Second Life realtor makes $1 million

Language teacher Ailin Graef sells virtual property--and becomes a real millionaire.

183 Comments

Ailin Graef--who is better known by the name Anshe Chung--works as a real estate developer. She buys property, develops it, resells it, and uses the profits to buy even more. Her business has rapidly snowballed, and she has just made her first million--although none of the "property" is real.

All the houses are virtual houses in the online game Second Life--where players create an avatar and can buy, redecorate, and furnish property; run businesses; and interact with other players. Now Graef has become the first virtual-world millionaire.

Graef started with an initial investment of just $9.95 and developed her fortune over 32 months. She worked along the same principles as real estate developers do--she began by buying small amounts of virtual real estate, which she then subdivided and developed with landscaping and "themed architectural rebuilds." She then resold or rented the property out for a profit.

Second Life has had a lot of publicity recently--companies including Dell and Sun Microsystems have held press conferences in the virtual world, where Reuters has a reporter covering goings-on. All this publicity has meant more curious gamers opening accounts and needing somewhere to "live" in the game--which is great news for real estate agents such as Graef.

The currency used in the game is called Linden dollars, and the exchange rate is around $1 to 275 Linden dollars. The average going rate for land parcels in Second Life is between $100 and $1,000 and players can also buy virtual clothes, furniture, and other accessories from a variety of in-game businesses.

Graef was born and raised in Hubai, China, although she is currently a German citizen. She now runs Anshe Chung Studios with her partner Guntram Graef--the company has a real office in Wuhan, China, and is currently recruiting to expand its workforce from 25 to 50.

She said she believed that the estimated valuation of her virtual assets was in fact somewhat "conservative" and that the actual value may be "significantly higher." She also owns virtual property in IMVU, There, and Entropia Universe.

She will be holding a virtual press conference in Second Life on November 28 to discuss her success.

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Avatar image for kingofgoonies
kingofgoonies

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I don't belive a word. It might be a marketing strategy. Have you read that some big game makers would love to buy secondlife?

In other words they try to make the dish richer and prettier, while you get the same old meat.

Secondlife has nothing nice for a game, nor it could be classified as a game . It has sex everywhere and this is the reason what some countries have forbidden it .

You could spend 10 dollars and you wouldn't get this fortune at all.

The game is also full of vulnerabilities and many residents exploiting them. look at what kingoon is actually doing to secondlife. they have made and keep releasing updates for software that allows everybody to grief and to steal anything they want.


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Avatar image for GamingDisgrace
GamingDisgrace

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Well, damn her. Bonik hit it right on the nail here, the fact that people are willing to spend this kind of money isn't as unsettling as the fact that they are spending it on this buggy piece of crap. I installed the game earlier in my life, went through the tutorial and found that the place is this one huge cybering mecha, you may as well call it. People may as well be getting slapped across the face spending anything on Second Life.

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subrosian

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This isn't surprising. Statistics tells us that if you test a thousand hypothesis, a few of them are going to come back as "correct" even if they aren't. How does this apply to business? If you have enough vendors, some of them will be successful, just by sheer luck. Unfortunately, as humans, we have a terrible tendency to look at singular, strong cases, and ignore thousands of less attention-grabbing ones. So we gravitate to the one "millionaire" instead of the thousands of people who dropped $10 or so into a hole in the ground called Second Life, or the hundreds who make money, yet dump it all back into a useless virtual world. On top of all of this, Linden Labs makes money by charging for the space within the game, good for them, but if you're buying into this, well, what a sad way to spend life - sinking free time and money into someone else's dream.

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Avatar image for Alacard_Omalley
Alacard_Omalley

