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Coldwell Banker To Sell Second Life Properties 175

Dekortage sends news of what may be a new development in the attempted mainstreaming of Second Life. We've seen plenty of examples of real-world news media, politicos, and PR campaigns setting up in SL. But so far most of this action has been about first-life organizations trying to gain real-world publicity by their forays into SL. CNN is reporting that the real estate firm Coldwell Banker is moving into SL for the purpose of selling and renting in-world properties. From the article: "Coldwell Banker has bought extensive tracts of property on the central 'mainland' of Second Life. (Most companies own 'islands' scattered all over.) It subdivided this digital land into 520 individual houses and living units, half of which it will sell and half it will rent... 'A small number of land barons mostly control real estate in Second Life, and we thought we could bring real estate to the masses,' [a VP explained]."
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Coldwell Banker To Sell Second Life Properties

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  • Supply and demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:03AM (#18475885) Homepage Journal
    Has Linden guaranteed in writing that they will never expand the world? If not, then Coldwell Banker buyers are idiots.

    What is to keep Linden from increasing the amount of land? ( They did it back in 2003, IIRC ) Not only would this give them more space for more players, but it decreases the power of land barons. And having a 'new world' to explore would add more interest to the game. Anyone want to be Magellan? Or Columbus? There seems to be no downside for Linden to increase the ammount of land.
    There definitely is a downside to NOT increasing the ammount of land: competition. If SL gets too crowded, that just helps up-and-coming competitors.

    As supply increases, price decreases. There is not even the real-world parallel of "location, location, and location" to uphold property value in Second Life because of teleportation.

    I predict that Coldwell Banker will lose their shirts on this one.

  • by Lally Singh ( 3427 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:06AM (#18475899) Journal
    I think CW's buying the initial land in order to get the ball rolling on getting themselves involved in the transactional business of real estate on SL. Long after the current stuff is sold off, they want to be the agents you buy virtual real estate from later.
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:14AM (#18475941) Journal
    I don't know much about SL, it strikes me as a world where most people have more money than sense.
  • by TorKlingberg ( 599697 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:53AM (#18476133)
    Because when they do, the real world press writes about it.
  • by 2Bits ( 167227 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @01:14AM (#18476231)
    When people are too addictive to games such that the line between reality and virtuality is blurred, it starts to get into a dangerous point. Life suddenly becomes all about speculation, nothing is real and no productivity is gained for human societies as a whole.

    It's the worst kind of speculation we can have, worse than speculating on the stock or commodity market. If you buy a bunch of stocks on a company, and if the market crashes, you still own bits of that company, and the company may be just doing well, making a profit every year. If you buy the so-called lands in SL, and if SL were to die, what are you left up with?

    I think this is where gamings are dangerous. And this is an area where I support legislative control. We already have regulations on stock markets, on currency trading, on casino, on auction, on the general trading, etc, we might as well have regulations on the worst kind of speculation: speculation on nothing.
  • by GeneralAntilles ( 571325 ) <> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @01:15AM (#18476235)
    Who the hell actually plays Second Life? I seed tons of stories on /. and digg about it, but out of all the incredibly geeky people I know, none of them plays Second Life (or at least they wont admit to it).
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Sunday March 25, 2007 @01:24AM (#18476277) Journal
    As supply increases, price decreases. There is not even the real-world parallel of "location, location, and location" to uphold property value in Second Life because of teleportation.

    Well, not quite true: it helps to have e.g. a lot of merchants together in one place, as it's a pain to teleport 30 times to look at everyone's goods. So new merchants are going to want to be where the merchants already are. Although I agree you can't use the whole "They ain't makin' any more land" line here, as LL certainly can do that.

    Still, I have to ask, WTF? Don't people play SL to get away from assholes who add no value but take your money ... such as real estate agents?
  • Re:Whoa Cowboy! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rubberchickenboy ( 1044950 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @01:31AM (#18476297)
    Can anyone say...... loser?

    The five million people who spend varying amounts of time in Second Life have probably heard the word before. Has it never been applied to you for playing D&D? Well, OK then...

    So what happens if I create a person in SL, have this make pretend person go and get/buy a gun. Next I have this make pretend person go and shoot someone. Does that mean that in _real_life_ I get arrested for murder?

    If you're in areas of Second Life that allow people to be killed (most of the areas don't). So, no, there's no ramifications for killing someone in SL. That doesn't mean there won't be someday. I could see a time where SL avatars' real life owners are sued for the equivalent of Denial of Service attacks.
  • by I_Love_Pocky! ( 751171 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @01:51AM (#18476401)
    I'm convinced that the only people "playing" second life are the people writing these articles. I think that technology columnists are fascinated with the idea of second life, and love to write about it. I can't fault them for that, because the idea does have interesting implications, but I think they do us all a disservice by continually giving attention to a "phenomenon" that no one actually cares about.

