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RL T-Shirt Store Opens Branch in Second Life 55

ches_grin writes "The (very real) t-shirt maker American Apparel has opened a virtual store in Second Life, becoming the first major retailer to set up shop in the SL universe. Though items cost only $1, the company hopes to bolster real life sales. Article includes some screenshots of the store and clothes." From the article: "The amount of money American Apparel has made so far on Second Life is probably not as much as they would make in a day at a single store ... But the idea meshes existing Korean online game models in which players can buy accessories for their avatars in micro-transactions, with the idea of the social Web--an online, virtual community. American Apparel's store suggests a new form of videogaming only starting to be explored in the U.S."
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RL T-Shirt Store Opens Branch in Second Life

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  • Like they say, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Clockwurk ( 577966 ) * on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:50AM (#15612655) Homepage
    A fool and his money are soon parted.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:50AM (#15612657)
    So, are these virtual T-Shirts created by American gamers on their payroll, or in East Asian sweatshops?
    • Re:Made in the USA? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:04AM (#15612748) Journal
      American Apparel's two big selling points are:
      • American-made, non-sweatshop products
      • A creepy pervert owner and creepy, sleazy advertising
      So ... err, I forgot what point I was going to make.
    • Can I roleplay an East Asian sweatshop worker who virtually makes these virtual shirts? Would there be some sort of sewing machine mingame?

      What would I be payed? Because, I mean, if the shirt costs retail one dollar, that means it's produced for two or three cents, and the laborers would only make hundredths of a cent per day. How will they virtually feed their virtual families?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The cost of living might be a lot lower in the virtual third world.
  • Next... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaSenator ( 915940 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:51AM (#15612669)
    ...we're going to see Abercrombie. Now your 'hard earned' Linden Dollars can be used to buy a $25 not real t-shirt, instead of a $50 real t-shirt!

    I for one welcome our new virtual overpriced fashion masters.
    • My question is: how long until someone cuts a deal with blizzard and makes +5 Boots of Speed, Armor, and Fashion by Dr. Martens?

      I guess the signature soles of Dr. Martens would be hard to reproduce, but you could have Tommy Hilfiger Whale Plate Armor of the Gods with the logo on it.

      I wonder if I could make a Swoosh-shaped scimitar... Dibs on that one! I'm calling my patent lawyer!

    • First, why do you put "hard earned" in quotes? They're hard earned indeed. I'd say it takes more effort to earn enough money in SL for your earnings to reach even the minimum wage than it takes to do a job that pays more than that.

      Second, very few things sell for $25 in SL. $10 is already in the realm of expensive items, such as large scripts that do something very fancy, and such. You can buy medieval castles for $10. A virtual shirt would be at most L$50, which is 15 cents.
    • Except that it's a $1 virtual T-shirt.

      Sounds more like someone's figured out virtual pricing at last to me. Hell, it's less than half the price of some horse armour.
      • Except that horse armor does have utility. A t-shirt has no utility beyond keeping your avatar 'in style.'

        Also, I was using hyperbole to describe the idiocy and conspicuous consumption, (and to an extent, the conspicuous waste) of my fellow Americans who buy shirts priced that high in stores such as Abercrombie, et al.

        Most people don't care about durability and features, but instead care about fashion and paying people to advertise their products. Yes, its a virtual world in Second Life, (I do occasionall
  • by subl33t ( 739983 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:57AM (#15612710)
    ...for Fredricks of Hollywood. There are a million overweight males in basements looking to kit out their hot online female personas.
  • by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:57AM (#15612711) Homepage
    Purchasers can outfit their online avatars with digital renderings of slim-cut T's and dresses modeled after real-life merchandise.

    So is their going to be a way for real-life shoplifting to occur too? If so ... I'm in! Otherwise, there's no way I'm paying real $$ to outfit an avatar.
  • Think Geek? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miller60 ( 554835 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:09AM (#15612792) Homepage
    Where's the Think Geek boutique? All those Second Life folks need to get themselves some Slashdot T-shirts.
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:24AM (#15612899) Homepage Journal
    I don't know much about SL, but I have heard that people have an unprecedented amount of freedom to create their own items. Does this extend to player-created clothing? If so, how long until someone bootlegs the $1 t-shirt for 50 cents, or even better, for free?
    • I don't know much about SL, but I have heard that people have an unprecedented amount of freedom to create their own items. Does this extend to player-created clothing? If so, how long until someone bootlegs the $1 t-shirt for 50 cents, or even better, for free?

      The only thing stopping someone in meatspace from selling reproductions of tee shirts is copyright law. I'm not sure how that works for personal use; can I make my own copy of, say, an Abercrombie and Fitch tee shirt, and wear it?

      Anyway, copyr

      • Not copyright law, trademark law. Very different, yet quite similar.

