Changes in the Virtual Land Market in Second Life

July 23, 2010 by
Filed under: Linden Lab and Second Life 

One of the biggest hullabaloo’s going on in Second Life is the massive land rush. However, unlike most land rushes, this one is in reverse. People are abandoning entire Sims, Sim Owners are feeling the pinch more and more, and worst of all, the margins on land ownership are at an all time low. People are screaming that this has to stop … but no one seems to know why it’s happening or how to put the brakes on it.

Well, I have a theory (don’t I always? LOL) and in this blog I am going to lay it out for you to ponder. As usual, I may be totally off-base, but hang with me to the end anyway. I always put a cupcake at the end as a reward.

Primary Consumers of Land

People that buy or rent virtual land are called Land Consumers. In the past, Land Consumers in Second Life were divided into two groups, those that wanted the land to use for selling stuff and those that wanted the land for living on. It didn’t really matter what you wanted the land for though, you pretty much paid the same price anywhere and everywhere you went. This was pegged in place most notably because of the costs (called Tier) that Linden Lab charged for obtaining virtual land from them.

Sometime back, someone at Linden Lab got this great idea that if they produced a low-services and low price product, that people would flock to it in droves. Amazingly that was correct. Shortly after Linden Lab announced the Homestead products, they started being consumed like cold water on a marathon run. Then, for reasons that are still unclear, they shut off the spigot and the market took one of its first massive nosedives.

Some of you will say it was due to overuse or abuse of the Homestead Simulators, and Linden Lab themselves even put that reason forth. But that ignores the one simple truth about people; given any resource they will eventually consume 110% of it. Because the resources available on the Homestead Sims was already drastically reduced from the “normal” Sim, it took a lot less time for people to max them out. But the other truth about people is, once the resource is maximally used, they bitch a bit then settle somewhere near the top of usage … and stay there.

That “leveling out” action had already begun and was well underway in fact when LL decided to pull the carpet out. To my way of thinking, that puts the lie to the reason they stated. Frankly, in all honesty, I think the reason they pulled the rug was because they got greedy and saw that the lower cost Homesteads were in a way pushing down prices on their full-featured Sims too. After all, Mainland is all full-featured Sims, and they sure couldn’t be surviving if prices on those started dropping, could they?

Real-Life and the Two Pricing Models

I’m now going to break what some consider the “Cardinal Rule” of Virtual Worlds … that being “NEVER compare Real Life to anything happening in a Virtual World.” The sentiment is that things are so vastly different in a Virtual World that you just cannot compare the two. Yeah .. NOT! People live and play and work in both, therefore a lot of what they do and expect to happen crosses the lines between the two. My theory is that the same applies to Virtual Land and Real-Life Land.

In Real-Life there are two diametrically opposed pricing models (at least two that matter for this discourse). One model is based on residential use while the other is based on commercial use. The two models are not even related in “cost per square foot/meter” either. What you’ll pay for a plot of land to build you home on is a LOT less that what you’ll pay to build your store on. Governments and regulatory agencies the world over know this and enact rules to keep the two separate. Zoning laws and various other restrictions determine what you can and cannot do on your land. This prevents cheap land from being used for commerce primarily, although the rules do also keep people from putting their homes inside shopping malls.

So here we have the basis, cheap land if you want to live there, and expensive land if you want to do business there. It works well too. Where you live is where you spend money. You don’t make money hanging out at home, you spend money. So charging you more for that land would be foolish. Especially when it comes to things like taxes, utilities, fees, etc. While there is a basis for taxation on residential property, it’s much lower than for commercial property.

Where you do business, you’re (theoretically) making money. You have income derived from the activities performed on that land. So consequently you can afford to pitch more into the government coffers. Sales taxes, fees, use taxes, etc. are always higher. Consequently rents and operating costs are higher too. But you don’t get extra services for those extra fees. Nope, you just get ONE service … the license to do business.