    After reading countless articles about this wonderful new world of second life, I decided to check it out. What a piece of bloated crap-ware. I don't think the idea behind second life is worthless, but it's current incarnation is a joke.

    I don't have a PS3, and have no plans currently to purchase one, but I think their new "Home" has a better chance of becoming popular than second life ever will.
  • by lewp ( 95638 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:13AM (#18476509) Journal
    Do any of you actually spend time in Second Life? I'm not talking just popping in and poking around once in a while (I've done that), I mean you spend significant amounts of time in the world, you've actually invested some time and energy into making your character your own, and maybe you even develop content for it. I'm more interested in people who are more into the actual enjoyment of the world rather than speculators or people strictly trying to sell their wares.

    The reason I ask is because so many companies seem to be on the bandwagon of this thing, but my friends are almost uniformly tech savvy early adopters and I don't know anybody who's ever logged into it other than to check it out and laugh at it. I've got nothing against it, and if anybody uses it I'm not going to laugh at you or anything. I may not see the appeal, but I don't see the appeal of a lot of things the average person likes. I just haven't seen anybody else who really likes it either, and that's made me question its popularity other than as a kind of inside joke.

    I do think it's a great concept, and I'm sure true virtual worlds will be all the rage someday. I'm just suspicious that anybody actually sees this as a good enough implementation to really start spending time there. I've heard the furry community has taken up residence there to some extent, but honestly when I log in I hardly see any concentration of people anywhere, furry or not.
  • by MaelstromX ( 739241 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:51AM (#18476611)
    Your comment makes no sense. Any number of other commodities would lose all their value if suddenly they had no use to people anymore, and it's not a scenario that's unique to imaginary assets. If Second Life "dies" you are left with a valueless property, the same way that an exodus of people and businesses or an environmental disaster might leave real life property worthless.

    A smart investor will not put his money in something that has the risk of becoming valueless. Evidently, Linden has made many people very confident that their world will be not just up and functioning but thriving for a long time to come, and therefore its land has legitimate value in the same way that anything else might.
  • by NetSettler ( 460623 ) * <> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @03:02AM (#18476647) Homepage Journal

    Has Linden guaranteed in writing that they will never expand the world? If not, then Coldwell Banker buyers are idiots.

    Indeed. This is what happened with domain names. They went sky high, then lots of businesses crashed and they increased the number of TLDs, so people who had invested in the land grab didn't always win.

    The other thing is that any theory of scarcity presupposes that Linden will be the only, or at least the winning, item in this area. If someone came along and offered an alternate space, it wouldn't even matter if Linden had put a guarantee in writing... the value could still drop due to ordinary competition. No one has guaranteed Linden a monopoly.

    Cyberspace is big... There's really no reason for there to be a scarcity of real estate. It isn't, after all, real estate. It's contrived. And if the prices go too high, that simple fact should invite competition. A key defining characteristic of real estate is supposed to be that they're not making more of it.

  • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:23AM (#18478051) Journal

    If Second Life "dies" you are left with a valueless property, the same way that an exodus of people and businesses or an environmental disaster might leave real life property worthless.

    The only problem there is that real physical property always has some level of intrinsic value simply because it physically exists. Sure, it might not have any people living near it, and it may be somehow polluted or wrecked by natural disaster, but there is always intrinsic value in matter because it is, well, matter.

    This is significantly different than what "virtual property" is, which is really an embodiment of human effort. Basically, I think all "virtual goods" need to be treated as a service, because they are really the result of creative effort or time spent by individuals; there is no other value associated with the virtual items.

  • by hypnotik ( 11190 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:09AM (#18478345) Homepage
    Something always strikes me very odd about conversations about Second Life and their ilk here on Slashdot. Invariably someone decries the concept of buying "virtual goods" and renting "virtual property".

    Let's step back a bit here... What is the difference between "software" and "a virtual shirt", or "digital music"? Are they not both just some pattern of ones and zeros? Sure, a virtual shirt only makes sense in terms of Second Life... But for me this is the same as buying digital music that can be played on some hardware device. Or buying software that can be run on some subset of computers.

    Virtual land... Who would rent "virtual property"? What sense does that make? Perhaps we should ask all those that rent space for web pages?

    That being said, I think Second Life is kinda daft in its implementation, but the concept is very very cool.
  • by AmberBlackCat ( 829689 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:32PM (#18480255)

    I don't know much about SL, it strikes me as a world where most people have more money than sense.

    If that's the case then it makes a lot of sense to get into the business of selling things to them.

  • by HomelessInLaJolla ( 1026842 ) * <> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:00PM (#18481615) Homepage Journal
    Is the ownership of any of those properties tax deductible?

    There is no more brilliant money-laundering scheme than investing in property which doesn't even exist. How large is this industry?

    Step 1: Qualify for low-interest loans for in game property.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 4: Profit!

    It's tailor made to hide large investments or pass large amounts of money outside the line of plain sight. What's the most expensive domain name registrar?

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer