Aldon Hynes's blog

Seeking Economic Stability in Virtual Worlds

(Originally published on SLNN.COM)

Linden Lab’s banking ban causes business people to seek economic stability in a variety of ways.

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Campaign Finance 101

A week ago, Kim started a new job with Common Cause. Her primary task is to get people aware of how the new campaign finance law works in Connecticut and to encourage candidates from any political party to run under the new system. Yesterday, she put up a blog post entitled Campaign Finance 101 which is posted on the CommonCause Blog, Connecticut Local Politics and MyLeftNutmeg.

Please spend a few minutes to read the post and if you know of other blogs that would be interested in cross posting it, let Kim know.

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SLNN Reporters Notebook

Today, as I worked on another story for the business section of SLNN.COM, I was informed of two different pieces of information. Mike31 Dawes of Dawes Financial Corp issued a Statement about their agreement in principal to “provide DFC's lending power to customers” of Central Grid.

When I spoke with Maltos Sosa about this and specifically about ‘The God Paradox’, he sent me the following notecard from Marcus Vendetta

At the recent Metanomics conference (Hosted by Rockciff University) the God Paradox was brought into question.

Speaking of the God Paradox, LL has imposed its will numerous times on the inner workings of the SL community. Every time it does this it fails to see or doesn't care that the people of SL suffer financially Ex: The recent banking ban. Because of this they are are directly shaping the future for SL and its residents. It is no longer a world "Built by its residents for its residents. It is becoming a LL governed metaverse. We at Central Grid and many others have found this totally unacceptable. Welcome to the Central Grid.

The Central Grids main focus is to be a platform provider and not a virtual government. We do not want or have any desire to "lay down the law" as to what is acceptable and what is not. Having said this, Central Grid (CG) is in direct communication with its residents about creating a TOS that is in the residents best interest and not a convenient document that says we can do whatever we want when we want. If you disect the LL TOS you will see what i mean.

Central Grid is following tha basis of a standard internet provider. We will not control any money. The only money we will control will be the fees paid for our service. Basically, we rent spaces on a grid map and run dedicated servers, all for what we see as the next wave of the old 2D webpage. Your new 3D webhosting company has arrived and its called Central Grid.

While I am not using this statement in my upcoming article for SLNN, it appears too important to not bring up, so I’m posting it in my ‘SLNN Reporters Notebook’. As things move forward, I hope to have similar postings here.

Other important notices are they stated their policy on dividends and noted that they have had no significant withdrawals.

On a different subject, I spent more time talking today with Joni Rich of This Second Marketing. The Career Builder’s site in Second Life has a Blogger’s Bar, which I was please to has a laptop that has my blog on it.

To the extent that you have thoughts, comments, press releases, etc., please contact me either via email as aldon dot hynes at orient dash lodge dot com or inworld as aldon huffhines. Even if they don’t become part of a full story on SLNN, I may use them in my reporter’s notebook.

Also, if you are interested in writing business articles for SLNN, please let me know. We are always looking for more good writers.

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Wordless Wednesday



Kim and Elizabeth, originally uploaded by Aldon.

Losses in the Housing Market

Today, Citigroup announced a $18.1 billion write down because of the housing crisis, passing UBS’s record $14.2 billion write down. Last quarter, Merrill Lynch to a $7.9 billion hit on bad mortgages and are expected to take another $10 to $15 billion dollar hit on Thursday. Bear Stearns got hit for $1.9 billion and is looking for a new CEO. BankAmerica had $2 billion in write downs.

All of this helps keep things in perspective a little bit. You see, I am expecting to write down hundreds of thousands of dollars in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As my life and my career changed, I could no longer afford the expensive house I had in Stamford, CT. Just like the thousands of people being laid off by Wall Street firms, I have not been able to find jobs that pay well enough to cover my mortgage.

So, a year ago, we put our house on the market. At the time, we were told the market was soft and the best we could expect was about 80% of what it had been appraised for when we got our last mortgage. Other people were less optimistic and said we wouldn’t be able to get even 70% of what it had been appraised for.

We worked with a great realtor who recognized the value of the house and marketed it well. In July we went to contract. One of the issues in the contract was removing an underground oil tank, which was done in early August. The buyers claimed that their inspection said there might be another underground oil tank, which we found out was not the case when the tank was removed. In attempting to clarify that and make sure that all underground oil tanks were properly removed, the buyers got cold feet and reneged on the contract, claiming we did not have a meeting of minds on removing the oil tank.

Their deposit is now tied up in a court suit as they try to get back the money that came with the contract. It is my belief that they acted immorally, unethically, and that they are obligated for not only what they’ve paid so far, but for additional damages as well. The question remains if the judge will agree.

Yet all of this gets to timing issues. If they had been willing to settle, perhaps we could have forestalled bankruptcy, maybe even long enough to find a buyer. We do have several interested parties. The problem is not only on their side. We’ve attempted repeatedly to work with the companies holding our first and second mortgages to find ways of mitigating the loss short of Chapter 7. Neither company has followed through, even though they have said they would. So, it looks like the buyers that reneged on the contract and the mortgage companies that are attempting to foreclose on us will get a chance to fight it out in court. Perhaps they deserve each other.

I feel horrible about writing down hundreds of thousands of dollars in the housing crisis. I worry about other people that will get hurt by our filing Chapter 7. I worry about how we will heat the house this winter. Yet the write downs of the major banks helps keep our write downs in perspective, and perhaps helps add a little perspective on their write downs.

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