Many businesses are closing their sites in the virtual work, a study finds. The research shows companies had purchased land in Second Life and created “amazing, innovative” interactive areas to attract avatars, with features such as games, competitions, virtual cinema screenings and more, but there was little traffic to the sites.
The qualitative study by Kim MacKenzie, a postgraduate student in Queensland University of Technology’s accountancy school of the business faculty, was part of her honours thesis last year.
Ms MacKenzie focused on 20 international corporations, such as Intel, AOL and Coca Cola, that were conducting business in Second Life.
MacKenzie, currently undertaking a PhD study of the uptake of Web 2.0 technology by Australian organisations, said only one of the 20 firms used a digital agent and most of those she studied had closed their Second Life sites.
“These firms had gone to a lot of trouble to establish really interesting and quite stimulating settings, but because in a virtual setting you can see who is in there, unlike the internet, they knew these spaces were empty of avatars,” she said. “Commercial firms, to date, have dipped in and it appears they have dipped out because most of those sites have been shut down.”