Corbis Opens Second Life Gallery

Posted on 8/29/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Corbis has announced that it has opened a gallery in the three-dimensional virtual world of Second Life, the online game that has grown to more than 9 million residents since its birth in 2003.

Second Life offers its avatar residents a community, as well as entertainment and economic opportunity. Corbis' new gallery is a glassed-in space located on a virtual island. It will showcase imagery from the company's traditional, motion and microstock collections and provide information on rights services. The gallery will also host social events, art shows and competitions where residents can share their images.

For the moment, Corbis is not licensing images inside the Second Life world. Stephen Gillett, vice president of technology and the man behind the company's Second Life venture, said Corbis was trying to stay away from "big-bang corporate marketing activity." Instead, the goal is to turn the gallery into a social gathering spot and a cultural landmark. In what the company describes as a grassroots approach, Corbis plans to foster a Second Life community of photography enthusiasts.

Gilett-or, rather, Corbis Kamachi, Gilett's in-world persona we met when we paid a virtual visit to the new space-says Corbis does not have a model to support in-world content licensing, but that it is a longer-term goal. Others include real-time content and motion feeds.

Although Corbis is not pursuing a commercial strategy, Second Life's fully integrated economy suggests the possibility of commerce. Its Marketplace supports millions of dollars in monthly transactions, which are handled in its own currency, the Linen dollar. These are converted to or from real dollars at several Linen Dollar exchanges.

What makes Second Life a natural fit for a company like Corbis, whose stock in trade is intellectual property, is an environment based entirely on copyright. Residents create their own virtual goods and retain all rights to their creations, selling, trading or renting to other residents. There have been some reports of residents generating a full-time income from Second Life's virtual economy.

Media and manufacturing companies, including Reuters, Adidas/Reebok and Scion, have ventured into Second Life, building virtual showrooms, stores and news bureaus. Image licensing may still be too niche a concept, but Second Life residents buy virtual clothes, shoes and real estate. Artwork that complements the virtual décor does not seem far-fetched. Corbis was initially established as a provider of residential art by owner Bill Gates.

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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