So far I have not been able to answer this question.
According to various sources it is estimated that there is over 4.6 million regular Second Life user, but no one is quite sure about that number. What most people are sure about is the economy of Second life.
Commerce seems to be the primary purpose for Second Lifers. Sure flying around to various islands, and changing your appearance is fun, but it seems that Linden’s are the primary objective. Building a self sufficient and sustaining economy is the end goal and this is achieved by the members actively perusing money making entrepreneurial virtual ventures.
Second Life has its own economy and a currency referred to as Linden Dollars (L$). This economy is independent of the Pricing, where users pay Linden Lab. In the SL economy, residents buy from and sell to one another directly, using the Linden, which is exchangeable for US dollars or other currencies on market-based currency exchanges. Linden Lab reports that the Second Life economy generated US$3,596,674 in economic activity during the month of September 2005, and as of September 2006 Second Life was reported to have a GDP of $64 Million. A Virtual Economy Analyst at the Metastat statistics bureau in Second Life estimated Second Life’s 2007 GDP will be between $ 500 million and $ 600 million, about nine times that of 2006. This data is of 23 February, 2007.
I tried several times to engage in-world users to tell me about what they like to do in-world, but most didn’t want to give much detail. I asked several if they had businesses, or if they were engaged in commerce but most were as new to the world as I was. Others, I think wanted to keep their activities private.
The economy seems to be primarily based on real estate sales, services and the sale of virtual goods.
I am excited to join the commerce community of Second Life. Maybe we should set up a class co-operative to sell goods that we create. Any thoughts?