Sunday, 6 May 2007

Al turns down Visa

Nic at the excellent KZero recently reported on Visa Europe's first foray into Second Life. I was surprised he'd got in, as it looks highly incomplete on the Satellite Map view. But since he got in, I thought I'd give a try too - and sure enough it is open to the rambling fraternity.

I thought Nic was being a tad harsh in his appraisal, but having given the island the once-over I am inclined to agree with him. The build is somewhat rudimentary, offering no real information and comprising an admittedly attractive walkway and a cluster of Visa-brand boxes - and that's about it.

Visitors are asked for their views - but it feels forced, insincere and badly misjudged. The idea, of course, is to encourage notions of crowdsourcing, social networking and community - just what we SLers thrive on. However, to my eyes at least, this looks lazy and poorly thought out.

The reason that occurs to me is that Visa Europe has not really done its homework - and has failed to use one of the many excellent build and marketing companies that have a solid understanding of Second Life dynamics, opting instead for what looks like a couple of relatively inexperienced(?) contract builders. As a result they stand to compromise the brand through a largely inept introduction into SL - and the fault for this lies largely at their own door.

I found the following at

Sandra Alzetta, senior VP of innovation at Visa, said: “Visa has approached Second Life in the interactive manner of the world itself. What we have created is very much a work in progress which we are hoping to see grow organically through user participation, we are looking for visitors to our island and our member banks to input into our presence in their world.

“The island was chosen for its proximity to the mainland, whilst also allowing for space to develop and grow. The Second Life world is one that is at the forefront of technology and as such is complementary to the extensive work that Visa undertakes in researching and developing new technologies.”

Oddly, it's not really close to the mainland - and even if it was, so what? I'm sorry but this sounds like someone with no inworld experience, making questionable decisions based on an absence of actual knowledge - and (as I said earlier) not using companies who can supply this knowledge. I wonder what the launch party will be like?

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