Business in Virtual Worlds, Second Life

Eric Krangel Reluctantly Retracts Second Slam on Second Life

Eric Krangel, formerly Eric Reuters in Second Life, seems to have extended the art of poor reporting over at Silicon Alley Insider.

Now, I have no idea what got under Eric’s skin. With the departure of Reuters from SL, Eric decided that a gracious exit wasn’t in the cards, calling part of his SL experience “about as fun as watching paint dry,” and implying that the Lab was limping along on the back of “fanatical users”.

What was odd about this was that while Reuters made for the exits, CNN was upping its investment in Second Life – and surely both can’t be right?

So there he was, at it again, claiming that IBM, with hundreds of employees IN Second Life, was retreating from virtual worlds because of the departure of ONE person, creating a spurious rumor, and using the royal “we” to try to back up the idea:

“We have calls into IBM PR and Ian himself. But we can’t say we’d really be surprised if IBM uses Ian’s departure as pretext to quietly back away from its once full-throated backing of Linden Lab’s virtual world.”

Well, Eric. WE beg to differ. The recently published case study by IBM and Linden Lab is probably the best evidence of this. And, well, IBM itself agrees, forcing Eric to publish a retraction:

“Earlier this week, we wondered if the departure of IBM’s (IBM) “Metaverse Evangelist” means the company is scaling back its interest in virtual worlds and Second Life. We haven’t heard much from the group in months, which only added to our speculation.

IBM reps finally got back to us, and they let us know they’re still in there.”

Ending the recall of the previous rumour with a snarky “Still in there, so there you go.”

Hamlet recently took up the cause of de-meming Eric’s seeming bitterness, pointing out that as far as covering the hot stories, Reuters was hardly some sort of investigative powerhouse:

“consider all the significant business/commerce/financial stories that Reuters’ bureau failed to first report on, when they were operating in SL:

* Reuters didn’t first report that fear of the CopyBot was undermining the entire SL economy. The Second Life Herald did.
* Reuters didn’t first report that SL retention rates were much smaller than widely believed. Writing for this blog, Tateru Nino did.
* Reuters didn’t first report that a film director had sold the rights to his SL machinima to HBO. This blog did.
* Reuters didn’t extensively report on the relative value of virtual items in the SL economy. The New York Times did.
* Reuters didn’t report that IBM’s corporate campus in SL was the site of a major international labor protest. This blog did.
* Reuters didn’t first report that CTO Cory Ondrejka was being fired from Linden Lab. Moo Money at Massively did.
* Reuters didn’t report that an art collector had purchased an experimental work set in Second Life for six figures. The New York Times did.
* Reuters didn’t report how contractors for the Playboy Corporation were investigating instances of copyright and trademark infringement in SL. CNN’s iReports did.
* Reuters didn’t estimate the amount of revenue Linden Lab was earning from SL. This blog did.
* Reuters didn’t report how a number of real world entrepreneurs and developers were using SL to prototype real content. BusinessWeek did.”

I don’t feel like Eric deserves the real estate, but when I get people asking whether IBM is really leaving based on – well, based on smoke really, it’s clear that where Eric really belongs is the Enquirer, and that he should be tracking down Britney or something, because it’s increasingly clear that Eric is either living out his grudges and resentments in public or never graduated from journalism school in the first place.


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