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The divorce heard round the world

Tateru Nino

The torrent of new users coming into Second Life is slowing, with today's signup rates now merely double the typical rates, and expected to close in the vicinity of 22,000 new signups for the day. This is all in the wake of the widespread run of a reprinted and regurgitated piece about the divorce of a UK couple.

The original piece has run in hundreds of print and online outlets since the story broke last week. Even tiny local tabloids in small rural towns with little or no Internet access have pushed the story, and by and large readers responded with enthusiasm.

In Scotland On Sunday, Teresa Hunter writes, "Last week's story about the divorce of a couple who met on Second Life must have been the kiss of death for the online virtual world."

Ms Hunter apparently doesn't get out much, we suppose. The story caused something of a stampede to sign up to Linden Lab's virtual world that is only just now starting to abate somewhat.

The people who are signing up seem to be a little more hardened to frustration than is the norm, and more communicative earlier in proceedings. The usual new Second Life user (though there are notable exceptions) is easily frustrated, and tends to avoid contact with others early on.

This new group, however, gives signs that they may do fairly well if only they can establish a peer group early on. These are, without question, the mainstream, mass-market users that Linden Lab has long courted. Now that they have finally heard of Second Life in a fashion that generates interest, it only remains to be seen if the Lab can hold on to them.

Are you a part of the most widely-known collaborative virtual environment or keeping a close eye on it? Massively's Second Life coverage keeps you in the loop.

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