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Ciderhelm
08-16-2007, 01:46 PM
I'm not going to pretend to be the champion of the little guy, or to take a moral or ethical high ground here. For full disclosure, I did purchase for our guild bank in the past.


Preface to the Issue
Advertising or sponsorship would greatly assist our website and I've made no secret to our membership or our authors that when the time comes, we'll use it. However, we have great support from our membership, with several of our members supporting server costs through donations, and we have plenty of time to find the "right" advertisers.

To find my contact e-mail regarding advertising, you necessarily go through a thread named "Website Finances -- Sponsorship, Subscriptions, etc. (http://www.tankspot.com/forums/tankspot-website-information/31836-website-finances-sponsorship-subscriptions-etc.html)" In that thread, the following is clearly posted:

If you are related to the secondary market in any way, be it through any gold selling or power leveling services, or through direct financial support from those institutions, do not bother contacting me.

And that is why this post exists. Not because a gold seller contacted me, but because they did so when I made it clear I would refuse their business.


The E-Mail Exchange (Matrix Internet)
In the following you will see several references to Nihilum. I respect their progress and their place as a raiding guild and will not attempt to mar their name. However, in the interest of clarification, the following exchange shows that they knew they were placing gold ads on their website when they chose to do so.

The company that contacted me is Matrix Internet, a European outfit. I understand this is just a salesman; however, the response in the fourth e-mail with justification of the Secondary Market warrants identifying them. I have removed the associates full name.


Hello Patrick,

I’m emailing with regards to your website TankSpot - Warcraft Warrior's Reference (http://tankspot.com).
We are an internet marketing consultancy and a client of ours is interested in advertising on your site.

We are currently offering $[Edited] CPM for a banner and a text link, paid is advance based on your previous months unique traffic over Paypal.

We work together with big gaming sites like Buffed.de, 4Players.de, wowszene.de, Nihilum.eu and have a lot of experience in the gaming industry.

Please let me know if you are interested, have questions or would like to leave a contact number so that I can call you when it is convenient.

Thank you in advance.

This raised an immediate red flag last night as I read it, as wowszene was the site that released the Deathknight class information immediately before Blizzcon. With their website -- and all associated gold and power-leveling ads -- fresh in my mind, I was expecting the client to be a gold seller.

This was coupled with an argument I had recently been having on TenTonHammer (http://wow.tentonhammer.com/), where I suggested that Nihilum did not control the gold ads that were going up on their website. I scratched my head a bit as I read Nihilum's website in the above list.

Nevertheless, it's always flattering to be approached by an advertiser, and certainly Matrix Internet was polite throughout the e-mail exchange. I've also been approached by two other businesses in the past regarding selling the website (including a very kind e-mail from the new owners of shadowpriest.com).

My response:

I would be happy to discuss this further. However, I need to know the nature of your client's business. Can you provide more information on the content of the advertising requested?

Thanks,
Patrick

And, the bombshell:


Hello Patrick,

Thanks for getting back to me so soon.

The Client interested in advertising is Gamegoods(.net/.co.uk/.de/.fr etc) They are the largest supplier of WoW Gold in Europe and a major supplier in the US.

I understand that Gold is sometimes a bit of an issue, but I have listed the following points just to show you why we think it’s ok to advertise for them:

The majority of visitors realise that you are providing a free service by having a website, and needs to be in most cases compensated by advertising.

Advertising on a webpage is like advertising on TV, not everyone likes every advert, but they are there to watch the channel not the advertising and can choose to ignore the adverts, they don’t exactly have to buy the product.

From our experience with working with sites like Nihilum (regarded as the number 1 WoW Guild in the world), their traffic has increased since they advertised with Gamegoods as they used the money to update their site’s features and improve their Guild, this consequently brought in more visitors and they made more money through advertising.

WoW Gold selling is considered immoral by some WoW users, however it is in fact legal. Gamegoods is a tax paying company from Germany, and I’m sure Goldman Sachs the largest investment bank in the world wouldn’t own shares in IGE the largest Gold selling site in the US if this wasn’t the case.

I look forward to your response and I hope we can work together,

Thanks,

The above was respectful, and it's absolutely true that a website needs compensation for continued growth. However, I cut the exchange short:

I'm sorry, I need to decline. I have no issue with your business but I cannot support your client.

