7/9 5pm Town Hall Chat Log
Fireside Chat with SL Marketing
Hunter Linden: Cool, well thanks for coming to the first Marketing Fireside Chat
Hunter Linden: As you can see from their avs, unlike other companies, our marketing gurus aren't "The Suits" - in fact, they're quite snazzy
Hunter Linden: So let me run down the TownHall guidelines and then we can get started
Hunter Linden: We'll say a few things and then open the floor up for Q&A/discussion
Hunter Linden: Once we do that, if you have a question, say "Question," and I'll call on folks
Hunter Linden: also, please "shout" your text so that we can all hear it
Hunter Linden: So today we're joined by special guests...
Hunter Linden: Robin and Tanya Linden
Hunter Linden: let's try to keep questions.
Hunter Linden: focused on marketing, referral programs, telling folks about SL, t-shirts, etc....
Hunter Linden: so without further delay....
Hunter Linden: Robin and Tanya!
Robin Linden: Hi everyone
Tanya Linden: Hi all!
Robin Linden: I'm responsible for marketing Second Life, plus some other stuff like business development.
Robin Linden: This is Tanya Linden, who's directly responsible for marketing.
Robin Linden: I thought we'd give you some info on the launch and what we're planning.
Robin Linden: Then we'll answer questions.
Robin Linden: As you know, we launched SL on June 23, after being in beta for about 8 months.
Robin Linden: We had about 50% of the beta testers who converted buy lifetime memberships.
Robin Linden: Another 30% bought quarterly and annual memberships.
Robin Linden: There are people from all over the US and Canada, and even from around the world.
Robin Linden: We have lots more women than many games, and a broad array of age groups.
Robin Linden: This is really exciting, because it means we have a strong group of interesting and
Robin Linden: committed residents who are building the world
Robin Linden: and making it a cool place for themselves and newbies.
Robin Linden: The next step is to start getting people interested in what you're doing.
Robin Linden: That's why the referral program is so important. Tanya's got lots of ideas for that.
Robin Linden: We also need to try to reach lots of early adopters and convince them they should give
Robin Linden: SL a try.
Robin Linden: I'm looking at online advertising on sites that recreational programmers, digital artists, and gamers use.
Robin Linden: We also continue to do lots of press out reach.
Robin Linden: We had a great story in the San Francisco Chronicle which is on the website. Also Time Magazine,
Robin Linden: the New York Times, and numerous game sites. If you want to see what the press is saying, check out the
Robin Linden: reviews page on the Second Life site, or news on the Linden Lab site.
Robin Linden: Any questions about the referral program? Who we should try to reach with our advertising?
Alexis Fairchild: Would you be willing to work with another company in promoting SL in a unique way?
Robin Linden: Sure - we're already working with nVidia and Intel
Robin Linden: Got any ideas?
Alexis Fairchild: Actually I do, but it would take too long to explain now
Robin Linden: Why don't you put them in a note card and give them to me later?
Alexis Fairchild: Will do
Robin Linden: Great - thanks!
Crimson Sunchaser: What if I want to buy another life account..(got 2 computers) Do I get beta discount or pay 225?
Robin Linden: Sorry - the beta discount period is over.
Crimson Sunchaser: Ok thanks
Robin Linden: Who knows maybe we'll have another promotion at some point.
Catherine Cotton: i have more of a comment than a question I think it would be to your advantage to shoot some more videos for the site using ppl in the game.
Robin Linden: I agree -- in fact we're working on a movie feature so anyone can make a movie and share it with friends
Catherine Cotton: what is in it for us?
Robin Linden: The more people can see what you're doing, the better!
Hunter Linden: Second Life Oscars?
Tanya Linden: Well - you can make movies of your own events and use that to build your referrals
Tanya Linden: I'm sure everyone knows -- but you get leader board points for referring trials
Robin Linden: Maybe we'll have a movie of the week night!
Tanya Linden: ...and L$3000 for a converted resident you refer
Craig Thompson: What do we get for referring other users, or having your banner on websites?
Robin Linden: There are referrer points for anyone who tries and L$3000 for someone who actually buys a membership
Robin Linden: Make sense?
Craig Thompson: yes
Tanya Linden: Also -- now that we're public -- you're free to build fan sites
Tanya Linden: So you could put your referral link on your fansite -- or on forums you frequent
Tanya Linden: We'll feature cool fan sites on our site -- on the Links page right now
Hunter Linden: Tanya - in the future will we also be able to give fan sites interviews with Lindens, previews of new stuff, etc?
