Susan points out to her readers, "People spend over $1.5 billion on virtual items every year. Pets, coins, avatars, and bling: these virtual objects are nothing more than a series of digital 1s and 0s stored on a remote database somewhere in the ether."
This is fascinating to me that people would spend money on these items, but then again I am also in SL and this makes perfect sense.
Other things she points out in her article:
"that there are many businesses out there making meaningful amounts of money in virtual goods:
- Tencent is one of the largest Internet portals in China with over 250 million active user accounts. They generated $100 million+ in Q1 of 2007 and over 65% of their revenue comes from virtual goods.
- Habbo Hotel has over 75 million registered avatars in 29 countries and 90% of their $60 million+ yearly revenue comes from virtual goods.
- Gaia Online does over 50,000 person to person auctions and 1 million message board posts a day- making them the 3rd largest auction site and the 2nd largest message board on the Internet. Their average user consumes 1200 page views a month. They employ 3 people whose sole job it is to open snail mail envelopes full of cash that people send in for virtual goods.
- There’s a commonly held misperception that virtual goods are only for online gamers. Both Dogster and HotorNot are succeeding with a hybrid ad/virtual goods business model. Currently, over 40% of HotorNot’s revenue comes from virtual goods.
- Major mainstream brands are now buying advertising in the form of virtual goods in social networks. Gaians can now purchase and pimp their virtual Scion xBs. Coca Cola and Tencent partnered to allow Tencent’s users to trade codes taken from real Coke cans for virtual objects in the Tencent network. Wangyou, a Chinese based social network, has also been extremely aggressive in experimenting with branded virtual goods."