Now, the classic renter alliance model as described in Galactic Landlords is fairly popular in New Eden in that it generates lots of income for the owning alliance. What it does not generate, as a rule, is loyalty to the landlord's alliance. It is a cash transaction.
As I wrote in Barbarians at the Gate, way back in July, Dominion Sov Mechanics favor the alliance that can populate their Sphere of Influence with players who will:
a) Stay put while you’re off war-lording
b) Act as a buffer between your systems and inbound barbarian hordes or magazine salesmen
c) Keep their grubby mitts of your stuff (systems, stations, loots, et al) and
d) Pay all sovereignty related expenses
Of these, b is particularly important in that, as I continually remind my readers, Dominion sov rules require an active defense of one's nullsec space.
Nullsec alliances who remain steeped in the pre-Dominion paradigm have yet to realize the value of the nullsec Carebear for this purpose. In Paradigm Shift I wrote that, even if they can't punch in the weight class of a Pandemic Legion or IT Alliance, nullsec Carebears are rougher and tougher than their highsec cousins and represent a sizable body of experienced nullsec PVP pilots. Properly organized and deployed, I went on, their numbers will make themselves felt and major alliances would be foolish to dismiss them.
The Northern Coalition alliances are no fools. They seem to have, by accident or design, developed a renting scheme that thrives in the Dominion paradigm and brings a sizable renter militia to their calls to arms.
Carebear alliances invited to operate in NC space are referred to as 'guests' rather than renters. While this may seem a minor distinction, it underscores the difference between the NC's approach to managing their space and that of their Southern neighbors. Guests alliances are given space to occupy. No rent (yes, you heard that right) is required of guests. They are, however, expected to respond to CTAs and assist in defending NC space. In other words, the coin expected of guests is loyalty, not ISK. Unlike their renter counterparts, the NC guests do not pack up and leave when the wolf is at the door. Rather, they act like armed settlers who band together in a militia to support Northern Coalition regulars in defense of their space.
Note the possessive in the prior sentence; "their space". By including guests in the common defense of NC territory, the NC gives their guests a sense of ownership in the NC cause. As a result, the NC guest/renter alliances appear to have a close identification with the Norther Coalition alliances that practice the guest program.
The power of this approach was evident when IT Alliance, AAA and other "Southern Coalition" alliances invaded the North earlier this year. Rather than backing their bags and heading for the exits, which is often the case with conventional renters, the NC guests stood and fought the invaders. While they were not "elite" PvPers like the invaders, routine participation in NC CTAs had developed them into a respectable fighting force.
During that invasion, there was a good deal of smack talk from Southern pilots about the quality of the NC militia pilots, about the lack of finesse in their fleets and their tendency to blob the invaders. And yet, those ungainly blobs blunted and slowed the southern attack. Bogged down and handed unexpected losses by the defenders, the South eventually withdrew. The barbarians had come to the gates and been turned back. The Carebears had shown their worth.