Saturday, April 26, 2008

Panel Discussion - 10AM SLT - Publishing Island stage

I'll be on this panel this morning! Attend by clicking here for SLURL!

What's Up with Amazon and Print-on-Demand (POD)

Panel Chair - Babu Writer (aka Nicole Schultheis)
is a staff writer for The AvaStar,, and in real life is a writer and trial lawyer who ran her own law firm for over 20 years before retiring from law to write full time. She is also a past President of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, now called Public Justice, where with Executive Director Aurthur Bryant she founded Project Access in the late 1980s, to oppose unnecessary secrecy in the courts. Since then Public Justice has fought tirelessly to support access to information affecting the public interest, and to oppose overly restrictive secrecy orders in significant public interest litigation, such as Exxon Valdez oil spill, tobacco litigation and many many other cases.

Panelist - DannyOSnow Sygall (aka Danny O. Snow ) is co-author with Dan Poynter of a popular guide to self publishing called "," at He's also a Senior Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research, a nonprofit global think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new and emerging media. A Harvard graduate, Snow has been widely quoted about new publishing technologies by major media coast-to-coast, including AP, NPR, UPI, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and others. He has also served as a contributing editor to BookTech: The Magazine for Publishers, as a panelist and moderator at national publishing events such as the North American Publishing Company's "PrintMedia" expos and PMA's "Publishing University," as senior planning consultant to, and as a POD book publisher with Unlimited Publishing LLC.

Panelist - Cybergrrl Oh (aka Aliza Sherman) is an award-winning author, an e-marketing expert, freelance writer, a television & radio producer, and a filmmaker. In Second Life, her show, RealBiz in SL, airs on Her books Streetwise ECommerce (upcoming), The Everything Blogging Book, and many others, can be ordered here: You can also find her on Second Life here:

Pollywog Gardenvale (aka Claire Condra) is a publisher, technical communicator, and interactive producer with a special interest in emerging technology. She has spent the better part of three decades introducing new technologies and concepts to nontechnical people. During the 90s, her company Ellipsys International Publications, Inc., produced books on emerging technogy and also provided packaging services for other publishers. Today, Pollywog Press ( provides many services in multiple media for print and Web applications. She also publishes The Seventh Sun (, an online magazine that provides in-depth coverage of issues, technologies, and culture in the emerging communities of the virtual world.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Africa Day in Second Life

In its usual fashion, real life got in the way of my Second Life which meant I missed much of the happenings on Orange Island for Africa Day yesterday. The day was a resounding success!

Check out some of the coverage so far for Africa Day and Virtual Africa!

Streaming Africa: Cape Town NGO Opens SL Outreach Club

Virtual Africa - Africa Day in Second Life

Virtual Africa opening in Second Life

SL Africa Day!

Africa Day Orange Island

Stay tuned for a feature in The Looking Glass and SLNN as well.

I also hopped over briefly to the Clever Zebra VBusiness Expo to see how that was going. They put a lot of effort into the event and although the pace was a bit slow, the speakers were stellar. The downside of a 4 sim venue is that it looks really really empty even though you have good attendance.

Overall, a busy day both inworld and offine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Linden Lab Nixes Second Life Clubs

Linden Lab is now very clear about the use of their Second Life trademark. As with so many tech startups, this hasn't always been the case, however, one would think any company starting up after 1999 would know that setting up trademark policies and enforcing them are paramount to establishing and protecting one's company assets.

As a resident and entrepreneur in Second Life (I am using the SL trademark here as a blogger/reporter and acknowledge that Second Life is a registered trademark owned by Linden Lab), I am feeling the sting of the company's latest fumbled efforts to get their company assets in order.

Despite my own extensive experience in the new media industry with trademark issues, laws and enforcement dating back to the mid-90s with my company Cybergrrl, Inc. and organization I founded Webgrrls International, I also flubbed.

In the flush of newfound love of Second Life last year, I started several "affinity groups" or clubs to meet like-minded people and to provide forums for authors and other experts to come into Second Life - most for the first time - and reach a savvy, engaged audience. I thought I was clever to name my clubs:

Second Life Women's Club
Moms in Second Life
Second Life Entrepreneurs Club
Second Life Marketers Club
Second Life Writers Club & the Ning group

Somehow, my brain failed to tap into my wealth of knowledge - and pain - surrounding trademark disputes and instead I focused on "Linden Lab will be so pleased that I'm driving traffic to their service." (I duly smack myself on the forehead. What was I thinking?!?)

Now I have no other choice but to change the names of these clubs. I don't have the means - and my Second Life revenues currently do not cover - the costs of licensing the Second Life name from Linden Lab. The challenge to me now isn't branding a new name. It is getting the current members of these clubs to switch over to a new club.

So far, my experience with changing group names means creating an entirely new group and urging members of the old one to join the new. This has not worked well in the past. Even when the old group is totally dead, people tend to stick around until they decide to weed out a group to make room for something new. Laziness? Too much of a hassle to switch? I simply do not know the answer to this SL mystery.

