We are all acquainted with virtual worlds; Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) platforms like Second Life, Active Worlds and the controversial Red Light Center. What has popularized them to the colossal entities they are today? Is it the no-barrier privilege to create what might otherwise be censored in the real world along with the ability to copyright your creation or market your business in an alternate medium? It could also be the opportunity to learn from real life situations through this virtual interface or the anonymity to live your most secretive fantasy! I would say all of the above plays an equally important role in popularizing MMO’s as it caters to a wide range of individual self-interest. In addition to that, MMOs answer everyone’s ‘what can I do'(a product killer if left unanswered) because of the implementation of the open system culture where anyone can ‘modify’ your creation, if you permit it, or integrate their needs into the system.
Let us focus on the business outlook and the possibilities on how an online business can flourish in a medium of unlimited opportunities, limited only by imagination. Here you are provided with a medium that delivers enormous potential to market your product directly to an audience that obviously wants to create and maintain a notable web-presence.
How do you go about this? No need to hunt for a market, they come gift wrapped here. You can directly jump to providing compelling reasons for them to register with you. Partnering with an existing ‘virtual business’ that fulfills basic needs required to function efficiently in an MMO is one of the best solutions, a beneficial relationship for both parties as it increases market share and goes one step further to making you a one-stop shop. In case fraudulent transactions are your concern, you will need to work around the anonymity of the customer. However, the fact that businesses have been prospering for quite a while now, shows that it should not be a major concern. To retain and grow, you need to get out there and mingle with the folks. One on one contact is essential and works best for successful marketing here. Join a professional society and if one does not exist, create it. Host events with incentives and expand yourself to a larger audience. After all, this is a community of sorts.
MMO’s also provide you with a first of its kind opportunity to simulate real life situations and learn from the experience without having to actually ‘play it out’ in real life and risking your image as a competent and reliable business. You can design your concepts and experiment with them here before introducing them into the real world, and learn from your mistakes, evaluate your concepts and improve your techniques.
Take advantage and work with the fact that this technology liberates us to provide nonparallel advertising without the actual financial investment that would go into the same in real world circumstances. “Second Life encourages people to communicate with one another” thus providing you with word-of-mouth marketing, which we all know is the most reliable, free and toughest to achieve. Visual and verbal analogues assist in remembering information and notably increase the percentage of people who will remember your product, as compared to the traditional text advertisements in the popular search engines today. In addition, the open source culture provide by MMOs creates tremendous business opportunities for you to easily set a brand image in todays extremely competitive market, at less than half the cost. This article mentions very few of the millions of unforeseen possibilities in MMOs ignored by many.
This new culture (the future of web 2.0 if you may) would bring the aspirations of many even closer. This will definitely increase quality of services and products rendered.
MMOs, a new world, a new market.