Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Residents Speak: Adam Zaius of Azure Islands

Way back, last December, when I was still doing the research for my book proposal, I talked to Adam Zaius and Nexus Nash, the co-owners of Azure Islands, one of the very-biggest land estates in Second Life.

I didn't even have a book contract at that point, but I did have a pretty good idea of what I wanted to write about, and Adam and Nexus were very gracious with their time.

We talked for quite awhile, and they shared a great deal of insight into how to make money in the SL land business, and both were available for follow-up conversations in the months that followed as I discovered, oh, yeah, I had just one more question.

The fruits of their expertise, therefore, help round out the chapter in my book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life, that is devoted to that segment of the SL economy.

And so, you know, I'm not going to give it all away. But I will share a few bullet points Adam offered on things to be sure to keep in mind if you want to go into the SL land business:

• Look for niche markets—such as those that cater to Second Life subcommunities like Furries, elves, or vampires—where you can charge premium fees that will help cover higher tier costs.
• Make sure you are teamed up with at least one other person. Having a business partner can be invaluable because he can fill in when you are unable to focus on the business and because together you can cover a large number of time zones.
• Adding value to your land is important and is becoming the chief differentiator in the land business as Second Life goes through its exponential growth period. This is vital, as you will be competing with others on features, not price.
• Be prepared to work insane hours. This means being around after grid updates to make sure that your content is still intact, as well as being sure you or someone from your outfit is available as often as possible to tend to customers' needs.

Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I'll be posting many similarly-sized snippets of expertise from successful SL business owners like Adam. Please stay tuned for them and all my other observations.

1 comment:

dyerbrookME said...

I disagree about price. Having a lower price indeed matters. The real estate market -- any market in SL -- cannot all be about the top developers, the best programmers, the fanciest designers. It has to be a diverse and robust market that can sustain a variety of entry level as well as boutique type of operations.

If you shave a price even by $50 or $100 it can mean the difference in a sea of sims, people shop very hard, sometimes all day or all week, to find something to fit in a very strict budget. Just as in real life, there is a role for budget lines.

Philip Linden constantly pumps the line that land isn't stake, that real estate has no value, that arbitrage is even to be discouraged, that there is something vulgar about "flipping land". But there isn't. It keeps the market liquid and the world free for a vast variety of different people. It's very important that there are not only master builders like Adam, but people who even rent at a loss on those giant cookie-cutter type house suburbs to give newbies a start.