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Prokofy Neva

How is the Land Business Doing?

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Since another thread on "the effect of Bellissaria on the land business" was closed (but only at the OP's request and a Linden offered to re-open it), let's revisit not just that topic, but in general, the land business, and how it is doing. For me, the focus is mainly on Mainland, but not only.

Without the kinds of economic statistics the Lindens used to give us, it can be very hard to tell.

One way is to look at Tyche Shepherd's reports, which are wonderful and invaluable. Here's the latest (for some reasons gridsurvey.com isn't loading but I took it from cache).

 

Second Life Main Grid size as of 1 Sep 2019

Ownership Total General Moderate Adult Offline Total Area (km²)
Total 24264 2859 15184 6210 11 1590.17
Linden Owned 8113 1716 5911 485 1 531.69
Private Estates 16151 1143 9273 5725 10 1058.47

 

Summary Charts (Click to view): Historical Grid Size Historical Private Estates Historical Maturity Ratings
Other Key Statistics:
  • 57% of Mainland owned directly by Linden Accounts (Contiguous Mainland is 6806 regions including Linden Home regions)
  • 20.7% to 21.4% of Mainland by area is abandoned parcels (details - 11th Jan 2017)
  • 55.5% of Private Estate regions are Full Regions, 43.9% Homesteads & 0.6% Openspaces
    (details including top 20 Estates - 15th Jan 2017)
  • Monthly Tier Estimates - Private Estates c.US$2.970 Million, Mainland c.US$0.704 Million
  • As of Jan 2017 36914 Linden Homes are occupied (details - 11th Jan 2017)
  • follow @tycheshepherd on Twitteron twitter for up to date announcements
Top 10 Estates by number of regions (15th Jan 2017)
  • The Top 10 Estates by number of regions held are as follows:
  • Richmond Land Management 6.2%
  • Azure Islands (ACS) 4.9%
  • Dreamseeker Estates 4.9%
  • Zoha Islands 4.2%
  • Surreal Chung (ACS) 3.1%
  • Weezles Real Estate (WRE) 3.0%
  • Victoria Chung (ACS) 2.9%
  • Miriam Chung (ACS) 2.5%
  • Lorena Chung (ACS) 1.8%
  • Fruit Islands Estate 1.7%
  • N.B. Known ACS holdings are 16.7%

Land barons are only 50% of island holdings? The rest are end-users? Anybody?

From this, I see mainland is actually now not 5,000 but 6800; the Lindens own half of that, which means all kinds of things, various roads and waterways but also abandoned land and Linden Homes. But since she says 20% is abandoned, that means there are about 5400 sims on the Mainland that are "viable" -- I can't figure out from this how many are actually Linden Homes or businesses/rentals, but maybe someone knows .

So the question is: what percentage of the Mainland is owned by end-users and business owners including rentals businesses? And the answer is -- probably most of the 3400 owned by residents. I'm assuming that "Linden-owned" means the Linden Homes as well, although when you take them, you become the owner and pay tier. It would be helpful if a land Linden could explain that (or Tyche). So my impression is, that just as there are more private estates now, for various reasons, there is more Mainland, or less abandoned, that it has not continued in the death spiral some imagine.

But it is hard to know how this is impacted when a) we don't know how many land businesses and end-users are on the Mainland (how that 3400 breaks down) b) whether it is Bellissaria or other factors affecting it. So if half of the sims on the Mainland are now in premium account hands, and the other half are Governor Linden infrastructure and abandoned, I think that means the world is a little healthier. But how and in what direction?

So all I can do is give anecdotal examples from the last two weeks about 20 of my own tenants. Every time someone moves out or refunds, I do an exit-interview just to see if they left for some fixable reason -- some people refund in a huff if a fellow tenant puts up some huge build that in fact I would remove but they don't realize it; some people don't understand a rolling restart is not the permanent death of a sim; some people face frustrations with prims returning and don't realize they have to join a group, etc. etc. So I try to eliminate those frustrations so the person can return if possible. 

