I am amongst my SL sins, a land dealer. I rent mainland and estate and both of them could learn something from the other. I’d really like to see the land purchasing system overhauled.
In particular estate land. The interface for estate land should be different and to this end I’ve created a Jira proposal that proposes:
The estate land buying system is often confusing to residents. To this end it would be useful if the UI was different for estate land purchases.
1. Replace the window that states that your tier payments won’t increase with a warning box that says something like “Although you will not be billed by Linden Lab for owning this land, you may have to pay the estate owner, please carefully read the covenant”.
2. Remove the “Owner makes contribution” tick box from below the deed land to group option, it serves no useful purpose on estate land.
3. Make the text or background a different colour to show clearly that this process is different to buying mainland.
I’m sure this may be unfeasible and maybe as Alan Bamboo suggests in his recent blog comments, a brainstorming session could be useful for many features in SL but the fact that estate land is different to mainland needs to be made more clear.
Part of the reason for me wanting to make the distinction more clear is that the amount of mud thrown at estate owners who have the audacity to sell estate land is ridiculous. The mere fact that I can potentially reclaim land from people who have purchased land from me seems to make me a lowlife in the eyes of many.
Let’s get something straight here, if I ripped off a tenant in such a fashion, fellow blogger Sarah Nerd would rip me a new backside. I’m looking for more transparency and less accusations of conspiracy.
There are other features I’d like to see change with land, the ability to control which plots can be resold on a parcel basis for example and I’d like to see this on mainland too. Transferring a parcel to a tenant would give the tenant greater flexibility and avoid issues such as having to deed tellys and radios to the group. The 25 group limit really is a pain in the backside.
Of course there’s plenty of scope for scammers still and people need to educate themselves on the pitfalls of land. The big factor in land deals is one of trust and this brings me back to Alan Bamboo again who was calling for more people to be open with their RL identity. I fear identity theft myself and have been the victim of fraudulent credit card transactions (at the same petrol station with two different cards, go figure) but there has to be an openess in business in SL.
Yesterday I went to purchase some RL foreign currency with my debit card, they wouldn’t let me make the transaction without providing a passport or a driving licence (this differs to Integrity’s solution as they don’t do a physical check). I was a tad miffed but went and obtained cash to make the transaction. I won’t get into a rant on how insecure the chip and pin system must be if they can’t trust it to sell me foreign currency but it is an example of how identity is an important factor in the trust stakes.
If I was buying an island off someone, they’d have to be a big player for me to believe I wasn’t going to be scammed an even then I’d be biting my nails until the transaction was complete. So how do we go about enhancing trust and protecting our identities?
As Nobody Fugazi has pointed out, small transactions may well seem not important enough to demand more transparency initially, but if a scammer catches a lot of people in their net, then it amounts to a big scam and a lot of money.
Trust versus privacy, where do we draw the line and when do we stop hiding behind our shells and admit we want to be mature enough to enhance business relations in SL?