Harvard Business Review discusses Avatar-based Marketing

We-Make-Money-Not-Art posted about an article from the Harvard Business Review about avatar-based marketing in virtual worlds like Second Life. The article argues that, while the real-world subscribers to online virtual worlds are an obvious target for marketers, the online avatar, which are essentially alternate identities, “arguably represents a distincly different ‘shadow’ consumer, one able to influence its creator’s purchase of real-world products and conceivably make its own real-world purchases in the virtual world.”

I’m still waiting for the first virtual GIS consultants to set up shop and offer site analyses for the best location of your island, and other real-world type GIS analyses (hmmmm……..maybe we should look into that……)

NBC Nightly News video features digital mapping

If you head over to MSNBC, you can check out a 2-minute news report from the NBC Nightly News on web mapping and capturing geographic data. (They don’t have a permalink, so if you can’t find it, search the video archives for “How Digital Mapping Works”)

Nothing new for most of us, but the video offers another example of how the mainstream media is covering geospatial technologies.

Talkin’ About the Metaverse

Mark over at 3pointD posted a link this morning to an article at CNNMoney from David Kirkpatrick, a FORTUNE senior editor, that is written in the form of a conversation, with each quote related to an aspect of the metaverse, social networking sites, and even search. It’s short, but does mention a lot of sites like Second Life, World of Warcraft, MySpace and Gawker.

I know I’m definitely playing catch-up on some of this stuff myself, but I want to get more into it, and reading blogs like 3pointD (here’s a shoutout to Mark and friends!) have really helped out. We are going to try to line up a few interviews with people involved in the metaverse, and talk about Second Life, World of Warcraft, and some of the other things going on with Virtual Worlds.

Wiki + Google Maps = WikiMapia!

Here’s a cool project – make a google map that allows people to tag anything on the face of the planet and write stuff about it. All you do is zoom into a sufficent scale and click “Add Tag” in the upper right hand box. This allows you to draw a box around a location, then add textual information about it. When you’re zoomed out, all the boxes are (obviously) smaller and clickable so you can zoom right to it. Like any other Wiki, pretty much anybody can add information to the points. There aren’t a lot of them out there right now, but I can imagine this sort of thing catching on. We’ll have to see about putting Very Spatial on the map 🙂

World of Warcraft Online Google Map

I blogged this way back in January when it first came out. It’s a World of Warcaft Online Map using the Google Maps API. They’ve added a bunch of functionality to the map, with layers you can turn on and off. It includes both “photography” as well as point layers (like where treasure is located) and polyline layers(indicating common travel paths). It’s pretty fascinating the amount of detail they’ve put into this virtual resource. I stumbled across it again via their blog.

An interesting side note is the ranking of which college campuses play more World of Warcraft than others. While it’s a trivial example, I think it’s kinda neat the continued desire to link the physical with the virtual in some for of spatially accessible manner. Plus, I like seeing that our University beats Princeton as something for once (but only by one place!)