Is Philip Rosedale a media vampire?

How else to explain the Linden Lab CEO's waxy complexion? He's the unending leader of an unholy company which laughs at death, and sustains itself through artificial means — PR, that is. To maintain that unhealthy glow, he's preying on unsuspecting technology journalists, sucking out all common sense and journalistic curiosity and turning them into willing propaganda puppets. His silver tongue already scored a succulent piece in the BBC, and now David Kirkpatrick of Fortune has fallen under Rosedale's sway.

Of course, Kirkpatrick is easily hypnotized. The Fortune scribe eagerly regurgitates statistics fed to him by Rosedale. Why has the hubbub in the U.S. died down? "75 percent of users are international." It has nothing to do with Second Life's unappealing ghost town appearance to marketers and new users alike. Even dedicated Second Life marketing agency Electric Sheep is slashing staff and focusing on other virtual worlds.

Numbers meant to impress fall flat when you realize that usage numbers show only a small, dedicated core of users that's far from critical mass: "A year ago, the service hosted about 26,000 at the busiest times. Today, as many as 58,000 people can." Rosedale boasts that Second Life is comprised of 98 terabytes of data whereas the infinitely more popular World of Warcraft is only a few gigabytes. But I bet Linden Lab would trade its terabytes for 9 million paying subscribers.

Rosedale "vows" to make Second Life a "stable public utility," Kirkpatrick simperingly writes. A utility? Wouldn't that imply, well, use? (Photo by Lane Hartwell)