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At Least Retailers Are Upbeat About The Virtual Economy

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
More proof that the virtual goods business continues to do well: Linden Lab is forecasting that users will conduct about $450 million dollars worth of virtual transactions in Second Life this year, up 28 percent from 2008. The company also surveyed more than 2,600 of its virtual business owners, including landlords, event promoters and retailers, and found that they're quite optimistic about the state of the virtual economy:

64 percent reported that they generate positive net income from the products/services they sell
52 percent said they generated up to 20 percent of their total income from Second Life
61 percent were optimistic that their revenues will grow this year, with 19 percent saying they were "very optimistic"
31 percent planned to invest slightly or significantly more in their virtual business over the next six months

So what's keeping the virtual economy afloat while consumers pull back on real world spending? It's simple. The average shopper may be wary of spending $150 on a new pair of heels right nowbut if she's involved in Second Life or even has an avatar for an instant messaging platform (like IMVU or Meez), spending $2 for a new pair of virtual heels is much easier to justify. And when taken to scale, those thousands and millions of micro-transactions add up to substantial revenues for companies like Linden Lab, Habbo and WeeWorld.

Photo Credit: matteopenzo

By Tameka Kee

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