On Oct. 10, Sun Microsystems held a press conference with John Gage, chief scientist at Sun. The company created an area called Sun Pavilion, where a video blog of all of Sun's activities will be streamed. There were 60 avatars at the press conference -- in Second Life terms, that's a full house.
American Apparel launched a virtual store in Second Life in July, 2006. The hip T-shirt maker is debuting styles before they are launched in the physical world and is offering cross-promotions. Visitors to the virtual store receive 15% off real-world purchases.
Lego regularly visits university and corporate campuses to host events where new types of robots are built using Lego's popular Mindstorm Robotics Inventions kits. Recently, Lego hosted one such Big Robot on Campus gathering in Second Life, drawing robot makers from different locales to meet up in cyberspace.
Adidas is working on selling virtual gym shoes in Second Life. The company hopes to test-market styles before rolling them out in the real world, tracking which color combos or designs prove popular among Second Lifers.
Starwood Hotels is launching its new brand of loft-style hotels within Second Life. The real inns won't open until 2007, but Starwood hopes to test-market architectural designs and furniture choices within the online parallel universe before building the physical hotels.
Toyota's marketing plan for its hip, boxy Scion includes an art gallery in Los Angeles (Scion Space) and sponsored screenings of indie films (the Scion Independent Film Series). Now the pop-culture-aware carmaker is also a presence in Second Life, where it offers a virtual version of the Scion xB.
Reebok is allowing avatars to customize the company's RBK range of shoes in Second Life, the same way they can do in real life on the Reebok Web site. People will be able to wear the same designs in RL and SL.
Educational institutions such as Dartmouth College are increasingly becoming a presence in the virtual world. Here is a Second Life version of Hanover, N.H., where Dartmouth is located. The school's Institute for Security Technology Studies conducts emergency-response exercises in the virtual space. .
Major League Baseball held a simulcast of its home-run derby this past summer within Second Life, with video streams of the event shown on screens within a digitized baseball stadium. Branching into Second Life made sense to MLB execs; MLB.com has a robust online community in its chat rooms.