Second Life Entrepreneurs Make Real Money in a Virtual World

Last Updated Mar 30, 2010 1:26 PM EDT

If you think of partaking in the virtual world of Second Life as a purely escapist activity, think again. Savvy business people are making money there, and even b-school profs are examining and participating in the community.

In a recent Washington Post article, "Second Life's Virtual Money Can Become Real-life Cash," Michael S. Rosenwald takes a look at the Second Life economy, including the contributions of Robert Bloomfield, a Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University professor who hosts a weekly broadcast, Metanomics, which examines "the serious uses of virtual worlds for enterprise, education, content development, research and policy making," according to its Web site.
"The Second Life economy really starts with the idea that people want to socialize," Bloomfield told the Post. "People need a place to do that. So the foundation of the economy is land."

So Second Life members buy up land, some paying $1,000 for their own virtual islands. Others build more modest homes and businesses and sell goods to other users. Rosenwald reports that while the majority of Second Life entrepreneurs make a few hundred dollars a year, there are currently 50 businesses that made more than $100,000 last year selling virtual products.

Clearly, there's a lot to talk about when it comes to Metanomics. Those of us without a Second Life membership can watch the show on the web; for those of you who are part of the virtual community, you can sit in on a broadcast as a member of the "live" studio audience. And you don't even have to wait in line for tickets.

Image courtesy of Flickr user redesigns, CC 2.0.

  • Stacy Blackman

    Stacy Sukov Blackman is president of Stacy Blackman Consulting, where she consults on MBA admissions. She earned her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Science from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy serves on the Board of Directors of AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and has published a guide to MBA Admissions, The MBA Application Roadmap.