Test Rental Devices for CDS

Forum to discuss and coordinate the expansion of the CDS and the redevelopment of existing territories.

Moderator: SC Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Jamie Palisades
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 639
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:56 pm

Test Rental Devices for CDS

Post by Jamie Palisades »

We have chatted over the past few months about enhancing our systems for rent collection in several ways. These include:
-- more flexibility for advance payments
-- better automated collection of data
-- Better "presentation" of land availability for marketing purposes.

We currently have benefitted from some software custom developed for the SLNE estates and kindly shared with us. As I discussed with the CDS RA, that software is expected to undergo some substantial additional future development, and if we share in it we ought to pay our share of the costs. To know whether that's a sensible approach, it seemed wise to do some comparison shopping.

In the CN Praetorium, http://slurl.com/secondlife/Colonia%20Nova/30/161/41, I have placed an initialized "demonstration" set of the widely-used HippoTECH rental system devices. Also there, for you to take, are instruction notecards which describe the system in detail. Take a look. This system, which is widely extensible and customizable, looks like it might meet out needs quite well, and the total cost would be somewhat lower than an extension of our current software (around L$ 4000). Things worth noting:

-- The system obviously can change words like "tenant" to "citizen", adjust rental periods and amounts, change appearance, and make other customizations.
-- The system natively supports both vendor-style sales displays for available land, as well as a map-type display of what's available by visual location. Better land marketing was one of our two chief goals for this exercise.
-- Rent/tier boxes can either be placed on each parcel, or centrally (like our current "mailbox" system).
-- The system does support US$ versus L$ transactions -- important to us as our laws require it presently.
-- The system does seem to meet our other chief goal -- automating much more of this work, thus freeing up human time.

If after some government & citizen examination and feedback, and further confirmation of the system's capabilities, it still looks attractive, I plan to propose that we purchase it and start using it in May, possibly in one sim to start as a trial. All feedback is welcome.

Matters I still am working to confirm include
-- Flexibility of the default notice system as our laws require.
-- The extent to which we could adjust this, where needed, to cover special cases like sim openings, or land that can only be rented for special purposes.
-- Whether some kind of commissions can be processed, if in the future we decide to offer them for referrals.

Regards JP

== My Second Life home is CDS. Retired after three terms
== as chancellor of the oldest self-governing sims in SL.
User avatar
Sudane Erato
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 8:44 am
Contact:

Re: Test Rental Devices for CDS

Post by Sudane Erato »

Let me first say that I *love* this system... we use it in the town commercial district of SLNE for all the shop rentals. It has a huge feature set that we could only dream of with our current system.

Some years back (literally!!), I researched this system before deciding that I had to go with a custom system for SLNE. At that time, there was no ability to set the "Rental Period"... it was only by the week. When I contacted the builder, he said that a system capable of monthly rentals was in development. Of course, not knowing how long the "development" would be, I initiated the "custom" system we now use.

I would love to try out a system like this, but there is one, I think, very big obstacle. Look closely at the documentation. Excepting a few scatterred references to "tier" payments, everything is referred to as "rental" payments. This system is clearly designed as a rental system, in which the "owner" quite importantly OWNS all the parcels which are being rented, thus preserving the authority over the parcels that enables the system to work. It is quite a different matter, I think, if the "tenant/citizen" owns the parcel. The Hippo system imposes an enforceable and very adaptable set of features quite definitely because the owner of the Hippo system, the landlord, has the authority to convey those permissions to the Hippo box. I think that with citizen-owned parcels, the Hippo would be quite hamstrung.

I may be wrong... this is very confusing documentation.... contained entirely in a comand by command description. I'd greatly welcome a techie discussion of the possibilities of using this system. Please... let's not do that here in the forum... it's way to complex. I'd be happy to meet and discuss this.

The bottom line, I fear, is that as when I first researched this 2 years ago, there does not exist a commercially available land tier management system. The estates with lots of sims and lots of tenants are each forced to develop their own, as I have done. This is a sorry state, because the Hippo system contains orders of magnitude more capacities that any system I could ever afford to develop. The builder, however, I'm sure can't afford to create such a system because there's insufficient market.

So... let's discuss this in detail. But i think one possible topic of this discussion may be the option of converting all parcels in the CDS estate to common ownership, if we wish to get the full benefit of something like this.

Sudane............................

