Thursday, December 17, 2009

100 arrows "scam"

It started as a simple morons of the week post: morons bought arrows for 5-600% markup if they were stacked as 100, rather than 1000. It works as a charm and from now on it is no longer accepted for Morons of the Week:

This business has drawn some controversy. Lot of people claimed it's "unethical", it's a scam.

The second answer is simple: since no one was ever banned for doing this, the lawmaker of Azeroth, Blizzard considered it legal, case closed, it's not a scam. Note that "scam" is a legal term, not an ethical: you are "scammer" if convicted scammer and the activity is "scam" if someone doing it is convicted. Innocent until convicted, period.

The ethical part is nastier. We could shortcut it by claiming "there is no ethics, everything is good to go until illegal". However by doing so we abandon the chance to know the logic behind "good" laws. As voting citizens we should not do it. We are voting citizens in WoW too, we can vote with our $15/month.

Those who condemn this claim that the "victim" makes a honest mistake, he believes that he buys a full stack while he buys 100. At first let's see it technically: below you can see the Auctioneer and the standard UI version of the two stacks. There is no graphical glich, that make them look the same:
In the age of internet your machine can turn into a virus-driven spam-factory if you don't notice a single I-l or 0-O difference in an URL. (How many of you fell for "gevion", the troll?). Mistaking "10.." for "100" has much less consequences.

Granted, the buyer still makes a mistake. However all buyers make a mistake if we make business profit. The guy who buys Ice cold milk did not make a mistake (hint: winter veil event)? The guy who buys crystallized fire is OK? The guy who buys vendor item for 1000% profit is not a moron? Is the guy who did not stacked up saronite before the patch and buys now for 200% of 3.2.2 prices is smart?

If people would not be morons and slackers, "business profit" could not exist. There could only be "work profit". I crafted glpyhs, you pay for the time you saved compared to buying herbs and finding crafter and paying him work fee. I went to Tanaris for the recipe, you pay for the time.

The trick is that "the time" is different for me and you. "Work profit" encourages "technological advancement". The mass-crafting glyph factory making 1000 glyphs takes 3 hours (2 of them AFK or semi-AFK). Finding crafter for 1 glyph 1000 times is much-much more. Buying 200 recipes in Tanaris takes much less time than buying 1 recipe 200 times. There is always profit for the smart worker.

However "business profit" is always leeching on M&S, guys who can't use their brain, wowhead and patch notes or too lazy to do anything on their own so condemned to do much more on command. If arrow business in unethical, then all of them are.

I think leeching on the M&S is good for the world. Business is a magical process that removes the wealth from the idiots and give it to the smart. Don't you ever wanted smart people to have power and not morons? Business is the way to reach that. In a society with perfectly fair market there would be no dumb people: they would simply starve to death (for good). Of course we are far from this Utopia. But every small step counts: sell arrows!

PS: the invisible hand of the market is already in motion, someone undercut my 800% arrows with 750% arrows, forcing me to post 720% arrows. In the presence of competition, the "100 arrow transformation" will go down to work fee region.

61 comments:

God said...

I've only gotten one hate mail about this so far, and I've made probably almost 1k. The best money maker has been the new epic bullets. One guy was the only producer, so he's kept the price at 30-35g, but it's slowly dropping as he undercuts my stacks of 100 with his stacks of 1000.

I almost felt bad when I saw the message, then I saw what he had to say and didn't feel too sorry for him.

Lawgnut said...

socials fail to realize they could be the "ethical" businessman by posting 100 stack arrows at 100% instead of 800%, therefore defeating scammers outright. but then who be the m&s in that situation if they're not selling for Real Value (tm)?

Anonymous said...

I did this arrow thing a little different.
I bought a stack for 4.5g, and posted the 100's for 9.5g.
I sold the entire stack.
Makes you wonder how stupid people are?

God said...

Awww, just noticed I lost my one chance to contribute a morons of the week screenshot. A nice picture of that guys hate mail and a mailbox full of 32g per 100 bullets.

Apparently he's the only one who's decided 320g per stack is a bit steep, as he's been the only one to complain.

If someone actually mailed me nicely and used decent punctuation, I might actually feel sorry for them and at least offer them a partial refund.

CTRL ALT Exile said...

