Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ING's foray into Second Life has come to a close because of the fact that they are pumping their marketing dollars into their merger. For me it signals an end to all the hype and hysteria about Second Life. There is definitely a role for virtual worlds as a way of getting people together digitally and building communities of creative people who like a bit of escapism. But as an advertising channel it was never going to deliver.

ING's email explaining the end of the project is also interesting as it shows how to wrap things up. All too often engaging intitiatives just get pulled and no one hears anything about it.

"After a year of pioneering, learning and innovating ING Retail Netherlands has decided to close down the Our Virtual Holland activities in Second Life.
The main reason is the current merger of the ING bank Netherlands and the Postbank. The focus of our activities will be directed to the merger.

Virtual Worlds continue to be an interesting and for ING relevant development. Virtual worlds as a communication platform as well as virtual economies are important developments for a financial institution like ING. ING Asia Pacific will keep the presence in Second Life with their 'Cha Lounge' on our own ING island. In this way the knowledge about virtual worlds inside ING is not lost and we are ready to make a quick restart in the future.

We have learned a lot this past year and it was a pleasure to facilitate the Our Virtual Holland community. 50 % of Our Virtual Holland partners will continue their activities in Second Life. We are happy to tell you that community member willl take over part of the OVH community activities. The name of the community island will be changed to Virtual Holland. We wish the Virtual Holland community good luck.
We aim to finish our activities in Second Life by the first of March. At the Our Virtual Holland site you will find updates on the activities of ING Asia Pacific in Second Life and about the partners and community members.

Kind regards,

Gertjan Kaaij (Gavin Market) and the Our Virtual Holland team"

I don't bank with ING. But this email and their foray into Second Life has made me warm to them. It makes me think that they are innovative, forward thinking and are something I'd like to be part of. As opposed to Barclays who can't even manage to send me a cheque book. It's not like I've asked for one 4 times!



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