Lindens Likely to Limit Landbots

by Pixeleen Mistral on 30/01/07 at 5:40 pm

Seismic activity detected to east – new continent may appear soon

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Rockin’ Robin Linden acknowledged today what Herald readers have known for some time – automated bots that scan for land bargains, then swoop in for high speed purchases have made it extremely difficult for puny, slow, weak human-controlled avatars to purchase lower priced parcels. Apparently bowing to pressure from bill-paying humans to level the playing field in the land game, Linden Lab will make changes to the metaverse to separate the bots from the humans – at least in the land market.

Can Linden Lab CAPTCHA landbots?

Robin chirped “we’re looking at adding a step to the purchase process which should make it more difficult to use ‘bots in purchasing land”. Sources speculate this may take the form of a “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” or CAPTCHA step in the land purchase process – as is commonly employed at ticket selling sites – which also can be susceptible to scripted gaming of the system. Despite dire warning from ‘bot fans that the future of land bargains belongs to the über scripters, this move by Linden Lab suggests that the game gods may be capable of taking steps to keep the game fun – or at least interesting – for their human customers.

In related news, seismic activity has been detected in the void areas of the metaverse and Robin predicts a new continent will appear to the east soon. Look for a more mainland sims to come onto the land market, and a possible drop in land prices.

15 Responses to “Lindens Likely to Limit Landbots”

  1. nimrod yaffle

    Jan 30th, 2007

    I hope it’s a new new continent. I’m tired of their green/rocky/dirt textures. They should give the mainlanders something new and surreal. This isn’t RL, they should give up more options than RL when looking at the terrain.

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 30th, 2007

    I have to chuckle at the Lindens. The fair thing to do, now that they’ve announced that they are going to devalue everybody’s land when they open-source the server code anytime from today to three years from now, would be to leave the land market alone and stop devaluing people’s land. Instead of whacking out more continents to flood the landmarket just to satisfy a few poor but vocal newbies on the forums, they should let the prices rise to their natural valuation, so that both poor newbies, and rich oldbies, can sell their land for *at least* what they paid for it, if not more.

    Instead, the do more deliberate flooding, forcing land barons who want marketshare to choke on big sims and chop them and sell them to meet tier, and they laugh all the way to the bank. It’s so humorous to see crop after crop of baby barons come at SL, and fall for this gambit.

  3. Seola Sassoon

    Jan 30th, 2007

    Aww, another step hitting Prok where it hurts.

    Yes, a few vocal newbies indeed. Though I’ve been here for over a year and that’s certainly not new and so have many people looking for land. In fact, some people in the game since inception have watched this land debacle and complained.

    Gotta love the way you worded your opinion though:
    “they should let the prices rise to their natural valuation”

    As if it hasn’t yet.

    Parcels change hands daily, to other land yahoos, not to the consumer almost ALL the time. People are in essence refusing to pay this much.

    The only thing changing is the fact that the barons will pay that much and reprice it over and over and over and over and over.

    Add a step in to eliminate the crazy bot crap, release more land, try to get actual residents land??? HOW DARE THEY!!!


  4. Frankie Antonioni

    Jan 30th, 2007

    This is the best news ever, land prices right now are artificially high. If you pay your monthy fee, then you should be able to own 512 sq. meters of unzoned land. The land barons can still make money, by making zoned land, and selling larger parcells of land.

  5. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 30th, 2007

    Why would it “hurt me where it hurts?” I’m not in the land sales business. I don’t buy and sell land. Very, very rarely will I add a 512 in a sim where I need prims or something. This entire drama of the doubling of land prices and the freeding frenzy around them isn’t something I’ve participated in, except to sell a parcel or two here and there that was next to a club and unrentable.

    You just don’t know anything about me or my business, or you wouldn’t make a crack like that. It’s the sort of evil, vindictive post for which you and others at SC are known, Seola, which you seem hardly aware of as making you look rather unattractive.

    I do point out that it harms the land business however, in defense of capitalism, and in rebuttal to socialists who think you will keep people investing in a world with a land model like this forever. But now that we’ve seen they plan to devalue everybody’s land *anyway* when they open source, it remains only for each new fresh batch of baby barons to get gulled by this con from the Lindens, buy land furiously and drive up its price by vying with each other for marketshare, then watch as at least some of their number are left holding a big bag.

    In case you had your head up your ass, I’ll reiterate that I just posted a story a few below, which lamented the appearance of the landbots. It’s the ultimate nasty, cynical expression of the sandboxing libsecondlifers who don’t care about land or civilization or development but just want to destroy everything and make a buck for themselves. I proposed a fool-proof way to keep value for newbies — keep giving them tier — maybe even more free tier after 30 days — and enable everyone with tier/vouchers to seek land offerings. That would completely remove the land-swooping, first-land carrion-feeders we see now.