Because I'm in the process of buying a sim and calling it Athena Isle (yes, doing the right thing here with trademarking), it makes sense to change my club names as follows:

Groups Ready for Transition:

Second Life Women's Club -
Athena Isle Women
Moms in Second Life -
Athena Isle Moms
Second Life Writers Club -
Athena Isle Writers

Right now, I'm going to focus on Athena Isle Women, Moms and Writers. In my enthusiasm to create and build in Second Life, I think I overextended myself. I've been coming inworld 5 days a week, 3-4 of which are to host live events with special guests that I have booked, trained, created avatars for, and marketed. I remain committed to my Second Life ventures, however, I really need to pare them down and focus more on my main mission: empowering women through technology.

(Special thanks to my good SL friends who have given me honest feedback about my SL work. You know who you are!)

I'm also changing the names for these clubs just to have them on hand:

Second Life Entrepreneurs Club - Athena Isle Entrepreneurs

Second Life Marketers Club - Athena Isle Marketers

As Linden Lab struggles to get their act together, I am painfully reminded of the blog post by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Charlie O'Donnell, "
10 Reasons to Go Short on Second Life."
Second Life is a business. Linden Labs has taken venture capital investment and those firms are going to look for an "exit" at some point over the next four years or so. Maybe Linden Labs will be profitable enough to go public. In that case, the founders could remain at the helm, but they'd still have the pressure to grow revenues which may be at odds with the authenticity of the service. Contrast that with Craigslist, which makes its team enough money to be comfortable and not feel pressure to do anything that it's users might not like... no quarterly numbers to meet and no pressure to grow the business.
While it would be interesting to revisit Charlie's 10 points (written November 26, 2006) because, for example, he said Second Life would never go mobile, the point he made about Second Life being a business - owned and run by Linden Lab - is critical in all of our own business decisions about what we are doing in this particular virtual world. Including mine. (I did respond in Nov of 2007 here.)

Whoever said being on the cutting edge was easy? We all should pat ourselves and each other on the back for sticking it out this long and riding the tumultuous waves of innovation. I may be a bit battered and bruised, but I'm in it for the long haul. It remains to be seen if Linden Lab is as well.

More Second Life trademark links for your reading pleasure:

More on the Trademark Policy « Official Second Life Blog

The Trademark Blog: NY Times On Second Life

New World Notes: Second Life(tm) Trademark Turmoil Continues-- And ...

Clickable Culture - ‘Second LifeTrademark Infringement Quantified

Trademark Issues in Second Life » Propeller

Rampant Trademark Infringement in Second Life Costs Millions ...

Second Life -- A Whole New World of Trademark Infringement ...

Reuters/Second Life » Protecting real brand names in a virtual world

Sunday, April 13, 2008

On Buying an Island

I'm buying a sim on Second Life. Actually, the technical way it is happening is that my current landlord is transferring ownership to me - and a small consortium of incredible women who I either know personally or have met in Second Life.

The name of the sim will change from Second Shores to Athena Isle. I'll retain my 1/16th portion of the sim and expand so that I have 1/6th of it along with 5 other women who will each get 1/6th.

The mission of Athena Isle will be:

1. To empower the women in the consortium to realize personal and professional dreams utilizing Second Life. For example, one woman is a watercolor artist who is incredibly talented but until she exhibited her art in Athena Isle, she wasn't putting herself out there as an artist in the real world. Now I'm helping her get a real world art exhibit in a boutique in Anchorage, Alaska.

2. To empower women in Second Life, from newbies to "oldies." The Isle will facilitate networking, business exchange, learning, and sharing. Each of us will have our distinct area of concentration such as an Orientation area, a Business zone, an Arts section, a Writers Retreat, etc. - so that a visitor can find diverse offerings.

3. To empower anyone in Second Life who wants to learn and be inspired. We are definitely NOT excluding men, however, there is a need for a place for businesswomen to gather, for creative women to meet, for moms to find support. Athena Isle will be the place.

In order to handle the new demands of sim ownership, I will be consolidating some of my inworld activites. I'll still be doing my show REAL BIZ in SL, however, will merge Second Life Entrepreneurs Club and Second Life Marketers Club into Second Life Women's Club to keep things focused on empowering women.

I'll also keep doing the Athena Gallery of Women's Art and First Friday events but hope to migrate that over to the Arts-focused section and share the duties with others in the consortium. And I'll keep the Athena Wares shop open for women-created products but maybe move it into a more "commercial" area of the sim.

Expect a lot more news as we get up and running. First, we are waiting for the transfer to be complete through Linden Lab. Next, we'll work on making our visions a collaborative reality.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My SLUtterz - Second Life Utterz

I'm alternating between Utterz about Second Life and other topics (including MommyUtterz). Here are my latest SLUtterz...