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Peering Inside: A media campaign

Tateru Nino

While the announcement of the Google Lively public beta may have taken many by surprise, apparently it did not take Linden Lab unawares -- their Second Life messages were already lined up and ready to go.

Indeed considering that information about Lively's launch was available to a number of people who were close to Linden Lab, either as partners or ex-staffers, it seems silly to suggest that Linden Lab might not have known Lively's public beta launch date, unless those contacts were aflame with considerable, searing resentment.

Wheezing, clanking and dripping oil from dark and unnameable apertures, one of Linden Lab's most neglected subsystems -- the marketing machine -- arose from it's years-long slumber and went about it's ponderous, mechanical business.

On the very day of Lively's launch, at 12:01AM, Linden Lab announced the landmark teleport of agents between the Second Life preview grid and opensim simulators being operated by IBM. Everything was already teed-up with the Wall Street Journal, who published their own piece on it (with quotes from principle figures) at 12:02AM. All of that was organized at least a day and quite possibly some several days in advance.

At the time, we scratched our heads and wondered "why now?" -- after all, the big historic event had already been cooling for about a month by the time of the big media splash.

Then Lively went, well, live, and the reasoning started to become considerably more clear. Linden Lab's CFO John Zdanowksi posted the quarterly metrics far faster than any previous set, to-date. Replete with candy-colored graphs, and considerable simplification. The ordering of data was also changed this time around giving particular and especial emphasis to the aspects of Second Life that Lively just doesn't have, in what was beginning to look like an episode of the BBC's comedy Keeping Up Appearances.

Finally, the following day a message from the new Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon, telling the users how great Second Life is and (is going to be), with a specific reminder that such services as Lively, Vivaty and so forth aren't even remotely as nifty and encompassing as Second Life.

Was it all a part of a staged media-campaign in specific response to Lively? Considering this all is what we'd expect of one, it seems a little silly to suggest that these three items came together coincidentally. Coincidences certainly happen, but accidentally having a media-campaign happen? We don't think so.

And if you fear nothing, why have one?

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