Faculty and students at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology have opened Iron Prairie for your review. It's a virtual worlds trading site, but not like the others. I'm blogging it because this is the first time I've seen a bid-ask structure for pricing. In this, Iron Prairie is the first site to replicate real world currency exchanges. They cut out the middleman. Check it out.
Like most other universities, Rose Hulman likes to spin off the business ideas it incubates. If you'd like to invest in Iron Prairie, contact Mike Shepherd at email@example.com. Disclosure: I'm not an investor. I'm just a guy who wants to help the idea-makers at off-the-coast universities get the exposure they deserve.
Also, this post may make some people wonder about my oft-stated commitment to anti-RMT. My positions, in order:
1. Property is good
2. EULAs (or any contracts) can't turn property into non-property
3. People with property have certain rights, such as the right to trade
4. Trading is generally good
5. Sometimes there are market failures
6. RMT is a market failure
7. RMT should be solved by some kind of covenant among players
8. The EULA is not such a covenant
9. Goverment policy should enable the formation of such covenants when and only when worthwhile for the participants, which is "not always"; i am concerned that there will be ham-handed effort to commercialize all games, or to support EULAs willy nilly, or to stop trading in SL, or some other easy but wrong solution
10. Absent such covenants, I find RMT generally understandable given the design of games, but personally repugnant, especially on role-playing servers.
11. Given that the trade exists, it would be better to have it happen directly between buyers and sellers rather than through middlemen like IGE, who continue to walk off with supra-normal profits because of the absence of market sites like Iron Prairie. This by the way is also the reason i support Station Exchange.