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The relentless hype promoting the online game for sad people, Second Life, has unsurprisingly caused a spike in traffic for the site. And wrinklies are the demographic group that's most curious about the virtual landscape populated by giant penises and cross-dressing Guardian journalists.

Traffic monitor HitWise reckons that searches for "second life" rose 73 per cent week on week, with over-55s increasingly curious.

But the hype, which has prompted a handful of large corporations to establish an advertising presence in Sadville, almost certainly isn't justified. Searches grew just 219 per cent year-on-year: barely a tremor compared to the traffic growth for MySpace, Digg, or Facebook. There's always a winner when you aggregate losers, but the only winner so far seems to be Linden Labs, which operates Sadville on a subscription basis.

HitWise was unable to provide us with traffic estimates, or the conversion rate from visitors to paid-up Sadville citizens. (Sadizens?)

Former PR flak Daniel Terdiman, who boasted a reference from Linden Labs' CEO on his resume until El Reg noticed, has led the charge. Reuters has subsequently dispatched a full-time reporter to Sadville. There can't be very much happening in the world, because yesterday, one interviewed the other.

You read that correctly: two journalists talking about a place that doesn't exist. Can Sadville get any sadder? ®

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