OpinionIndustry News

Second Life makes sense for real estate

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Second Life, a graphics-rich online virtual world, has been called stupid, boring, dull, pointless, sad, addictive and simply a waste of time for corporations and individuals alike. But those criticisms from detractors -- in this case Aussies -- haven't dismayed Second Life's fans nor dented its popularity. Operated by San Francisco-based Linden Lab, Second Life has millions of registered users, who complete millions of dollars of in-world transactions each month. So are virtual worlds like Second Life meaningful to real estate or just a passing fad of little or no importance? The folks at Coldwell Banker seem to believe Second Life has real-world value. The franchise operator has set up shop in the virtual world and launched an in-world realty business to sell virtual homes to people who earn and spend "Linden dollars" in the virtual economy. Second Life homes initially were expected to fetch the equivalent of approximately $20 U.S. Coldwell Banker wants to build brand name-recogniti...