Clay Shirky pegs the issue with the graphically-awful, over-hyped, socially-devoid virtual life that is Second Life.
Finally, the current mania is largely push-driven. Many of the articles concern “The first person/group/organization in Second Life to do X”, where X is something like have a meeting or open a store — it’s the kind of stuff you could read off a press release. Unlike Warcraft, where the story is user adoption, here most of the stories are about provider adoption, as with the Reuters office or the IBM meeting or the resident creative agencies. These are things that can be created unilaterally and top-down, catnip to the press, who are generally in the business of covering the world’s deciders.
Push marketing. You’d think the hipsters and technorati would see through that. Oh, right, it’s marketed by BoingBoing.
Second Life: What are the real numbers?. Many-to-Many: