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Second Life cracks whip on adult content

New measures will restrict not-safe-for-work content to a separate "continent" in Second Life, in a move that may make the virtual world more appealing to corporations and educational institutions.

Virtual world Second Life has put in effect some new measures to keep adult content away from users who might not want to run into it. Or fly into it, as avatars might do.

Later this year, parent company Linden Lab will create a standalone "continent" for adult content, and members who don't purchase private "land" will be asked to migrate there if they wish to partake in adult-related activities. Second Life is an 18+ environment already, but stricter age verification policies will be put in place. You'll need a "verified" account, either through credit card information or through Linden Labs' filtering system, to get into the adult "continent."

Members will be asked to start flagging content as adults-only as part of a new content rating system, which will start to roll out in an update to the downloadable Second Life client that will be available next week.

"The people that are on our mainland and in our estate, if they are going to engage with adult content, are being asked to do that in the adult content area," said Cyn Skyberg, vice president of customer relations at Linden Lab. "Private land owners will be asked to tag their searches for adult-related listings so that it goes into the adult filter."

So what does this mean for Second Life, which was briefly a marketers' paradise before swifty falling from grace in the Silicon Valley pecking order? Well, it'll help make it a friendlier environment for some of the new "residents" whom Linden Lab hopes to woo. The company is profitable, due largely in part to the sheer volume of virtual goods and transactions made on the platform by loyal users, and Linden Lab sees corporate and academic institutions as an area for future growth. Keeping porn in its place could be good for P.R.

"A portion of this will be perceived as definitely being more corporate- and educator-friendly because you'll have more control over the things you're experiencing," Skyberg said.