UPDATE: Sergio Callisto made a nice comment that publications like the Metaverse Messenger, a Second Life newspaper, have been selling advertising placement for quite some time. Cost per column inch are L$50 for Second Life businesses and $7 U.S. for real world businesses. By my count, the most recent 23-page issue has made more than L$50,000 on full- and half-page advertisements alone, without counting any of the smaller ad units.
SL Business, a 60-page multi-world magazine focusing on business issues within the Second Life world, has published its first issue. The current issue of the magazine, which is being distributed via PDF and as a regular glossy publication in addition to within the game, includes articles about the Second Life fashion market, photography and music, as well as an overview of copyrights within the world of Second Life, an in-depth article about how to invest in virtual companies, and profiles of three famous in-world architects.
The magazine design is fairly well done and the editorial copy is on par with some real-world publications that cater to specific, small industries (like corporate gifts, for example). Itâ€™s an entertaining read, but in general it lacked the journalistic flourish youâ€™d find in a larger publication and the hard numbers that real-world advertisers are looking for when contemplating getting into Second Life. The juryâ€™s still out because it can take a magazine a few issues to get up to speed.
The coolest thing about the magazine, though, at least from a real-world advertiser standpoint, is how it makes money.
SL Business generates revenue by selling two-page spread, full, half and quarter page advertisements, which go for anything from L$750 (approx. $2.50 U.S. based on current LindeX exchange rates) to L$5,800 (About $20). Based on my calculations, this means that the magazine raked in a whopping L$47,950 in advertising revenue, or about $156.19 U.S. It sounds bigger in Linden dollars, I guess, but itâ€™s still example of how real-world business models are finding their way into SL.
The magazine itself has received a bit of criticism from Tony over at ClickableCulture because several of the people that bought full page advertisements in this issue were also featured in articles as exemplars in their fields. In and of itself, this isnâ€™t that bizarre to see happen in trade magazines. Having worked for a few myself, the criticism almost seems normal to me. But come on, people! This is a virtual magazine about virtual worlds! How cool is it that itâ€™s generating revenue the same way that a real magazine would and receiving the same type of criticism for it? Youâ€™ve got to love it.