On the day that Linden Lab launched their major business-oriented product, Second Life Enterprise® (formerly known as “Nebraska”) and its companion site, Second Life Work Marketplace®, Google links to it went up from zero to 14,000 in a few hours (there are now almost half a million as I write this!). Not only the SLogosphere reported on this very thoroughly, but the major news media didn’t miss the opportunity to talk about it either, from the Financial Times to Information Week. According to Amanda Linden, who lead the incredible effort of promoting this new product with her team, during the official launch, done as a mixed-media event in San Francisco and Second Life, the physical location was so crowded that they had to project the session to the exteriors, where many more people were eagerly awaiting the news but unable to enter the room. Inside Second Life®, partnering with Metanomics, the session was viewed live by over 300 residents spread among many locations (I found it very amusing that Metanomics’ Dusan Writer was picked to talk “in the flesh” in San Francisco as the host of this event; then again, who better than Dusan to explain what business in Second Life means?). The video stream apparently peaked at 2,500 viewers or so at the same time (but will probably have many more downloads in the next few days). So, overall, the product launch might have been followed live by some 3,000 people.
This is no mean feat. Obviously there is still some way to go to beat Steve Jobs’ keynote speeches once or twice a year. But nevertheless I believe it was a huge success (Amanda Linden calls it the largest promotional event ever run by Linden Lab in their decade of existence) — it’s no mean feat to have a product launch with 3,000 users. In real life, on a “traditional” product presentation with a press conference, getting 3,000 people to attend is quite rare! It’s also true that huge countries like the US will attract more people — I’m sure that any product launch by, say, Microsoft, will probably feature a similar amount of viewers — but I’m more used to audiences of 30-300 (and the latter number for Fortune 500 product launches!) for a new product. Your experience might be different, but in any case, we’re contrasting the launch from a relatively small company to a big, huge launch by a Fortune 500 company, which is a bit unfair to Linden Lab 🙂