NYTimes has an article today about real-life brands in Second Life and whether they're seeing business results in terms of goods sold. But what if Second Life never drove meaningful real world transactions? Sure there might be some good branding spillover effect for, say, 1-800-Flowers. But what if their SL presence was more about selling digital goods - virtual flower bouquets? My bet is that the brands who are most successful here actually end up driving a mix of digital and physical goods sales.