Tuesday, June 08, 2004


After being in a foreign country long enough, in my experience, you eventually come up with an automatic little heuristic for figuring out the value of things. Last year when I visited Thailand, for example, I quickly learned to take the price of everything, and divide that sum by 40. (Since US$1 is about 40 Thai Baht.) Then when I went next door to Vietnam, I eventually got in the habit of mentally subtracting three zeroes from the price of things, and dividing by fifteen. (Since US$1 comes to about 15,000 Vietnamese Dong.)

Fortunately for my math-impaired brain, the Cambodians were more than happy to accept cold, hard, unconverted American cash.

And just now, looking at the prices of things in Second Life, I find myself automatically subtracting three zeroes, and multiplying by 4. (Since in current market rates, US$1 is about 250 Linden Dollars.) Without really planning to, I've developed a mental habit of, say, seeing L$40,000 and thinking "about 160 bucks". (Subtract the "000" from "40,000", and multiply 40 by 4-- boom, instant conversion.) It's the reflexive, habitual way I do this now that's different. And judging by how people talk about Linden Dollars and US dollars interchangably, in the Second Life forum, and certainly in-world, it seems to me a similar mental switch has taken place, among many residents. We're looking at the cost of things, in-world, and perhaps without even intending to, doing the mental math to make out their real dollar value.

Or at least whatever Alan Greenspan last told us the value of a real dollar was supposed to be.

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You must be looking at the resale value of the property plots in the new island sims in the east.. :( I was trying to get one of those, but the new land barons have eaten most of them up. You gotta wonder how that math works out for them.. They pay upwards of 40 bucks a piece, take on the land usage fees for thousands of square meters, try and resell the land for 4x their purchase price... what happens if nobody buys the land for months and months? I've seen tons of plots for sale for around L$40k for 2k^m... yeah, that's 160 US bucks! Holy crap!

Posted by: Steve cooley at Jun 8, 2004 8:11:19 AM

Hhhmmm.... Interesting. There should be a way to transfer$ to L$. Then when i am short of cash (Always :[) i could transfer.I had no idea of he transfer rate, but imagine someone paying $160!!! :O.

Posted by: D.I Stephen Grayson at Jun 8, 2004 9:27:13 AM

Speaking as one of those land barons (I own Funadama), I'm reselling land for less than what I paid for it, and being very careful who I sell to. My goal is to have a nice neighborhood to live in, not to make a profit on land sales.

Posted by: Gato Peregrine at Jun 8, 2004 9:38:46 AM

Interesting, Gato. Did you have a bad experience
with a previous land sale(s)?

> but the new land barons have eaten most of them
> up

Fascinating. In your experience, Steve, how many
"land barons" have you encountered, while in the
market for real estate?

Posted by: Hamlet Linden at Jun 8, 2004 1:24:26 PM

Well you're done with the math you'll also see that the 'land barons' (consult the land owners on the leaderboard -- eliminate private island holders) have to keep an entire sims worth of land (anything under that is hardly a baron) - and you see they pay $195 USD a month.
That would be around abouts 48,800 ish at an exchange rate of around 1 buck a block (sure it goes up and down a bit -- but around 1.03 - considering the 3c on the dollar for fees is about right), converted to linden dollars.

Thats the L$ figure you have to make, in profit, just to break even.

You start to see that the Land Baron thing is a mugs game - and only a very few, who are very good at it, could turn any kind of real life profit.

Personal experience with 3 people who I *would* qualify as 'barons' -- decent people. One helped out with a 'nobid' so my RL wife could get a plot she had her heart set on... A second sold us the land for the GNU Wave Dollar store at 0 profit and a swap, and a third helped me find 4 512 plots for new player for 0 L$ (thats 2048 m2 at a loss to them).

Many are quick to jump and say that GOM is the haven of the 'barons' - and at a knee jerk you could agree with them... But I think to find the truth you'll have to dig deeper.


Posted by: Siggy at Jun 9, 2004 1:47:47 AM

More of a bad experience with previous neighbors. :-)

Posted by: Gato Peregrine at Jun 9, 2004 10:48:09 AM

I buy land and sell it to make a profit.

Am I a land baron? Probably the answer is yes, but I'm not shadey or evil or anything like that.

I will buy land - mostly in auctions and sell it at a price that is still reasonable, for example my mature land never goes up for sale at over 9.5L$ per sqm, which is under the minimum 10L$ per sqm that most "Land barons" seem to charge.

I pay 40$US a month on land allowance, and through approaching customers with a good attitude and some knowledge of "how to sell well" I am making near 50$US a week at least. Not bad going for a couple hours of work!

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