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Aviators, Moguls, Fashionistas and Barons: Economics and Ownership in Second Life (23 Sep 2004)
The average person has a very full schedule. For the average American, television, work and sleep, are enough to take most of the hours in the week. While people have begun to exchange television viewing for game playing [Loftus04], the high time cost of MMOG play is still a significant problem for many. The very real possibility of generating an income within Second Life can change that.

As Julian Dibbell can attest, it is possible to make a living selling digital goods [Dibbell03b]. Several of Second Life's more successful creators are using their profits to pay for tuition or as income while unemployed [Au04a]. For many of these digital entrepreneurs, the ability to make money doing something that they enjoy is a new experience. Residents often join Second Life with no idea that they possessed the creative skills or business acumen needed to make and sell digital items, but the ease of experimentation and readily available in-world educational resources lead them to explore the possibilities.

Some have even setup databases in the real world, tracking inventory, sales, and customer data from their multiple stores within Second Life. Using this data, they adjust product lines, prices, and advertising, acquiring skills and knowledge that would be acquired at far greater financial risk in the real world. For example, residents have discovered that Sunday is the largest shopping day in Second Life and that attractive but simple displays generate more sales. Undoubtedly, some will eventually transfer their newfound business acumen back into the real world.
Article URL: http://www.gamasutra.com/resource_guide/20040920/ondrejka_01.shtml

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