The One Cost Model

And that brings us to Linden Lab and their current pricing model, or as I prefer to call it, their one COST model. You see, no matter who you are in Second Life, if you aren’t a Linden, land is a COST to you. Sure, you may actually make a profit by renting it to someone else, but it’s still a cost. A cost you must cover first. If you don’t pay that cost, you get evicted promptly and without remorse. Hey, it’s easy to evict someone when all you have to do is click a few buttons.

But here’s where their one cost model breaks down. They want people to live inside Second Life. The golden phrase is “User Concurrency” meaning “the number of people logged on at the same time.” Mark Kingdon wanted that number to go up, before him and most likely after him, Philip Rosedale wanted that number to go up as well. But people don’t do business all the time. In fact, the ratio of business people (those engaged in making a business work) to customers (those engaged in buying or using the services of that business) is definitely not a 1:1 correspondence. Some stores you go into these days, that ratio could be infinite … primarily because the Merchants are never there (and as we all know, dividing a number by zero yields an infinitely large number).

So where are all those customers, and for ease of thinking lets call them “Residents” because they are truly residing in Second Life at that moment and not doing business, where are all those Residents going to live? They only have one answer, live on the same expensive land that businesses use.  Why? Because they don’t have a choice. Linden Lab doesn’t care if you put up your home or your store, the land it goes on costs the same. And THAT is exactly where the problem resides. If you’ll pardon the pun 🙂

The Two Cost Model … With a Fix

The Homestead Sims debacle proved why Linden Lab has kept a single cost model. One of the first things businesspeople did was snap them up and put up malls and cheap stores. This in a sense was like putting shopping malls in neighborhoods. It wasn’t that it was really that much of a technical burden, it was that it spoiled the whole purpose of the “Cheap Land” residential Homestead Sims. Places that were meant to be cheap so people could put up homes and stay there without being Virtual Millionaires suddenly became cheapie mini-malls and businesses … and that was just not fair.

In their tradition, Linden Lab reacted to this “misuse” of the Homestead Sims by turning the whole thing off. If there is one thing you can count on Linden Lab for, it’s a quick knack to delete, destroy, terminate anything that isn’t exactly right (according to their plans anyway). Since people weren’t using the Homesteads as they had intended them to be used … CLICK! Gone. End of story.

But there is a better answer, and I feel it’s an answer that needs adoption in some form before this whole Land Rush to Ruin finally drags Second Life with it. Linden Lab needs to reinstate cheap land, land meant only for residents to reside on, but that prevents commerce from taking place. And how can they do that? Actually .. quite simply.

Turning Off Commerce

From a purely technical viewpoint, commerce in Second Life happens when someone buys something from someone else. I’m not talking about the generic “Gift” transactions where you give something to someone. I’m talking about where a Resident “Buys” or “Pays” an object and that object then in turn gives the money to its Owner. That’s the essence of a commercial transaction. And because we can narrowly define the actual event that defines a commercial transaction, we can just as easily turn it off. Yup, you heard me … TURN IT OFF!

Cheap land is meant for people to live on, not do business from. So on those Cheap Land Sims, they need to be Commerce Disabled. When you are on a Residential Sim, if you right click a Vendor or Touch a scripted object .. or do anything else that might lead to you paying money to it … that action is disabled. That’s actually pretty simple to do. The “Buy” slice of the Pie Menu can be turned off. Objects that are set to “For Sale” simply will have that option disregarded, so any “Right-click and Buy” function is also disabled. Furthermore the “Right-click and Pay” option can be turned off too. The only time that is enabled is when a scripted object has a “Money” event in the script. When that object is on a Residential Only Sim, even if there IS a Money event, it is disabled. Presto! Problem solved.

I’m sure some smart-aleck will figure out how to have Vendor Bots eventually, but Linden Lab can and should delete those as fast as they pop up. They’ll be easy to spot too with a single database query, so locating them and determining who is and is not acting as a Vendor Bot will be a piece of cake.

