This report by Wagner James Au caught my eye over the weekend. ContextAds has launched contextual advertising billboards in the SecondLife game. Users near to these billboards will trigger advertising based on the context of their chat.
“There are issues with the technical side,” Flange Bohemia of ContextAds acknowledges, “but a few of those (delay, etc) are built into the SL client.” As with AdSense and web hosts, Resident landowners can set up ad feeds to billboards on their property, then collect a revenue stream as ads are displayed. The system looks for sponsored keywords, which trigger server-side scripts that in turn make HTTP requests, pushing images and videos to the display. Advertisers bid on keywords, and tie their products to them with a web link.
It will be interesting to see the R.O.I. for these ads but with a reported population of over 1m users, SecondLife is a viable market. I’m actually kind of surprised Google hasn’t set up shop in their to offer this kind of marketing (I guess we can wait for them to buy ContextAds eh?).
Virtual land and property are pretty expensive in SL, to I can understand users wanting to offset that cost with some advertising.