I am trying this on my little server to check out the moron population and of course to fill my own pockets. I noticed someone was already doing this for the Arrows but hey why can't we share the moron market, it seems big enough.

MrBumpy said...

Recently stumbled onto this site and been reading over many of the blog posts. Some very good points being made here.

For this one, this happens all the time in RL.
In the game the consumer sees one stack for 5 gold, another for 15 gold so he buys the cheaper (for whatever reason).

There is no price per unit (like you see in grocery stores, assuming people even look at those) and they may have skipped over the 100-1000 amount, but just like you can buy a huge bulk product at a warehouse store for pennies on the dollar and pay much more for a smaller amount at a regular store, many people still buy the smaller product, and the seller makes a huge profit.

Now in the game, there is no such thing as expiration dates per se, so there's no reason to not buy bulk (or lowest ppu) unless you simply do not have the gold (which is unlikely), so I tend to believe that the way people buy and sell stuff in the game (such as this example) are influenced by their RL buying decisions.

Anonymous said...

I think the real danger of 100/stack ammo comes from M/S who then undercut you with their 1k stacks, not realizing that they're selling a different quantity and driving down the market sooner than it would normally go down.

Hirvox said...

you can buy a huge bulk product at a warehouse store for pennies on the dollar and pay much more for a smaller amount at a regular store, many people still buy the smaller product, and the seller makes a huge profit.
To be fair, most people don't buy ten pairs of shoes or half a ton of fuel for the simple reason that they can't use that much personally or intermediate storage would be a problem. It's even more apparent with perishable goods. Buying a family pack of food is just wasteful if you can't eat it all before it goes bad. Smaller package/stack sizes offer convenience for certain customers, and thus are sometimes wroth the extra cost.

Anonymous said...

@all the comments that say these people are dumb.

I had a guy try to buy some tools from me at Sears using coupons that said 10% off Men's apparel, $15 off Fine Jewelery and $25 off Sporting Goods. I had to explain to this gentleman SIX TIMES that the coupon does not apply to Tools, as they clearly state what they do apply to.

Needless to say, at this point, there isn't whole lot that could shock me about the stupidity of the general population.

Brian Inman said...

I am in the process of posting my video of my mailbox filling up multiple times selling Ice Cold Milk. I had put up alot a few days in advance to throw auctioneer off for those using it.

I have done this every year, and still hundreds of people buy it off the Auction House. It is like they don't think, and since the Gingerbread cookies have to be made they just assume that about the milk.

Eventually others figure it out, and undercut, and than someone else undercuts until it is no longer worth it.

I also made a killing on small eggs. I found a killer spot near Loch Modan and the mining site that has birds that drop them nonstop.

It is definitely some of the easiest money made.

Sten Düring said...

I guess most people tend to think in terms of the actual laws where they live.

Where I am from, the 100 arrows stunt isn't just unethical. You get a cease and desist order, and if not acted upon you receive a court order stating that you are forbidden to run ANY kind of business.

WoW is, however, a virtual entity with its own "laws". For example, many players wrongly believe it's illegal to sell accounts. It's not, but it IS a breach of the contract you enter with WoW.
Said contract is on many points, of course, in direct violation of our national laws, and therefore not applicable to begin with. Hence the small disclaimer that national legislation may or may not take prescedence over the contract itself.

GrG said...

Sten, how is it illegal? It's just buy cheap, sell really high. All the information to avoid such a deal is there, you just have to read it. What makes it illegal really?

morningstar said...

ok. If you're going to be applying real work ethics to in game trading why not apply them to the rest of the game.

You have qualms about perhaps pulling the wool over another player by selling them 100 arrows when perhaps they assumed it was 1000, yet I dont see the same concearn about killing that injured mage, half dead struggling to heal himself in a pvp battleground. Him sitting defensless and perhaps unarmed trying to eat and drink some life giving food perhaps.

Or what about the countless thousands of innocent birds and other egg laying creatures that are being hunted to extinction to fuel your egg selling needs at winter veil.

you cant pick and choose which ethics are applicable in game and which arent. If your being ethical you should apply it to all your gaming actions and not as a tool to judge others.
so only pull your sword or cast a spell to defend yourself, not to grind for mats or items.
wiping out a mine full of troggs that have done you no harm because some guy needs candles and will give you a shiney if you get them for him isnt ethical, yet you wont see anyone whining if you do that.
What the socials and ethical peopel are saying is, taking a players money is using guile is unethical, killing them isnt. so is, the ethical player, money and property worth more than life.

