In June, I’ll be 8 years old. Sounds like a lot of time, right? This is the oldest online community/social network I’ve been intensely involved with so far. Yet, I think my participation in SL, considering all the possibilities of interaction it offers, has been pretty limited. I haven’t had a job in SL, in none of its commercial/business chances; my clubbing time has been restricted to a very few spots (maybe 3 or 4), and believe it or not I’ve never contemplated the chance of partnering or “enlisting” on a sentimental relationship beyond friendship. Yet, this year I decided to experiment with things a lot of other people have successfully tried before to see what would come out of them.
Just a few months ago, in January, I decided to reform my land holdings to lower my monthly spendings in SL. As a result, I ended up with a 2048 sq.m. protected waterfront parcel I wasn’t using but didn’t want to get rid of. I thought I might be able to rent it out for cheap to at least cover the monthly land use fee I have to pay to the Lab. It was all water of great depth and was located next to a busy sailing route, totally perfect for any maritime endeavor. Since I didn’t intend to get rich but to cover the monthly cost, I set the rent cheaper than other surrounding parcels in the area, in the hopes that someone would see the “For Rent” sign from a distant and jump at the opportunity. Beyond that I didn’t try any other advertising, not wanting to turn this into a big commercial venture.
With such characteristics, I thought the plot would attract the attention of many a passerby, but after several weeks, no one showed any interest on it. Only one of my friends asked me a few questions once, but that was it.
At some point –as would be expected– I decided to declare this a failed experiment. Then I decided to ask a professional landlord with interests in that same sim if he wanted to trade the plot in exchange for an –even smaller– parcel in another sim where I have my main home. We agree on the parcel and some cash as a compensation, and soon the lot was gone.
I guess it took him two minutes to get the parcel ready for rent (at a higher price than the one I was giving it out for), and maybe three minutes more to get the parcel rented. It got a huge WTF!!??? from me, and another much, much bigger one when I found out the renter was actually a neighbor that have lived just a parcel away for more than a year, and could well have seen my huge For Rent sign, bright and clear, from her porch everyday since day one.
My guess is people prefer to enrich well-established land lords and ladies instead of doing business with a newcomer in fear a parvenu like me will run with their money and leave them broke and dispossessed. I can understand that perfectly since in the contemporary world –online and off– we don’t think people are honest by default. I may be one of the few that enjoy giving chances to strangers and go for the best deal. But then, this experience shattered and blew away my micro-enterprise nap and sealed the faith of me the lessor forever.
P.S. Sounds tragic, right?, but it was fun.