Gift and gadget etailer iwantoneofthose.com has launched a virtual presence in Second Life. Nothing unusual there, but Iwoot reckons it's the first to allow virtual shopping and real-world delivery without having to leave the virtual space.
Whereas other retailers ask you to complete your transaction in a browser outside of the virtual space, Second Life's retail area lets you browse and buy without having to step back to real life, or 'meat-space' as we like to call it. All transactions are completed in Linden dollars, Second Life's official currency. Six hundred Linden dollars are worth about £1.
The Iwoot island comprises five buildings, which from above spell out the word Iwoot. The 'w' is the retail area in which you can look at real-world gear, (virtually) add them to a shopping basket, check out and wait for the meat-space postman to arrive.
The 'i' section is a marketplace in which the most 'active and creative' Second Life gadget builders will be invited to show off their products, with a view to them being built in real life and sold to punters.
The rest of Iwoot's brand space includes a lighthouse maze (in the dot of the i), a lake and accompanying 'cuddle boat', and various other spaces designed to encourage interaction between gadget lovers.
It's easy to be sceptical about this, but we welcome Iwoot's move into cyberspace. Shopping within Second Life will never be as easy as looking through a list on a Web site, but there's a definite pleasure to be had from walking down virtual aisles, perusingat your leisure.
Tesco, are you listening? -Rory Reid