The Rebirth of Second Life

So now for the “cupcake” I promised. A lot of what’s wrong with Second Life these days comes down to the one base cost for everyone to be here .. Land. It’s the one place where Linden Lab makes money hand over fist just by supplying electricity to some computers, and it’s also the highest cost for anyone wishing to do anything in Second Life. In fact, it’s so high that a large number of people don’t stay in the game very long because they have no place to relax and live. They log on, do their activity (which by the way those are shrinking in number too) and then log off again … so they can go LIVE on Facebook.

It is my belief that if Linden Lab were to produce a Residence Only Sim product, price it more in line with what non-business people can pay and equip it with all the same Prim Counts, Script Limits, etc. that a full size Sim has now … they would almost overnight save their precious Virtual World. We would see an increase in people willing to spend time at “home” because they would HAVE a home. We would see sales of merchandise going up because you suddenly have a lot more residences to fill up, and we would see a rebirth of social activities because there are enough people logged in to actually make an event successful.

See, Kingdon had it sort of right. He knew they had to increase the number of Homes in Second Life. The problem was, he counted on making money from the sale of those homes and NOT from the extra income he’d get by having all the 100’s of thousands of Second Life Residents selling and filling homes for him. When you take a selfish point of view, you often wind up standing alone. And right now, alone is where Linden Lab will be if they don’t start putting the power of their Residents to use.

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25 Comments on Changes in the Virtual Land Market in Second Life

  1. Boot Parx on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 1:58 PM
  2. i fully agree with what u said since the lab increased homestead prices no one is happy .its outrages the prices no wonder when they are empty we return em cannt sellem.. i beleive hs should be put back to former price the lab will gain from this b/c not so many will be returned an yes they should be used for living on not business lets face it greed can destroy a site i dont have many sims only about 15 but as they empty i will downsize rather than pay the prices ur letter was well thought out i cannt think of a thing i disagree with an i thank you for expressing what most of us feel its time the owners united in this an let the lab know how we really feel thanx Boot Parx

  3. Xlent1 on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 2:56 PM
  4. Virtual land is not a business model — ask Zynga. SL no matter how it is sliced or packaged is an overpriced rip-off . Dump it.

  5. Tinsel Silvera on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 3:14 PM
  6. I need to read this through a second time to totally digest. I’ve been up almost 24 hours and am getting punchy. However, a thought off the top of my head. I’ve said for a long time now that if Linden Lab were to offer the Open Space/Homesteads to everyone (remove the owning a sim requirement) they could make a lot of money and a lot of people happy. Even with reduced prims I would still get one just to have my own island. I have a sim’s worth of land but it is spread out over the mainland. I foresee Linden Lab offering more prepackaged places at each tier level since the 512 has been so popular. As for people leaving in droves, I’m not sure what the figures of old verses new owners on sims are but Tyche Shepherd’s weekly stats having been holding fairly steady. Which means that for each person that leaves another shows up to buy a sim. Not a bad deal for Linden Lab. The only people that are really hurting in the current land market are the mainland owners.

  7. Darrius Gothly on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 3:53 PM
  8. In a market where roughly similar online experiences (such as WoW and Eve Online) are growing, where people are spending more money on “stay at home” entertainment and less on traveling entertainment … a company that should be earning a giant piece of that pie but is instead “holding their own”? I’m not sure I would put that in the “doing okay” column.

  9. Maria Korolov on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 4:11 PM
  10. Excellent piece! Thanks! I don’t think I’ve seen this idea articulated before.. or, at least, not this well. 🙂

    — Maria Korolov
    Editor, Hypergrid Business

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mal Burns, Indigo Mertel. Indigo Mertel said: RT @malburns: "Changes in the Virtual Land Market in Second Life" #SL […]

  11. Tinsel Silvera on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 5:45 PM
  12. I prefer not to compare WOW and Eve with SL even though most of the media does. Both are mmorpg’s more than virtual worlds. But that’s just a personal preference of my own. I’ve read some stories lately that WOW is beginning to plateau. I think Eve is getting ready to take off to the stars (no pun) when they introduce their virtual world Dust. I for one plan to check it out. They have amazing graphics. I would be more apt to compare SL to Kaneva, Blue Mars, Twinity, Onverse, Rocktropia and so on when seeing how much of the pie they are getting. There are more virtual worlds now that are taking from that same pie so by default SL’s share should be less. BTW, LL already offers cheap residential land. It’s called the Mainland. {:o) Thanks to recent events, it’s going for L$1 per meter in many places. Can’t get any lower than that. Except for a couple of past incidents like the prim tax revolt and the telehub revolt, history has shown that Linden Lab is going to do things how they want and when they want. Regardless of how I may feel about it, it is ultimately their choice to do so. My biggest hope is that I like what they are doing more often than not.

