Hi, this is Glenn Linden. I work on business programs at Linden Lab, and I’d like to talk with you about an aspect of Second Life that I work with, our Solution Providers.
We define Solution Providers as professional businesses and individuals who work in Second Life with real-world businesses, creating immersive experiences that aim to invite, engage, educate and entertain fellow Residents, as well as their employees and internal audiences.
Solution Providers have played an important role in the growth Second Life has enjoyed over the last few years. Two years ago, there were about 20 companies listed in Linden Lab’s fledgling Solution Provider program; today I’m pleased to say that number has grown to over 200. They range from Resident-developed businesses to departments of major agencies and web development firms, and they work with a wide-range of clients.
Solution Providers’ projects range from fantastical to formal, including a popular promotional gift that requires exploring a giant’s home, to prosaic events, conventions, meeting spaces, recruiting and training locations, tech support provision, as well as brand marketing and promotions.
- IMAX Harry Potter – ‘buzz agents’ simply hung out in SL and talked to Residents, giving out coupons for free tickets (and they gave out more tickets than did the web site promotion.)
- 7Days Bread – an inworld factory where you play baker, making and sharing pastries
- Cisco’s tour of router products.
- L’Oreal’s promotions include sponsorship of a beauty pageant, and gifts of skins and make-up in popular Resident-owned locations, linking the association of the brand to beautification of one’s avatar.
- Kelly, Manpower and TMP, who recruit for traditional, not-in-Second Life jobs, do so inside Second Life. Kelly and Manpower both offer in-SL job listings as well. Manpower offers help with preparation and even style tips on dressing the avatar’s human for that upcoming interview.
- Birmingham has a project in Second Life to engage her citizens to participate in urban planning
- The World Bank, impressed by the savings on travel and carbon that can be gained by hosting presentations and events in Second Life, engaged a Solution Provider to create an inworld conference where they will launch an important report on the state of global work.
- Herman Miller has a location in Second Life where you can design your own office with their furniture, and when you’re satisfied with the rearranging, easily place an order online for your real-world office.
- Global Condo Corp offers tours of their real-world condos, inworld, to curious homebuyers.
- Trend Micro employees get security training inside Second Life.
- Language Lab uses the immersive environment of Second Life as part of the learning experience for their unique language classes.
- Advertising Week had an inworld version of their real-life conference exhibit hall where attendees visited booths, viewed exhibits and talked with exhibitors.
- The Tech Museum of San Jose, a pro bono Solution Provider project, has a virtual exhibit program where anyone can create a museum exhibit. The most successful exhibits are then built outside of Second Life, in real-life.
- Geek Squad staffs real-time tech support, inside Second Life.
Quarterly surveys let us extrapolate that Solution Providers work on over 600 projects per quarter. We estimate that the Solution Provider ecosystem is roughly a US$70M business, engaging more than a thousand people.
Solution Providers are important to Linden Lab and Second Life, not only for the content development resource they provide in Second Life, but also for the enormous outreach and experience they provide to organizations and audiences that Linden Lab could never hope to reach.
We are developing extensions to the Solution Provider Program, to better support and recognize the work Solution Providers do, as well as to identify and promote applications developed for the Second Life Grid.
If you are interested in becoming a Solution Provider, we urge you to first explore a variety of inworld projects, and the Solution Provider Directory , to learn more about the different aspects of the business. The Second Life Wiki, is also a valuable resource, also including the marketing information we’ve put together for Solution Providers and the entire Second Life community.
Note: Please join the Resident discussion thread on Solution Providers in the Second Life Forums.
Solution Provider Program info
Second Life Wiki – Marketing your business in SL