We often let out a sigh of dissatisfaction of our current appearance. We are not able to afford that dream vacation to Hawaii or Europe and most of all many of us complain about not having enough money to pay the bills. Well Second Life gives us the opportunity to fulfill our fantasies, take our dream vacations, we can be unfaithful to our spouses without feeling guilty about it and or running the risk of getting some STD, but most of all we can make real money selling intangible items in a virtual world! Items such as virtual real estate is being sold, there are large corporations holding trainings in cyber space, and there even a stock market. However as in real life Second Life is no crime free. In the near future the virtual world may be what get this country out of recession.
We are not able to afford a dream vacation but through Second Chance we can travel the world for free, we can create our own vacation and buy our own dream home for as little as $20.00. We can create an avatar which is a an on screen character that we can customize to our liking. We can go into night clubs and have affairs with one two or three different people and fulfill our fantasies and nobody will judge you. We can be free to express ourselves.
However, greater than those frivolous things mentioned there is a greater opportunity in Second Life, there is money to be made. Second Life gets 10 million members that pay $15.00 a month to play and another 20 million members login occasionally. There is an online currency exchange (Hof, Robert).
Although in the real world the real estate market is going from bad to worse and we do not for see it getting better, in the virtual world real estate is booming. People are selling and renting land for others to create. Coldwell Banker is one of the biggest real estate companies in the world and they have opened a virtual office in Second chance. Coldwell Banker bought a great amount of property then subdivided it into 520 individual homes that half will be sold and half will be to rent. Their virtual offices are staffed by real people where they are not only selling the virtual land but they are also answering real life real estate transactions to the consumers. With the real estate market crash many consumers have been left with a bittersweet attitude towards Realtors because they feel they were not represented properly by their agents and have lost the trust of the Realtor. By Coldwell Banker being out in cyberspace they are not only getting the exposure worldwide but when the market picks up again chances are they may be the first company many consumers will go to for their real estate needs (Kirkpatrick, David).
Many large companies such as, American Express, Intel, Wal-Mart, and many other large corporations are holding trainings and investments in Second Life (Hof, Robert). Furthermore, Second Life has its own World Stock Exchange. The virtual stock exchange opened in real life simulated stock exchange on March 5 2007. The trading volume surpasses 23 million virtual dollars which is the equivalent to $90,000 US dollars. At that time the exchange rate was 290 to 1 (Crosman, Penny).
Like the real world the virtual world is not crime free. Greed prevails everywhere, There was a banking meltdown in which many consumers lost a great amount of real money through fraudulent banks. As a result Linden Lab had to abruptly close down all the banks and evict them from the cyber world. The only banks that can operate in Second Life are banks that can show proof of an applicable government regulation statement or a financial institution charter (Talbot, David). Moreover, the World Stock Exchange suffered a loss of L$32 million, ($12,300 dollars) on July 25 of 2007. A former employee of Linden Lab took advantage of the classified information that he or she had access to and broke into the ATM network (Reuters, Adam).
It is interesting that people do not have money to pay their bills in the real world and they have money to spend in a virtual world. For this reason precisely that the virtual world may be the solution to stabilize the nations economy. Second Life does not only get people from the United States investing but from all over the world. If the person wants to chance their linden dollars for real US Dollars they are subject to taxation from the IRS (Wond).
Crosman, Penny. (2007). Stock Exchange Opens In Second Life: retrieved 4/6/2008 from http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/blog/archives/2007/03/virtual_stock_e.html
Hof, Robert. (2006). My Virtual Life: retrieved 4/6/2008 from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_18/b3982001.htm
Krikpatrick, David. (2007). Coldwell Bankers Second Life: retrieved 4/6/2008 from http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/22/technology/fastforward_secondlife.fortune/index.htm
Reuters, Adam. (2007). World Stock Exchange Hit By L$32 Million In Theft: retrieved 4/6/20008 from http://secondlife.reuters.com/stories/2007/07/25/world-stock-exchange-hit-by-l32-million-theft/
Talbot, David. (2008). Second Life Closes Banks: retrieved 4/6/2008 from http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/20037/
Wong, Grace. (2007). Second Life's Looming tax Threat: retrieved 4/6/2007 from http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/02/technology/sl_taxes/index.htm