  13. Huladom on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 1:08 AM
  14. Linden Labs could care less regarding “best User experience”.
    lets start with the hype 19 MILLION users and only 60,000 average online?
    of the 19 MILLION Users less than 40,000 are Premium members?
    I bought one of the first low prim Islands April 2008, Linden first offered 65k meters but only 1875 prim, their model was REJECTED in mass, there was little if any public comments from LL about terrain use for this new product…
    three days later they said how about 3750 PRIM? BINGO! they sold like hot cakes… so on that day it was obvious that nobody wanted to spend money to have a huge beach or forest or snow parcel… so in my opinion LL KNEW these Islands would be USED and developed or they would not have doubled the prim
    in October 2008 LL discovered that Land Sellers were cutting up the Land and making more money renting it than Linden Labs… THAT IS A NO NO lol
    so they did not pull the plug they claimed the sandbox… much higher setup fee almost doubling the tier and limiting the avatar count to no more than 20 at one time <<< THAT is what killed SL… the Land Owners and Land Renters were DEVASTED!!! all the money and time and effort and advertising that they worked so hard on for six months was ruined… I recall that the low prim Islands were used for both business OR residential I rarely noticed a Club stuck in the middle of a residential Island (unlike Mainland) where that mix happens all the time and can change on a daily basis… most LP Island renters I knew were HAPPY with the parcel they choose and remained there until Jan 4th 2009 when the new tier setup and use terms were enforced…

    six months later Linden Labs enforced another huge mistake i.e. that having Teen, PG and Mature Zones was not enough… we need ADULT sims to "enhance our User experience" of course. so now the smaller problem of Homestead Islands has spread out to the Mainland… if you were a business owner in Mature and had anything related to your business that involved S-E-X you were cast off your Land (You SINNER) enforced to relocate, tear down your business, your waterfront property means nothing in the mature to adult swap that was offered by LL. then be sure and relocate all your advertising, landmarks, event listings, Group notifications and dozens of other tasks that is involved in moving a business. After you get to the new world of Adult… you may quickly notice that you have no business, no traffic, no Members, why? you ask because Linden changed the rules AGAIN and said all your Members must now be ADULT VERIFIED! send in a copy of your picture ID! this came on the heels of a FBI investigation with LL regarding pedo and other allegations so I doubt many SL Users wanted to send in their legal identity (remebers yahoo) so the great idea of the Adult sims may have been the end of the Old School developers… twice in twelve months they were slapped in the face… I feel sad for the 33% of Lindens that were fired I hope they find and keep the Spirt of these virtual worlds in their First Life… now the CEO steps down and as of this writing my partners and I have sold, given away and abandoned 500,000 meters… I now own a 512m hehe with a lil shack on it… I havent been this happy in 4 years lol

  15. Thorgal on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 2:58 AM
  16. Excellent article… I think you make a very valid point!

  17. Darrius Gothly on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 4:13 AM
  18. @Huladom – I tend to agree with you about LL’s “focus”. It’s not that they’re heartless, they just have their bottom line in mind when they make the changes they do. Lawyers aren’t cheap, and if they lose a case they shouldn’t have gotten involved in anyway .. well that’s just bad business. They have made their share of mistakes too, which is why I suggested the idea I did. This approach gets them an expanding bottom line, an expanding customer base, and helps breathe some life back into Second Life again. (Would they change the name to Third Life? Nahh .. nvm)

  19. Magnet Homewood on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 5:49 AM
  20. Interesting article, but I have a couple of thoughts to contribute.

