Saturday, 8 December 2007

AOL Pointe RIP

AOL opened their AOL Pointe island in Second Life around the start of the year. I rather liked it, as I wrote back in February. However, I heard quite a lot of sniping about the site thereafter, and rarely saw much sign of an emerging SL community. By the end of the Summer I was hearing the damning "ghost sim" in relation to it. So perhaps it should come as no suprise to find that AOL have pulled out of Second Life.

According to this AOL blog:

AOL Pointe was built to provide a fun and engaging place for the Second Life community. We created this experience to learn more about virtual worlds and what people like and don't like.

It has been a fun and rewarding ten months, with streaming music (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Linkin Park, etc.), Sticky Wall contests, and Friday nights at Club AOL. We are grateful to the avatars who attended these events, as well as took advantage of places like the Centrifuge Skate Park and the Quiz Time Lounge.

We've gained a lot of insight from our participation in Second Life and we're now refocusing our efforts in virtual worlds. While we have closed AOL Pointe, you will soon be seeing more of AOL products and content across the metaverse. So stay tuned to for more information about when and where.
AOL are not the first company to follow this route, and certainly won't be the last. I would be curious to know the real story here... or rather, the full story. And what of the future? Will we see AOL3D next year? Or more dabblings in other virtual worlds, such as There or (if you want to go global) HiPiHi?

I still liked the AOL build and am sorry to see them go.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunate, but from what I gather, they seemed to have a bit of trouble really committing themselves to the project for the long haul. A pity, as I feel corporations of that size can be helpful to SL, in the form of sponsored events, competitions, and general patronage of SL culture. Presumably this reflects an element of AOL's larger retrenchment, albeit a rather short-sighted one.

Timbo said...

Interesting point about their lack of commitment. Certainly given the size of the corporation, and their line of business (ie digital and other media) I would (now) expect such a corp to have a multi-sim presence, with a rich array of events, probably tied in with their non-SL activities.

AOL never went beyond a single sim, and I think missed a huge opportunity as a result. Contrast this with the persistently high traffic for Australian cluster, The Pond.

Time will tell with AOL. 3D Social Worlds add a valid and valuable channel for any digital service provider. If I was them, I'd be looking to create one as part of the AOL suite of services.

xlent1 said...

Well...too bad AOL left and will no doubt bad mouth SL to justify their failure to get any ROI on their sims. Which btw were not as pathetic as many corporate blah blah blah sites.

Of course we invite the intrepid and explorers to our great SL areas where they will find the best of the virtual world offerings:

Cu you on the grid!

Anonymous said...

Tell ya what, I think their problem was the same one all of us have: Getting people to know they actually EXIST.

Admittedly, I'm usually involved in some building project of my own, but I manage to keep up SORT of fairly well, and I didn't know AOL had this sim till this week!


Timbo said...


I would agree that getting your site known in Second Life is not all that easy. However, this is AOL we're talking about - a huge media and internet company, fully able to promote their site, I would have thought.