Second Life was set up in 2003. The company was established by Philip Rosedale, but American company Linden Research and its represetative Linden Research United Kingdom are the owners and the copyright holders.
For two years since the moment of the commencement of its activities the number of the Second Life users has risen to over nine million. Currently, dozens of million users all over the world have been registered in Second Life.
There are dozens of university agencies in Second Life (list of the universities) where official lectures are given. Research conferences are organised there as well as research on e.g. human activities on the Web, in this case the participation in the 3D graphic environment is conducted. Many academic publications on Second Life have been released as well as some books which frequently contain personal accounts of the authors’ experience.
There are two types of accounts in Second Life: free and premium (payable).
The browser (acess client – viewer) is a free software.
Many objects are free of charge. Apparently, there are also many for which you shoud pay. You could do that using the physical world currency or the electronic currency, existing only in Second Life, i.e. pay in Linden Dollars, which you could exchange for physical world currencies.
The same rules of demand and supply, which exist in the physical world, appear in Second Life. The sole difference between them is that the commerce is more direct. We mean the model: Seller – Customer. The other model Seller – Agent – Customer is rarely applied.