Sep 15, 2009 at 06:21 PM
written by

IMVU and Alloy Team Up for Virtual World Sponsorships

Who says virtual world communities flopped for marketers? In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friend., which is an avatar-based social network and virtual world that boasts 35 million registered users, 100,000 registered developers and more than $1.5 million in revenue each month has partnered with Alloy Media + Marketing to sell sponsorships and advertising in the fast growing virtual world community.

IMVU and Alloy have brought on a dedicated sponsorship sales exec with traditional sponsorship experience to help package IMVU's inventory. IMVU’s new head of sales, Danny Wright, has worked extensively with Fortune 100 brands such as P&G, Dell, Samsung, and AT&T, and media companies like MTV, Bravo and the BBC. He has held positions at Arista Records, Columbia Records and Universal Records, among others.

“With consumer revenue ramping quickly, we are now ready to bring high-quality brands into IMVU. Partnering with Alloy and hiring Danny Wright are important elements of augmenting our core business model,” said Jeff Titterton, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for IMVU.

“IMVU’s virtual community offers a compelling environment with built-in utilities that will appeal to a wide range of marketers,” Jamie Elden, Vice President, Digital for Alloy Media + Marketing added.

It seems like just yesterday that Second Life graced many a magazine cover as business pubs raved about virtual communities as the hot new real estate for savvy marketers. In fact, it was 2006 and the hype was successful in garnering some big ad dollars.

Marketers have learned some tough lessons from the experience.

"We learned right away that maintaining these areas requires a lot of resources," says Laura Thomas, an e-business consultant at Dell who headed the company's Second Life efforts told Fast Company. "There wasn't enough usage of the space to justify the resources needed to keep it dynamic."

Others pundits say that marketers mistakingly used Second Life, which now boasts somewhere between 15-20M users, as a pure sales medium, when they would have been better off focusing their efforts on brand messaging.

Now with some key learnings in tow and a critical mass that was absent in all of the early hype (thereby scuttling many a early marketer's ROI), is it possible that the timing may finally be right for broader brand and sponsorship plays in virtual communities like Second Life and IMVU?