In slightly over six years, the members of Second Life have lived out over one billion hours in a virtual world. To give you a sense of the popularity of SL, one billion hours equates to slightly over 115,000 years. With that much time on our hands, you can imagine what kind of trouble we can get ourselves into!
For those of us, like myself who live under a rock and not in virtual worlds, Second Life is a cyberspace environment developed by Linden Labs that launched on June 23, 2003. Accessible via the Internet, the program enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other vis a vis their alter egos or avatars.
Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, travel throughout the world, or yes... have sex!
The steamier side of Second Life is one of the attractions that keeps members coming back for healthy or unhealthy doses (as the case may be) of living vicariously through their alter egos! Tracey Smith from the CBS Early Show explores SexGen Escorting and Virtual Sex in this broadcast on the subject.
If you don't believe that sex sells in Second Life, just like it does in the real world, adult and sex-related transactions make up a significant portion of the $35 million in real money that Linden Labs says filters through its virtual economy each month.
The adults-only zone is separate from the mainland (so to speak). People who want access need to be age-verified through either a credit card or Linden Lab’s own verification service. Residents that own land earmarked for adult activities are required to rope off the area and set up age-verification control. God forbid,they should let the riff-raff in!
There’s real money at stake in virtual sales. In a Wired report, "Second Life reported $120 million in resident-to-resident purchases in the first quarter alone, and investment bank Piper Jaffrey predicts $621 million worth of in-world sales in 2009, in everything from virtual dildos to running shoes."
So it does appear that idle hands are the devil's playground! The next time you have one billion hours to waste away, if you are up for a little hanky-panky, you might want to visit the "red light" district in Second Life. That is, if you are not twittering your life away!