Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What is There, and What is There on There



The New Scientist "Technology" blog is boldly making predictions for 2008 and I am impressed that they are willing to stick their necks out and lay out what they believe will be technology failures in the coming year.

One provocative prediction is that if Wikipedia and Google battle it out over online community knowledge bases (Wikimedia announces a community based search project, Google announces Knol) that, in their opinion, Wikipedia is the clear loser as an outcome.

However, the one that took me off on a tangent was the notion that Second Life may be showing some fatigue and be threatened by other worlds, specifically mentioning There. I have mentioned Second Life a few times over the last year, but this is the first time I have become aware of There.

I followed the link provided by the article and am likely going to check out more on this virtual world space. The graphics they promote off of their home page don't seem as compelling as those from the Second Life site, but that could simply be marketing.

Apparently, There has been around since 2003 and recently in December of 2007 announced a big deal with Coca Cola to launch it's own virtual environment within the system. Looking back through the press archives I thought it was interesting that they originally charged a monthly fee of $4.95. Now you can create an account with what appears to be a great deal of functionality for free. There is also a premium service for a small one time fee of $9.95. Given the low cost, I cannot imagine upgrading to the premium if you are enamored with what you experience with the basic package. It just shows how the economic model of virtual communities has changed over the last five years.

By the way, I am not a fan of the product name. It comes across as to generic to me. Like the old generic brands like Beer beer.

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