New L$ are distributed to customers as they pump real money into the virtual world. Nearly all customers utilize the game’s built-in “buy money” feature, which allows them to charge their credit card or PayPal account “micropayments”. Micropayments are a popular, proven business model first established in the mobile-phone market. All SecondLife does is extend this concept to a virtual reality game world.
Of course, anyone lingering in the world of SecondLife for more than a passing glance quickly discovers the real engine to the SecondLife economy: sex and gambling. A healthy share of micropayments are pumped into the system as customers engage in pulling the virtual slot lever or patronize one of the myriad virtual sex workers.
SecondLife: Revolutionary Virtual Market or Ponzi Scheme?