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just....wow

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StarFoxCOM

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Crazy but it makes sense

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Daishi90

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Dispite you critics out there, I'll help those who are actually interested. Second Life is free to play, but the catch is the free items and clothes are as you expect, good... Just not good enough. So you can buy virtual cash, with real cash. About $3000 SL dollars (Linden) is about $11.50 US. So you spend your $11.50 and go out shopping. A nice skin ( texture on your character ) will go anywhere between $500-$5000 depending on what it comes with and how good it is. Keep in mind people create skins in photoshop and some of them take days to create. So you've got skin, now you need hair, and clothes. A usual piece of good hair is around $200, and clothes can be anywhere from $1-$10,000. Obviously depending on what you buy. But if you are careful, and view the demos you can get your character setup not so bad on your original $11.50 purchase. Now the beauty part, start searching around for areas to explore. Each piece of land is basicly a huge island, ranging anywhere from 512 sq ft, up to almost 70,000 sq ft. You can buy land, sell land, etc. For those who think its a pyramid scheme, I don't even see what you are talking about. I personally use Poser to create animations for second life. Things that are called "AO" also known as animation override. Meaning that instead of the choppy animations that come default, you can use this attachment to have custom and very fluid like movement. The cost for an entire AO consisting of about 30 animations goes for about $1000. Considering it takes weeks to get good animations created, not many people mind paying $1000 for the AO. So I sell 2 or 3 a day, thats about $10 a day. Which equals around as you can guess $300 a month. I personally use that money for Secondlife, buying new clothes, playing the game, even buying other animations to ressell. You don't need to be part of the millionares to play the game, invest a little time into making a few items and sell them. The profit from just a few things is enough to fund a very fun game. Also take into consideration that it costs upward of $1500-$2000 US dollars to buy and entire island (70,000 sq ft ) and the monthy fees are around $200. So if you make a fun island, rent out space to vendors. You can easily recover your costs, keep that for a few years and make sure the traffic is up, and you'll see profit for sure. But please don't think of SL as a money making venture, its a damn fun game. There is literally one of every single game inside this game, all well done and created by people just like me... And you.

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ZWcoolkid

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Second Life is a pyramid scheme, with thousands of people losing a small amount of money, and only a select few making very much at all.

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Modx22

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What this is crazy, i dont understand how this is creating real profits for people.

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MaxConfidence3

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I agree with bonik, this is ridiculous people, I feel sorry for people who have to pay someone elso to create something they could have done themselves, it's called lazy and sadly that's were our society is headed, just a bunch of lazy, overweight good for nothing humans wasting our natural resources and energy to please themselves and not contributing to society. PS Did anybody even watch the video of this "Second Life" it looks like it was programed by a 6 year old...boring!

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n2Deepeth

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Wow, that's amazing. Unfortunately, it's difficult to make a living for the majority of people that attempt to do the same thing, especially since this particular person had to take a risk in investing early. Also, it takes a significant amount of work and money to build your own business in a strange field. I'm still kind of surprised that a virtual world like this would have so many people buying virtual property, but then again, money is just paper to a lot of people.

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shawnd0517

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That's amazing! Even more crazy than those ebay accounts who sell WoW gold for real money and those others who sell off their characters for thousands of dollars. To answer Sportsdude206: I doubt one person paid a full $1 mil. I'm sure she means she's accumulated a million over various trades (hundreds upon thousands, I'm sure). I mean, if someone pays anywhere from $100-1,000 per property, you would only have to sell a few thousand properties to accumulate a million bucks. It's genius.

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Avatar image for bonik
bonik

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She might aswell rob old ladies in person. The only people who would invest in such a flawed buggy peice of software are people to stupid to realize how retarted they are. This is the worst con ever and sadly people buy it.

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Bobillis

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How about egn? I'm sure they probably broke a million in sales.

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freakazaa

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"Why would anyone want to work so long on something thats not even tangeble" that's like asking : why would anyone work in the software development business at all? the software they make isn't tangible (unless you count the media they are published on) if everyone, as you say, would all "smoke a j", videogames won't exist, the internet won't exist, e-commerce won't exist, and businesses would be reduced to using buildings-full of file cabinets instead of the databases they use now

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The_AI

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She must really love them virtual world games. She owns property in IMVU, There, Entropia Universe (haven't heard of the last one, even), AND Second Life? She's gonna be rolling in dough!

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Avatar image for JeBuS2509
JeBuS2509

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P.S. Why would anyone want to work so long on something thats not even tangeble. Get a hobby, pick up an intrument, smoke a j, find a cure to a disease, do charity work, help a f*cking old lady cross the street. Or you could sit on your computer and earn a fake living on top of your obviously boring, lazy, uneventful "real-life' living. Peace.

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JeBuS2509

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People used to criticize gaming as a stupid diversion, an escapists way out of the day-to-day **** Now people actually go to work 8 hours, to come home an log onto some stupid VR simulation of our endless and rediculous consumerism. Get a life.

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DontEatCream

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Mmm...I've been hearing lots of stories about people getting rich off virtual economies... wasn't there an article written a while ago about "macro farms" or something like that, where there are entire farms, so to speak, where dozens of computers run macros on WoW to make tons of gold that's sold in real life?

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Avatar image for ChiaroMeratilo
ChiaroMeratilo

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I wish I could do that.

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The_AI

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Holy crap! This is as crazy as the guy who traded a red paperclip for a house!

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webviper2005

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Wow, well that is amazing. This game can make you lose money or get money. This game is truly amazing.

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roged49

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As a second life player, you can exchange the game currently for real life dollars (I'm not sure of the exchange rate at the moment). The will pay you via pay pal or check. I have yet to sue this feature though :/. I have been playing second life for 3 months now and their are other was to to earn L$ to sell for US$. People tend to create and open shops were they sell stuff they made (or resell items they got from others). I'm working on opening a shop soon hopefully.