Applying YOUR real world values to others actions within a virtual world is silly. The Ah is just an extension of the rest of the game.

And blizzard put a mission into the game where you have to actively TORTURE a defencless captive. So much for ethics.

Anonymous said...

As an arrow seller myself I initially lost money to this as people took my buyers, then made a lot from it.

Eventually its coming around and if your business is ammo i suggest just listing in 100stacks at a tenth of your 'proper' 1000stack price. Most of the 100stack sellers, if not all, are just oppertunists who will dissapear once they realise that they cant make 10x profit anymore.

Okrane S. said...

This Gevion guy is so much fail that he deserves a post :)

The sad part about the arrow bussiness is that there isnt enough volume to go around... on my mid-low pop server there just arent that many hunters :(

Gevlon said...

@Sten: it's the same here. The GM's warning = "cease and desist". Ignore it and ban (= prison).

The GMs just CHOOSE not to ban this.

Micah said...

No one does this on my server, and I am personally not going to be the one to introduce it. I do see a lot of people posting 15 stacks at the same price as 20 stacks for crafting mats. Price/unit should probably be part of the default interface.

Anonymous said...

Ethics and Gevlon in the same sentence - why do I feel the need to take a shower.

Buyers beware - if there are sharks in the water and you are wondering who's blood it is - it's probably yours.

Ben Kennedy said...

What makes this a clear "scam" is the intent to deceive - the seller is attempting to trick the buyer by posting at 10x the price at 1/10th the quantity. There is no legitimate market-based reason to price this way.

Additionally, hunters are generally two standard deviations of intelligence below average players - taking advantage of their naive, childlike state makes this behavior all the more deplorable.

One could also reasonably make a case that selling reagents and vendor items is also a scam, because you may me leading people to believe that the only source of the item is the AH. However, many probably know the items are available elsewhere and they just would rather pay the premium for nor having to run around (and the cost will usually drop to reflect this).

Saiyuri said...

i dont see why people are acting all high and mighty butching about it being a scam... you can clearly see the quantity and if your to pressed for time (or a hunter with a 'naive, childlike state', although tbh saying people that play hunters are stupid seems alot worse than posting over priced arrows...) to check the stack size then its your own problem.

Ive just done this on my server and made 60g profit in the past hour alone and they havent even all sold yet - and tbh im going to carry on till people catch on then make some hunters in my guild happy by donating whatever arrows i have left over to them

(no one is posting bullets yet >.<)

Kevin said...

"However all buyers make a mistake if we make business profit."

Patently untrue. Business make a profit when they provide to their customers a good or service at a cost that is more than it costs the business to produce it but less than the cost (either direct cost or opportunity cost) it takes for the customer to produce that same good or service.

I buy my bread at the store and the grocery store and bakery make a profit on that purchase. Not because I made a mistake, but because the bread was $3 and I would have spent 2+ hours to make it myself. I make in excess of $30 an hour. So I can buy $3 bread and they will make a profit or I can make $60 bread. So they make a profit because they can produce bread that saves me $57.

Now, the "arrow business" which is actually a mis-stack scam is unethical but "legal." (The question isn't whether it is legal or not; Blizzard isn't a law-making body. It's whether it's against the rules.) This is not a business at all. You are intentionally trying to trick people into buying something because they have been lead to believe they are purchasing ten times the quantity they are actually receiving. It is an immoral activity to intentionally hurt your customers.

Iain said...

I've been doing this for the past week on my server.

I basically bought a single stack of saronite bars for 35g, crafted 10 full stacks of arrows and started posting the 100 stacks... but I'd only do it when others had full stacks on, and I'd only put up 10 at a time [so as not to flood the market].
I'd come back a couple of hours later, and the full stacks would be still on the AH, yet all mine would have sold - to the same person! [My favourite being a huntard called 'Talented']

I have *zero* personal issues doing this - the UI clearly shows when it's a 100 stack, so if the person is to lazy to read the information given to them, then that's /their/ problem - not our's!

And remember folks:
It is morally wrong to let a fool keep his money [or gold]

Willowbear said...

