Weblo is a
website Virtual World that allows people to buy, sell, promote, work in and trade Virtual representations of Real-World entities. All members of the virtual world can profit from such efforts. To put this in perspective, you can basically buy Green & White, (or… well.. France for that matter), promote it by holding events or discussing how wonderful it is with the community, and as more people visit that virtual place the virtual value of that area increases, thereby allowing you to resell it later on for profits. Read about more features here.
The interesting thing is that a large number of people globally seem to be using this
website Virtual World, and that people seem to be spending a large number of real-world money on this trade. E.g. Las Vegas was bought by someone for U.S. $450 and resold for $2300, and California is apparently worth more than $50,000.
What’s even more interesting is that this business model has recently earned the company $3.2MM in Venture Financing from VantagePoint Venture Partners. Since Rocky Mirza founded Allainet as well, this should be considered a sign of the local industry’s strength.
Read on for more critical analysis and to learn about one really admirable part of Weblo.com’s business.
P.S. Sorry about the sudden disappearance (we’re Beta, remember?) but I’m back now
A large part of what makes it hard for me to see the potential of Weblo as a Virtual World is that the interface is still given as non-immersive webpages. Each “property” you get is basically a web-page which you can decorate and resell — quite similar to getting your own MySpace page and auctioning it off on Ebay. (Which might explain why Weblo is partly financed by former MySpace chairman Richard Rosenblatt)
According to Kelly Ekins, Senior Director of Marketing, this was intentional.
“It was a conscious decision to stay 2D not 3D so the barrier of entry
is lower. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to be a gamer or have gamer hardware. It
definitely is a virtual world. We replicate the real world. Everything
that exists outside your window is for sale. When you own any asset, it
comes with a community aspect. If you own the city, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the mayor of
that community. You have the freedom on that site to promote that city
and put out news that relates to the city or just about yourself.”
That is reasonable, but then even Habbo Hotel, CyWorld and Club Penguin were able to deliver a very convincing experience in the browser and 2D. I do agree that the UI layer would be a smaller step to add on top of their transactions engine.
But one thing that really impressed me, and what really stands out about this company is that Weblo is supporting the idea of “Open Source Branding” (See here). This is a great way of building greater loyalty from the community because they’re trying to get the entire userbase involved in defining what their brand is — everything from purpose, mission, tagline and logo. This is entirely in line with what we’ve been advocating in Green & White.
I am sure with some minor tweaks and integration with real-world systems (such as Google Maps or events systems) they could carve out a lot more relevance from this system.
For the moment, I’ll just wonder what Green&White or CDF could be worth in a virtual environment.