Tateru Nino wrote an interesting article about getting your message out in the MMO worlds, providing some tips on sending a press release. While her article is very informative (and some good tips are given), marketing in MMO spaces are very hard to do (especially in Second Life). With blogs, forms, news sites (each with their own angle), specific social networks and feeds, there is a wealth of information that is very hard to come by. In virtual worlds, such as Second Life, marketing is a very key component, the struggles to market in Second Life is further compounded by the amount of in-world marketing that takes place, note cards, groups and group subscription tools, makes information and news not very searchable or easy to find. Getting the word out becomes very tedious and at times unsuccessful.
While Nino discusses how to market from the marketer, that is not the only means of marketing in virtual worlds, it is also not the only means of marketing in Second Life. The media, in my opinion, plays a very important role is the marketing dance, one role that I voiced some frustrations about its inadequacy. My major opinion was that the Second Life based media is not listening or responding to the Second Life community as a whole, were very biased, or being very selective about the news they reported (this is an opinion that I do still share, but I will admit that there have been improvements in the press outlets). In the world of blogs, Google searches, and the Planet of Second Life, you would think it would be easier to get the information out. It is not. The Planet of Second Life may contain a lot of useful information, but also contains a lot of noise (just by its nature.) In certain segments of the Second Life world, the press acts less like press and more as kerosene for unbiased or drama ridden flame wars that happen between bloggers. Magazine, such as The Avastar, in a weird way is a very respectable magazine, in part because it is clearly meant to be a sensational tabloid, but does a great job in listening to the community which gains its respect.
Marketing in MMO spaces are just hard, and some in the press seem to forget the fuel for each MMO. While a company may release a new feature, may have a new announcement, the fact that Blizzard may possibly, maybe, in the sometime near future is speculating about releasing another MMO has not only been covered by 10 news outlets, every single gaming outlet and reported on twice, but is not reflective of the real force driving that MMO, the community. In Second Life this is even more evident; getting the word out is hard (even for the big boys.) Unless there is a dynamic shift in the way MMO’s and Virtual Worlds are covered by their own press, marketing in the MMO World is still going to be a struggle, even if you followed Nino’s great advice.
(I would say more on this subject, but then I feel I would be counting my chickens before they hatch)