Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SOMERblink: Headshot

I think that things are starting to settle down on the SOMERblink ISK for GTC sales front.  At 14:21 EVE time yesterday Katarina Reid, the player who CCP was allowing to run an ISK for GTC referral system on the EVE Online forums, made the following post:


Headshot

Not sure if im allowed to link the letter given to resellers but it says to stop players trading ingame items for cash. ETC + bonus items may not be direclty or indirectly traded by the buyer for isk. EULA says cant sell ingame stuff for cash. 10 days for reseller to stop it or else.

You can still support me for no reward when you buy your ETC's here

$660 made for me
377 sale of ETC's
$13,195 for CCP
188b given out
The letter apparently was shown to her by an employee at Markee Dragon, although Katarina didn't post the letter for fear of violating the EULA/ToS.  Good move as I think publishing violates point 18 of the EVE Online Terms of Service.  Also, when asked why he was ending the sale immediately, he replied, "Don't want to annoy GM's anymore and after 10 days it's a breach of reseller agreement. So I will shut it down now. I made my point."

UPDATE:  I've been informed by Marcus Eikenberry, the owner of Markee Dragon, that no one at Markee Dragon showed Katarina the letter.  After Mr. Eikenberry pointed this out, I reread Katarina's post and realized that it could also indicate she was contacted by Shattered Crystal, with whom she is an affiliate.  Shattered Crystal would have a definite interest in making sure that Katarina stopped giving out ISK for GTC referrals.  The link to Markee Dragon came from another post Katarina wrote in a different thread.

Also, in fairness, I think I should post the relevant part of Mr. Eikenberry's email:
"Your latest article you state that an employee at Markee Dragon provided the letter.  This is not correct.  Our employees have not seen the letter and we have not shared it with anyone.  Their source is someone else.

"I just want to make that very clear because the privacy of our business partners and customers is very important to us.  This would be a violation of trust and it would violate our privacy policy.   We would never share anything like this."

UPDATE 2: Katarina seems to have confirmed that she received the information from Shattered Crystal in this post.

I can confirm that Katarina's view of the letter is correct because a copy of the letter was in my inbox when I woke up Tuesday.  I received it from one of my many new contacts I've established while covering this story.  I can't quote from it due to the ToS.  However, I think I can safely state that the exact bonus scheme that SOMERblink uses was described as violating the EVE Online EULA, specifically Section 6B.

One important thing I think Katarina left out is that while the GTC resellers have 10 days to get their player affiliates in line, the letter did not state how long the player sites have to comply.  So I would think that websites would want to work quickly to comply.

One site which also ran an ISK for GTC referral system is EVE-GAMES.NET.  The site is an affiliate of BattleClinic Deep Space Supply.  The site quickly updated, stating, "We have discontinued the Time Code Bonus at the request of CCP."

Eve-Games.net new GTC referral page
I don't know of others except for SOMERblink.  As of 0800 EVE time today SOMERblink was still advertising their BlinkCredit promotion for purchasing game time codes from Markee Dragon on the site.

SOMERblink GTC referral page @ 2013.10.30 0754
Of course, just because one player site can change quickly doesn't mean all of them can.  Perhaps SOMERblink's web designer is only available on to work on the site on weekends.  So players should give SOMERblink a little time to get things straightened out.  Something tells me a lot of eyes will stare at that page in the coming 10 days.

15 comments:

  1. This is a GREAT LOSS to the eve Community

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  2. No, this is a great loss to the personal bank account of one individual.

    For the Eve community Somer mostly just took a lot of isk, and redistributed a small fraction of it elsewhere in return for some good PR. Never think that this was done for the community. It was done for personal profit, and the community aspects were just good advertising.

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  3. You wouldn't be violating the ToS. Everything is off the eve site and out of game and you're not bound by any rules governing resellers. Nor is this a GM, Dev, or Moderation communication violation, since those only apply to forums. You're not NDA'd and neither is the person/business that sent you a copy. This is a business letter and it isn't restricted in any way.

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    Replies
    1. From the Terms of Service:

      18. You may not publish private communications from CCP, their agents or representatives or EVE Online volunteers without authorization.

      The General Counsel of CCP definitely falls in that category.

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    2. You may not publish them ON THE CCP SITE. Terms of service don't apply to normal human beings outside of CCP's sphere of control. *exasperated sigh* The ToS also says you can't use abusive language, and I'm pretty sure most, if not all, EVE fansites do a LOT of that.

      Delete
    3. The terms of service do not include "on the CCP site". So you'll have to wait until either CCP puts out a dev blog or someone else publishes the document.

      Delete
  4. And nothing of value was lost.

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  5. Nosy, congratulations. You identified an RMT powerhouse and made enough publicity to force CCP to close them.

    Great job!

    I'm very interested now how it will affect the prices of flat out black hat RMT ISK price. I believe the ISK of Somer came from botters as it was safe for them. They could give trillions to Somer without Team Security giving a damn as it was legit "gambling loss". Some might stop RMT-ing, the others will move to black hat RMT sites, driving their prices down.

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    Replies
    1. All I did was report on what was happening. The real heroes were the whistle-blowers in this, DNSBlack and Katarina Reid. DNSBlack for realizing that the only way to get any traction on this was to do something totally crazy to attract attention and try to motivate the community to do something. Katarina Reid then took DNSBlack's original idea and executed to perfection, thus making CCP look really foolish and highlighting that what was going on was bad. Then when he was presented proof that CCP was changing its interpretation of the policy he immediately shut down his operation, making a point it wasn't about the money, it was the principle.

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    2. Yeah except that the players gave 100% winnings in their lotteries, and Somer doesn't, so it's not RMT.

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  6. I have a feeling you're right about Somer making quite a lot of GTC sales over the next 10 days. People will want to stock up while they still can.

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  7. I was amused that Eve News 24 took this and jumped ... identifying Katarina as an employee of Shattered Crystal. (http://evenews24.com/2013/10/29/somer-blinks-bonus-gets-closed-down/)

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  8. So now, will CCP permaban all these groups/individuals for engaging in RMT? Or will CCP moonwalk and just say that it was a EULA breach and at most give them a slap on the wrist?

    That's the shoe I'm waiting for, that will hold my faith in CCP or choke it with filth.

    Has CCP actually stated that this was RMT? Or just that a EULA breach of some sort took place? They've stated live on stage and in dev blogs that RMT is a insta permaban, so lets see what they do.

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  9. According to another post by Katarina Reid, Somer has not been told to stop their RMT. https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3805465#post3805465

    "Me to Markeedragon
    People on somerblink are just telling everyone they havent been told to stop. People are expecting the resellers to shut everyone down and the longer it takes the worse it looks

    Markeedragon to me
    They are correct they have not been told to stop and we are working with CCP on long term solutions. "

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  10. Noooooo... my only reason to play EVE through GTC will be gone, nooooooooooooo

    KHAAAN , err CCPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!

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