    Firstly, just like in RL, the merchants are also the consumers, so this complicates the ratio you give very much. In RL the shop owner also needs clothes, a car, a house etc etc, and in SL that is also true, although there, things are much more optional, but even so, I think many merchants also consume.

    Secondly, a lot of residential land is rented out, using rental boxes. Disabling the ‘money’ function (or whatever it is lol, I am not a scripter!) would complicate the paying of rent – it’s hard enough to get people to find the rental boxes when they are al collected in one part of a residential sim, and having them in a completely different sim would make this even more problematic.

    I do agree though, that making the price stucture more varied would go a long way to attracting new people in that would stay longer.

  21. Darrius Gothly on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 9:42 AM
  22. @Magnet – No doubt some Merchants would opt to “Live” where they work as well; it does lessen overall expenses. But I believe many folks would opt for a separate residence location primarily on aesthetics and “getting away from the office” syndrome. However, if they want to sacrifice “expensive prims” just to put their home, that is their choice.

    The Residential Rental Box problem is going to require a change. You can’t just “allow” exceptions for rental boxes either as pretty soon you’d have “Rental Boxes” that happen to dispense clothing or shoes or .. what have you. 🙂 It would require a new line of products, something that could sit on a rental parcel, notify the renter when rent was due AND give them a direct SLurl to the location where they must pay. Renters are given that sort of notice now in fact, it just doesn’t include the SLurl. I think a technological fix is possible and easy. I also believe that the inconvenience of having to go elsewhere to pay would lessen the value of using “Redirection Vendors” (see it here, TP and buy it there) to cheat the No Commerce rule.

  23. Botgirl Questi on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 9:44 AM
  24. I enjoyed your post, but don’t think cheap land would make a lot of difference in retention or recruiting. The problem for most people isn’t that Second Life isn’t worth their money, but that it’s not worth their time. I just posted on this topic here:

  25. Prokofy Neva on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 2:04 PM
  26. More technocommunist bad ideas, and not surprising, considering the source.

    There are already two markets in Second Life, one expensive, where people pay tier directly to Linden Lab, and one much cheaper, where people pay tier to landlords who absorb the cost of land purchases to start with, and land development so people don’t have those costs. A parcel rental on the mainland from a landlord is a fraction of what it would cost buying a premium and getting land from Linden Lab. Island rentals are a fraction of the cost of what you could incur if you had to buy one and pay tier to Linden Labs.

    So this organic and needed market that suits both buyers and sellers just fine would be needlessly and viciously destroyed by this latest communist plan for “the improvement of mankind” by someone who himself isn’t in the land business, and whose own business wouldn’t be affected, or so he thinks.

    More criticism on my blog. I don’t know why people who aren’t in the land business and don’t consume land in any significant degree imagine they should tell others what to do with this sector. It’s also grossly narrow-minded and near-sighted to perceive sims as merely sims, as rack space. They are in fact about access and interactivity to a whole world.

  27. Darrius Gothly on Sat, 24th Jul 2010 5:26 PM
  28. @Prok – I find it very interesting that you would suggest the cost of land rented from a Sim Owner (or Landlord) is cheaper than the Sim Owner gets it for. Not sure exactly how you run your land business, but I’m betting you are not doing it to generate a Loss. It doesn’t take a math genius to realize that paying $16 for 16 items .. then reselling those for $2 each makes a profit. But it does take some kind of “genius” to suggest that the $2 is “cheaper” than the $16. *shakes head*

    I love this phrase “viciously destroyed.” Yup, you got me .. dead to rights Prok. I’m just aching to GUT Second Life and take all you evil rotten Land Barons down too. WTF?? Get a clue.

    If you had bothered to READ my post (past my name on the top of course) then you’d have read that I want MORE access and MORE interactivity too. Which is what you claim to want. But in your plan of achieving that .. folks have to pay you more to achieve it, whereas my plan accomplishes the same goal but at lower end-user cost and, more than likely, higher middle man profit.

    Now, explain to me again why I’m a communist because I want to increase the free market economy? *sighs loudly*

  29. Timothy Horrigan on Sun, 25th Jul 2010 9:59 AM
  30. Actually in real life, the most successful communities are those which combine commercial and residential uses. This includes some of the most expensive real estate on the planet: if you go to places like Manhattan or Hong Kong, you find that some of the priciest residential spaces are located above some of the priciest retail spaces.

  31. Darrius Gothly on Sun, 25th Jul 2010 11:36 AM
  32. Priciest doesn’t equate to “most successful”. And in this economy, those pricey places are looking a whole lot less attractive than the lesser priced neighborhoods.

    Yes, some of the new “embedded malls” that are revolutionizing communities are meeting with great reviews. But their motivation and saving graces have to do with cutting down on pollution and savings in transportation costs and time for those living in the communities. In Second Life, going somewhere is free, instant and zero pollution.

  33. Prokofy Neva on Sun, 25th Jul 2010 5:34 PM
  34. You’re obviously uninformed about the land rentals market — which is why you can so arrogantly make prescriptions for it that in fact harm the whole economy. It’s typical of the arrogant “developer”-mongering that we always see in SL — “developers” prescribing in self-interested ways what they think “the community” wants with no basis in reality.

    Rentals are cheaper than purchases — full stop. Obviously if you buy an island at $1000, and then pay $295 tier on it as you wait to fill it up, you have a cost that you’ve absorbed that your customer, who comes and rents that island, doesn’t have to absorb. Let’s say you re-rent the whole island to 16 customers at $25 a piece for a 4096. That’s very low. That’s $400 a month — if you can keep it 100 percent occupied, which you can’t, but let’s just say you did — and you have to pay $295 out of that, and have $205 left to make back your initial outlay — ideally — over 5 months. But it won’t work that perfectly, as tens of thousands of people have the idea, and some of them can afford as hobbyists to put out the parcels for only $20 or less — or even for free.

    On the mainland, if you want 1024 m2 with 234 prims and the right to put out your own house and skybox, unlike Linden Homes, you will pay $9.95 a month for the subscriptions, and $5 extra tier beyond the first 512 m2 free. You can rent the same parcel from me or anyone for $4.50 a month or perhaps even $6.00 a month, but definitely not $5 plus $9.95 — and you’re spared the upfront purchase cost.

    Your fake example of $16 isn’t looking at the real costs and the real market, and ridiculously leaving out the obvious — the up front purchase price that the landlord absorbs, and that the renter doesn’t have to pay. He also doesn’t have to keep paying tier on an empty sim that won’t rent — he leaves. So rentals are cheapers than purchases. The entire reason why such a rentals market can even exist in SL is it is in fact the cheaper variant.

    If you are burning to buy cheap land, fly around the Mainland. There are scads of parcels, some quite good, for as low as $1, I just checked.

    Yes, your concept is viciously destructive, and you know it.
    o Crippling commerce completely ruins people’s freedom. They can live in a zoned residential rental, but still sell something to a friend, perhaps have art work in a gallery inside a house, or work on a vendor. They can offer furniture for sale that is put out tastefully and doesn’t ruin the residential look of the area. They might wish to buy back a group-deeded TV — they couldn’t do that on your residential land which would completely kill group rentals — group rentals on mainland and in some island settings rely on the ability to deed to the group and then undeed, which is currently only achieved by a $0 sale to purchase yourself.

    As others have pointed out, it kills the ability to put out a rental box, forcing people to travel to offices of landlords or work out complicated web-based “solutions”. All of this inconveniencing is to service a socialist quirk — the strange idea that commerce is evil, that people don’t engage in it (except you and your friends) and they need to “disable” it to have nice residences. They don’t.

    Linden Homes already have rules (not crippling code disabling which completely intrudes LL into the home) that you cannot have vendors or stores in Linden Homes. They are already cheaper than other mainland due to extra prims. So there already is in fact even a *third* tier of cheap options if someone wants a home.

