News, research and discussion on virtual goods, currencies and economies globally.

New peer-reviewed papers on commerce and consumption in virtual worlds

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, an online journal that started this year, has just published its second number, titled Consumer Behavior in Virtual Worlds. Also, the Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, a more established online publication, has published a special issue on virtual worlds. Most of the articles from these two publications fall into the familiar group of Second Life -based qualitative studies and essays. There are also a couple of surveys. Below, I briefly introduce four of the papers that touch on VERN’s topic areas.

In Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Reina Arakji and Karl Lang theorize about the value companies derive from virtual storefronts. Stuart Barnes and Jan Mattsson measure how Second Life users perceive major brands in a small pilot survey. An interesting result is that experienced users have a more negative perception of brands that have conducted marketing activities in SL compared to less experienced users.

In Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, So Ra Park et al. also discuss brands, pondering what aspects of virtual environments brand owners might use to enhance the value of their brands in customers’ eyes. Lastly, in a essay that is close to my own research interests, Jennifer Martin writes about the social uses of virtual goods on which the economic value of the goods is based.