    I think you also need to go back and look at the polls, and I’d urge any other market researchers or sociologists to study this more thoroughly. There are now 55,000 landowners. Almost all of them started by buying a first land. They all found that first land. Many of them sold it for at least more than $512, and many for more than $5000. Some remain on it. So the myth of the poor, sobbing, ripped-off newbie is just that — a myth. IN fact, behind that poor little newbie wailing about his land could be either a) a 14-year-old boy with his mom’s credit card b) a 37-year-old IT specialist with a high income who is just a whiney little entitlement freak. Who is to know?

    All the while you were having your smug, self-satisfied hysterical and shrewish rant here on the Herald about OMG TEH NEWBZ WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN! I was just continuing to actually HELP new people by maintaining communities of newbies rentals at a mere $1.50 US per month for that 512 with use of 150 prims. Hello?

    Unfortunately, you need to realize the realities of any land market, if it is truly a market, and not a socialist allocation system. It will have liquidity and it will have people who flip to each other and balance each others’ portfolios and remain available to purchase anybody’s land “just in time”. When people want to bail out and get somebody to buy their land at least for something, where will they turn, if you fastidious socialists eradicate this class of people? They are necessary, even if you hate them. These people like Weedy or Wrestling, as much as they are loathed, perform a hard and much-needed service for Linden Lab and the resident population.

    Bots don’t help those who invested in the land market; they turn over the land market to just one or two individuals who dominate it (this happened with PG summer before last, putting PG out of reach ultimately for all the non-profits and educational type of people who wanted to use it). It’s in the interests of real investors in land who develop it for there to be a liquid, diverse, and variegated market with many offerings of all types for all people.

    The Lindens have never been able to square this circle. They need to sell servers (land) to increase their profits. They need to dupe land buyers just enough to get them to buy into this scenario, but then break their backs. They can’t let the land market truly be free, which is what it should become to become a viable world, because then they couldn’t go on benefitting to the same extent. This is the big hole in the concept of Second Life; the company that makes it cannot make it right because it must serve its own interests.

  6. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 30th, 2007

    Frankie is right. Land barons can still make money simply by developing communities and serving up larger parcels, not making 512 hell everywhere. The Lindens should have sacrificed some of their island orders and put out some first land sooner, since they offer it. But this is not a system they can go on working forever, it doesn’t scale and costs them too much.

  7. Aero Rockett

    Jan 30th, 2007

    Too little too late. I was just about to sign up for Second Life when I started researching land and found that not only are you not given land for your $10 a month but you can’t even BUY land.

    Screw that. I just deleted Second Life from my computer and won’t be bothering to go back.

  8. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Naa, Aero, you *can* buy land. You’re just not going to be able to get it for a measly $1.89 US, which isn’t even quite the price of a latte. You’ll have to pay for it. The operative thing that comes in a subscription isn’t even so much the land — the land you get called first land is crappy, laggy, ugly, and only something to sell immediately. What’s operative about the subscription is the *tier* — a free land credit of 512 you can apply to any land.

    So, instead of that free experience you sought, or thought should come for only $9.95, instead, at today’s prices, you’re going to have to pay the $9.95, and then buy land for more like the price of your cable bill at $33 US, then buy the 90-day subscription fee for $7.25/month to keep the tier and the $400 Lindens a week stipend will offset that a bit ($5.92).

    If it seems like sort of expensive entertainment, I understand. Then it might make sense to rent, at the fraction of that cost, or just fly around until this current real estate bubble bursts, then you’ll get the 512s purchased for about $20 US.

  9. Bob the Tomato

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Maybe if they’d add the text input thing every so often randomly to pop up that would kill off camping, if you are logged out after 10 minutes of not responding.

    That is, of course, until one of the open source groups decides to disable that function.

  10. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Ah well. The bubble is about to burst. The question is, do I want to invest a few thousand US in taking advantage of it?
    After, oooooh, 10 seconds thought, the answer this time is – no thanks LL – SL has never looked less inviting as a place to invest a little ‘mad money’ than at present.
    Very poor timing.

    And stop grizzling Prok. You *know* how this works because you’ve done it before. I suspect you are just pissed off because the cheap land is coming, but, like me, this time round you are reluctant to take advantage, for the same reasons?

  11. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Excuse me, Inigo, did you READ what I just wrote in answer to Seola’s screed? *I am not in the land buying and selling business.* I do not buy and sell land in a speculative, “investment” like mode. Why? Because having started in SL 2 years ago, and watched how it works, I decided it was foolish. It’s not only risky, but time consuming to keep scouring for bargains and you constantly get addicted to a tier level that you constantly have to fill if you sell land, or pay for a land-empty tier. I find it a racket.

    Instead, I cautiously, over time, sometimes taking months, buy pieces of land *which I keep*. Sometimes I might sell to a neighbour looking for prims; in Ravenglass the sim, for the longest time I kept that price *up* by selling or buying at $7-8/m.

    If I *keep* land to *rent it out* — can you grasp that difference? — I’m not part of the land bubble, as Nobody falsely claimed about me, and land’s factor as a land bubble action is of no interest to me. Unlike other island barons, I simply refuse to grow. I won’t grow under these circumstances. The Lindens have a racket where they constantly lure people into seeing fast money to be made, which they then “reinvest” or “plough back in” to expanding — which simply leaves them hugely overexposed. I’m not interested in that in SL and grow very slowly, periodically pruning back.

