The New York Times writes:
It has a population of a million. The people there make friends, build homes and run businesses. They also play sports, watch movies and do a lot of other familiar things. They even have their own currency, convertible into American dollars.
This parallel universe, an online service called Second Life that allows computer users to create a new and improved digital version of themselves, began in 1999 as a kind of online video game.
But now, the budding fake world is not only attracting a lot more people, it is taking on a real world twist: big business interests are intruding on digital utopia. The Second Life online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers.