Here's the opening post of the thread.
1. I am looking for a 3rd party wholesale GTC seller.An obvious attempt to sell a character for real life cash. No legitimate GTC seller would risk becoming involved with this scheme as it would jeopardize their working relationship with CCP. This probably led to this post.
2. I would like to discuss the terms on splitting your profit with me to raffle off some of my in game assets.
3. I will also would like to offer my character to raffle once all my assets are gone. We will follow all CCP rules for transfer once the raffle is over.
4. 1 Black credit for the raffle will be given out for every GTC bought on your site. You can hold the raffle once 1000 GTC have been sold. If players would like to buy a ticket in game it will cost 1 plex and you can have them contract it to you.
5. This practice has been ok'd and does not break the EULA according to CCP.
I am doing this to re-capture some of my money I have spent on EVE over the last 7 years and look for another game to play. This is not a joke and CCP has left me no choice. I suggest that everyone of you look to sell your stuff in this manner before CCP cracks down.
So if you are a third party seller of GTC please send me a eve mail with your percentage offer let the bidding begin.
Two Step better yetSo an admission of someone conducting RMT, if the events posted really happened. So why such a public method of leaving the game? After all, CCP's standard response is permanently banning the RMTer (DNSBlack, which since he's allegedly leaving the game probably doesn't bother him) and seizing all the stuff, which in this case I would expect would include the character named DNSBlack.
1. I just sold a GTC to a guy for $2500.00 I gave him 2500 black credits.
2. I just sold another guy a GTC for $17.00 and gave him 2 black credits
3. Both of these guys used the black credits and bought tickets to my charcter [sic] raffle.
4. I all ready held the drawing and the winner will be announced soon.
5. I will be starting the legal transfer on the charcter [sic] form today.
6. Thank you CCP I made $ 2502 dollars enjoy your 30.00 dollars.
7. I did this with no website.
The answer is surprising. DNSBlack maintains that the method is totally allowed by the EULA and ToS and for proof, look at how CCP allows SOMERblink to operate. He received much backing for this stance. But is this correct?
First, we need to define exactly what illicit, grey market, or black market RMT is. At its simplest, real money transfer refers to the trade of items, including currency, from massively multiplayer online games in exchange for real world currency. This includes virtual currencies not recognized by governments such as bitcoins. With the presence of PLEX in EVE I should point out something about game time codes since some people on the forums have attacked those as well. While GTCs can eventually wind up as PLEX instead of paying for game time, they have to go through a CCP conversion process. The process is described as follows.
- Player purchases a game time code from a dealer.
- Player gives the game time code to CCP, who converts the GTC to PLEX.
- Player sells the PLEX on the market and receives ISK.
Back to DNSBlack's plans. Do those plans qualify as RMT? Absolutely! First, the plan is to raffle off in-game goods without the involvement of a GTC seller as a partner. In the plan he posted (in which the numbers comically don't add up) he allegedly sold 2 game time codes and 2502 "black credits" at $1 each. These "black credits" were then used to purchase 2502 raffle tickets with which he allegedly raffled off his character. This series of steps allegedly netted DNSBlack $2502.
According to my working definition, DNSBlack's plan is just a clumsy money laundering scheme that is attempting to use semantic tricks to work around the EULA. But while DNSBlack and many of his supporters say this is allowed, what do the EULA and ToS actually state. First, section 6B, "Selling Items and Objects", of the EVE Online EULA states:
"You may not transfer, sell or auction, or buy or accept any offer to transfer, sell or auction (or offer to do any of the foregoing), any content appearing within the Game environment, including without limitation characters, character attributes, items, currency, and objects, other than via a permitted Character Transfer as described in section 3 above. You may not encourage or induce any other person to participate in such a prohibited transaction. The buying, selling or auctioning (or any attempt at doing so) of characters, character attributes, items, currency, or objects, whether through online auctions, newsgroups, postings on message boards or any other means is prohibited by the EULA and a violation of CCP's proprietary rights in the Game."The use of the raffle as a vehicle to transfer the character for real world money I believe falls under the "any other means" clause. But a stronger and more explicit prohibition is found in the ToS:
10. You may not market, sell, advertise, promote, solicit or otherwise arrange for the exchange or transfer of items in the game or other game services unless it is for in-game sales of in-game services or items.If the "black credits" were purchased using ISK, then the raffle would not violate the terms of service agreement. But as the "black credits" were purchased outside the game, using them to arrange the transfer of an in-game asset like a character definitely violates the ToS.
