Want Some Virtual Beachfront Property?

It’s kind of an intriguing idea: create a virtual world which is an site-for-site simulacrum of the real, physical world…and then let people buy into it, acquiring their favorite locations and online domains and, along the way, becoming celebrities, politicians, real-estate moguls, and more.

Except, you know…it’s all fake.

Weblo is a new online virtual world backed by former MySpace chairman Richard Rosenblatt, built by Canadian entrepreneur Rocky Mirza (who also launched online efforts UniqueActions and iBetX.com, which didn’t quite receive universal aclaim), and set to be unleashed on the (real) world tomorrow, September 25. In Weblo, anything which exists in the real world can be purchased (using real money) in the virtual world. Users will be able to buy houses, buildings, streets, towns, states…maybe even entire countries. Houses will go for about $2 apiece, and the most expensive item on the Weblo menu will be the entire state of California, priced at a reported $50,000.

What will people do with their virtual real estate? Of course, Weblo wants to tie people into all the pay-per-click advertising mechanisms—so users can turn their ‘hoods into giant billboards for Viagra, if they like—as well as enabling online commerce transactions and online commissions. Moreover, Weblo provides a way for users to make residual income. For instance, if a Weblo user owns a municipality like Los Angeles or New York City, they make money from taxes imposed on residents who join. And if Weblo takes off, of course, users may be able to sell their virtual properties for quite a lot more than they paid for it.

Except, you know…it’s all fake.

Weblo opens its land-rush tomorrow. In a couple months, we suppose we’ll have a better idea if the name is supposed to be pronounced “Web low” or “We blow.”

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