*** Confirmed Grump ***
Profile: http://bit.ly/p9ASqg
User avatar
Pip Torok
Sadly departed
Sadly departed
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:52 am

Re: Test Rental Devices for CDS

Post by Pip Torok »

Hi ....

I must that, when I went through the documentation, it gave me the impression that it was for regions that were, in Timo's words, _monarchies_ rather than democracies in outlook.

However that may be, I'll add in here the one request I made at an RA meeting, that it gave payers the opportunity of pre-payting Tier up to a reasonable time-period.

But I'll also add one other, that for any one payer, it will _itemise_ parcel details (individual payments, what they're based on ... m2 or prims ... and most important, the current conversion between dollar and linden (or whatever target currency) The current software tells me that since I have more than a certain number of parcels, I'm denied more than a summary Dollar and linden total. Shame! A little reflection and you'd realise that the greater the number of parcels, the greater the need for itemisation!

But anyway, this thread will run and run (excuse the pun!:)

Pip Torok

User avatar
Sudane Erato
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 8:44 am
Contact:

Re: Test Rental Devices for CDS

Post by Sudane Erato »

Pip Torok wrote:

Hi ....

I must that, when I went through the documentation, it gave me the impression that it was for regions that were, in Timo's words, _monarchies_ rather than democracies in outlook.

However that may be, I'll add in here the one request I made at an RA meeting, that it gave payers the opportunity of pre-payting Tier up to a reasonable time-period.

But I'll also add one other, that for any one payer, it will _itemise_ parcel details (individual payments, what they're based on ... m2 or prims ... and most important, the current conversion between dollar and linden (or whatever target currency) The current software tells me that since I have more than a certain number of parcels, I'm denied more than a summary Dollar and linden total. Shame! A little reflection and you'd realise that the greater the number of parcels, the greater the need for itemisation!

But anyway, this thread will run and run (excuse the pun!:)

Pip Torok

Pip!... that's not what it says! It says that if you have more than 12 parcels, you have to ask the land manager for a detailed itemization. Why? Because an SL script can only hold a certain amount of information in its memory, and 12 is the maximum number of parcel items it can hold, before it overflows and crashes.

Of course people with lots of parcels need itemization! But the only way to get that, without a very large additional investment in programmer time, was to instruct the owner to ask for it from, in this case, me. Since only one or two people in the CDS (you and me) and a likewise number of people in SLNE, have so many parcels, it seems like a reasonable solution.

Sudane.........................

*** Confirmed Grump ***
Profile: http://bit.ly/p9ASqg
Rose Springvale
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1074
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:29 am

Re: Test Rental Devices for CDS

Post by Rose Springvale »

I"ve been using the hipporent system on my estates for about two years now. Here's what i can add to the discussion:

1. Rental amounts, rates, notices, etc, are all set by configuration notecard and can be adjusted per individual parcel. Thus, if we want to list land at 50% of the regular rate for six months, we simply go into the configuration notecard and change the term. It is manual, or can be done from the web, but it's quite simple and takes very little time.

2. Terminology is available for both the rental system and the ownership system.

3. The system can be set to provide "splits" in any percentage you want. That works for a management kind of commission...say of ten percent, or a partnership commission, like 50%. I've used both of those and it works fine.

4. One problem with the "central" mailbox is that the hippo system default is set to automatically count prims. When you place it on a central location, it would be counting the prims of the parcel it sits on. Obviously that doesn't work, so you set prim counting to 0 and simply tell the residents to, as always, rely on the prim counts from their land tab. I chatted with the designer about this, and he told me that they could customize the script to take the auto prim counter out, but i never followed up because it really isn't a big deal.Placing the tier payment boxes ON the land would use a prim per parcel, but makes it self contained ON the land.

5. The system has built in email and im notifiers to both the parcel owner and the estate owner, and anyone else you want to add to the configuration notecard. Those notices can include notification of payment, notification when payment is late, and notification when you need to go see if the parcel owner has removed his or her objects.

6. I have not used the system for actual sales, relying on it only for tier payments. Sudane, for tier purposes, we ARE the same as any monarchy... all our tier payments go to one person and are then paid to LL. I think there is a module for land sales (and advertising) as well as simply tier collection, but i've not used it, nor would i be eager to implement it in CDS because i think it is important to have personal "touch" with new citizens, give them the notecards, show them where tier is paid and generally make them welcome. Many sims have no desire to do that.. you simply buy the land and carry on.... but that isn't what we are about in CDS. So payment would still go to individual land owners, and the tier paid by the former owner would run its course.By the time it expires, we'd have the new owner on the box... its quite easy to amend ownership and term with this system ... a simple menu box. Generally, i try to add new owners within 48 hours.

