From that article, I think this bit is really intriguing:
...the crowd was much smaller because most buyers stayed home and did their shopping via computer, Sproule said.
Sales worth tens of millions of dollars were made through the Internet "almost sight unseen," he said. Online tours of the yet-to-be-built condominium buildings were the norm, as were remote purchases. "We've invested heavily in the graphic aspect of things and computer-generated models."
That allowed people from around the world to look take part, Sproule said.
"We have people in Egypt, Scotland and Ireland who have virtually seen the building," he said. Not all were buyers, although a sale did go through to Irish buyers who heard about Bear Mountain through friends.
If small potatoes online shopping (so to speak and [url=https://www.spud.ca/index.cfm?action=logout&t=5:d2d2a]literally[/url:d2d2a]), as well as sites like [url=http://secondlife.com/:d2d2a]Second Life[/url:d2d2a], make it feel increasingly "natural" to buy and sell online, why not real estate, too? At that level, it comes down to trust and the vendor's reputation for getting a top-quality product into the system. If the vendor captures that trust (based on testimonials -- i.e., conversations
by other buyers, now easily overheard online), then there's nothing he or she can't sell. "Markets are conversations,"
as the folks at [url=http://www.cluetrain.com/:d2d2a]Cluetrain Manifesto[/url:d2d2a] (David Weinberger, Doc Searls, Chris Locke) already told us nearly a decade ago...
In that academic paper I pointed to in one of the other threads ([url=http://www.unesco.org/most/martinot.htm:d2d2a]The new social morphology of cities[/url:d2d2a]), Guido Martinotti writes:
The main point is that today, large cities the world over are compressed in the superimposition of two great technological cycles: the one based on material transportation and the one on information transmission. The succession of these two cycles can be conceptualized not in terms of straight substitution, as many erroneous evaluations hinted in the past, but in terms of competing functions. Up to now it can be said that the cost of any transported unit has tendentially decreased. From now on this is probably not true anymore, if real costs with externalities are taken into account. It is fairly certain that the cost of any information unit transmitted will rapidly decrease, and will probably continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Hence, we can expect a future re-adaptation of many social and economic activities, the depth of which cannot be underrated, but the quality of which still has to be evaluated.
If previously we depended here, on Vancouver Island, mainly on resource exploitation (and therefore the material transportation of goods), we're now feeling the squeeze or force of that other technological cycle, the one based on information transmission. The cost of transmitting information is decreasing all the time, while (if externalities are taken into account) the cost of transporting real goods increases. Ok, Victoria and Bear Mountain aren't "large cities" as referenced by Martinotti, but I think part of the "holy cow, what's happening here?" aspect of development in "lifestyle choice" communities like Bear Mountain is being shaped by the fact that "lifestyle" is information, which gets transmitted really quickly -- and bought and sold nearly as fast, too.
Eco-tourism can exploit the same aspects... Economic success depends on delivering a great product and on making sure that customers have "conversations" (testimonials, buzz). It's all information.
Sorry if this totally off topic and not a little obtuse. I'm just really interested in this particular aspect (information, how it spreads, what it means economically)...