Yesterday over on GigaOm, Wagner James Au (blogger at New World Notes and former Linden Labs employee) took Forbes to task for their "spectacularly incorrect" article about Second Life in a post "Debunking 5 Business Myths about Second Life" which I would recommend checking out. Between that and his post on his own blog he points to many issues in the article. I liked the ending of his own article:
So do these copious errors mean Second Life is a marketers’ paradise? For mass eyeballs, definitely not—several virtual worlds which allow outside advertising are much larger. As a boutique effort to a demographically attractive audience? Maybe, depending on expectations and investment. No one knows for sure. It’s why I’m still hoping a top-flight business magazine like Forbes does the research to generate some meaty answers.
As well as that of his GigaOm article:
Again, none of this is to say Second Life is the most ideal virtual world platform for business, certainly not for all purposes. For one thing, it’s not anywhere near the largest online world to allow outside marketing (the kid-oriented Habbo Hotel and Gaia Online, to name just two, are larger.) And Time Magazine’s recent diss of SL, for example, is mostly fair (if arguably short-sighted.) Ultimately, my real bias is against careless reporting from respected publications which consider Second Life worthy of coverage– but somehow, don’t feel obliged to apply traditional standards of accuracy, when doing so.
I think we're all still trying to figure out where Second Life and other virtual worlds fit into our ever evolving choice of communication media. But in order to do that, we do need to have solid data and accurate reporting. Reading the Forbes article, it definitely does seem rather skewed toward the negative side of things.