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Should We Meet in Another World? Second Life tries for a second coming with a new environment designed to be a less seedy, more secure place to do business.

By Jason Daley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Like so many things in cyberspace, Second Life, a 3-D virtual world, began with a lot of hope--and hype. Who could resist what was promised? Islands full of new friends! A new era of human interaction! Hundreds of retailers opened virtual stores, and Reuters even launched a Second Life news bureau.

Well, the bureau closed early last year, and Linden Lab's virtual utopia is full of malls selling nothing but pixilated genitalia. But Second Life is hoping to polish up its reputation in the business world by solving virtual reality's very real problem: the absence of security layers and administrative control functions that would make such an environment a safer place to do business.

Second Life Enterprise, which will launch midyear, is designed to be a virtual meeting space and prototyping tool--except that instead of being out in open cyberspace, where hackers can attack servers and virtual streakers can ruin a presentation, Enterprise is a piece of hardware that allows companies to create a private world behind their own firewall.

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