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Thursday, October 18, 2007


WEBLO.COM: THE WEBSITE WHERE COPIES OF REAL WORLD ASSETS ARE TRADED FOR REAL MONEY; $9 MAKES BUYERS REAL ESTATE TYCOONS 

Where $9 Makes Buyers Real Estate Tycoons - October 18, 2007 - The New York Sun

This computer game is "Monopoly on steroids." Players can buy actual, real world properties for just a few bucks.


For those familiar with the idea of such Internet domains, Weblo may seem similar to Second Life, which opened in 2003 and boasts 10 million users operating in a multimillion-dollar virtual economy. Weblo's cofounder and chief executive, Rocky Mirza, is adamant that his site is different because Weblo is a copy of the real world, whereas users build the Second Life world themselves.

"Everything you buy here already exists in the real world," he said.

Described as "Monopoly on steroids," Weblo has accumulated about 60,000 users since its launch in December 2006. Players such as Mr. Outcalt make money by having other players click on the advertisements that are featured on their property pages, and by selling their assets for a profit. The Web site receives 5% of each sales transaction and makes a profit through membership fees and money stemming from the initial sales of copy assets. The price of a copy property is based on factors including the Internet usage rate in the area the real asset is located, and the number of Weblo users viewing the virtual asset page.




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DROP IN BUILDING PERMITS SEEN AS SIGN OF REAL ESTATE TURMOIL 

Drop in Building Permits Seen As Sign of Real Estate Turmoil - October 18, 2007 - The New York Sun

There has been a steep decline in the number of building permits for New York's outer boroughs but Manhattan's numbers remain strong.


There were 1,187 permits filed in the third quarter. The last time numbers were this poor was in the first quarter of 2004, when 1,144 permits were recorded. And the last time a third quarter posted similar numbers was in 2001, when 1,054 permits were filed.

"That is a meaningful drop," the executive vice president of Radar Logic, Jonathan Miller said.

While Manhattan's numbers remained robust, with 53 new building permits, the highest figure since the second quarter of 2001, the other boroughs posted poor results. Brooklyn had 280 permits in the third quarter, second only to the first quarter of 2002, when 180 new building permits were recorded. Queens was also a poor performer, with 485 permits this quarter, comparable to the first quarter of 2005, when 480 permits were recorded.

"The marginal areas have problems first," the managing director for developments at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Andrew Gerringer, said. "There's a lot of confluencing of events right now that is making this market very interesting."

The credit markets are stymieing development, with builders having to put down as much as 30% of the cost of a new building instead of the 10% to 15% that was possible before the subprime market collapse, a partner at Massey Knakal, James Nelson, said.




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