Tanya Linden: We'll look for creative ways to support fan sites
Tanya Linden: We'd like to create more fun stuff for you to use on your fan sites
Robin Linden: We're also looking at ways to share revenue like amazon.com does -- so if you refer someone from a site and they buy a membership
Tanya Linden: And interviews with Lindens or "special appearances" are a great idea
Robin Linden: there would be real world dollars shared
Lynn Lippmann: Are you doing any advertising with Comcast, Verizon, RoadRunner and other high-speed providers? Also, what would be the chances of getting the SL icon on new computers purchased by Dell and Compaq, similar to what AOL and others did.
Robin Linden: we've love to do some ads with them and get logo signage. i think we need to get a little bigger before they think it's worth it
Robin Linden: but we're definitely talking with them
Hunter Linden: Robin - what about deals where folks buy different software/hardware and get, say, a month of Second Life for free?
Robin Linden: we're hoping that nVidia will work something out like that with us.
Robin Linden: we've also set up an affiliate program with AlienWare, and the next step is to find ways to make special offers
Robin Linden: Lifers might get a discount on an upgrade
Skippy Powers: Might be slightly off topic but, I am a video editor as my second job, I haven't looked into the video feature very closely yet. What format are the files coming out in, how large is something that is oh say 10 min long?
Skippy Powers: Also, I think it would be awesome to make an animated short using SL. Any copyright stipulations?
Robin Linden: hold on... we're checking with the engineers...
Hunter Linden: cues waiting theme song>
Robin Linden: as far as copyrights go we'd have to look at that one. I guess it would depend on how you want to use it.
Skippy Powers: Film festivals
Robin Linden: and the engineers say...
Tanya Linden: Skippy - the video feature is currently implemented - you can read the details in the 1.0.2 release notes
Tanya Linden: But file size would depend on what type of compression you're using
Tanya Linden: Roughly, a 10 min file would be 100 meg
Misnomer Jones: when will there be more things in the fansite goodie thingy? Making our own banners etc meets with "it depends on how you use it" so we need Linden made stuff that isn#t a question (please)
Tanya Linden: Misnomer - we're working on it right now -- negotiating over in-house artist time
Tanya Linden: first thing we'd do is a couple banners and button-type graphics
Tanya Linden: But a design-your-own-banner thingie is a cool idea
Misnomer Jones: how about a contest inworld then you don#t have to pay the artists LOL
Harald Nomad: What do you see as SL's Target group?
Robin Linden: the thing that everyone seems to have in common is that they're really creative
Robin Linden: so we're looking at various groups of people
Robin Linden: programmers, digital artists
Robin Linden: modders, architects, hobbyists
Robin Linden: web designers too. -- if there's a group you think you belong to that we could reach let us know
Alexis Fairchild: Role-players?
Hunter Linden: Yes!!
Harald Nomad: Like "none-of-the-above" ?
Robin Linden: early adopters of any sort
Dionysus Starseeker: we need writers... er... more writers
Robin Linden: where there's enough of them that it makes sense in terms of cost
Robin Linden: writers -- good idea
Fleabite Beach: What about Father/son demographic or mother./daughter?
Tanya Linden: Dionysys -- one potential group of writers are bloggers, or people who maintain their own websites
Tanya Linden: So we're with you on the writer thang!
Hunter Linden: One thing we've seen getting Second Life off the ground is that it's less about demographics and more about who you are
Alexis Fairchild: Yay writers!!!!
Jhanniss Fairlight: yah that's true.
Hunter Linden: we have lots of folks from MMO games who are looking for something new
Hunter Linden: lots of folks who were building personal websites back in 1996 and are looking for "what's next" to create and do with others
Joan Nomad: I think more women are attracted to a game like this than other games.
Hunter Linden: some folks who have never been in a 3D environment before - are used to creating on their desktop - but want to share a place with others
Misnomer Jones: what about an SL web ring?
Joan Nomad: And that's a big part of the population.
Robin Linden: we have way more women than most games
Fleabite Beach: Maybe promote SL blogging in-character or otherwise?
Robin Linden: I think you're right -- how do you think we should recruit women? What should we say? Where should we try to reach them?
Dionysus Starseeker: SL is like the good part of highschool... at least, fewer bullies, more... um... how to say this.. "etc's"
Fleabite Beach: WOMEN LOVE NARRATIVE
Harald Nomad: And: what do we offer them?
Huns Valen: are all women so similar that one marketing tactic is going to reach them all? seriously.
Tanya Linden: no - of course not - probably we would view women as part of any of the other groups we just discussed
Joan Nomad: Fact is, most women don't like shoot-em-uup games. This is different.
Tanya Linden: but it is important to note what aspects of SL are appealing
Fleabite Beach: Having social interaction is one part...but story is another
Hunter Linden: okay - let me put one in from fleabite
Hunter Linden: 1) How will Linden further the "family interaction" aspect of the game that already exists through promotion/discounts 2) How will Linden anticipate complaints regarding access to MATURE content and dialog.
