The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Second Life: Making Money in the Metaverse. (2008)

February 12th, 2008  |  Published in SL Business

Review by Cheyenne Palisades

Since 2007 has been acclaimed the year of the virtual world, I think I will jump the gun a bit and call 2008 the year of books about virtual worlds.

I know they’re coming. I can feel it.

Daniel Terdiman’s The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Second Life: Making Money in the Metaverse is at the forefront of this wave of publications. Weighing in at more than 300 pages and laid out in a logical and attractive manner, it’s a handy resource for those who plan to become Lindenaires.

Terdiman’s writing is clear and concise, but repetitious, as he makes the same points again and again in the various chapters, each of which focuses on a particular sector of Second Life commerce. Because of this, Entrepreneur’s Guide might be better considered a resource book rather than something one reads from cover to cover (although I read it from front to back and thoroughly enjoyed it). New citizens wishing to jump right into to SL endeavors ranging from building to fashion to the sex trade can find most of what they need in a dozen or so pages—but they should not ignore the several chapters which deal with strategy and marketing.

The fields of endeavor covered in Entrepreneur’s Guide are fashion, land development, building, making and selling objects from toys to weapons, and the sex trade. There is a chapter about Teen Second Life, and chapters on business strategies. A chapter on scripting is conspicuously absent; instead, there are brief discussions of scripting in the various chapters

Entrepreneur’s Guide is enhanced by and framed nicely by a leading chapter that talks about virtual economies in general and a closing chapter that speculates about the future of those economies. As I am a naïf in regard to building and running a business, I found Chapter 2, “Laying the Foundation for your Business,” and Chapter 3, “Developing a Winning Marketing Plan” the most helpful.

Terdiman draws upon avatars who have been successful in the various Second Life industries, describing their paths to success and listing their tips to aspiring businesspeople. I would have preferred seeing a larger assortment of names, but he cites many, and I’m not really complaining.

The advice was good, too: treat your customers well; don’t buy things you don’t need; don’t steal from other creators; don’t merely replicate that which has already been done—be original!

Entrepreneur’s Guide has many illustrations, almost all of which are snapshots from Second Life (there are a couple of screen captures from web pages and one photograph of an actual person). I would have used the term profusely illustrated, but alas, most of the snapshots suffer from the amateur photography syndrome. There are few close-ups, the framing leaves much to be desired (subjects tend to be in the absolute center of the image and far away), and the photographer (I’m certain it was Terdiman himself, since there are no credits for the images, except for the single real life photograph, which, notably, does include a credit). One wonders whether Wiley Publishing considers virtual photographs unworthy of note. It’s a shame Terdiman didn’t take some time to learn how to control his camera and learn the basics of photo composition, for the subject matter is of interest and the few really good images, like the avatar on the front cover, are stunning.

Second Life Business Book Review

(Entprepreneur’s Guide- Photographs such as this would benefit from better composition)

Terdiman has been reporting about Second Life since 2003, and his knowledge of Second Life is compressive. I found myself from time to time wishing he were a bit more of a theorist, but he’s a journalist, after all, and not a seer. When speculation was called, for, he called on actual seers like and Linden Lab engineer Qarl Linden. Terdiman is good at what he does; his perspective is balanced. I considered his chapter on Second Life’s sex industry to be especially good reporting, written without bias

I found Entrepreneur’s Guide comprehensive and as up-to-date as could be expected in a real world book, which spend months and sometimes years in editing, layout, and printing. I thought Terdiman did a good job of incorporating Second Life features, like sculpties, that must have been brand new as the final draft was going to the publisher.

Terdiman’s advice on advertising and marketing were most helpful to me. I knew most of what he had to say about Second Life itself (I’ve been in world since October, 2006), but I learned some things I didn’t know, perhaps even enough to justify the $29.95 price. Terdiman’s descriptions about the workings of Second Life are clear and as comprehensive as would be practicable, and so would be invaluable to new citizens and even older citizens who spend less time in the world than I do (which is most people).

Entrepreneur’s Guide is a handy resource, and one I will keep at my desk, for many of the blogs and websites Terdiman references will be handy for developing my own budding business. Most are handily re-listed in the Appendices. There’s a Glossary, too, which can point readers to specific avatars or areas of interest.

Daniel Terdiman is to be commended for undertaking such an ambitious work as The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Second Life, and even more so for actually succeeding at it. Entrepreneur’s Guide is a handy book for those experienced in world, and will be invaluable for those just entering it. Wiley Publishing should be proud of its foresight in publishing both Entrepreneur’s Guide and Aimee Weber, Kimberly Rufus-Bach, and Richard Platel’s Creating Your World: The Official Guide to Advanced Content Creation in Second Life.

For a free PDF chapter of Enterpreneur’s guide, go to

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