Monday, October 21, 2013

Raffles And RMT

I really wanted to avoid the entire SOMER Blink controversy.  So apart from a few links to the writings of others I've pretty much stayed away from the subject.  Until now.  DNSBlack, the leader of Dirt Nap Squad, came up with a post on the EVE Online forums claiming he came up with a method to conduct real money transfers without violating the Eve Online End Users License Agreement (EULA) and Terms of Service (ToS).

Here's the opening post of the thread.
1. I am looking for a 3rd party wholesale GTC seller.

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.
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.
Two Step better yet

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.
So 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.

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.
  1. Player purchases a game time code from a dealer.
  2. Player gives the game time code to CCP, who converts the GTC to PLEX.
  3. Player sells the PLEX on the market and receives ISK.
At no time is anyone other than CCP converting an out-of-game item or money into an in-game item or money.  So for purposes of this post, an illicit or grey/black market real money transfer occurs when someone uses real world money to directly or indirectly obtain items, including currency, in the New Eden universe without the involvement of CCP.

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 blinks themselves consist of raffling off in-game items (including PLEX) with either 8 or 16 tickets sold.  One thing I'm not sure about is whether tickets are purchased with either ISK or with Blink credits.  The term "Blink credit" is used on the site, but I don't know if all ISK is converted into a currency called "Blink credit" or whether a "Blink credit" is actually a deposit of ISK into a player's account.  But as players cannot cash out accounts, the distinction essentially is a matter of semantics.  Pretty basic, really.  The innovation is the rapid rate in which the blinks occur.  But nothing EULA or ToS breaking.

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 problem in the way that SOMERblink does business is the reward given to players who buy their GTC though the website.  If SOMERblink were giving out some sort of points that players could use to redeem real world prizes like hats, pens, shirts, or even game time codes, then the reward would not violate the EULA or ToS.  But as described on the website, the reward is a form of real money transfer.

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:
  1. Click on the link and purchase the game time code(s) from Markee Dragon.
  2. Submit the reference number on the receipt to SOMERblink.  This step is unnecessary after the first two codes are submitted.
  3. Receive the credit.
  4. Use the credit to play blinks.
  5. 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.
In this case, whether ISK or blink credits are used to purchase the blink tickets, the result is the same.  SOMERblink receives real world money and in return gives the player who purchased the 60-day GTC 200 million ISK, or 1 billion ISK if the player purchased 4 60-day GTCs.  And at the end of the process, unless the player is extremely unlucky, in-game items and/or ISK is transferred from SOMERblink to the player, who then transfers his winnings into the EVE universe.  When all of the smoke and mirrors are removed, this is a real money transfer.

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.

46 comments:

  1. Surprise, surprise....CCP is not only knowingly allowing RMT, but partnering with a group heavily involved in it.

    I wonder what other groups, who have trillions of ISK flow through their hands, via renters and moon goo, might be involved in RMT that CCP has turned a blind eye to?

    Well, CCP has always said that Eve was a harsh place, and don't really care if people think it is unfair. Guess this is just an extension of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only Dinsdale Pirannha could take the actual issue of Somer and CCP malfeasance and try to make it about :tinfoil: nullsec, the big bad in his personal conspiracy theory.

      Delete
  2. All Somer needed to do to make RMT legal was find a way to make it more attractive to purchase GTC through them than through any other site. This has been flying under the radar for a very long time -- long enough for Marquee Dragon to become the #1 seller of GTC for Eve Online, a website/company that hardly anyone had ever heard of until CCP put them on their spotlight page.

    If you were to combine the profit that DM gets from the sale of a GTC where would that put the price of the ISK then?

    Is there any way to know that Somer isn't connected to Marquee Dragon through more than the affiliate program?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From a business perspective i'm surprised some hasn't cut out the middle man and approached CCP on becoming a GTC reseller themselves.

      Delete
    2. We don't know that they haven't .... The founder of the Marquee Dragon site is Marcus Eikenberry, the original founder of Shattered Crystal Game Codes LLC and a long time RMT specialist. He's credited with being among the first to "monetize" UO and he is a close friend to the programmer responsible for the WOWGlider program that was the subject of a huge Blizzard lawsuit (even defending him on the record).

      Marquee Dragon itself looks to be one half of a clever plan that could exploit time code reselling to facilitate out of game RMT. If you are going to exploit and avoid detection then the best way to RMT is with the game companies assistance.... by providing an ISK bonus to GTC sales Somer is in effect undercutting the CCP official ISK price and doing so while getting rewards and praise from CCP.

      We don't know Somer's affiliations or Marquee Dragon's but at over 1,000,000 GTC's sold (http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/community-spotlight-markee-dragon/) we are looking at serious money even at only $1 per pop as an affiliate. Marquee is presumably generating even more income since by all accounts there isn't anything to suggest using Marquee to buy GTC's. No one just goes there ... you get a referral and the best guess would say that Somer would be the main referral service for Marquee. If Somer has captured 1/2 of the referrals for Marquee to reach 1 M GTC's then the owner is sitting on $500,000 cash.

      I'd like Somer to advertise how many GTC's they have sold.

      Delete
    3. @DSJ - One slight correction. That's over $1 million in sales, not 1 million GTC. But over 28,000 GTC is still a lot of game time.

      Delete
    4. Sorry, Noizy. From the spotlight "Having sold over 1 million EVE Time codes..."

      Delete
    5. You're right. I just listened to the YouTube video again. That means he's probably paid out almost $2 million to his affiliates.

      Delete
  3. Actually the Blink site says you get 200m Blink Credit. Note lack of "s".

    Everything on the site then refers to ISK.

    Compare to a bank saying you will get a 200m Account Credit. You would expect that to be in the currency of the account - not some other form of token.

    You've not missed anything, it's really just that nobody has looked at this in detail. The separate parts of this, ETC and lottery, have been done many times before and there are many examples of each. It was only when they innovated by offering an incentive to buy ETCs, that it moved to RMT.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So if my math skills don't fail me. Does that mean SOMER, has made about 10 million US dollars off of RMT? Holy crap I need to start a lottery site and quit my day job.

    (1,241,981,842,274,868 / 1,000,000,000 ) x 8.75 = 10,867,341

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No - SOMER only get RL money from referring gamblers to Markee Dragon to buy Timecodes, and to encourage gamblers to do so they reward those players who use their affiliate link (NOT all Markee Dragon customers - the wording in the article is a little ambiguous on that point) with 200m in Blink Credit for a 60 day timecode or 100m for a 30 day timecode (plus 200m/100m extra for every set of 4 timecodes bought together, so 3x 60 day timecode would be worth 600m credit but 4x would be worth 1bn credit, 8x would be worth 2b etc). SOME of SOMER's "Total prizes won!" count will be prizes won with that bonus credit, which is the only part that SOMER actually get paid for. As far as I know, SOMER do not publish information that would tell us how much of their total prizes count came from credit from GTC sales.

      SOMER do NOT get RL money for every single ISK they give out as a prize.

      Delete
    2. That's pay-outs via his lotteries, not his 'bonus' referral GTC credit.

      Delete
    3. Not so fast. The alleged RMT only applies to Blink Credit given out for GTCs purchased from Markee Dragon. It DOES NOT include all the ISK winners have taken home.

      Delete
    4. So what percentage of the winnings have been generated by blink credit from GTC sales? If its just a tenth that's still a millon dollars right? And isn't most of the staff paid in isk and plex?

      Seems I read a lot of people only play with credit from sales. They get a good deal on their game time and get to gamble "for free".