    Why would I dump hundreds of tenants to sell off my main rental stock in a bubble? Then what? Buy new overpriced land? Wait to see if land prices come down? Why lose all those customers and create instability for my own business and for SL?

    So often people who aren’t in business in SL take ready snipes and pot shots and sit on the sidelines hating and laughing and pointing. What do YOU do in SL that entitles you to that kind of crap?

    Why would I be pissed off that cheap land is coming? *I’m an end-user, too*. If cheap land is coming, at long last I might be able to pick up a 512 for prim land I need in some of my existing sims, for example to meet the demand for mainland 2048s which I have run out of, or commercial land. I couldn’t justify buying at today’s or even tomorrow’s prices,so if the Lindens whack out a new continent and lower prices, that’s great for me, it means I can go on being a mainland business instead of reluctantly being pushed into more costly private islands.

    What’s to take advantage? If I can sell a parcel of a beautiful, sugary waterfront that I loved and was able to get before Anshe made prices ridiculously high by cornering the market, which then unfortunately got clubs, campers, and malls next to it even being awesome Linden-protected waterfront, what of it? I was able to sell to a land baron who sold it to another store. Now I can either buy a new less risky parcel when prices are lower or just tier down, whatever.

    No, I raise the problem of the overall Linden tactic of constantly gulling the landbarons and then breaking their backs because it’s immoral, and as some may find when they get class action suits going some day, illegal. It’s nasty. It’s a pretty immoral start to the Metaverse, but I suppose, not unlike other historical advances in technology, like the rail lines financed and built by robber barons.

  12. Martin Squeegee

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Prok, We’ve met in SL a few times – I don’t think you are a customer but who knows?

    I guess my confusion and may be it’s because I am english we don’t think about things in the same way what is wrong with a free market economy that we now have in SL? That might not have been the idealised plan that people had when they first came here but someone has to pay for it so why not let it be the land owners like me who invest up front in real dollars so that everyone else can buy their slice of SL?

    The market will peak and drop like any other and like any other there will be those that weather the storm and those that don’t. But remember when you all get cold feet who are you going to call first? It will be the land owners like us that will take your land off you in the hope the good times return.

    Land ownership on scale is a risky business, just because people like me are willing to take the risk why do you deride us in such a venomous way?

    Martin Squeegee can be found in his office in JULIA CREEK.

  13. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Ah well Prok… I was referring to the strategy I’ve employed in the past. Buy cheap in the trough, rent to cover costs while awaiting the recovery, then, when the next land price bubble expands, sell it of at market as it becomes vacant. It’s worked for me in the past. But it looks a mite risky this time round.

    I’d assumed that you’d do the same. After all, you are well established in the rental market, you could easily do so – though you probably wouldn’t want to this time round seeing the state things are in at present. I’m definitely sitting this one out.

    Dealing in land, on a daily basis though – I agree, that’s way too much like hard work!

  14. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Interesting that you feel the need to so nastily project on to me, some cheesy SL land dealing scheme that YOU YOURSELF engage in. I’m glad we flushed THAT out.

    No, I don’t rent during the trough and sell during the bubble because there are *people* on that land who are *renting*. I wish to have a stable business and not acquire a reputation as someone who sells out from under tenants some piece of land just because they can fetch more for it.

    The only exception would be if you can’t rent something because a club has moved in or something.

    I don’t understand who you are lecturing here, Martin. Huh? I’m not the one railing against a free market. Others are. I don’t object to it. But it is a synthetic thing, at root, because the Lindens artificially control it. Someone like you, believing in it as real, makes it possible for them to go on doing this.

    Why do you think I’m deriding landowners? I’m a landowner myself. You’re coming to the wrong address with this. In fact, I’m trying to battle both Inigo and Seola who made nasty cracks to me in this thread about me somehow being a rapacious land baron. I’m not. Either of those things.

    So, what’s your problem then, you want me to defend rapacious land barons? Why? They can take care of themselves. As I’ve just explained already, they create liquidity in the market and make it possible for people always to be able to at least get something for their land. So I have absolutely no objection to them.

  15. Seola Sassoon

    Jan 31st, 2007

    No one said you bought and sold land Prok, don’t go yet again putting words in my mouth.

    “”"It’s the sort of evil, vindictive post for which you and others at SC are known, Seola, which you seem hardly aware of as making you look rather unattractive.”"”"

    Yeah and you’re known for making stuff up and making it out that people say things they didn’t say.

    If you are really stupid enough to think that lower land sales doesn’t affect rentals, then you are even lower on the thought train than I thought.

    You don’t think much more attractively priced parcels will make people consider buying land they have full control over as opposed to renting? And what’s your business? Oh yeah, rentals. God the connection wasn’t even far fetched and you still didn’t get it. Oh that’s right, because a post making a connection doesn’t sound as good as “FIC!!!! SOCIALIST!!! CAPITALIST!!! ELITEST!!!”

    Ironically, while you lay blame on others with your names, you are an elitest with the attitude to boot.

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