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Coldwell Banker goes virtual with property sales

Company sets up shop in Second Life online world

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Coldwell Banker has put up a shingle in the Second Life digital frontier, and is among the first real-world real estate companies to sell virtual homes in cyberspace. Second Life is a three-dimensional virtual world with its own currency, Linden dollars, that can be purchased for real money. There are about 5 million registered Second Life users, or "residents," and about 1.7 million of them are more active users who have participated in the virtual world -- or "metaverse" -- within the past 60 days. Residents are represented by customized characters called avatars. (See Inman News report.) "It's the real wild, wild West," said Charlie Young, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., which has about 3,800 affiliated real estate offices and 124,000 sales associates in 31 countries. Second Life is dominated by a small group of land barons who dominate the real estate market, Young said, and the company saw an opportunity to participate in the online world ...