Second Life

We keep hearing about Second Life. What is it and how could it make money for us?

Second Life is an online 3-D virtual world entirely created by its Residents. It opened in 2003 and it has 12 million registered users worldwide of which 3 to 4 million are active.

To visit and explore Second Life there are no costs, sign up for a basic membership—create a name and pick your ‘Avatar’ a graphical representation of yourself, only younger, slimmer and taller!

How does it make money?
Second Life has its own currency, Linden Dollars, which can be exchanged within the virtual world and also extracted into the real world.

Companies are selling virtual items to furnish virtual buildings and so far, the main ways to generate revenue from virtual worlds are

  • Events and conferencing—reaching wider audiences.
  • Brand promotion and PR— a well known sports brand sold 23,000 virtual trainers.
  • Fund raising—Relay for Life exists and enables fund raisers to move into a new dimension.
  • Tourism—promoting the place and things to do before visitors arrive.

Saving time

The real business opportunity may be saving time. There is the possiblity to save time with concept and product testing where you can invite a group of people to look at an idea, comment and generate feedback.

An American hotel chain built a new hotel in Second Life to see how it worked, based on feedback from virtual visitors they adapted their real life model.
Collaboration seems to be taking place online where groups can come together regardless of location. Ideal for sales teams in different locations discussing new product development. The 3D factor is said to work better than standard audio conferencing.

The jury is still out as far as we're concerned. It seems to eat up loads of time and I haven't yet seen how it's useful – perhaps some experienced Second Lifers could let us know?

Competency dictionary

Someone has mentioned organising a ‘competency dictionary’. What is this and why do we need one?

Competencies are the traits, characteristics and behaviours that help to predict superior performance. They are usually developed by describing the best performers in a given field, e.g. what makes one manager better than others? What makes one salesperson better than the others? Once identified, the traits can be put together in the form of a dictionary or framework, giving more detailed descriptions of what is meant by the different terms and then used for recruitment purposes, appraisals and promotional opportunities.

A competency dictionary is a personalised guide to the desired competencies within your organisation.

The twelve most common competencies are

1. planning & organising
2. leadership
3. customer focus
4. team working
5. communication skills
6. results orientation
7. analytical thinking
8. developing others
9. commercial / business awareness
10. problem solving
11. flexibility/adaptability
12. building relationships

It’s a challenge to organise this yourself, but do contact us as we have experience of creating competency dictionaries and ensuring that they work.

Environmental Policy

I need to write an environmental policy, what do I include?

Your environmental policy will detail your organisation’s mission in terms of how it intends to manage the environmental impact of its activities.

Other people will see your environmental statement so make sure it’s easy to understand and interesting to read. Leave out the jargon and concentrate on what the organisation is doing to reduce it’s CO2 emissions in simple terms. Make sure you include everything, however small or insignificant you think it is – whatever you do counts!

Some topics you could include are:

  • Recycling – do you recycle and if so, what? What do you do with packaging you receive supplies in?
  • Electricity – what could you do to lower the amount of electricity you use?
  • Office Equipment – what happens to your used printer cartridges or computer equipment no longer needed?
  • Transport – do any of the staff at your organisation walk to work, use public transport, cycle or work from home at any point during the week?

Physical Evidence

  • Ensure that all staff read it.
  • Post your Environmental Policy on your company’s website to allow visitors to read it.
  • Nominate an ‘environmental officer’ to check that environmental procedures are being followed.
  • Measure your carbon footprint!

Why do I need one?

An Environmental Policy demonstrates to your stakeholders that protecting the environment is important to your company.

Environmental policies have become extremely important to people and businesses in recent years who may have an ethical policy to only deal with those businesses who have environmental considerations.It will save your organisation money and help to protect the environment.

For tips on reducing your CO2 emissions and helping to protect the environment, visit:

Can I find out who is using the same Google Adwords' keywords as our organisation?

Yes, KeywordSpy can be used to find out what keywords your competitors are using for Google Adwords.

For example, we could find out whether had any Google Adwords campaigns running and the list of keywords they were using.

Alternatively, you can enter in keywords your company uses and see which other domains are using the same ones.

To give it a go, visit and click on the free trial button – you will need to enter your name and an email address.

The free trial lists 20 results per search.

Upgrading your account will cost $89.95 a month and will show all results which can be exported into Excel or Word.

The information is from major engines and other information sources including Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Google and other information sources.


By entering in a term used to describe your company, WordTracker will provide a list of keywords used by searchers to find the same products. For example, if we enter into the search box ‘IT support’ a number of alternative search phrases show in order of popularity, eg:

remote support
computer support
network support

The information is sourced from Dogpile and Metacrawler

Free advertising for non-profit organisations

Is there anyone who offers free online advertising for not for profit organisations?

Google Grants offers at least three months free advertising for non-profit organisations using Adwords This is to help raise awareness of the organisation and to increase traffic to its website.

Organisations must

– have a website
– if based in the UK, be registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator or by the Inland Revenue in order to be considered
– if based in Ireland, been granted tax exemption by the Irish Revenue Commissioners in order to be considered (eligible countries are listed at
– must create Adwords advertisements that reflect its mission statement and product / services

Please note – it could take 6 months for Google to process your application!

An application form can be found here