    Linden Lab’s trajectory has not been to reduce costs for customers, except now as an exception and sharp move to dump arbitrageurs and go for volume sales (which they have done exactly once in their history). All other moves have been to raise costs of sims. The Lindens already produce sims with more prims and higher value content like Nautilus that cost $45,000 for a 1024 on the market now, not $1000 or $3000 per 1024 m2 like everywhere else and they are zoned after a fashion by having plenty of easements and good builds in the view. Any move they make to zone further will cost the consumer *more* because they know people *will pay top dollar* for zoned sims that require no business or mall or club or anything lagging and traffic-heavy can be plunked down on the mainland.

    The idea that there’s some deserving class of people who would be flocking into SL if they didn’t have high costs is an attractive socialist ideal, but it doesn’t fit the facts. The reality is, people like commerce and like engaging it in themselves. They like the ability to have yard sales now and then, or put out things for sale, or renting half their space to help meet costs.

    More access and more interactivity? Baloney. What you want is a socialist cohort that plays by your rules and privileges a RenFaire craftsmen class that turns the rest of people into consumers living on collective farms. No thanks.

    There are already two cheap options for those who want cheaper options in SL: buying cheap mainland and paying cheap mainland tier (only $195 and not $295 a month); renting from a mainland dealer for less than what you’d pay the Lindens if you were owning the land (due to bulk tier and group 10 prim bonus; or renting from an island dealer without having to pay the initial cost of the island. This is all sufficient. You don’t have to have a homestead, which is a very cheap island; you can get 1875 prims on a large 8192 parcel on the mainland likely for $3 a meter or less and pay $40 in tier per month. Go in with your friends and get more prims with the group 10 percent bonus.

    The idea that there is an “evil middle man” who is “rapaciously scalping the people” is one of those silly socialist forum myths. The reality is that people in the rentals business have horribly low margins, especially on the mainland. They make a pittance. Only people who own 100 or more islands could make a very modest living, without health or life insurance and only basic needs met, of $2000 a month. That’s below the poverty level in some states. This is not a place where you make millions, given the time you spent.

    Your *propagandistic lies* that you “want to increase the free-market economy are obvious to everyone. You don’t. You want to cripple commerce on land needlessly, kill the landlord class, reduce revenue for Lindens, and create an unstable new class of endusers, some of whom will be bad landlords. No thanks. Leave Second Life alone.

  35. Prokofy Neva on Sun, 25th Jul 2010 5:36 PM
  36. The reality is that while most landlords want to have commerce and residences on separate sims for all kinds of reasons, it’s a tremendous struggle to get tenants to refrain from putting up stores or yard sales or having some kind of commerce. So I respond to this by accommodating to the customer instead of crippling them. I put vending areas near their apartments or homes. I allow some tasteful stores in some regions. I allow stores by roadside, and down the waterfront I don’t. I tolerate people selling a bunny or a putting out a vendor now and then. Everyone needs to make a buck in SL, and that’s fine with me.

    By the way, just what it is you “develop,” Gothly?

  37. Darrius Gothly on Sun, 25th Jul 2010 6:12 PM
  38. @Prok – I develop … (get ready .. here it comes .. )

    Neat Stuff That Works!

    You can find it here:

    Or visit my store in Second Life.

  39. The Award Goes To.. on Sun, 25th Jul 2010 10:00 PM
  40. […] Hamlet Au.  No, not Hamlet.  Always in search of a good story, Hamlet reported on this young man's idea to do something or other to land prices (or something).  Before long the comments started to […]

    […] the tradition by spilling innocent pixels over the Metaverse too. My previous blog post “Changes in the Virtual Land Market in Second Life” caused quite a few folks to choose up sides and start lobbing blog bombs at each other. […]

  41. kajlit on Fri, 30th Jul 2010 4:58 PM
  42. it was very interesting to read
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  43. Darrius Gothly on Fri, 30th Jul 2010 5:12 PM
  44. I’m afraid I don’t have a Twitter account, but you are more than welcome to quote me and/or link to me. Thank you for taking the time to read and understand what I wrote as well.

    […] couple of days ago, Second Life merchant Darrius Gothly proposed a plan to reinvigorate Second Life’s land market by  zoning regions residential or […]