@Micah: Have you ever tried hovering your mouse pointer over a stack in the AH. Price per unit is already there. I'm guessing that is why you are here...for the badly needed education.

Willowbear said...

What makes this a clear "scam" is the intent to deceive - the seller is attempting to trick the buyer by posting at 10x the price at 1/10th the quantity. There is no legitimate market-based reason to price this way.

...

One could also reasonably make a case that selling reagents and vendor items is also a scam, because you may me leading people to believe that the only source of the item is the AH. However, many probably know the items are available elsewhere and they just would rather pay the premium for nor having to run around (and the cost will usually drop to reflect this).

@Ben Kennedy: By your definition there are a lot of companies in the market that are running 'criminal' operations. What you've stated is complete hogwash. There is a legitimate business reason for selling things in smaller quantities. Not everyone can afford the whole stack price. Or maybe they don't need a stack of 100 of say northern spice because they just want to make one stack of food. The factors that shape demand are not just price, but quantity and packaging. And no there is no case to be made for reselling vendor goods either. If people are too damn lazy or stupid to do a little research then that's not my problem.

As I pointed out to Micah it seems like the most basic thing available to people to help them shop smart in the AH is not used.

Because EVERYONE can verify the price per unit of an item in the AH it is not possible for them to be scammed. So please stop the excuses. You may not like what they are doing. I know I hate it. But I make sure and take my time and VERIFY before I buy. If I don't and I get caught by the short-stack-same-price trick then it is MY fault for not catching it.

ungulant said...

I specifically asked a GM about this, and was told that it's perfectly legit. They are my good and I am free to sell them for as much as I want. And because I am not falsely advertising (saying "wts stack of arrows for X", and then giving them 100), this isn't by their definition a scam.

Gevlon said...

@Ben: if my INTENT is to teach them to be careful, then it's not a scam?

@Kevin: Have you actually read the post before commenting? (see "work profit")

cheesewhiz said...

Meh I have made a great deal of money selling ice cold milk over the last few days. I don't see it as a scam and don't consider the people who bought them M&S.

I'm just providing a service, most of my customers who bought the ice cold milk also bought my ginger bread cookies. ‘Time is money friend’ By buying the milk and cookies in one place they save time and 50s for a glass of milk is barely noticable for a lvl 80 player.

ungulant said...

For one, you should believe me because my argument makes sense.
Blizzard's definition of a scam is:
# Acquiring items or any other "possessions" from another player through misinformation, confusion, or fraud (Scamming)

Now, the only part that could possibly apply is "confusion", but it's not a confusion you created. Confusion would be what I said earlier ("wts stack of X", and you hand them a stack of 100 X, because you didn't specifically say a full stack).

As for why you shouldn't do it, because you can get banned for doing it.

Anonymous said...

you buy stuff at the dollar store cause you are cheap and think you get a good deal. for 1 dollar you get 5 feet of tinfoil but at walmart for 5 bucks you get 50 feet.

RL example of 100 vs 1000 stacks of bullets.

Forreststump said...

Whether we are talking about ammo... or reagents... or vendor-sold recipes... or vendor-sold pets... or whatever, there are only two words that matter:

CAVEAT EMPTOR

That is all.

Nielas said...

There are actually three aspects to this issue: business ethics, WoW-law and RL-law.

This is clearly unethical if your goal is to sell people 100 stacks of arrows when they think they are buying 1000 stacks. One my try to argue that the buyer actually wants to buy the 100 stacks for that much but this is just an excuse and any reasonable WoW player will not buy that argument. You are intentionally giving your customer a 'bad deal' and do nothing to warn them of it.

WoW-law is based on the rules the GMs enforce and since enforcing rules on this is pretty much impossible and the damage is not game-breaking they decline to act.

RL-law actually has problems dealing with these types of situations. This is an internet-based contract and the rules for those still lack wide ranging legal precedents. Legal concepts like 'mutual assent' and 'uniteral mistake' become hard to apply becaused they are based so much in direct person-to-person communication. Something as simple as whether the buyer used a buy-out or a bid to buy the arrows can flip the legal equation since it changes the offeror and acceptor in the contract.

Ben Kennedy said...

@Willow: "There is a legitimate business reason for selling things in smaller quantities"

Don't insult anyone's intelligence saying there is a legitimate reason for selling 100 of something instead of 1000 or
something for the same cost. The only reason to do so is to trick the careless buyer by exploiting the visual similarity between 100 and 1000.

