Taunter Goodnight performs for a packed crowd at the farewell Gossip Girl Festival

Taunter Goodnight performs at the farewell Gossip Girl Festival

Chase Straight is the Music Community Manager for Metavese Mod Squad

Warner Bros.’ Gossip Girl sims, also known as the Upper East Side, have been operating in Second Life for the last two years, the longest running corporate marketing campaign in virtual world history. With GossipGirl being the most popular last name in SL, and the sim boasting a 55% return rate (compared with 10% for the rest of Second Life), it is easily the most successful campaign as well. So when the members of this strong community learned of it’s impending closure over a week ago, they were heartbroken.

Admittedly holding back tears as she typed, Khai GossipGirl explains of the sims, “I’m really sad they’re leaving, it’s the only place like it in SL and nothing will ever be quite as good as GG.”

The Metaverse Mod Squad immediately went to work finding a place for the community to transition to, landing a secret location two weeks prior to closure, to ensure that the community had a place to land after closure.   And while the residents knew the good times weren’t going to last forever, we at the Metaverse Mod Squad were determined to give the community an action packed last week filled with events, contests, and live performers. I asked our CEO Amy Pritchard why it was so important for us to throw such a blowout ending week for the community.

“I couldn’t give them gold watches,” she replied smiling.

It was a week-long party of the likes that Gossip Girl has never seen before. Usually the sims have three to four events a day put on by members of the Mod Squad and Gossip Girl officers, with live DJs three times a week and regular live performers. Metaverse Mod Squad upped the ante and scheduled  DJs and performers at each and every event during the week, with about 1000L$ given away each day for contest prizes. It was incredible week with record attendance and some great feedback from the community.

“Ya’ll could just as easily not done anything special, but instead MMS made the last week of Gossip Girl really great,” secondlifename GossipGirl tells me over text chat, adding “it was a positive reinforcement of their awesomeness. All the mods that showed up who haven’t been here in a while makes it seem like they will miss Gossip Girl as much as we will.”

Tera Tilden, the project manager for Gossip Girl, who mods in-world as Harp Thursday says she never realized she could build such great bonds over the internet. After spending almost two years working in the sim, she says its like releasing her kids out into the “real world.”

“I never sat down and thought about me, really. I wanted to make sure everyone else had a great last week,” she said.

Gossip Girls celebrate their last night in the sim at an over-capacity goodbye party

Gossip Girls celebrate their last night in the sim at an over-capacity goodbye party

To end the final ten days of Gossip Girl, the Mod Squad threw an all day festival Monday with games, rides and vendors like Modd G, Doux Petit Dahl, With Sugar on Top, and many more. It was a celebration of all things Gossip Girl. Every vendor featured during the festival came to Second Life as a Gossip Girl, showing off the diverse talents of the community. Also, characters from the television show came in all at once for a meet and greet, delighting all the Gossip Girl fans. Residents hobnobbed with the avatars of Chuck Bass, Nate Archibald, Jenny and Dan Humphrey, Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen

The night capped off with a four performer concert series starting at 5pm. Maxx Sabretooth took the stage first, followed by CelticMaidenWarrior, Taunter Goodnight, and ending in a psychadelic particle fest from Thumper Boucher. It was an amazing event to be a part of, with as many as 60 people in attendance for the concerts at one time.

Thumper Boucher first came to the sim when he was contacted to replace a performer who had cancelled. He ended his career in Gossip Girl on the same note, coming to the rescue to finish off a concert filling in for a cancelled performer. Having played a scheduled gig in Gossip Girl the previous week, he was a big name in the final festivities. Boucher says he’s going to miss the sims as he’s always had a great time performing for the Gossip Girls.

“It was hearbreaking for sure. It’s a great build and a great bunch of people. It’s a shame when something with such a homey feel goes into the recycling bin for the server,” he tells me.

While the sims may be going down for good, the community is set to thrive in a new sim that the Metaverse Mod Squad has secured for them. The new place will include reproductions of some of the favorite spots of Gossip Girl, and the community members will be keeping the party going with morning coffee and regular events. The sim is going to be revealed shortly after this post, (For you readers it is the Chelsea sim, a region of Virtual London run by Debs Regent) but for now the Gossip Girls relive their favorite memories and share thoughts on what the Upper East Side has meant to them.

Kaira Cornonet shares, “I will forever be thankful for what this sim has done because I have met some of my best friends, both RL and SL, because of this place and they have forever changed my life.”