The publication of this Special Issue in 2013 will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the launch of the second generation virtual worlds such as Second Life. It is also over 15 years since Hoffman and Novak (1996) and Venkatesh (1998) first conceptualised ‘hypermedia environments’ and the ‘cybermarketspace’ respectively, and their implications for marketing. Although virtual worlds have sometimes been dismissed as a sort of ‘ephemeral fashion’ (Cagnina & Poian, 2009), being associated with addiction (Hussain & Griffiths, 2008), cyber terrorism (Adrian, 2009) and gold‐mining in China (Heeks, 2008), today these are seen by many as potentially transformational technologies with new platforms emerging such as BlueMars, OpenSim and Kitely (Wasko, Teigland, Leidner, & Jarvenpaa, 2011). Virtual worlds are challenging marketers to reflect on existing academic theories (Ward & Saren, 2011), research methodologies (Kozinets & Kedizor, 2009), business practice (Barnes & Mattsson, 2011) and learning and teaching practice (Ward 2010). Therefore it is timely for this special edition of JMM to consider virtual worlds’ unique role within marketing, their fit into marketing strategy and their convergence with mobile technologies and social media. Papers are invited from all research traditions on any aspect of virtual worlds empirical and theoretical/conceptual development research.