"fraud: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick"

Of course people may pay a premium for smaller quantities, e.g. one crystallized X to make an eternal X. The ammo "trick" however does not fall into this category.

One cannot excuse this behavior by claiming "well, the should have checked the stack size so its their fault". If your friend or guildmate wanted to buy ammo directly, would you seriously drop a stack of 100 into the trade window and hope they didn't notice? I sure hope not, because they would think you were a total jerk for trying to trick them. If its not OK to be a total jerk to you friends, a high standard of ethical behavior demands that you treat strangers the same way.

@Gevlon: if want to teach Grandma a lesson in trusting others and induce her into selling you her house for 1 million pesos instead of 1 million dollars, have you not still not taken advantage of her? Your underlying intent does not matter - the questions are A) did you attempt to deceive and B) was the other person in fact deceived. The "why" does not matter.

Now, if the seller were to return 9/10 of the gold with a kind note explaining to them how they need to be more careful (and maybe offer to COD them ammo in the future), then I think perhaps you have left the realm of fraud - you are not keeping their gold forever, and you are perhaps gaining a customer, though in the end you still just may end up angering people.

cheesewhiz said...

@Gevlon: The one thing that continuously suprises me about your blog and your comments is your contempt for your own customers.

I never send any of my own sales into ‘morons of the week’ even when it’s something bought for an extortionate price because it’s bad business practice.

Plus it’s unhealthy; people who assume that they are smarter than everyone else get mentally lazy.

@Brian Inman: Try the forest just outside of Silvermoon City. He dragon hawks there spawn continously and have a 100% drop rate of small eggs and about a third of them drop more than one egg each. Even for alliance it’s worth the trip.

Tonus said...

There is an intent to deceive. Blizzard takes no action because there are already plenty of ways to verify what you are purchasing, as long as you take a moment to pay attention. Aside from the different ways that they are displayed ("100" vs "10...") you can also hover the cursor over the item and see the per-unit price breakdown.

If a person found a way to make a stack of 100 arrows display "1000" or "10..." or show the wrong per-unit amount on mouseover, that would be a scam and Blizzard would take action.

Take a second or two to verify what you're buying, and this stops being a problem. What I'm wondering is, how many players who are fooled into buying stacks of 100s fail to notice this and continue to buy them? If this is still working, there have to be quite a few of them, as they have to return for more arrows or bullets before long.

cheesewhiz said...

@Gevlon: Hmmmmm it's seems have also fallen for your troll... Sorry Gevlon.

@Gevion: That’s actually quite a clever little hack the I and L are completely indistinguishable in the normal blog comments section. And the tone of the post is offensive but close enough to Gevlon’s usual style that it isn’t noticeable.

But why do it at all? If you find this blog offensive why bother to read it?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, though, how dumb are people? All you need to do is mouseover to see how much you're paying per item. If people are too dumb to figure it out, they deserve to be paying too much for that shit.

I'm astounded we don't have more of these issues on my server, but w/e

Genaro said...

I can't believe that nobody has picked you up on this yet Gevlon- "In a society with perfectly fair market there would be no dumb people: they would simply starve to death (for good). Of course we are far from this Utopia"

When you are dealing with the game economics of WOW and how money is there to be made (whether from M&S or because what you as a vendor does has economic utility) your expertise and comments are very useful and entertaining.

However, when you attempt to carry the Goblin philosophy over to the real world your ideas become deeply abhorrent. If you cannot see what is wrong with the statement you made above then I feel sorry for you. To call the situation you describe "fair" or a "Utopia" is perverse in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that all buyers need to beware... I think it is hilarious how some of you point out the rules against 'confusion' and 'misrepresenations' and then spin them to prove that selling said arrows is, in fact, ethical.

Meh, let me guess... it's actually and "handling fee" for breaking down arrows into smaller (easier to carry) bunches. Speaking of bunches...

Willowbear said...

Don't insult anyone's intelligence saying there is a legitimate reason for selling 100 of something instead of 1000 or
something for the same cost. The only reason to do so is to trick the careless buyer by exploiting the visual similarity between 100 and 1000.

