Welcome To Fantasy Island

With fewer dollars to spend in the real world, consumers have been hanging out in virtual worlds -- where their money goes farther, according to operators of such sites.

Jim Manico, OWASP Global Board Member

October 10, 2008

2 Min Read

With fewer dollars to spend in the real world, consumers have been hanging out in virtual worlds -- where their money goes farther, according to operators of such sites.Take Habbo, a self-described hangout for teens that charges a small fee for access to specific site features. Visitors are spending twice the amount of time on Habbo than in days past, the site's EVP told Forbes.com. U.S. users, who account for 25% of Habbo's 10 million customer base, spend around $18 per month buying virtual items. You do the math.

Virtual world Gaiai Online, with 7 million members, and sci-fi multiplayer gaming site EVE Online, with 250,000 members, are predicting continued upticks in their number of visitors, as well. In EVE Online's case, members pay $14.95 per month minimum (depending on their membership level). You can easily spend more than that in a single afternoon at Dave & Buster's.

"As the 'real world' gets worse, virtual worlds get better," Gaia CEO Craig Sherman told Forbes.com. "As things get worse, people spend more time at movies or spend more time on a site like Gaia Online, which provides a relatively inexpensive respite from the offline world."

I'm not suggesting you go off and start your own virtual world -- though it doesn't hurt to know they received more than $345 million in venture financing in the first half of 2008, according to Virtual Worlds Management. And for its part, Second Life is more than hanging in there, though its transactions have declined.

I am, however, suggesting you place yourself -- your name, your products, your services -- in places where your buyers go, whether they're teens and twentysomethings, card-players who can better afford a few rounds of online poker than a jaunt to Vegas, or tech-buying businesses reading reviews online for the purchases they'll make when their cash resumes flowing.

About the Author(s)

Jim Manico

OWASP Global Board Member

Jim Manico is a Global Board Member for the OWASP foundation where he helps drive the strategic vision for the organization. OWASP's mission is to make software security visible, so that individuals and organizations worldwide can make informed decisions about true software security risks. OWASP's AppSecUSA<https://2015.appsecusa.org/c/> conferences represent the nonprofit's largest outreach efforts to advance its mission of spreading security knowledge, for more information and to register, see here<https://2015.appsecusa.org/c/?page_id=534>. Jim is also the founder of Manicode Security where he trains software developers on secure coding and security engineering. He has a 18 year history building software as a developer and architect. Jim is a frequent speaker on secure software practices and is a member of the JavaOne rockstar speaker community. He is the author of Iron-Clad Java: Building Secure Web Applications<http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Clad-Java-Building-Secure-Applications/dp/0071835881> from McGraw-Hill and founder of Brakeman Pro. Investor/Advisor for Signal Sciences.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights