Dear Linden Lab,
I think that it is amazing how IBM was able to use your interface to create a virtual conference. It really shows how much we are able to do virtually. You can tell that the virtual event succeed because the attendees stayed around afterwards online to talk to each other and they talked about it to each other for days. In real life such events always have people talking to each other to discuss or even just to chat with someone that has something in common with them. Many attendees of such events go to them just so that they can chat with people that have similar
interests or fields of study/work as them. Castranova, says that synthetic worlds provide a forum of interaction that is potentially beyond the reach of any Earthbound power; which is a bit exaggerated in my opinion, but it is essentially what the Second Life did for the IBM event.
The IBM event saved thousands of dollars because of the saved travel costs and the cost to run the event. They also earned more money because attendees did not have to take time off from work, but instead go straight back to work after a brief break to attend the event. Castranova says here that if social activity migrates to synthetic worlds, economic activity will go there. IBM probably charges an attendance fee when they host the event in real life. And as such I think if they continue to hold the events virtually on Second Life instead, they could essentially charge a really small attendance fee and make a profit from it.