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Regarding Somer Blink payouts, the average payout on a blink is 80% of the bids. However, the site incentivizes you to take your payout as blink credit rather than isk. This way, you start with some credit, say 200m, take payouts as blink credit (5% bonus!), now you have 160m etc etc etc down to when you've lost all your money without removing any from the system. They use the total isk + credit payouts to make their "1.25 quadrillion isk" figure

    Blink tokens are obtained whenever blink credit is added to the account, whether the credit is added via GTC purchase, isk deposit, or prize redemption.

    Also, great post, and nice analysis :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The winnings advertised is Turnover, not actual prizes - it is misleading

      Delete
  7. "I read, but cannot confirm, that SOMERblink pays out 80% of all bets back to players."

    SOMERblink lotteries turn an ISK profit by charging more for all the tickets for each lottery than the prize itself costs them; the amount varies depending on the item in question, but it's usually 15-25% more than the value of the prize.

    Obviously if a player only buys some of the tickets in a lottery the possibilities exist both for them to win far more than they put in (or received as credit) or win back nothing, but on average players will win back what they put in, less the ~20% more than prize value SOMERblink charge for their tickets.

    Most importantly for the topic at hand, the most direct way for a player to get ISK in EVE from Credit on SOMERblink would be to buy 100% of the tickets in an auction, as this would guarantee that they get the prize. If they do so then they will definitely lose that ~20% of their credit back to SOMERblink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is an important point: the players don't get ISK directly, only an increased chance to win ISK - and I'd really like to see how this balances out in the big picture. For everybody making big wins there must be somebody who doesn't win anything, 200M credit or not, otherwise SOMER would be broke.

      Another point is that SOMER gets the the commission fee regardless whether they hand out a credit or not. And unlike the DNSBlack raffle, players get actual items commensurate in value with the amount of money they spend: ie. somebody spending $2500 would receive 70 GTC, and not just one.

      I am not making the call whether or not SOMER is RMTing or not (and if they're RMTing, whether it was intentional), only saying that there are differences between these two cases.

      Delete
  8. I'm one of those people that take full advantage of Blink's bonus offerings. This year alone I've probably purchased 3 grand worth of GTCs for plex. I've taken about 30 billion in converted-to-ISK winnings out of blink on top of that.

    I'm basically too lazy to do anything in-game about making money. Even if it's the easiest and least time consuming shit possible. I financed a titan this year, a super last year and multiple character purchases this way. Worth it to do the one thing I love to do in this game: PvP.

    Supid? Maybe. But I don't care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not stupid on your part whatsoever. Where it becomes shady is that they are making IRL money off of that through hidden kickbacks/commissions.

      Delete
    2. I don't think it's hidden - affiliate programs with GTC sellers are an old hat.

      Delete
  9. I guess the question is what should CCP do now (assuming, with apologies to Dinsdale Piranha they're the innocent dupes of a sophisticated workaround that gets around their anti-RMT rules)?

    Should they ban DNSBlack and the unfortunate new recipient of his character. He broke the rule to publicise his point and has been proved correct but he still broke the rules.

    Should they stop dealing in GTCs? As I understand it they make less profit on a GTC sale than they would on the same amount of plex and any site that sells or affiliates to a GTC seller is "involved in RMT" when promoted in-game by players. What about Amazon, don't they pay people who send traffic to them? Amazon are currently featured on TMC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I understand it, that would only be a problem if TMC takes the ad revenue they get and converts (some of) it to ISK to pay their staff,

      That's purely hypothetical, as I have no information at all about how TMC is run. I'd frankly be surprised if they're doing it.

      Now, if CCP outlawed in-game assets as in-kind payment for out-of-game work, that would make things very interesting indeed...

      Delete
    2. Actually, I am opposed to getting rid of GTC sellers as they actually help make PLEX an effective counter to the ISK selling sites like IGE, who recently left the ISK market.

      Delete
    3. @Stabs - You're assuming that DNSBlack actually sold his character and assets. Has anyone actually confirmed that?

      Delete
    4. @ Yes I am and no, not as far as I know.