        And yes, you can personally make a t-shirt with whatever trademarks on it you wish. You just can't sell that t-shirt, or represent it as being made by the owner of the trademark.
      • Trademarks are actually the issue here, not copyright. Most popular characters are trademarked.
        • Well, strictly speaking, you can use either depending on circumstances. In the case where it's a trademark (and not just some graphic they whipped up) then I'd imagine you could use both, unless the law specifically says you can't. I do realize that some of those graphics are also trademarked.
    • I'm not a SL expert, but as far as I know:
      The smallest transaction is L$1
      If an object is sold non-modifable/non-reproducable, you can't (easily afaik) bypass this.

      If you hand produce an identical texture, it costs you to upload it (L$10 I think).

      Items contain who created them originally, so even if you put yourself out of pocket (and effort) to make a duplicate, people could easily tell they were being given/buying a bootleg.

      And in both cases, it's still publicity for the original company. Just if it's boot
      • Items contain who created them originally, so even if you put yourself out of pocket (and effort) to make a duplicate, people could easily tell they were being given/buying a bootleg.

        I think many people also know that those two VCDs in a paper sleeve with turkish subtitles aren't the real deal but if they're cheap enough people will buy.
    • If so, how long until someone bootlegs the $1 t-shirt for 50 cents, or even better, for free?
      American Apparel is not worth ripping off. Their clothing looks worse than freebies I own.
  • So - players are allowed to create content, such as T-Shirt designs? I'm admittedly not a 2nd life player and 100% not a lawyer, but dosen't this bring up a TON of copyright and IP issues for both the player AND the owner of a "virtual world"? I'm already mortified by how some laws have adapted to the ability of data/content to be replicated by computers - what happens when real world governments start passing laws on "virtual" populaces and content? Or when the owner of the game world makes decisio
  • you could make your own...?
  • doomed for failure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @11:46AM (#15613047) Journal
    It'll never sell. Most clothing in game is extremely cheap. Especially things like basic Ts. Most people either give the stuff away or charge very cheaply for it. I've seen boxes of Ts like 50 for L$25. They want to charge L$150 for a pair of socks? Good luck with that.
    This is probably why the store is devoid of any traffic, and the only person there is some linden who appears to be trapped in the floor.
  • RL Advertising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:00PM (#15613147) Homepage Journal
    This actually looks like a nice advertising move. Imagine if your first encounter with the Gap was in some game like SL and later you discovered the real thing in RL. It might be amusing/cool enough to make you more likely to buy something at the RL store. It's probably too soon to tell, but American Apparel might just see some RL store sales from this. Heck, this /. story about them won't hurt either. The only real problem here is that SL is not the most popular MMO around. Now if they could open a shop in Azeroth, then they'd be talking!
    • The only real problem here is that SL is not the most popular MMO around. Now if they could open a shop in Azeroth, then they'd be talking!
      Actually, the real problem is that their clothing looks worse than freebies I own on SL.
  • by BigZaphod ( 12942 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:35PM (#15613426) Homepage
    This may be slightly off-topic, but I have to ask.. I tried Second Life once a few months ago and it seemed like a huge, slow, disorganized mess with bad graphics and a terrible user interface. (I was using the Mac client - which may not be as good as the windows one, I don't know). What's the appeal there? I have this sinking feeling that it is a success for the same reasons MySpace is - but I'd really like to think I was just missing something. :-)
    • It's sort of IRC with graphics. Only you get to an avatar and to build stuff.

      You want to be tiny, huge, furry or a robot? No problem. Want to live in a huge medieval castle, or a futuristic home? Can be done. There are games, gambling, damage enabled zones where you can use weapons and kill people, lots of places where to hang around, and a world that would take months to fully explore and keeps growing.

      You can use it as a platform too. For example, there's an artificial life simulation somewhere, with an e
    • I love the idea of Second Life but I hate the implementation. I have a fairly beefy PC but the game runs like ass unless I kill the draw distance. There are menus upon menus upon menus that I just can't find my way around. The lag is so bad sometimes that I don't move for seconds after I press a key.

      I much prefer There [there.com], not that I play these pseudogames any more. SL is the winner in content but There is superior in accessibility.
  • This is great. Companies spend millions to advertise on television, in magazines and numberous other places. But the idiot consumers actually pay these companies to advertise their products.

    It's already bad enough with people walking around in $50 t-shirts with huge logos plastered all over them. Now we've got people paying money online for essentially no other reason than to help this company advertise.

    The depth of corporate greed is easily outdone by the depth of consumer stupidity.
  • The demographic for this kind of thing is probably larger than you'd think.

    Think about the number of people who go to great lengths to personalize their avatar in a game like WoW which has very limited customization options. With a game like Second Life, where your character IS YOU, the desire to "pimp your toon" is HUGE.

    Also, this business model, has almost no overhead costs. Sure, advertising factors in, but you only need to design the items once, and never actually need to manufacture them.

    Sadly th

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