ID and CB in Virtual Worlds


Social Identity and Consumer Behavior in Virtual Worlds, Special issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Edited by Caja Thimm and Natalie Wood; Deadline 15 Aug 2008

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Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Special Issue: Social Identity and Consumer Behavior in Virtual Worlds.
Deadline: August 15, 2008

Guest Editors

Caja Thimm, Bonn University, Germany
Natalie Wood, Saint Joseph’s University, USA

Virtual worlds are 3-D computer-mediated environments that offer rich visual interfaces and real-time communication with other residents. Consumers enter these worlds in the form of avatars – online digital personas that they create. Participation rates are staggering – Habbo Hotel targets 13 -18 year olds and boasts over 92 million registered users and over 8.5 million unique users each month (Sulake Coproration 2008). Gaia Online attracts more than 2 million unique visitors each month with 300,000 of their members logging in for an average of two hours per day (Gaia Interactive Inc 2008). Many Fortune 500 companies including GM, Dell, Sony, IBM and Wells Fargo are staking their claim to online real estate in worlds such as Second Life, and Entropia Universe. In the past 18 months alone approximately $1.5 billion has been invested in companies developing technologies for virtual worlds. Management Consulting Company McKinsey & Company predicts that “Virtual worlds such as Second Life will become an indispensible business tool and vital to the strategy of any company intent on reaching out to the video-game generation” (Richards, 2008)

As individuals effortlessly move back and forth between their real and virtual environments we can only imagine the ramifications for identity formation and the impact these environments will have on consumer behavior.

This special issue of Virtual Worlds Research is dedicated to exploring the issue of social identity and consumer behavior. We encourage participation from a broad range of academic researchers and practitioners in such fields as marketing and consumer psychology, computer science, sociology, economics, and communications. Topics of interest are (but not limited to):

  • Avatars, the self and attitude change
  • Motivational and Involvement
  • Marketing Communications in Virtual Worlds
  • In-world Branding
  • Virtual influence and decision making
  • Virtual culture and economies

Guidelines and Deadlines

We welcome submissions in the form of essays, papers, original research, interactive online exhibits with accompanying detailed descriptions, and other forms of scholarship.

For specific submission instructions visit:

Deadline for Submission: August 15th, 2008
Publication: September, 2008

For further information contact:

Caja Thimm, Bonn University, Germany.
Natalie Wood, Saint Joseph’s University, USA.

About the Journal

The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is an online, open access academic journal that adheres to the highest standards of peer review and engages established and emerging scholars from around the world. The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is a transdisciplinary journal that engages a wide spectrum of scholarship and welcomes contributions from the many disciplines and approaches that intersect virtual worlds research.

Editorial Board

Edward Castranova, Indiana University, United States
Steve Jones, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States
Jorge Peña, University of Texas at Austin, United States
Allucquere ‘Sandy’ Stone, University of Texas at Austin, United States
Joseph Straubhaar, University of Texas at Austin, United States
Natalie Wood, Saint Joseph’s University, United States

Associate Editors

Suely Fragoso, Universidade do Vale do Rio do Sinos/Unisinos, Brazil
Joe Sanchez, University of Texas at Austin, United States
Amanda Salomon, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Henry Segerman, University of Texas at Austin, United States
Yesha Y. Sivan, Shenkar College & Metaverse Labs, Israel
Stephanie Smith, NASA JSC Learning Technologies, United States
Caja Thimm, University of Bonn, Germany

Natalie T. Wood, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Assistant Director, Center for Consumer Research
Haub School of Business
Saint Joseph’s University
5600 City Ave
Philadelphia PA 19131
Tel: 610-660-3452
Fax: 610-660-3239