I’ve updated this post since 2009. Nothing has changed since then. It is still a mistake to purchase a gift from LunarLand.com. Please see below for a brief explanation as to why, some alternative gift suggestions and a deeper examination of claims made on LunarLand.com.
A friend of a friend inquired about purchasing a holiday gift — one acre of lunar real estate — at LunarLand.com today. I strongly recommended a “no.”
Dennis Hope, who appears to own LunarLand.com, says he’s exempt from the treaty because UN treaties only apply to countries. But nations and governments convey property rights to individuals. Therefore, his argument falls apart with only cursory scrutiny.
While someone may own some part of the moon someday, it’s hard to believe that a “legal” document entitling someone to a piece of the moon today will hold any weight in the future.
But that hasn’t stopped Hope from selling certificates that claim to entitle people to lunar real estate — for as “little” as $29.95. LunarLand.com appears to be affiliated with his Lunar Embassy Corporation. Hope told National Geographic he had sold more than 2,500,000 1-acre plots of lunar land. At current prices, that would constitute nearly $75,000,000 worth of non-legally-binding paper, assuming no one goes for the upgraded, personalized certificates.
NatGeo has a more in-depth explanation for why moon real estate sales are a joke.
If you really do have a space enthusaist in your life, I would recommend any number of other gifts, including Cosmos on DVD, Star Trek box sets, telescopes and planispheres.
What further interested me was Lunar Land’s attempt to beat back skepticism on its own Web site.
We think, skepticism is a good and healthy thing, but when you are selling a ground breaking product, and you’re doing it on a legal basis, correctly and with the best of intentions, skepticism can become a real problem.
Skepticism is good, but not when directed at me. Check.
We do receive, from time to time, a few understandable enquiries asking us if this is a joke or not. We know that the Internet contains many joke sites, as well as many disreputable sites designed for purely fraudulent purposes.
Assuming Hope believes his own spin, I guess Lunar Land isn’t “purely” fraudulent.
We would like to reassure you that this is not such a site. However, due to the uniqueness of the product on sale here, we wish to give you this written reassurance. It is of course difficult to determine if this is a fraud while you are just sitting there surfing the net.
Unless you are good at using Google and find reputable articles disputing the claims on this Web site.
Let us explain what the Lunar Embassy is actually doing. Dennis Hope has been in the business of selling Lunar Property for over 28 years.
And people have been selling fake cancer cures for even longer. In Lunar Land’s defense, they aren’t killing anybody.
In all this time, and millions of customers later (and increasing rapidly), we have never had a single unsatisfied customer. We are very proud of this track record.
I’m sure that most people are happy with their purchase. They shouldn’t be. Though I do commend Lunar Land for following through on their orders and presumably promptly shipping certificates to people’s homes.
Two former US Presidents and many very prominent celebrities own their Lunar property already.
I’m sure some celebs have bought property. They also do a lot of dumb stuff. As for presidents, this is carefully worded and I expect some of their supporters have bought certificates for them.
The worldwide press attention the Lunar Embassy is receiving is enormous.(Please view the Press section of our web site for further information.)
I see a vaguely skeptical CNN article from 2000.
If you still think this is a fraud, we would like you to ask one of the Internet’s best known and vigilant consumer watchdog organizations called Netcheck. The Lunar Embassy is a member of the Netcheck Internet Commerce Bureau. There you can consult our company register, and see if anyone has filed a complaint against our company…
Not surprisingly, Netcheck doesn’t endorse the companies it monitors. They seem to just make sure they’re delivering their products and resolving complaints, much like an online Better Business Bureau.
Oddly, Hope’s other Web site, the Lunar Embassy Corporation, warns visitors not to trust other moon property outlets:
“BEWARE of othrr ‘Lunar’ companies selling Moon property. They might seem legitimate but the Lunar Embassy is THE ONLY COMPANY in the world to possess a legal basis and copyright for the sale of Lunar and other extraterrestrial property within the confines of our solar system since the year 1980.”