"fraud: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick"

Of course people may pay a premium for smaller quantities, e.g. one crystallized X to make an eternal X. The ammo "trick" however does not fall into this category.

One cannot excuse this behavior by claiming "well, the should have checked the stack size so its their fault". If your friend or guildmate wanted to buy ammo directly, would you seriously drop a stack of 100 into the trade window and hope they didn't notice? I sure hope not, because they would think you were a total jerk for trying to trick them. If its not OK to be a total jerk to you friends, a high standard of ethical behavior demands that you treat strangers the same way.


Intelligence? I based my comments on the illustrations supplied with this blog post which clearly show 100 stacks for 9.99g buy out and 1000 stacks for 15.99g buy out. That represents the point I made. And if you bothered reading my response I did comment on what you are referring to. I consider it deplorable, but it is NOT fraud or a scam. A trick to catch the lazy and inattentive, but not fraud or scam. You seem to feel the need to bias your case with partial quotes. By your definition and ironically your quote aren't you committing fraud? Here is a more complete exposition of how the law views fraud:

Elements of fraud
Common law fraud has nine elements: ref-Morlan v. Kelly, No. 2009-UP-002, SC Supreme Court, 2009. [http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/opinions/displayUnPubOpinion.cfm?caseNo=2009-UP-002], ref-Schnellmann v. Roettger, 373 S.C. 379, 382, 645 S.E.2d 239, 241 (2007).[http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/opinions/displayOpinion.cfm?caseNo=4074]

1 a representation of an existing fact;
2 its materiality;
3 its falsity;
4 the speaker's knowledge of its falsity;
5 the speaker's intent that it shall be acted upon by the plaintiff;
6 plaintiff's ignorance of its falsity;
7 plaintiff's reliance on the truth of the representation;
8 plaintiff's right to rely upon it; and
9 consequent damages suffered by plaintiff.

Most jurisdictions in the United States require that each element be pled with particularity and be proved with clear, cogent, and convincing evidence (very probable evidence) to establish a claim of fraud. The measure of damages in fraud cases is to be computed by the "benefit of bargain" rule, which is the difference between the value of the property had it been as represented, and its actual value. Special damages may be allowed if shown proximately caused by defendant's fraud and the damage amounts are proved with specificity.


This would not stand up to the legal test for fraud.

I never excused the behavior I merely put the responsibility of the problem where it belongs...on the buyer. They SHOULD have checked the stack size. Because they didn't THEY are responsible. No one coerced them into the purchase. And they have the tools EASILY available to check values.

What kind of friend/guildmate are you to make them pay for things? I never sell to either. I'll gladly make/enchant the item if they bring me the mats. If they are short on something during a raid I GIVE it to them and never expect to be paid back. My god man how deplorable is that to charge your friends/guildmates. I'm just appalled. /sarcasm off

Ben Kennedy said...

@Willow: "This would not stand up to the legal test for fraud."

I never said it met some legal requirement for fraud (thus the Webster quote) - but you can never get around the fact that posting 100 at slightly less than the price of 1000 is an intent to deceive the unobservant buyer. That it the material point, and that is why it is unethical. The terms "trick", "fraud", and "scam" have the same underlying element. Or, a "trick to catch the lazy an unattentive", as you put it.

You even call such behavior "deplorable", so I'm not even sure you are are arguing with me about. If you want quibble over calling it a "deplorable trick" but not "fraud" or "scam" then fine, whatever. Either way, such behavior is unethical.

morningstar said...

If you go into a shop to buy a pair of size 20 trousers
You pick up a pair of trousers CLEARLY marked size 10 at the top of a pile marked size 20 and buy them.

Who's fault is it you bought the wrong size.

Now if the shop charges 10 times more for size 10s than size 20s. becausde it wants to and has that perogative.
So you pay the more expensive price because YOU failed to try the trousers on or check the correct price and size, it is not the sellers fault.
You may have some come back for the fact they where in the wrong pile, but they are clearly sized, clearly priced and sitting directly alongside other products with the size and price you expect. And yet you buy the wrong ones and pay 10 times the price. because YOU DIDNT check the prices or size.

If I flood the market with 250 single auctions of saronite ore at 1g each when 20 sells for 10g knowing that lazy people cant be bothered scrolling through page after page of listings and to save time buy mine is that a scam.