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sportsdude206

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anyone??

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sportsdude206

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So wait, if she gets the Linden dollars in the game, how does she end up with $1,000,000 in real life? In other words, she has 275 million game dollars, how does that get her 1 million real dollars? Does someone trade her the 275 million for the 1 million? I'm confused.

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Avatar image for eyet00th
eyet00th

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Wow. What an entrepreneur. Wonder how much profit she makes; I mean, what is her overhead costs besides an hourly wage to employees who play on their computers all day?!?

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death_burnout

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good luck Darth-Revan45, you wont get anywhere, earning real money in second life is very demanding let me tell you

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Lunatic816

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i want a milion dollars........

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Darth-Revan45

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Holy crap! I'm buying a copy of Second Life so I can milk these cows monetary teats and get rich!

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spurs2k

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LOL What is so ridiiculous is all the hostility being shown on here to a person who provided a service and benefited from it. All this "get a life" nonsense is laughable especially coming from gamers. Very surprising reaction indeed. And at least get it right if you are going to rant - the $1 estimated million was accumulated over 32 months, not a single purchase.

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Avatar image for Wootex
Wootex

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This is one of the craziest things I have ever heard.

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gill9221

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Good for her. So many whining buttholes no here...

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living420

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darkfails, i think everyone understands that. This person must have spent hours on this game, but obviously it was well worth her time.

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darktails

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Man, most of you guy's don't understand that she gained enough LINDEN DOLLARS that actually equal to 1 million in real life. The Land and items that are $100-$1000 is LINDEN DOLLARS not the real thing.

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Avatar image for Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

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What a strange world we live in, so many people with something thats lacking in their lives. HEY, NOT FOR THIS WOMAN SHE MAKES MONEY FROM THESE SOCIAL RETARDS !!! LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK !!!

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nikefreak

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"She'll probably throw it all away on other virtual property, not on herself. I hope they mean $1 million in actual $$$ & not Linden dollars. because that would be only $3,636. anyways...*sigh* I like playing games, but to have my entire life revolve around them?? ummm no. " First off, they meant real dollars, not Lindens... She regularly took home 6 digit yearly incomes, from SL Real Estate... Second, This is no different than buying a digital song, buying a game on the 360 or PS3 and downloading it, etc. SL is a service that allows you to do practically anything you want in a virtual world. SL isnt a game, in the same way your cell-phone and the internet arent games, they are services which allow games to be played on them. Third, just because you enjoy using SL to talk to your friends and family, play a game, win some money, or just play around in a virtual world, explore, etc. doesnt mean you dont have a life... Does using IM mean you dont have a life? MySpace? Itunes?... Yeah... If you wish to think on such a low level about this, like I said... Compare it to a cell phone to make it easier to comprehend what SL is to many... Its a communication tool. Which actually usually means the exact opposite.

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Avatar image for Reabo
Reabo

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thats amazing. i'd make million then live life

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GsR_lives

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She'll probably throw it all away on other virtual property, not on herself. I hope they mean $1 million in actual $$$ & not Linden dollars. because that would be $3,636. anyways...*sigh* I like playing games, but to have my entire life revolve around them?? ummm no.

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rext_1

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Guess thats what people with no social life do.Throw away 1million on a game

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rext_1

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Its sad

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Ace_Gunner

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So many haters...

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sputnik157

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God all Mighty! Talk about people engaged in a totally senseless activity. I guess they have nothing better to do. Maybe the world as we know it really is coming to an end...

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mike04016

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Just plain sad.

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DRUNK_CANADIAN

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Its teh same story as the guy who got a house by trading items, he started with a paperclip lol..... Alot of people get rich for stupid things.....this is just one of those stupid get rich flukes.....money doesn't come from nowhere...we gotta work for it ......think of all te morons who have lost money doing stupid things like this person ....

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King_Luke

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US$375,000 per year is over half a million in NZ$... I'd take that any day. That the job is playing video games just makes it better. What a life.

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termina_rzident

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This is why the world needs communism

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Unkillable

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It's like Maple Story but with a lot more morons oh well,There's a sucker born every minute.

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JollyJake

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Wow. That's amazing. Who said you can't make a living playing games? Jolly Jake

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bdever32

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Why are people saying she needs to get a life? She makes more money than most people... about $375,000 a year average over the 32 months. I'd say her life is probably going very well.

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joeymew

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"No one paid her $1 million for a single item. She accumulated $1million over a 32 month period. Still not bad when you think about it. For most people it'll take them a few years to achieve what she accomplished. So good for her." Dude...32 months is a few years. lol.

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