Google’s Lively Is a Different Beast

Second Life is either peaking or busy crossing the chasm, depending on who you believe. IMVU stealthed its way to tons of users. Club Penguin found its windfall by figuring out how to reach children safely. Blizzard had revenues of $1.1 billion last year. Qwaq makes private virtual worlds for the enterprise. And there are dozens more. Do we really need another?

Then along comes Lively. At first blush, as James points out, it’s a me-too play. But Google’s other projects may mean it can do things other virtual worlds can’t.

First, of course, there’s advertising. Google can sell wall space. All those walls are good real estate for interstitial video ads. And social ads are better: Recommendations in your friends’ rooms cut through the advertising clutter, which makes Lively a good vehicle for social advertising without inviting the Beacon Creepy Stalker Guy along for the ride. Read More about Google’s Lively Is a Different Beast

Ex-E*TRADE CEO Goes Social With MOLI

Christos Cotsakos, former CEO of E*TRADE, the online brokerage firm that revolutionized stock trading in Web 1.0, will unveil his Web 2.0 company called MOLI tomorrow at DEMO. And surprise, surprise — it’s a social network! Yet Cotsakos is undetered by what is an arguably overcrowded space: In a briefing with GigaOM last week, he explained what distinguishes MOLI (the name stands for “money and living”) from others with market-leader advantages (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn) — and why he believes users will gravitate to MOLI anyway.

“People say the market has already formed,” he said, “but the market never forms. It only forms and reforms. There is still room for a handful of unique brands in this space.” Cotsakos, who founded MOLI in 2003, has had plenty of time to refine the company’s business model to ensure it might be one of them. And although odds are usually stacked against late entrants, MOLI does offer some compelling features. Read More about Ex-E*TRADE CEO Goes Social With MOLI