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A one-way ticket to smutsville

Posted by putsimply on 14th May 2009

Phew – Busy couple of weeks!

Painful though it is to me to deprive EML’s faithful blog-readers of their weekly dose of wit and urbanity, work has kept me snowed under with emails, to-dos, and various other things that adults do.

Fret not though. One thing that never lets-up, however, is my obsessive-compulsive love of searching through random PR-related internet rubbish. So here goes with a spot of backlog-clearing.

Number one post of interest this week has to be the following story from El Reg: Second Life is constructing a XXX domain.

A few years ago, Second Life was meant to be the next big thing in PR. Hmmph. Haven’t you been paying attention? It *was* Facebook. Now it’s Twitter. Nevertheless, several PR companies maintain a solid presence within Second Life.

The story goes like this: Innocuous and wholesome groups within Second Life, (dedicated to PR, stamp collecting, birdwatching, girl scoutery, etc), have become irked that their simple, clean-living pursuits are occasionally within direct eyeshot of a region offering the worst XXX action and/or thoroughly unsavory language that the internet can offer.

Linden Labs’ solution? Run a search on language deemed potentially offensive and relocate each offending 256m x 256m ‘region’ to a new virtual continent. Rather oddly, they’ve chosen to call this continent ‘Ursula’.

In other words, several Second Life aficionados are going to wake up to find themselves and their land relocated wholesale to the porn equivalent of ‘Escape From New York’; an entirely self-contained land of smut and vice. What can possibly go wrong?

I put it to you that these onanistic netboys will have developed a primitive bartering system within days. Given the number of geeks on that island, I have no doubt that they’ll be threatening the other continents with virtual nuclear annihilation within a week. I also have no doubt that Ursula is very quickly going to become the top holiday destination for all the clean-living second-lifers. It’s going to be like Cuba; only with more castles. And flying. And porn.

Linden Labs’ search and relocation technology, based primarily on keyword searches, is going to return a number of false positives. I can’t wait until we hear of the first girl scout troupe or Women’s Institute region getting deposited in this vale of filth.

But as El Reg quite rightly points out, the most interesting aspect of this story is that Linden Labs has, effectively, ruled very quickly on something the rest of the internet has been dithering over for years: creating a dedicted .xxx domain.

My three remaining favourite stories from this week:

Cellular News: Over 40% of Americans use their mobile phones on the toilet
PC World – Apple hits 1 billion app store downloads
Snatch Wars – Mash-up of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Snatch’

(That last one has nothing to do with anything. I just think it’s brilliant.)