NEGATIVE (move outs, move-downs, disappearances, and RL reasons) - Total - 12

1 - moved to cheaper lot due to lag
2 - MIA (I see this fairly often -- accounts completely disappear, i.e. you can no longer find their names in the list, or they never return).
3 - RL demand, can't be in SL (this time of year, people seem to have to resume more commitments with school and jobs)
1 -  buying 1/8 sim - note: not all purchases are Linden Homes; the homestead or the larger and more expensive private island is still desirable as a step-up from a Mainland rental; BTW this tenant had been in my Mainland rentals for literally years -- all kinds of factors go into move-up or move-down, often related to SL relationships.
1 - can't terraform to suit - move out - this happens especially with newer people. They can't get the land to flatten like a pancake -- because it doesn't on Mainland! They get frustrated, and go to an island or give up entirely.
2 - no reason given (but haven't moved elsewhere)

2 - moving to adult for fear of ARs (I only have one small adult area as I don't want the expense or trouble, and this is a chronic problem)

POSITIVE - Total - 12

2 - asked for 100 more prims
1 - can't pay new premium rate with donated tier - but came back then soon
1 - can't pay rent in cash - but then came back
1 - kept rental, bought Belissaria in addition
2 - return after long absence to SL
1 - added another rental to existing 2
1 - move to larger one of our lots

3 - brand-new tenants, some only 2-3 months in age

So I could conclude from this that Bellissaria has no effect or little effect but then I don't know everything, and it's just my slice of life. There are also hundreds of people who in fact stayed in their rentals happily -- if there were way more negative than positive for months in a row, I would sell land or quit. But it has its ups and downs, and I will say that the one thing I notice still trending up is people using their 1024 to contribute tier and pay for a rental in my system; I also don't see as many moves to private islands, but who knows what that means (I only have one private island and one homestead).

But here's another thing I noticed -- again, anecdotally.

While it is ALWAYS a bad idea to buy land when the Lindens are making changes -- which they are doing by throwing 800 sims online with customers taking away at least something from rentals and Mainland sales -- I did buy land in this period "to save the view" and because I saw some great opportunities. But I also sold a lot of land the minute the Lindens announced they were increasing the premium rates and adding more Linden Homes. That's the prudent thing to do. So I can't really speak of any great shrink or addition, and it's just a "wait and see" sort of things.

But because I had occasion to deal with land barons for the first time in quite awhile, it was interesting to hear them out: they view Bellissaria as a direct, powerful hit on their business, and are either winding it down in places or lowering prices or trying to pressure people like me to buy more. I'm not sure why this is, but I think it *might* be because they are selling smaller parcels, and trying to advertise parcels as being "free tier" if 1120 meters with the premium account much more. That's new -- I never saw that in 15 years of SL, which means they are competing directly for customers. Thus, it's not rental agents so much as land sellers impacted by Bellissaria. Overall, I see a trend of renting smaller parcels as well. I've broken up many of the 8192s I used to rent out as is.

Another big impact on the land sellers appears to be the resident auctions. But then they themselves use this system, in ways I don't fully understand. I had the naive idea that the resident auctions would be a wonderful of end-users selling to end-users but of course it is not.

There are mysterious things that happen here -- I see a resident auction. I see prime land going for $1/m because somebody unloaded it at that price. I see non-land barons picking it up and re-selling. Now, how do I know that? Because I recognize some of the people; some are even tenants. Then I see land barons ultimately acquiring that land and re-selling for a higher price -- but waiting forever -- months and months, probably past the prudent time for them to hold all that land. So only the Lindens know what impact resident auctions have -- but maybe someone has an educated guess.

Mainland land sales are not what they were once -- due to abandoned land. And the Lindens have really stepped up their game here and now sell it within 24-48 hours, whereas before it might take 7 days or more. And they sell even waterfront and parcels larger than 512, which I don't recall them doing as much. To be sure, they usually want you to have land adjacent to it, or for it to be too odd shaped for them to put on the auction, but sell it they do, for $1. I also see their auctions picking up. I haven't tested this, but I think you can find some waterfront abandoned here and there and ask to buy it and likely you will get it.