The same would hold true if DNSBlack carried out his first plan of partnering with a GTC seller and conducting the raffle based on handing out "black credits" to the buyers of the first 1,000 GTCs. Not only does the action qualify as illicit or grey/black market RMT, but violates the EULA and ToS as well due to "black credits" only available for the purchase of an out-of-game item.
That's the easy analysis. Now for the hard question. Does SOMERblink violate the EVE Online EULA and ToS with the way the site operates? First, let's examine the basic way the site works. Are raffles and lotteries allowed? As long as all in-game prizes are either freely given away or only exchanged for in-game currency (i.e. ISK), then yes. Or at least, that is the way that CCP has ruled since I began playing EVE in 2009 and I understand that raffles and lotteries were advertised on the EVE Online forums for years before that.
Next, is the basic mechanics of how these micro-lotteries, which SOMERblink calls "blinks", run. A player uses the in-game browser to create an account and then sends ISK to SOMERblink's in-game corporation. That money is then deposited into an account that players cannot cash out. Once the ISK is in the account, the only way to get anything out is to win something. SOMERblink gives these reasons in the site's FAQ:
- CCP's feeling is that such a feature [allowing cash outs of an account] can be exploited to "launder" ISK from ISK sellers. Blink does not condone such activity.
- Blink awards billions of ISK of achievement credit, which would need to be kept separate from your actual balance.
- Blink relies on deposited ISK to pre-purchase popular prizes, ensuring we can keep the cost of blinks low.
|The price of a blink ticket is given in ISK|
(Some will argue that SOMERblink is a scam and that the results of some blinks are fixed to funnel winnings to certain players. While that would allow for the laundering of botted ISK, I am not aware of any credible allegations of the fixing of the results of the blinks.)
The big controversy involving SOMERblink involves game time codes. SOMERblink is an affiliate of Markee Dragon, which means that for every GTC sold SOMERblink gets a commission. According to a YouTube video explaining the affiliate system that amount is 5% of the sale, although super-affiliates can make slightly more. So for each GTC purchased from Markee Dragon through SOMERblink, SOMERblink receives $1.75 for each 60-day GTC and $1.00 for each 30-day GTC. While that's interesting information, as far as I know that does not violate any agreements with CCP. Those transactions certainly do not violate the EULA or ToS as these referral payments are for business transactions that occur totally outside the New Eden virtual universe.
|As Seen On SOMERblink - 20 Oct 2013|
The reason, once DNSBlack's plan is studied, is obvious. Let's look at point 10 of the ToS again:
10. You may not market, sell, advertise, promote, solicit or otherwise arrange for the exchange or transfer of items in the game or other game services unless it is for in-game sales of in-game services or items.Here are the steps involved in a player receiving the credit from SOMERblink:
- Click on the link and purchase the game time code(s) from Markee Dragon.
- Submit the reference number on the receipt to SOMERblink. This step is unnecessary after the first two codes are submitted.
- Receive the credit.
- Use the credit to play blinks.
- Win in-game items and either collect them in-game or take an equivalent payment in ISK which is transferred to a player's wallet.
The next question is how much are these transactions worth? I can't determine the extent of the issue as these GTC for ISK trades are performed amongst so many deposits and blinks that do not violate the EULA or ToS. What I can do is determine how much SOMERblink makes in U.S. dollars for each 1 billion ISK given out as a reward for purchasing GTCs. Given the 5% commission that Markee Dragon pays for each GTC sold and that SOMERblink gives out a bouns 200 million ISK for every 4th GTC purchased, SOMERblink receives between $7-$10 per billion ISK given out. But that is not the final figure. I read, but cannot confirm, that SOMERblink pays out 80% of all bets back to players. Factoring in winning some of the ISK back, that puts the final exchange rate at $8.75-$12.50 per 1 billion ISK given out.
I'll admit that when I began researching the issue that I did not expect to find what I did. I had heard that CCP checks on entities that move massive amounts of money like SOMERblink and Chribba's transfer service and content on the SOMERblink site seems to confirm that. Also, I would have thought that CCP would have rechecked the gambling site before highlighting it in a community spotlight. Surely CCP would have thoroughly checked out SOMERblink before partnering up for the big givaway event, if for no other reason that avoiding any possible embarrassment. So imagine my surprise when I could validate the claims that SOMERblink was engaged in RMT.
Of course, I could have missed some critical fact that explains everything and the practices that look like RMT really aren't. I'd really like to know what I missed, if that is the case, because this looks like a pretty open and shut case to me.