      On the other hand (and this isn't in relation to DNSBlack who i think should be forgiven regardless) a game company is not a legal system. If a players says "I cheated" I think a game company is entitled to ban them and that "lol was just trolling" isn't much of a defence after someone gets banned.

      Delete
    5. @Dersen - If TMC takes the ad revenue and then purchases PLEX directly from CCP, or purchases GTCs and converts them to PLEX through CCP, then it is okay. But if TMC took the ad money and then did a conversion without the involvement of CCP, that violates the EULA & ToS.

      Delete
  10. So, Somer get money by running is site, okay and so what?
    Are you shocked that someone who must have a good hardware and stuff for his website try to get some money back while running it?
    Would you be shocked if he was making like 100$ /months, using it all on good hardware/services for the blink website? I don't think so.
    The issue is that from what you found, he seems to be making WAY more money than that, and so it not only paying for what he uses, but also making money by doing it.
    So I have a question for you : is it bad to be successful? I don't think so.
    If it was Somer goal to make RL money with blinks it would be bad, but I doubt it was the case here.
    Should CCP do something to avoid people can make lots of money while running this type of thing? Yes! But that does not means forbidding it. As we are on the grey area, they shouldn't make black and white decisions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are either a shill for SOMER, dense, or obtuse.

      The fact is that SOMERblink allows people to use an put of game transaction to gain items within the game. The second part is that CCP, by omission our commission has allowed this to happen for years, and then has rewarded them in game. Repeatedly so rewarded them.

      If Hilmar could not find it within himself to spawn a thorax for his mining corp buddy, how so can CCP countenance rewarding an in game organization for what amounts to RMT.

      Delete
    2. If CCP had any self respect, they'd be doing what it takes to sell the GTCs direct and stop letting 10 million dollars go out the door while they're making less than 5million per year profit (you can view their financials). Srsly. If you were running a business and making 5 mill a year on 100mill in expenses and the guy selling "tickets" to your content was making 10mill, would you start firing people? There's just no other way to say this: CCP's management have no clue what they're doing. None.

      Delete
  11. No research was required here Nosy. It's simple math. Knowing Markee pays SOMER for the sales referrals and SOMER gives 200m free to each person that buys GTC in this way is a simple formula. Player pays $$ to markee, Markee pays $$ to Somer, SOMER pays ISK to player. That's about as RMT as it gets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, maybe you're right, but I wanted to spell it out in the simplest terms possible to make sure I didn't miss anything.

      Delete
    2. I still don't get what the fuss is about. What they are actually selling is a service, no-ones making people buy game codes through that link, if people do they are getting extra 'credits' to use that service and the service provider is getting a kick back on that. This is how life works, its not RMT in my eyes. Its not Somer selling isk its Somer selling its service....

      But I can understand how the tinfoil hatters are freaking out.

      Delete
    3. @ Anonymous right above. - The reason that people are freaking out is that this is clearly a real money transaction. It is not the promotional credits that are given out, because those are okay. If SOMER wanted to give out extra ISK for someone depositing a large sum of ISK into an account, that would be within the EULA and ToS also. It is when SOMER gives the ISK in exchange for purchasing out-of-game merchandise that is the problem and what makes this illicit RMT.

      Delete
  12. I dont think any of the dev's looking into somer cared about its RMT

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3755340#post3755340

    "Offering a (small) ISK bonus for doing community work in a provable way is from my personal perspective fine. Please note that this is my personal opinion and not official ruling."

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think, when everything is stripped away, it will come down to this: CCP doesn't make much money and it doesn't look like they ever will unless Valkyrie gets developed before they run out of funding (either you or one of the other bloggers broke out their financials recently). Selling GTCs is an important component of their revenue stream, so they have a vested interest in anything that increases sales. Here's where I put on my tinfoil hat and you roll your eyes. They need funding. Markee wants to make more money. They now BOTH have a vested interest in the success of EVE. So what happens when Markee's representative comes to the table with liquid capital and a proposition? At the end of the day, should we care? Without the funding, CCP is on very shaky financial ground. Are we making a deal with the Devil or reaping the beneficence of an Angel? Hard to say.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, today I bought 14 GTCs by banner on SOMER website, I got 3.4bil credits as reward. I played a few bigger blinks, lost some, won some, at the end I had 1.5mil in credits and moros and rorqual in winnings plus some small ships. I checked caps prices on market in-game, decided to get ISK instead of ships, left with 6bil in wallet. And I still have my 28 PLEXes which makes it like 23bil or sth like that.

