Rebang has a posting about an MMOG which is offering space for real advertisers in its virtual magazine.
Eve Online is a new one on me. It's about five empires in a cluster of stars far from earth. It's published by CCP games, based in Reykjavik, and claims to be "host to the largest virtual universe in the world" and its website says:"Massively multiplayer games are virtual realities. They are about creating experiences unattainable in any other form of media. A virtual reality is about true human interaction and true human emotions in a living and evolving world. It is CCP’s belief that massively multiplayer games are the biggest revolution in computer gaming history and CCP is dedicated to make the dream of a true virtual reality come into being".
In October it claimed to have passed the 17,000 peak concurrent user record to have more than 70,000 active subscribers. (To support these it has a 64-Gigabyte RamSan-400 solid state disk. It uses Microsoft Windows SQL Server.) I see that Second Life claims a Population (presumably this means active subscribers) of 88,127 and, at the moment, 2083 users 'inworld' (which I assume means concurrent users.)
Rebang's posting is yet anther example of the way that boundaries between simualtion and 'real life' are blurring.
I believe that Eve Online's official magazine is accepting ads created by the game's virtual corporations. I don't know the limits of what those ads might include though. For all we know, a virtual transport company might cut a deal with a RL company and use their trademark in an ad with copy that might say "The Official Virtual Carrier of _____". If CCP hasn't ruled that out, expect it to happen.
Secondly, you're correct: Linden Lab has stated that SL's population numbers are based on "active" accounts (which means they've been accessed within the previous 3 or 6 months or something). Concurrent users has been slowly ramping up, most often hovering around 3000. There were some recent stress tests, but I don't think they managed to get more than something like 5000 on at the same time. I suspect the actual number of real bodies behind that population figure is around 20,000 (there are practical reasons for many people to have 3 separate accounts). This would help explain their inability to get enough users to log on to properly stress the grid.
Simulation.cc: If you'd followed the link to reBang's source, you might have discovered that CCP is offering ad space in its *real* paper magazine (not a virtual magazine as you wrote) in exchange for virtual currency to an advertising base primarily comprised of players (as csven points out in his comments). Additionally, CCP is paying its magazine writers (players of EVE Online) in virtual currency.
Thanks for pointing the error out, Tony. I read Rebang's source: I misunderstood about the magazine being on paper (the Clickable Culture post isn't specific about this): I did see that the payment is in virtual currency.
But this doesn't invalidate my point about the blurring of the 'real' and 'virtual' worlds, in yet another field, ie advertising.