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Be A Virtual Millionaire With A Second Life Property Shop
If you're looking for something to do this weekend, perhaps you could attempt to make yourself a virtual millionaire on the internet.
Already at least one estate agent has set up a property shop in the game and made a virtual fortune of about 300 million dollars. That's worth a million US dollars in real money, which is about £425,000.
So what is it and could you too make a fortune by setting up your own property shop?
It's known as a MMORPG – or Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.
It's a 3D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Two million people 'live' there as little characters, and trade goods and services between themselves. It's a significant trade worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a day.
So much so that a series of big companies have jumped in and set up versions of their business online. Want a pair of trainers for your character? No problem, Adidas and Reebok will happily take your money and give your character new footwear.
Anyone can join up by creating a little computerized version of themselves known as an avatar. It's a little 3D picture of yourself. And spending and making money in the game starts with improving the look of your avatar.
There are no ugly or fat people in Second Life. If you don't have the computer skills to make yourself look more beautiful, you can pay a few Linden dollars (the game's currency) for someone else to do it for you.
And after you've made yourself look beautiful, what's next? Why getting a house of course!
You can buy a home or find a property to rent. And that's where the opportunity is for you to set up your own property shop and become a virtual estate agent.
To buy land costs as little as $10 a month for a premium account. Then you can buy land either from the game's creators Linden Lab, or from other players. You can reshape the land and build what you like. You are restricted only by your imagination, your computer skills and how much time you have to play.
There are no planning or building regulations. Want to turn your land into a tropical beach even though it's miles from water? No problem!
The trick in making money is to turn your land into property that is going to be desirable to other characters. Just like in the real world, many people won't want to spend time building their own home. So they'll be happy to pay for yours.
Which leads us back to the estate agent who made a million dollars online.
Her name is Allin Graef and she's a former Chinese language teacher living in Germany.
She joined the game in 2004 using an avatar called Asche Chung. Allin bought large blocks of land, improved them by adding housing and then sold them off in bits to other users.
Over three years that built up a fortune of 300 million Linden dollars. At online currency exchanges, the virtual money can be exchanged for real cash... about a million US dollars.
Allin has made so much money she's now opened an office in China and is employing a number of computer programmers to help her develop the land and make even more cash!
So if real property is a little outside your financial reach, maybe you should put your spare time to good use, open a pretend property shop and see if you too can make a virtual fortune.
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