Thursday, February 26, 2009

WYP taking over the world

A virtual world from Germany is taking over the real world. What's Your Place (in short WYP) is not exactly a virtual world, but more of a mirror world, one that reflects our own space and time. It is not a replica of Berlin, like Twinity, but a Google Maps Mashup that lets members own and showcase their favorite places.

Yesterday I received the press anouncement that is released today. In Germany WYP has been up and running for more than a year, but today WYP has launched the English language version to target the global market.

People with an emotional attachment to any spot on the earth can now stake a virtual claim on it. Each place has its own URL and profile page („land register records“), and the land owner alone is entitled to edit that unique place profile. Hence, virtual land ownership is an exclusive way for expressing attachment to a place and to showcase that spot to the world. Editing means include picture upload, tagging, geo-marking, adding notes, or adding time stamps. As these features are embedded into a social community environment, other members will bookmark a parcel, comment on it, or even share their own pictures or related experiences with the land owner. More advanced community features include grouping places and inviting residents to a private area.

Membership to the community is free of charge, virtual land ownership comes at 9.95 USD an acre. Ownership is without time restriction and entails full reselling rights. All features bound to land ownership can be tested for free buy obtaining a “trial parcel”, which will be removed after 30 days. So far, over 25.000 acres have been sold. The entire world is for sale, the only exception being parts of the globe that Google Maps does not yet cover well. It is the philosophy of WhatsYourPlace that places must be absolutely unique, such that per place, there is only one owner worldwide. What sounds natural entails that English speaking users may see German content when visiting places owned by German members. We strongly believe that language diversity enhances the cosmopolitan aspect of WhatsYourPlace.

Full press release at the WYP website.

The two images I used in this blogpost come from the promotional folder, which explains a bit more about owning your virtual speck of land in WYP and other features. Especially the combination of Google Maps, Facebook functionality into a social world looks an interesting format.

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