The top eight corporate sites in Second Life

Real-world business is booming in the 3-D digital landscape

Current Job Listings
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4. Dell Inc.

Dell Island is mostly a portal for advancing the company brand, although there are a few sights worth seeing: a re-creation of one of the company's commercials (the one with the giant purple gorilla), a factory modeled after a real Dell facility, a PC museum and Michael Dell's college dorm room.

You can also use a drafting table to build the basic components of a real-world computer, such as the Dell XPS 710, and see what it would look like on an office desk. When you are ready to buy, a link takes you to a secure Web site where you type in your real name and credit card number.

The Dell campus boasts a factory tour, design-a-computer stations and a model of Michael Dell's college dorm.
 
The Dell campus boasts a factory tour, design-a-computer stations and a model of Michael Dell's college dorm. (Click image to see larger view)

Laura Thomas, Dell's corporate online editor and main Second Life evangelist, told me she would like to see more metrics in Second Life for customer visits. She also said the company is planning on re-creating the Dell plant-a-tree initiative to help lower individual carbon footprints.

3. Sun Microsystems Inc.

You might bump into an employee or two at the Sun campus, and the trinkets are better than average.
 
You might bump into an employee or two at the Sun campus, and the trinkets are better than average. (Click image to see larger view)

The Second Life teleport blurb for Sun Microsystems says the company has a "100% focus on network computing." When I visited, this popular destination was brimming with client/server-related chat sessions: two jet-pack-wearing visitors were talking about cell phones and Java, and several people gathered around a product demo that shows the cooling effects of Sun servers in a data center.  

"Second Life allows us to do things we could never do in real life," says Chris Melissinos, Sun's chief gaming officer. "People feel less inhibited and will ask more direct questions about products."

The company has no plans to sell products directly through Second Life, however, noting that the platform is not reliable or scalable. Game servers can only hold about 70 people at once, according to Linden Labs. And there's no file encryption. In fact, to run a Second Life server, companies have to open multiple ports in their corporate firewalls -- which tells hackers exactly how to break into company resources. (Most companies use a hosted service to avoid any potential break-ins.)

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