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"You Can't Be For Real!"

Who says? These entrepreneurs think consumers are ready for a dose of reality with their virtual.

This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's more than a little ironic that Ananova (the virtual newscaster who gets fan mail from real male admirers) recently reported that an Australian has patented a flexible mannequin whose built-in motors and, um, parts allow people to have sex over the Internet. Considering we can already smell and taste through our computers (think DigiScents and TriSenx), hasn't the intimacy between man and machine gotten a little out of hand?

Many consumers think so. Reality TV (Survivor, Big Brother, et al.) struck a chord with the masses, and anti-virtual sentiment now extends far beyond the networks. Ordinary people are logging off their computers and doing extraordinary things-re-enacting famous battles, hiding out on the streets of New York City, venturing into the wilderness. Entrepreneurs should take note: Reality-based entertainment and adventure is finding a sizable market niche.

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