July 23rd, 2007

American Apparel. Home Depot. The list goes on. Setting up shop in Second Life has become the new most popular way to get your retail store into the news. Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of chains plopping down a capitalist tentacle into a cyber community. Then again, who am I kidding? Second Life, like any free market, is a capitalist space. Maybe the thing that really gets me is that these big-name stores don’t care about the medium, just the PR.

All of which is to say that the I-told-you-so part of my brain finds something strangely vindicating in this article from Forbes, “Sex, Pranks, and Reality.” It seems real-life businesses are finding out that the Second Life retail experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (those among us with Second Life cynicism could have told them that without the rant about respecting the medium). Apparently pranksters have been defacing store fronts, political campaign booths, etc. Even American Apparel is shutting it’s doors.

Good thing? Bad thing? We have yet to see. I for one am happy to see at least American Apparel go. You’re clothes, if comfortable, are over-priced and bland, American Apparel. I’m glad you’re being run out of virtual town. There, I said it.

P.S. I got a chance to visit the now defunct American Apparel store in Second Life just now. The place is indeed closed and stripped bare. Searching for pictures of what the store looked like in its prime, I was surprised to see how raunchy some of the walls ads were. I mean, that borders on softcore porn. I hate to say it, but I actually have more respect for the store now. Something about making sex appeal in clothing ads so blatant you take out the clothing all together and just leave in the sex…

Tags: business, MMOs, porn

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