Robin Linden: we haven't opened the world to people under 18 yet
Robin Linden: we need better controls in place that parents can be confident in
Robin Linden: right now you can block mature sims
Robin Linden: family memberships is a cool idea -- when we expand the world to include teens we'll take a look at that
Teeny Leviathan: Parental controls would work better at the provider's end. Kids easily beat player side lockouts.
Hunter Linden: Teeny - distinctions between PG and M sims is server-side, etc
Huns Valen: give the kids their own continent and make it totally impossible to travel or communicate between there and here. I don't want to deal with kids and I don't think I'm alone.
Hunter Linden: so it wouldn't be on the client
Robin Linden: it's an option
Alexis Fairchild: Maybe even toned down building tools so it would be easier for them to get the hang of it
Robin Linden: for now we want to build the world a little and make it the way our users want it to be
Alexis Fairchild: How about physical items with the SL Logo... maybe a SL Calendar, coffee mugs... that way people see it and ask the owners about them
Tanya Linden: Well - we're starting with special posters and t-shirts
Misnomer Jones: yes speaking of which are they coming soon?
Hunter Linden: Tattoo!
Craig Thompson: a Hat!
Paul Zeeman: OOooo I want a calendar
Tanya Linden: And then we'll do giveaways at events and shows where we'll be
Hunter Linden: Contact lens with SL logo
Alexis Fairchild: I mean items that can be bought from the website
Dionysus Starseeker: tattoo an SL hand on my forehead
Hunter Linden: Dion - across your knuckles
Tanya Linden: Selling items on our site are probably in the slightly more distant future
Robin Linden: i'd love to sell stuff from the website -- do you think you'd really buy it?
Alexis Fairchild: Heck yeah!!!!
Tanya Linden: By the way - we're going to be at Siggraph -- up in the Vortechs hands-on play area
Tanya Linden: If anyone's going to be there - stop by and say hi!
Tanya Linden: Siggraph is a convention for 3d artist/modeler types - it's at the end of July in SAn Diego
Hunter Linden: How about we rent a camper and drive from san Francisco to the east coast - Second Life on tour!
Dionysus Starseeker: We need a SL convention
Misnomer Jones: when can we come visit you in SF?
Robin Linden: if you're gonna be in SF just let us know and we'll set something up
Harald Nomad: Why are real names used on the referral page?
Tanya Linden: Harald - we use real names for referrals, since we thought your friends might not recognize your SL name
Tanya Linden: Do you feel that's a bad idea?
Harald Nomad: Yes
Huns Valen: use SL name, I am more likely to refer people form IRC
Harald Nomad: I'd like to keep RL and SL separate
Tanya Linden: OK - does this mean you guys would prefer we do not use real names?
David Cartier: have a choice of either
Tanya Linden: That's an easy change to implement
Catherine Cotton: i don't want other gamers knowing my rl name thanks
Robin Linden: but if they're your friend, wouldn't you want them to know who you are?
Harald Nomad: since you're not using the name of the referrer,
Robin Linden: AHH -- that makes sense
Tanya Linden: OK - thanks for your input there - the trick is to make sure your friends know who you are, that's all!
Joan Nomad: We don't know everyone of our customers.
Tanya Linden: I'll get on it!
Alexis Fairchild: Would you be averse to getting press from interviews or reviews from television shows like X-Play on Tech TV or Electric Playground on G4/MTV Canada?
Robin Linden: Not at all. We've been on Tech TV and are regularly on Portal on G4. But could use a Canadian contact!
Robin Linden: Hey in case you weren't aware, we're on Portal tonight. They're doing a mini-movie shot in SL with some of you as extras.
Robin Linden: It's on a 7PM PDT
Robin Linden: I'll look into that -- I think some form of iVillage is still around
Robin Linden: Plus we've been on Game Gal
Alexis Fairchild: G4 digital cable channel
Robin Linden: that seems like a good one to put a link on
Harald Nomad: What can be done in world for non-builders, non-programmers, people who just want to socialize? Ready built newbie village?
Robin Linden: Events, parties, rent an apartment!
Robin Linden: Lots of shopping here
Hunter Linden: Okay - it seems our time has come to an end
Hunter Linden: Thanks Robin and Tanya for the fireside chat
Hunter Linden: i'll post a chat log tomorrow
Tanya Linden: Thanks all for coming!
Tanya Linden: Hope to see you in-world again soon...
Tanya Linden: T-shirts arrive at our offices tomorrow
Tanya Linden: We'll start shipping them out end of this week