Apparently IBM is to produce official employee guidelines for workers to adhere to whilst they, or more accurately, their avatars, are in Second Life.

Seemingly the first big corporation to try and ensure their employees behave online, they won't be the last.

IBM have said these guidelines, rather than being restrictive, represent a corporate seal of approval to give workers the go ahead to get virtual.

"The 3D Internet will have a big impact on business, on IBM and on our clients, and the only way to figure it out is to use it", said Irving Wladawsky-Berger an IBM expert.

Later this year, Intel allegedly plans to offer a voluntary course and a "tip sheet" for employees who use blogs, social media sites and virtual worlds.

At the moment, about 150 Intel workers carry out business meetings in Second Life.

"For those employees who may be hesitant, guidelines can provide the encouragement and Intel philosophy they need to actually dive in and start anticipating", said Gina Bovara, of Intel.

IBM's rules — which apply to Second Life and other virtual worlds apparently include:

-Don't discuss intellectual property with unauthorized people
-Don't discriminate or harass
-Be a good 3D Netizen

The netiquette guide also suggests being "especially sensitive to the appropriateness of your avatar or persona's appearance when you are meeting with IBM clients or conducting IBM business".

Sandy Kearney, global director of IBM's 3D internet initiatives, sums up the thoughts behind the new policy:

"We don't want it to be the wild west."