There are some people who watch for these opportunities, and are also like garbage men, who in the dead of night will accept your land for .5/m or less (yes, it sells for less) -- and thank God for them, as they give the market liquidity and prevent abandoning, and likely make something or they wouldn't do this. Remember Weedy? Who seems to have disappeared. She and a few others were those kind of scrappers who went around picking up bargains and reselling them at low margins and thereby making a buck. Those kind of sellers completely disappeared for awhile in the epidemic of abandoned land, but they are back.

That's all I got.

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@Prokofy Nevause screenshots please, it's nearly impossible to get clean quotes with tabels/datasheets

and

Quote

Land barons are only 50% of island holdings? The rest are end-users? Anybody?

where do you get that info?

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@Alwin Alcott it's showing up as a graphic to me, not mangled tables.

If you add up the percentages of the table of land barons, you get roughly 50% -- where it shows Richmond 6.2%, Azure 4.9% etc. 47% to be precise, if 16% at the end about ACS is to be added in on top of the other line of 4% for ACS. No matter. The point is, the top land barons own 50% of the islands; then the rest are either end-users or small rentals companies.

 

 

 

 

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A lot to absorb. I've been meaning to look at these trends, maybe this will get me focused... eventually.

Meanwhile: Tyche provides a weekly update on the virtualverse forum, most recently including this info:

Quote

A net increase of 17 regions this week , Private Estates up by 12 and Linden Owned by 5

Total number of Main Grid regions is now 24264 ( 16151 private estates & 8113 Linden owned)
59 new regions were added and 13 returned to the grid, with 68 regions removed (25 were renamed and 1 came and went since last report)

Adult rated regions decreased by 3 to 6210 (25.6% of the grid) while General rated were unchanged at 2859 (11.8%) 
YTD Private Estate net growth stands at 31 regions (0.2% growth)

There's been a generally increasing trend since the tier price reductions and bonus doubling. Bellisseria increased the "Linden Owned" numbers, of course, but Private Estates are still slowly growing, too. I doubt this has been enough to offset the reduced prices in the Lab's bottom line, although other fee increases may be enough to keep them "whole" through the transition so far. It doesn't seem possible to tell from public data.

The data we do have still may not be enough to really tell if Bellisseria is increasing Mainland abandonments again, and/or hurting Mainland rentals. Subjectively, it seems to me that there's a bit more abandoned Mainland than there was shortly after the tier changes, before Bellisseria, but that there's still substantially less abandoned than there was before those tier changes. But I have no actual data for that, and I've always thought Tyche's survey underestimates the share of Mainland that's effectively abandoned (not paying tier).

Tyche also provides an annual Mainland Census that gives some relevant numbers, but a lot has happened since January -- before Bellisseria -- when I think the post-tier-change improvements were close to the peak of reducing abandoned acreage.

(Resident-to-resident auctions have been a disappointment, but I realize I had unrealistic expectations. Personally, I'd make a radical change: sellers would have to put in escrow an amount corresponding to the Lab's commission on a sale at the price of the set minimum bid, and if it doesn't get a bid then the seller would lose that escrowed amount. That way we wouldn't keep seeing the same hopelessly overpriced junk on the auction pages. Instead, sellers would be forced to use auctions as auctions, not just another marketing tool for irrationally exuberant land barons.)

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3 minutes ago, Prokofy Neva said:

if 16% at the end about ACS is to be added in on top of the other line of 4% for ACS. 

I think the 16.7% is within rounding error of the total of all the listed ACS-related estates.

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8 minutes ago, Qie Niangao said:

(Resident-to-resident auctions have been a disappointment, but I realize I had unrealistic expectations. Personally, I'd make a radical change: sellers would have to put in escrow an amount corresponding to the Lab's commission on a sale at the price of the set minimum bid, and if it doesn't get a bid then the seller would lose that escrowed amount.

i vote for this. Is a good idea

even tho overly over totally over exuberant land barons would probably tell themselves it is a advertising cost and justify it to themselves somehow

this aside, I think a listing fee (sold or not) is a good idea. Good idea meaning anything that moves more money toward actual incurred cost payments

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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

The point is, the top land barons own 50% of the islands; then the rest are either end-users or small rentals companies.

no it says nothing more than that the TOP few of the land barons have around that 50% .. it does not say all land barons own 50%
And it's selected by owners, nobody knows who the payer is, in the remaining 50 % could be one thats bigger than ACS but divided over even more names.
Ownership numbers are very relative.

