WALLOP & Spending real dollars to decorate a virtual world

We all know about the virtual gamers who spend real world money on getting their character to the next level, or purchasing all sorts of virtual goods. And we know there are Second Lifers putting themselves through art school selling digital art. But even still, the idea more casual folk–like social network users–might spend any coin on virtual tokens is something many people I know don’t buy into,
That’s what makes the beta of Wallop, Karl Jacob’s new whizzy social network site pretty interesting(note: this is a Microsoft ( MSFT) Research Labs spin off.) Wallop, where I just got an account (thanks, Kurt!) imagines that users will want to buy stuff to trick their spaces out–just like they do on CyWorld, the Korean social network site, where members spend about $125 million annually on virtual goods. (In the virtual-game world, $900 million or so is spent a year on stuff.)
It will be interesting to see if spending real money catches on at Wallop like it has in Ultima Online or Second Life–my guess is yes–I think virtual currencies–in the right settings-are a no-brainer.
(Via Bambi Francisco)