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How extraordinary: publicity-crazed Linden Lab has turned down an opportunity to pitch its virtual world, Second Life, to the press and marketers. The Benchmark-backed company, which has lured in blue-chip marketers such as IBM with the implicit promise of automatic media coverage, didn't respond to questions from Brandweek, the influential advertising trade mag. Suddenly press shy?

More likely Linden's publicists realize that the marketers are beginning to ask questions about the return on their preposterous virtual world investments. Brandweek's item was inspired by a survey showing 70% of Second Life's users were disappointed with the marketing they see in the 3D environment.

Memo to IBM, HR Block, Coldwell Banker and all the other blue-chip companies who've been bamboozled into creating a Second Life presence: it isn't that your campaigns are lacking in creativity; it's that the freaks and adolescent pranksters of Second Life are the most inappropriate marketing targets imaginable. Just learn to say: it's not me, it's you.