comments (0)

I paid a visit to INSEAD in Second Life. It is cool that my business school has a campus there and is using it for real lessons. This is because we are an international school, with campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), with alliances in China (Tsinghua) and a centre in Abu Dhabi, along with the exchange programme in the US (Wharton). Thus, classes and projects may be conducted in different continents. Second Life is a great medium to facilitate such collaborations.

Unlike my previous attempt last year to visit the Campus, my Avatar didn’t bounce off an invisible wall. This time I managed to join the INSEAD group and accessed the entire island without a hitch. Here are some of the better photos:

INSEAD in Second Life_024 The main classroom.

INSEAD in Second Life_027 Sitting on a carpet, hovering above the beach.

I had an intelligible conversation with the INSEAD chatbot, which I mistook for a real Avatar initially! He managed to understand that I was going to INSEAD, and congratulated me. See our dialogue at the bottom left corner:

INSEAD in Second Life_017

What a pretty discussion area! This was in the lush garden outside the building.

INSEAD in Second Life_013

Last but not least (except in terms of the amount of clothes), check out my INSEAD bikini! You can windsurf, surf, float, tread water, lounge about on deckchairs… now if only we had a Mediterranean island all to ourselves! (I say it’s Mediterranean because the waters are so blue)

Check out my INSEAD bikini!

As mentioned earlier, I was stuck in Second Life limbo after cancelling my credit card details as I didn’t want to continue being a premium member. However they locked me out of Second Life entirely, saying I had to pay them the renewal fee, which I had opted to pay annually.

I couldn’t even downgrade my account until I entered my card details which would result in an automatic payment - which I didn’t want!

So I wrote in. I have to commend Linden Labs for the quick reply to my query, but this situation sounds silly. Read this (I have [deleted] some parts due to privacy issues):

Hello Vantan,

Thankyou for contacting Linden Lab support regarding the issue of wanting to downgrade your account.

I will be able to help you downgrade your account to a basic account but this is not going prevent you having to pay the your annual fee.

Due to our policy, you will still have to pay the $72 because you did not cancel premium membership before your account fees were due.

I am sorry if this causes any inconvenience but it is company policy.

[Security verification questions deleted]

If you can provide me with the above information then I can downgrade your account for you.

If you have any further questions you can contact myself or one of my colleagues.

Regards, [name deleted] Linden Lab support

So this is a warning to the rest of you on paid accounts who are also thinking of downgrading to Basic membership - remember to downgrade your account before cancelling your credit card details!

At this rate I might as well renew my membership for one year! What the heck. I’ll just get lots of Linden pocket money.

SL account disabled!

November 8, 2007 10:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)

I just tried logging into Second Life, after a hiatus due to laptop problems and being too busy… only to be told that my account has been disabled! Grr.

Second Life account disabled

What happened: After joining Second Life, I upgraded to a paid account (annual fee US$72) as I wanted to get Linden pocket money and toyed with the idea of buying my own piece of land. I never had the time nor inclination to learn about advanced building, so that didn’t happen. The novelty’s worn off. So I cancelled my credit card details to avoid being charged again this year. However, Linden Labs tried to charge me. As they no longer had my credit card details, they put US$72 on my tab, suspending my account until I pay up!

I logged on to Secondlife.com to fix things. I realised I should have asked for a downgrade rather than just deleting my credit card details - but I thought either way it would’ve worked. But now when I click the ‘Downgrade my account’ link, I get pointed back to the page that says my account is disabled and I must enter my credit card info. When I proceed, I am told that entering my credit card info will lead to a transaction payment. It comes full circle. Bah!

I just sent a note to the Support department. I hope they’ll help me out, even though I’ll no longer be a paying customer. If they can’t fix it and I have to pay, it will leave a sour taste in my virtual and real mouth and rest assured you’ll all get to hear about it!

When I signed up for State of Play as a member of the press (“blogger”), I didn’t expect to be invited to interview the CEO of There.com, an up-and-coming virtual world. Previously I had heard of There.com before but spent most of my time in Second Life.

There.com home page

That fact probably didn’t go down too well with Michael Wilson but he laughed it off. He must have heard this many times before. Over dinner, I set out to learn if There.com had a unique position in this increasingly crowded realm of virtual worlds.

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