Hello to all :-)
Well, the summer has whizzed by quickly this year with lots to keep me busy in the last couple of months. I apologize for not providing more frequent updates on the operations of DDE. We seem to have entered somewhat of a holding pattern, which I guess is the good news. Unfortunately, we seem to be holding close to a "break-even" position.
The problems with sim occupancy that first began in May, when Linden Research retooled Openspace sims to make them more attractive, and then filled an unprecedented number of island requests - has resulted in what I think is a permanent change in the land business in SL. Many of my clients who rented large parcels on regular sims either left for their own Openspace sim, or converted to one within Delicious Estates. As a result - the number of Openspaces has continued to grwo as I have purchased a few and converted two regular sims to Openspaces. At this point, DDE holds 18 regular sims and 30 Openspace sims. the regular sims are not doing particularly well, with at least four of them being more than half empty.
All in all, occupancy levels have remained pretty constant at this new lower level over the last two months, and try as I might, I do not seem to be able to fill them. So, I am trying to consolidate by moving some tenants to new sims and converting the empty sim to Openspaces.
For the month of July, DDE came perilously close to not being able to meet tier payments for the month - at the end of the month, profits for DDE dropped to less than 100,000L from what was typically 500,000L - 600,000L per month before May. August is going the same way - and I am expecting to be able to meet tier payments - just. Obviously, I will not be collecting a salary as I had planned for July or August. Sigh...
I still hold out some hope that in September, business will pick up as people return from their vacation, but SL concurrent user levels have not dipped dramatically this summer, so I am not sure how realistic this is. Nevertheless, I will continue to try to take whatever steps I can to turn things around and get back to the levels of profitability that we enjoyed a few months ago.
Longer term, I am still convinced that the land business, as it is currently understood, will continue to change, and that Linden Research will reduce the profitability for "land barons" by offering new products, opening up ownership of Openspaces, etc... DDE will need to be flexible and proactive in order to survive, and I continue to consider new lines of business, and new angles on the land business. I will keep you all appraised.
As you know, we decided on a dividend holiday until September, so that DDE could build up cash reserves as a contingency. so far, I have not been able to build up significant cash reserves, since I am only just covering tier. however, a decision on dividends for September won't be made until the middle of that month.
I have received a number of requests to sell shareholder shares in the last few weeks - which has led me to start considering relisting DDE on an exchange in order to allow people the flexibility to sell shares when they wish to. Given the poor performance of the business in the last few months, and the uncertainty of the future, I think it is only fair that shareholders have the ability to let the market decide the share price, and to trade shares. With low profits, I will not be in a position to personally buy many shares, and the effort required to match buyers and sellers manually is currently beyond my capacity.
When I asked shareholders for their thoughts on relisting, I got general support, certainly well more than 50% of shares that responded were in favour of it (excluding my own shares) - so I will make a decision on relisting shortly and let everyone know. As I have mentioned in the past, the most likely exchange for me to relist on the the International Stock Exchange (ISE)
I wish the news was better, but things could be worse. DDE is still viable, and the existing tenant base is quite solid and loyal, and our reputation for ethics and honest dealings remains strong. As always, please feel free to leave your comments, or to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
EDITED to add: Check out Travis Ristow's new business rating site - V-Rated.com. I have listed DDE there, and your honest feedback would be most appreciated. Also, feel free to leave a comment about our favorite colleague - the World Stock Exchange...