Thursday, May 29, 2014

Business Model, or Scam?

Tonight I was browsing the Marketplace, and I came across this item, a freebie rental box:
A Freebie That Wants a Piece of the Action

I think the thing is aptly named...notice that at the tail end of the description the seller says, "I get 10%."  Menace indeed!  Anyone who is not paying close attention might start to wonder after a while why they aren't getting all the rent that they thought they would.

But to be fair, the creator is right about one thing.  The major makers of rental systems do charge quite a bit for them.  The popular HippoRent system (which is the one I use) costs $L1,995.  I have used this system for about six years now, and aside from the occasional box that goes wonky and has to be re-set or replaced, I'm extremely happy with it.  The high purchase cost is more than offset by the fact that HippoTech has a great web site that keeps track of all my boxes, all my tenants, and all payments to the system clear back to when I set up my first-ever box.  Plus they have very good tech support.

That seems to be a very fair deal, compared to some fly-by-night dealer who wants to cut himself in for ten per cent of the gross from now until the end of time.

There is another reason for going with a known and reputable product in this area, too.  Any rental box is going to produce that scary "This object is requesting permission to take Linden Dollars from you.  Allow/Deny?" message.  It has to have this permission in order to issue refunds.  But it would be very easy for an unscrupulous creator to simply have the box take ALL your money.  I am not saying that the "Menace Rent Box" is such an item, or that its creator is a con artist.  But there ARE items that are maliciously scripted to steal your money in this way.

Caveat emptor.

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