We haven't heard much recently about so-called virtual worlds such as Second Life, in which you move around with your own avatar. Critics must be hoping they have disappeared up their own ether. Actually, they are booming. The consultancy kzero.co.uk reports that membership of virtual worlds grew by 39% in the second quarter of 2009 to an estimated 579 million. Not all these members are active but I can't think of anything, anywhere, that has grown so fast in the recession this side of Goldman Sachs bonuses.Victor Keegan: Virtual worlds are getting a second life with 39% growth | Technology | The Guardian
There's another curious thing: Facebook and Twitter are lauded to the skies, but neither has found a way to make money – whereas virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Habbo Hotel, Club Penguin and Second Life are all profitable because their business models are based on the digital elixir of subscriptions and micropayments, a formula that other websites, including newspapers, would die for. Twitter makes the noise, Second Life makes the money.