Sunday, December 24, 2006

Strange days indeed.

Alex Tabarrok found this story, which -- he stresses -- is true:

The poster child for profitable Second Life businesses is Ailin Graef--better known by her avatar's name, Anshe Chung--and Anshe Chung Studios, the business she runs with her husband, Guntram Graef.

Originally, the two ran the company from Germany, but at the beginning of this year, they set up shop in Wuhan, a large city in China, and are now employing more than 30 people full-time at, she says, better than local average wages.

Last month, Ailin Graef issued a press release announcing that the company's total holdings, comprised mainly of virtual land in Second Life, were worth more than a million real-life dollars. For those who aren't familiar with the complex economies of virtual worlds, such a claim may seem incomprehensible.

But for anyone who has spent significant time in Second Life, the number seems all too possible, given Chung's dominance of the land market there.

On Monday, Graef visited Second Life for a discussion about her business, how best to set up businesses in Second Life and the nature of competition there.

Unfortunately, as the interview was commencing, the event was attacked by a "griefer," someone intent on disrupting the proceedings. The griefer managed to assault the CNET theater for 15 minutes with--well, there's no way to say this delicately--animated flying penises.

It's not clear why the griefer attacked, but Anshe Chung is controversial to some Second Life residents for reasons such as inflexibility on land pricing, the signs she has placed in many areas of the virtual world that are visible to anyone flying overhead, and her ability to get many residents to sell their land to her.

To see Anshe Chung's real estate listings, follow the link in her name above. For some pictures of the attack on the press conference, well, here you go.

Yep...all true about Anshe. She's a really nice person once you get to know her and Guni (her hubby). Keep writing - you have a nice blog!
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