Thank you for the offer,
-Patrick



Is It Illegal? Isn't it "Just a Game?"
No, gold-selling and power-leveling is not illegal so far as I know. There is a difference between what is legal and what is right.

It is cheating. In raiding, it is just as bad as using steroids to get ahead in Baseball. It mars our 9-million player league as much as it mars any professional sports league. Without making too heavy an argument in this post on why WoW is like professional sports, there's a good article from The New York Times in their Sports section. Click here to read it (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/28/sports/othersports/28vide.html?ex=1187409600&en=2c097179d6c4aba5&ei=5070).

Further, the people who buy gold before raiding, where competition isn't the same, are being preyed on in the same way that major casinos do towards clients. As some of you are aware, Video Poker is unique in that it triggers a rapid chemical release in the human brain which creates a compulsive physical addiction similar to many drugs. This is because of quick, repeated emotional highs that occur over the course of minutes and hours, coupled with flashing lights and glitzy visuals. The way in which you can rapidly be rewarded in World of Warcraft with gold brings the same response, where some players buy more and more of it as they realize they can get shiny new epics from it. To be fair, Blizzard is moving away from this dynamic as much as they can, as well as combatting gold sellers in many other ways (Armory, Item Database, Dailies, etc).

When was the last time you heard an ad for prescription steroids while watching Ichiro or Bonds? To compare it to television advertising is a fraud. Television advertisers are often denied on the basis of content -- and I certainly don't want to be lower than that untouchable class of people that puts commercials into our television shows.

It also completely diminishes accomplishment. Warcraft is unique in that you can feel like you've really accomplished something no matter where you are in progression. Just like in American Football, if you beat another local church team with your own church team, or if you win a High School Homecoming game, you've accomplished something -- regardless of whether the Raiders were winning the Superbowl. Using gold just to get ahead of that gives you a worthless experience. People who market gold are marketing worthlessness.

I know I've just given a handful of you a knee-jerk reaction. "But it's the Internet! I can do what I want!" The age of Internet vigilantism is dead, and it's not welcome on my site. You see, I'm not a company, I'm not here to take your money or appease you, I'm a person who's built a home on the Internet, and I have rules.


There Really Is a Choice
Websites with gold and power-leveling ads really do have a choice in their advertisement. Don't let people play it off like they don't choose what ads they have. No, you can't effectively circumvent GoogleAds all of the time... but you can decide not to use GoogleAds, as we did.

Money isn't everything. I'm not going to sacrifice the respect the community relations team at Blizzard has shown me, both on the WoW-US site since 2005 and the WoW-China community where the guides were translated. I won't sell out, certainly not to Gamegoods.

Yes, someday I would like to have an income through work on the Internet. Sometimes the long-term matters more than the short-term. This is one of those times. This is definitely not the place for profiteering.

Thanks,
-Patrick O'Callahan, "Ciderhelm"

Ciderhelm
08-16-2007, 03:16 PM
Posting so this shows up in Shoutbox.

(I worked on this in a private forum then transferred it to this directory)

Mozman
08-16-2007, 08:39 PM
/salute

Daylanor
08-16-2007, 09:11 PM
/salute

Klimpen
08-16-2007, 09:19 PM
/salute.

Ariedan
08-16-2007, 09:40 PM
Well freaking said, Cider. I'm happy you're so adamant about your beliefs, and don't let anything, including money, change them.

windrage
08-17-2007, 03:31 AM
/respect

Signu
08-17-2007, 04:43 AM
Ciderhelm FTW

/salute

Berginyon
08-17-2007, 08:40 AM
I have purchased gold.

I am both a professional working 40+ hours a week and a family man with a wife and a 1 year old son. My gametime is a precious and rare resource not to be squandered. I prefer to spend that time raiding or instancing with friends, not grinding a mob or quest over and over for gold.

I respect your decision, but I think I would have taken the sponsorship :-)

adrenalize
08-17-2007, 08:53 AM
You see, I dont understand the attraction of paying fro gold personally, Your paying for something that doesn't exist in any real terms, to do something that doesn't really matter on the whole anyway. So when you eventually stop playing this game you end up spending more money then you really need ro. No one says you have to farm for the gold, Hell Half an hour to an hour before you raid can easily net you 50g if you daily quests(A great choice by blizzard if you ask me) Which, unless you are pretty much totally epicced out, and in Hyjal+ gear is enough to pay most people's reapir bill's for a night of raiding anyway.

