I like Gwyneth’s writing because; her ideas are clearly expressed and her thinking rational. Her latest is about Linden Lab starting to use Google’s Adsense advertising and people’s reactions. It ranges from estimates of how much the Lab may be making to the psychological aspects of SL and the freedom available in SL that IS NOT available in other social sites/games/networks.
Gwyneth points out the details of how the Lab is using the advertising. She compares it to how other services use advertising. The Lab is certainly atypical in their use of Adsense.
The basic idea many people have is that paid services do NOT have advertising. But, that is not accurate. Consider cable and satellite TV. Those are paid services that have a load of advertising. Newspapers and magazine that we purchase have a load of advertising too. We pay to go into a movie and then sit through ads for coming movies and local services and products.
A point she makes is that as fewer regions are leased, the more income the Lab loses. Selling ad space may offset that loss and allow tier cost to remain stable.
It could be that ads will make their way into Second Life™ not just the web sites. It may be that premium members would not see them and those of us with free accounts will see them. Main land regions may have them. Private islands may not. Could a land owner make income by displaying Adsense ads in SL? I suppose we’ll find out.
Gwyneth speculates that the ads in the web sites are an experiment to see how residents react to Adsense ads. We know there was lots of drama when ads started to appear in SL Search and the Market Place. She and I feel that those owning land and selling in the Market Place deserve to promote their products and services in Search and MP. So, the ads we see in Search and MP are a necessity to complete the SL marketing aspects to parallel RL models that work. The Search and MP ads are sort of internal ads, SL residents to resident advertising.
But the Adsense outside ads raises a problem about who sees the ads. For SL residents promoting SL services and products it only makes sense to use SL advertising if everyone sees the ads. It is land owners and premium members that are most likely to purchase SL goods.
If Adsense ads are introduced, it may make for a different dynamic. Adsense ads would mostly originate from people outside SL. So, the problem would be less about reaching the land owners and premium members and more about reaching as many people as possible.
Whatever the case I think a significant problem would be how to control who sees which ads. I think it would be a coding problem, but may be not. Whatever, I am doubting there will ever be any limits on who sees what ads inside SL. I think it will be an all or nothing thing.