7. There are other thing we need to do with new people in CDS, things like inviting them to the group, giving some welcome gifts/advice, advise them of meetings they might be interested in and discover what interests individuals have they wish to pursue. (Though i should point out that the tier boxes can be set to give notecards, and probably objects, to the owners when paid. I'll test that.) We also want to emphasize that we take our covenants seriously, and as we've seen in the past, sometimes it is important to explain the whole tier collection system to newcomers. MANY people are under the assumption that if they "buy" land in sl, they are finished paying...so the description of tier as "property tax" sometimes has to be explained. Also, MANY people think they can have 512 m tier free, even on islands. These are the kinds of conversations that it really takes someone to explain, and gets complicated when we are working with many languages. As we'd get notice from the tier boxes when tier expires, and notice from land scanners when land changes hands, we will be more flexible and friendly. Easier to talk to people when they are new investors than after they've gone delinquent.

8. Pip, as you know, i use separate boxes for separate parcels unless requested to consolidate them by the land owner. So long as the owner of multiple parcels remembers where they all are, it can help keep things more clear. I don't think the system will itemize multiple parcels from one tier box, but i may be wrong.

User avatar
Jamie Palisades
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 639
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:56 pm

Re: Test Rental Devices for CDS

Post by Jamie Palisades »

Delighted to have this discussion underway.

1. OWNERS vs RENTERS. Yes, I confirmed a while ago that we can teach it to say "tier" not "rent", "citizen" not "tenant", and so on. Easy. So no problem to Pip's "monarchy" point. Estates I know now, including Al-Andalus, are using it successfully for resident-owned land, and that also appears to be a configurable issue.

2. PRIM COUNTING. It is true that the prim counting thing only works well in the "commercial rented-not-owned" mode .. and with the boxes on the actual parcels. But that doesn't seem relevant to our needs. use it. Owner-occupied land (like most CDS parcels) takes care of its prim limits automatically, without a need for counting meters. So, again, no technical problem there. (By the way, SLNE and Al-Andalus have such marketplaces now ... and CDS does not ... but it should .. and as I said in February, I want us to make that change to our law during this term.)

3. BILLING DETAILS. Pip, I completely agree about the itemization and advance payments! We should be very grateful for the *FREE* software we have enjoyed, but those were the first things on my shopping list for a possible upgrade.

4. HOW LAND IS MARKETED. Rose makes an interesting point, above. I had assumed that the automatic ability of a well designed system to sell land, hand out data and notecards, display available parcels, etc was a *good* thing. Rose points out that we might deliberately want to manually transact some, or all, sales to ensure the quality of new-citizen intake we'd like to see.

5. AVATAR MANAGEMENT. One thing I should make clear: I expect us to have one (or more) land-selling land-mongering alts, specifically, like Guilda for the Guild, MOCAso for MOCA and Rudeen for CDS estate owner. As you know, I have proposed that Rose define and take a more active role in our land promotion and management, that I expect will tie into this. Likely, though, we will have several people empowered to sell. And yes, the hippoRENT devices appear to accommodate that.
On the practical level, I assume that this system will be run and owned by our new real estate admin alt, SomeSillyName Jones (whatever), who will take over some limited part of Rudeen's role, including being the owner of empty parcels. Though they'll all be kept in the LV group while empty. In that way, all in-world real estate software devices -- which have some admin aspects that rely on the identity of the owner -- will pass appropriately from government to government and survive any one person's involvement. By now, you all probably know how strongly I feel about succession and multiple hands on all controls :D

NEXT STEPS. I'd like us to plan for a two week chat about the Hippo system, resulting in a purchase in mid-April (after there's been one more RA meeting, two weeks from now, to give our legislators a final chance to stop this choo choo train :D). Frankly, the cost's low enough that I am not too worried about waste here. One option, previously mentioned, is whether to use the system on one sim first as an experiment. We could do so (or for that matter have the whole system running on all for sims) in time for May rents.

Regards Jamie

== My Second Life home is CDS. Retired after three terms
== as chancellor of the oldest self-governing sims in SL.
Post Reply

Return to “Sim and City Planning”