Just my s censt oon the matter, But if you buy gold because you think you can enjoy the game more, then you are a mug, and deserve the Ban if you get caught, It DOES affect the game economy, and therefore whilst you think it's harmless it causes entire areas to be farmed by bots and therefore unquestable, Huge inflation in AH prices as More gold is in the system that was aqquired unfairly.

Cider, Salute and respect for that post, Was very good and it's very nice to see you sticking to your guns on it, A lot of people will fold at the temptation of money and you have shown your charectar with your flat out refusal.

Berginyon
08-17-2007, 10:02 AM
I haven't purchased it in BC, gold is easier to come by, but I did purchase it back in the lvl 60 raiding days when repairs and consumables could only be paid for by grinding mobs.

Its all about how you value your time. HS and College kids have a nearly infinite amount of time and a limited amount of IRL gold. I'm saying I am the opposite. I have limited time and plenty of IRL gold. Back in the day I could have grinded EPL for an hour and gotten 50g, or I could have worked IRL for an hour and purchased 500g.

You're not going to get banned for buying gold. Blizzard goes after cheating, that is gold sellers who use expolits, spamming, scams or bots.

Aaesop
08-17-2007, 10:38 AM
Buying gold to score things on the AH isn't even that effective. Theres a few nice blue or purple items but obviously nothing quite near the quality of many quest, dungeon/raid items.
In general from a few people I know who've bought gold, it ends up burning holes in pockets. They ended up spending gold on things that weren't even necessities. That and it wigs out the economy on a server.
Just made me remember the peons4hire constant spam everyone was getting for quite a while lol I hated that junk.

Atlantian
08-17-2007, 10:57 AM
very well said ciderhelm. i am glad you upheld your personal integrity for the warrior community. this site certainly wouldnt be the same with gold spam on it

Horacio
08-17-2007, 04:30 PM
/salute

Gruffian
08-17-2007, 07:19 PM
Just say no to gold retailers.

So many good sites ruin their integrity with that garbage.

Mewch
08-18-2007, 10:33 AM
/aplaud

Xhathor
08-18-2007, 12:16 PM
I'ts not that it didn't came to my mind from time to time to buy gold.
I am 12 hours away from home five days a week for work. I have other RL fun too.
As I grinded primals for nature and frost resistance gear or for the Khorium Destroyer, I often thought -- let's stop this there is an easier way.
But for me this sentence from Cinderhelm describes it very well:
"Using gold just to get ahead of that gives you a worthless experience."
After I've done it all on my own to get the mats for Wildguard Helm as an example, I simply feel much more to have achieved it by my own than I would feel if I just bougth it from the auctionier with farmers gold.

Kador
08-18-2007, 10:39 PM
This update really influenced my stance on site donations. It's be great if we could get some more people to subscribe so we dont have to deal with ads. This site kicks ass and lets try and keep it that way. :D

Lilie
08-20-2007, 08:18 AM
Cider...my respect for you has grown evermore. Thanks for all you are doing and representing.

OldHarry
08-23-2007, 10:43 AM
/bow

I'm choosing my first post to be a hats off to you Cider. Other than the /2. flame wars I have to watch scroll by all night, gold selling/buying is the lowest of the low in WoW and I'm glad you're doing your part to fight it.

That reminds me.....AFKers in BGs.....possible article some day? You missed your calling in Journalism.

/salute

Flintridge
08-23-2007, 10:56 AM
Lol well im a college kid and i wish i had all the time in the world to farm gold. I think blizz really gave us a big hand with the introduction of daily quests, with minimal amounts of time you can pay at least for repairs and consumables, which is nice for me since with the coming fall term the only real time i can put into the game is for my raid groups. Farming really isn't viable due to a busy school and work schedule :) Great post btw

Magrov
04-04-2008, 03:53 AM
To cider:
/salute
/applaud
/respect

To the sad guy replying up there:
So what if you are a familyfather and have ten minutes a week to play? You are ruining for the rest of us that are working hard for our spot in raids and guilds. It IS cheating because you are breaking the rules that is set by the provider of the service. If you cannot follow the rules then this game IS NOT FOR YOU!

//Magrov