Edited by Alwin Alcott

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6 hours ago, Alwin Alcott said:

no it says nothing more than that the TOP few of the land barons have around that 50% .. it does not say all land barons own 50%
And it's selected by owners, nobody knows who the payer is, in the remaining 50 % could be one thats bigger than ACS but divided over even more names.
Ownership numbers are very relative.

Yes, I realize, but if the top barons have 50%, but it is still true to say that the rest is in the hands of smaller barons and end-users LOL. Yes, it could be the next-level smaller baron is not smaller by not much. Even so, I believe there is a steep drop. If you are going to be in the island business, you have to go big or go home as the vacancies and fixed costs are too high.

If you fly around looking at islands, you see a lot of them belong to single owners or to a store owner. Since it would take two entire days, spending one minute on each to record information, to see all of SL's sims, without sleep, I can't do that, and I'm not sure Tyche could even set a bot to do this as they might be ejected from a lot of the sims. But you might visit 240 and extrapolate.

Qie, yes, I know of those other links for Tyche; the reason I chose this one is because it shows the total of Mainland sims, and the others didn't seem to have that number. The figures you quote are totals of categories that don't help us to understand either the rentals business or the impact of Bellissaria.

Yes, there seems to be less abandoned land because some people with premium 1024s are absorbing it, but I also think the Lindens have been mandated to move faster on it. 

As for the punishment you suggest for the resident auctions, I don't think business in SL needs more punishment, with premium accounts having gone up and more annoyingly, the cashout percentage increased. Maybe it shouldn't be the Lab's percent, but some flat fee per listing, as there is for classifieds.

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1911989190_2019Holdingsoflargestnon-LindenMainlandowners.png.946784a05b3f52689e46902d74f6ff52.png
I got this chart playing around with the Mainland census numbers from the beginning of this year.

They don't help us understand any trends -- they're just a single snapshot from before Bellisseria -- but they're kind of interesting. The largest of Mainland's "Big Eight" holds about eighty full regions and almost nothing smaller than a full region. The second and third largest owners also hold relatively few very large parcels. These are presumably (stacked) nearly region-scale rentals. In contrast, the sixth, seventh, and eighth largest owners use much smaller parcels; they may still be renting them out, but some will be plausibly sized for sale, too. In short, the very largest Mainland barons must be landlords; flippers are further down the list.

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On 9/8/2019 at 4:30 PM, Qie Niangao said:

1911989190_2019Holdingsoflargestnon-LindenMainlandowners.png.946784a05b3f52689e46902d74f6ff52.png
I got this chart playing around with the Mainland census numbers from the beginning of this year.

They don't help us understand any trends -- they're just a single snapshot from before Bellisseria -- but they're kind of interesting. The largest of Mainland's "Big Eight" holds about eighty full regions and almost nothing smaller than a full region. The second and third largest owners also hold relatively few very large parcels. These are presumably (stacked) nearly region-scale rentals. In contrast, the sixth, seventh, and eighth largest owners use much smaller parcels; they may still be renting them out, but some will be plausibly sized for sale, too. In short, the very largest Mainland barons must be landlords; flippers are further down the list.

Who are the Mainland's big 8?

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3 hours ago, Therese Tammas said:

Who are the Mainland's big 8?

I don't think Tyche has ever identified them by name. All I know about them is their total holdings and their average parcel size, as Tyche reported in the Mainland Census (back in January), and I graphed above.

Somewhere there may be a statement of confidentiality about those identities, I just don't know. 

Somebody a little more familiar with Mainland rentals could probably make reasonable guesses about those huge, near-full-sim parcel owners.

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I need my own land or spot. Mainland is okay too. The only concern is internet speed and logging to viewers.

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