Business in Virtual Worlds, Second Life

The Soft Sell: Linden Lab Activates Affiliate Program to Attract New Users

Second Life Affiliate Program

Linden Lab quietly launched an affiliate program over the past week, giving Web site owners the chance to earn $5 for each person that signs up for Second Life (edit: and converts to a premium account within 30 days). The program, accessible from a link at the bottom of the Second Life home page, is part of what seems like a quiet effort to ramp up the promotion of Second Life towards increasing the number of users, and comes on the heels of ads for the virtual world that have appeared on youTube.

The program is managed through LinkShare and provides Web site owners with banners and link URLs. According to the terms and conditions, users earn $5 if a referring link leads to a new registration to Second Life during the same session:

“3.2. A “Qualifying Link” is a link from Partner’s site to Merchant’s using one of the Required URLs or any other URL provided by Merchant for use in The LinkShare Network(TM) if it is the last link to the Merchant’s site that the Customer uses during a Session where a sale of a product or a service to Customer occurs. A “Session” is the period of time beginning from a Customer’s initial contact with Merchant’s site via a link from the Partner’s site and terminating when the Customer either returns to the Merchant’s site via a link from a site other than Partner’s site or the Engagement expires or is terminated.”

The agreement doesn’t seem to place any particular limit on the number of commissions that can be earned, at least at first glance, but I haven’t had a chance to parse every sub-clause. What’s also unclear is whether community gateways could also benefit from the program. It seems like community gateways, which are ‘landing points’ in Second Life for new users and managed by organizations separate from Linden Lab, might have been cut out of the revenue stream as the Affiliate Program currently leads new registrants to the Second Life sign-up process. For gateways, this would lead users away from their sign-up Web pages and could deprive them of the chance to earn a few books for attracting and registering new accounts.

Upon registering for a LinkShare account, Web site owners are informed (if they can find the Second Life program, which isn’t easily found in the LinkShare search system) that their site must be, well, ‘aesthetically pleasing’:

Approval Guidelines
We encourage all interested sites to apply to our program. However, before you can participate in our program, we will need to approve your site. Mainly we look for sites that:
* Are aesthetically pleasing
* Do not display content that may be deemed pornographic or offensive

These are only general guidelines, and we reserve the right to make exceptions. Please note that while we try to respond to approval requests quickly, we receive a high volume of approval requests every day. For this reason, you may not hear from us immediately. However, if you do not hear from us within a reasonable amount of time, or you have questions concerning our program, please let us know.

Please note that if you fail to meet the terms of our agreement we may remove you at any time.

Linden Lab LinkShare Affiliate

The banners you can select leave something to be desired but may only be a start. In fact, the listing on LinkShare itself has the look of something that was cobbled together before the holidays – maybe the gnomes will be back at work in early January giving us something more than a few ‘Go 3D’ buttons or whatever and something a little less SL-circa-2005 looking.

The program could be a nice bonus for bloggers and others that cover virtual worlds like New World Notes, Koin-Up or other shopping/information sites. Whether the program is picked up by a broader range of blogs, news or tech sites that reach those who aren’t already converted to the idea of virtual worlds might be left to the broader on-line in initiatives hinted at by the recent youTube ad.


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