Around the Virtual World

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A weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.

Tweeting to Sell Cars

Car companies have long tapped high-profile celebrities to spread word of mouth about new cars by test driving them around town. Now they are turning to a similarly powerful but cheaper source: young social-media influencers who have strong online followings.

Guy Shells out $335,000 for Virtual Real Estate

Yan Panasjuk broke the world record for the most expensive virtual purchase when he bought “Club Neverdie,” a structure in the online sci-fi game Entropia Universe. For the price of an actual house, Panasjuk paid $335,000 for this piece of pixelated real estate, which includes seven virtual bio-domes, one virtual stadium, a virtual nightclub, and virtual mall.

Panel to Discuss the Future of Gaming and Social Media at UCSC

“Choose Your Own Adventure: The Future of Gaming and Social Media” is the topic of a panel discussion on Thursday, December 2, at 7 p.m. in the Media Theater on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Foursquare Partnership Seeks to Reinvent Grocery Store Loyalty Program

Safeway and PepsiCo are teaming up with Foursquare to reinvent the way grocery store shoppers think about location-based rewards and checkins. As part of the deal, Safeway has integrated Foursquare into its VonsClub loyalty program for a three-month pilot program that kicks off today.

Law Firm Advertising: Facebook is Top Spot for Display Ads

Facebook is an ideal place for law firms who are looking to get more “bang for their advertising buck.” Not only can your law firm save a little bit of cash while still achieving a high dollar audience reach. But, remember, keep the ads engaging and “worth the look” for consumers; generation Y are heavy users of Facebook and your attorney’s potential clients.

Facebook Tries “Pay Later” feature in Games

Reports are emerging that world’s most popular social networking platform Facebook is testing a “pay later” feature in games to allow users to pay later when buying virtual currency in games like that of Farmville. In other words, the new feature will allow users to purchase a bunch of Farm Coins, and to skip payment and build up real-life debt. Later the users of the feature will be given an option to settle the balance.

Judge Denies Zynga’s Request to Dismiss Scam Suit

A federal judge denied Zynga’s request to dismiss a class action lawsuit accusing the major social game developer of profiting from scam-like offers that promise users free virtual currency. The case centers on Zynga’s use of lead-generation ads — typically provided by an external advertising network — that offer players free virtual currency for social games in exchange for completing surveys, signing up for trial offers, watching videos, or interacting with brands in other ways.