It was a year of ups and downs for virtual worlds, as well as the companies that jumped on the bandwagon of creating virtual advertising and branded worlds. As 2007 began, the virtual world environment Second Life was riding high on a wave of interest from users and advertisers, but as time went on, many marketers and agencies began to question the return on investment of their virtual projects.”2007, especially early 2007, was the year of Second Life,” said Greg Verdino, chief strategy officer for Crayon, a marketing consultancy. “Late ’06 through ’07 was this interesting virtual world rollercoaster ride, where coming into ’07 everybody thought they had to be in Second Life, and they didn’t know why.”
By March, Second Life had over 1.3 million users, and companies ranging from Microsoft to Starwood Hotels to Reuters had launched a presence in the world. But the success of their branding efforts fell into question, as advertisers had difficulty providing the metrics needed to measure success, or simply didn’t approach the environment in the right way to promote a brand, Verdino said.