Second Life's charm offensive is reaching epic proportions. Back in January, Valleywag emeritus Nick Denton noticed a rather disturbing trend: mounting Second Life hype. For three years after the virtual world's launch in June 2003, it remained, thankfully, widely ignored. But a BusinessWeek cover story on the first virtual millionaire, with the help of a workhorse PR agency, spurred a record 700 mentions, including press releases, as tracked in the Lexis-Nexis news database. Coverage has failed to abate, despite highly questionable user numbers and failed marketing campaigns. Why?
Is any company as prone to fits of overenthusiastic hiring and then desperate firing as AOL? Even in the go-go '90s, America Online binged and purged on employees. A veteran employee who claims to have survived 35 — 35! — rounds of layoffs throughout the years put together a partial listing of some of the bigger cuts. But from everything we hear, next week's bloodletting will be, as they say, off the chart. The list, after the jump.
For all the buzz Facebook enjoys in its hometown, the social network, oddly enough, is more popular up north, travel website Gridskipper reveals in a new map. Forget the stereotype of Facebook as being for college kids. Really, it's for Canadians. Toronto is the #1 local network by number of Facebook members; Vancouver, #3. Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, and Halifax round out the top 20. Another fact that leaps off the map: Facebook's near-nonexistence outside the English-speaking world, which you can also see in this earlier Valleywag map. That explains its hiring plans for international business-development types. First, Canada; next, the world.