In a posting on a company blog, the computer maker marketed the event as an "expansion of Dell's Plant a Tree for Me programme in Second Life".
Dell's real world promotion solicits donations from buyers to plant trees so that the the tree's oxygen production offsets some of the carbon dioxide emissions caused during the manufacturing and use of the system.
Contrary to Dell's assertions, the virtual tree planting does not help reduce carbon emissions.
The Second Life tree is essentially a software application that requires computing power to grow and show up in the virtual world, thereby increasing Second Life's carbon emissions.
IT author Nicholas Carr has previously calculated that active Second Life players consume as much as 1,752kWh on a yearly basis, ranking the game only slightly below the average power consumption of the residents of Brazil.
Dell's attempt to advertise the virtual tree giveaway as environmentally safe has not impressed people in the blogosphere.
In a comment on the Silicon Valley Sleuth blog, a Dell employee by the name of Laura Thomas said that the company did not intend for the promotion to be deceptive.
"The intention of the virtual trees and the party was to increase awareness of the real life Plant a Tree for Me programme, not to increase [Second Life creator] Linden Lab's energy consumption."
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