    Meh, I don't see what that all fuzz is about :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. According to EULA:

    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.

    Raffle is not listed in the EULA, that's why neither DNSBlack nor SOMER Blink is breaching the EULA. Yes, technically they're doing RMT, but according to rules quoted above, they don't. My point of view is the point of the EULA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But doesn't a raffle still require a transfer, with the raffle just deciding who the recipient is going to be?

      Delete
    2. @Lukas - I addressed this in the post. If you take the entire paragraph, you will see that the phase "any other means". That is the legalese put in to cover things like this. Also, even if you are correct about the EULA, the ToS covers the transfer of goods also.

      Delete
    3. @NoizyGamer: I am not a lawyer, but I used literal interpretation:
      "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."

      Buying selling and auctioning [...] through any means is prohibited. that's how I uderstand it.

      @Druur agreed, raffle still requires a transfer. It seems I was wrong in the end.

      Delete
  16. Hmm, This http://youtu.be/ren--78GoG4 is a *gamboling* site... and Somerblink is a gambling site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Noted, corrected, and may I say this is the best comment yet.

      Delete
  17. This ignores a few small but important points. First of all the red highlighting at top is a literal red herring to the actual issue. the EULA forbids buying, selling, or auctioning the items. it does not forbid gambling. at that point the EULA stops, scrolling down to see that you cant use multiple shell transactions to buy and sell, which is the meaning of the red highlighted text has nothing to do with the fact that you are through multiple transactions betting on an item.

    The site gives you credits to use in gambling. the outcome of which isn't predetermined (unless the tinfoilers can come up with evidence of people being prevented from joining a blink so that a single person could take all the raffle tickets, and no someone buying them all right at the start doesn't count, unless code prevented others from buying them, getting there first isn't a crime/violation). It happens to be that the credits you get are turned in, at a varying rate for the actual raffle tickets. Because this is the only use for these credits they are still, when you receive them raffle tickets.

    It would be different if summer blink took the money and used in game currency to purchase plex that was then given to the character. that is RMT. Here the situation is different because first off summerblink doesn't sell GTC's. Maybe this failed to be realized, but that is actually important. They also receive no money from the players. they receive a referral bonus from people who buy GTC though a third party seller, from that seller.

    The situation with the selling of the one character through the purchase of a minimal number of GTC's where the number of tickets is pegged, not to the ingame item (GTC's as in summerblink) but to the real world dollar amount charged are two different issues. They are on the face similar, but would fall for different reasons.

    In the end since the "law" in this case is the EULA, and associated documents, is completely a CCP structure it is up to them to determine if something is a violation of the EULA or not. Armchair/desktop lawyering, of which all of this is, ends up being simple flag waving. The arbiter of the law (CCP) determines if it has been broken. that there could be similar situations where one is deemed RMT by ccp, and faces bans etc, while another with certain differences isn't is what the real world is about. I cant produce and sell hard liquor, someone who has done the proper paperwork can.


    before anyone gets in on this, no i am not a blink plant, and have infact never used their service. Being an engineer makes me inherently wary of gambling. it also lets me look at situations objectively.


    Tego

    ReplyDelete
  18. Forex Affaris.. Latest Currency news updates, latest forex trading business updates, trading updates, forex trading latest news, forex brokers directory, forex brokers list, Dollars news affairs, Stock Markets, stock market news, stock market analysis, technology news, international forex markets, international forex business news and all updates about Forex Trading
    ForexAffairs.Com

    ReplyDelete