The day finally came. With the end of 2021 I stopped monitoring illicit ISK sales on the grey market site Player Auctions. After compiling a data base based on user reviews from January 2017 to December 2021, I think I have enough data to draw some conclusions and make pretty graphs. The one below is an example.
Do I think grey market sales have really declined 50% over the past year. No. Player Auctions has a much bigger competitor that has evolved over the past 5 years. Today, the site (which I won't name) boasts between 2 and 3 times the number of sellers as PA. Sellers on Player Auctions also have lost access to popular payment processors, such as PayPal and Alipay, for receiving funds for their sales.
What made Player Auctions unique was the ability to browse user reviews without a PA account. Following the irrelevance of independent ISK selling web sites in 2013-2014, I needed a source for price data. Player Auctions filled that role for years. But especially during 2021, the site was a shadow of its former glory, with the last major seller leaving at the end of October.
Five years is a long enough time to establish a good data set. For the last month, I have enjoyed not looking at sales data. Quite frankly, the story hasn't changed much. I took a quick look and the amount of ISK sold in January has risen from 24.7 billion ISK per day, which is up 9.3% from December's daily average of 22.6 billion ISK. When a change of 2 billion ISK makes that big of a difference, I need to find another source of data.
So goodbye daily monitoring. The next task is to take the gathered information and see if it proves or disproves my theories about RMT sales and the effect of PLEX on the grey/black market. In the meantime, I'm taking all the time I used to monitor the markets and am playing EVE instead.