Posted by on June 30, 2009 9:58 am
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Categories: Views

Some of you may have been in attendance at one of my public appearances last year entitled “2008 Cyber-Review”.  In this presentation, I covered tips, tricks, trends & tactics that I thought were important to impart to you folks.  One of the trends about which I spoke was the virtual goods market.  I stated that brands needed to protect themselves from the sales of counterfeit virtual goods because it was only a matter of time that they themselves will tap this market for profit.
In the July/August issue of Fast Company Michael Fitzgerald writes, in an article entitled ‘Boomtown‘, that the virtual goods market is “attracting major brands, celebrities, and venture capital.  The money is real.”  Real to the tune of $1.8 Billion.
The world’s largest sneaker manufacturer attended one of my talks and I see they have, too, reaped benefit from this market and have tapped into an aftermarket for this as well.  Chicken or egg?  You decide.  Either way, hire someone to go online and start protecting your brands in virtual worlds.
Read Fitzgerald’s very educating article here.

5 responses to Virtual Goods Market

  1. Michael Fitzgerald July 24th, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Thanks for the link. You raise a provocative point. Have you seen such counterfeiting in virtual worlds?


  2. Archimedes’ Hot Tub » Blog Archive » Blog buzz July 24th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    […] I knew Paul Roberts only virtually until we met at Wagamama’s for noodle soup and a chat about the state of the security market. I can now report it is more secure than the journalism market. I also learned that Paul in his spare time runs a citizen journalism blog, Blogging Belmont. It turns out he had blogged about whether Belmont should adopt some of the ideas in my urban retrofits piece in the Boston Globe, but he hadn’t realized I was the Michael Fitzgerald who wrote it. I poked around a blog search engine and found a couple of other good posts on articles I’ve written recently. The I’ve Been Mugged blog used my CIO piece on changing privacy expectations as starting off point for a consumer privacy manifesto. The Knockoff Report looked at my virtual goods charticle in Fast Company and warned of the coming of counterfeit virtual goods. […]


  3. Rob Holmes July 24th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Yes, very much so. As your article mentioned, licensing brand names is becoming big business in those worlds. I did a talk on fakes being sold in Second Life a year ago and it was well-received, but many makers of hard goods don’t embrace it quite yet.


  4. Michael Fitzgerald July 24th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    so, can you give a specific example of a knockoff, and discuss why a company shouldn’t look at this as viral marketing?


    • Rob Holmes July 24th, 2009 at 11:01 am

      Mind you, all of these virtual worlds are profit centers, so infringement laws apply to the use of a mark there. Trademark dilution is a major issue most people do not consider until it is too late ( A smart brand owner monitors for all unauthorized use of their mark and sends a cease & desist notice. If not, they cannot enforce ANY use. For example, if I allowed myself to be flattered that dozens of little ‘mom & pop’ shops used my mark in their business (real world or virtual), then a Fortune 500 uses it also, I will likely sue them or ask them to cease & desist. Their first line of defense is that I allowed my mark to become diluted. My only recourse would be a desperate attempt to retroactively enforce all infringements that predate Fortune 500. People create IP in order to make money. Good preparation keeps a mark profitable.


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