Excellent virtual world consultancy Kzero have a site with some interesting content. They are the people behind the Second Life Brand Map:
A Metabrand is a brand that is created to exist solely in a virtual space. It lives only on servers, is powered by electricity, experienced only on a computer screen and serves to provide a service, solution or product to avatars living in a metaverse. A Metabrand satisfies a demand that exists purely on a virtual basis.
Post explaining metabrands: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=717
First metabrand case-study: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=752
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
All of the metaverse demographic data and analysis is based on information supplied directly from LL (for SL) and information obtained directly from the owners/operators of other virtual words.
So, absolutely, in some cases the data is only as good as what’s entered when someone is asked to populate a field, but nevertheless, when gathered, was the most accurate info available.
You raise a v interesting point about men pretending to be women. I guess we’ll never know for sure what the true split is.
However, from say a branding or marketing perspective, does this really matter? As virtual worlds expand, more real world companies will integrate metabranding. On this basis, as long as the product is right and people are buying them, then it doesn’t matter what sex they actually are.
I would also hazard a guess that taking luxury or fashion brands purely as an example, the purchasing cycle is much stronger for men pretending to be women because these guys want to look good. That’s how they roll.