And if I list the same items as you with a lower bid price but a higher buy out knowing the default interface will list my items first and people will assume my Buy out is actually lower and buy my item even though yours is cheaper is that a scam.
the same devices are there for all to use, it is a question of knowledge. I know the listings show lower bid prices first not buy outs. the buyer assumes the list by price is list by buy out.

None of these are scams, they simply take advantage of people assumptions, lazyness, lack of experience and sheer stupidity.
they dont give any one player an advantage over another.
Common practices in nearly every business in the world. Ethics or not.

Auction house listings are primitive and cant even use any marketing gimmicks to fool buyers.

Sellers cant DUPE a player in any way. its near impossible. All a seller can do is say here is X of an item and i want Y gold for them. That is it. If a buyer comes along with preconceptiosn that items are sold in piles of 10X and cost Y that is his problem. The selelr isnt telling him you are getting 10x and only supplying X. his prices are CLEARLY displayed. His Quantity is also CLEARLY displated.
If a buyer has modified his display in such a way that it becomes unclear to an items qty that is hardly the sellers fault is it.
Assuming and declaring in a public forum that everyone who posts a pile of 100 instead of 1000 is a scammer is in fact quite libelous and would in fact in a real world situation as you ethical posters are so fond of using, fuind you at the receiving end of an expensive libel case.

Cataclysmic said...

Its a scam because you have told us your intention. To scam people who think they are buying 1000x stack rather than 100x and not reading it correctly.

Thats what a scam is:- a scammer tries to find ways to scam people by tricking or confusing people out of their money (gold in this case).

A phishing email for example that asks you to log in to verify your wow account so you don't get banned asks you to login at www.wow-europe.com but if you hover above the address its a blatent dodgy site address.

The phisher then can't state "its not a scam because if the M&S hovered above the address he would of noticed its a different website".

Your intention is to trick people into buying your 100xstack for the price of 1000x, and that makes it a scam.

Gevlon said...

@Ben Kennedy: At first you can and shall differentiate "gevlon" and "gevion". You can click on the portrait and see the blog's name. You can search the page for "gevlon" and it will not stop at "gevion".

The same way one can stop the "scam".
I fully agree with you that it's a lie if someone claims "selling 100 is equal to selling in small quantities vs discount".

I claim that the buyer is an idiot and should be "scammed" for the good of the society. If I let him keep the money, he'll just waste it on a Mammoth or some other nonsense.

Micah said...

@Willowbear, can you sort by a tooltip? Stacking by 15 instead of 20 means if you sort by price, someone buying 20 stacks of borean leather may accidently buy a few 15 stacks. I didn't think I would have to go into so much detail, but clearly you need people to talk slower for you. I'm not even sure why you had to get insulting.

Villainus said...

I wanted to test the limits of this stack reduction method and the epic arrows were perfect timing.
I sold over 20 single... yes single Iceblade Arrows for 10g each. There's no chance someone could accidentally confuse 100 for 1000 by missing a zero - because my stack had no zeros in it! :)

Anti said...

i had just recently leveled engineering and sent all the arrows to my lowbie hunter.

so he has a bag of mithil, thorium, fel iron etc arrows and shot.

i tried a bit of this action and was surpised how well it worked. not only profits but my first ever letter of abuse.

truely huntard is a well deserved name.

i plan on earning enough via this method to buy the vendor mats for a Hog. i've always been of similar opinion to the greedy goblin on wasting gold on a hog.

but every time i ride it the pleasure from riding will be heightened by knowing of all the hunter tears that went into buying it.

Nielas said...

While this is an unethical, scummny thing to do, it is not really a scam or fraud because there is no actual misrepresentation. All the information is there. The seller is simply preying on the fact that the buyer might make a mistake.

One has to note that many of these 'tricks' can only really work in a game world. In RL they would fail or step over the line into fraud. Also case law in the US and Britain would invalidate many of these transactions since they would not meet the requirements of a binding contract.

Liklick said...

I do this all the time. I've made well over a thousand gold taking money from morons who clearly don't deserve it. Do I feel bad? Do I twist and turn in my bed as I try to sleep because I'm clearly an evil person? No, it's a fucking game, and those who try to make real-life connections to this are no different from those who buy my 100-stacks.... Fucking stupid.

Brb I think my neighbor left their door unlocked, and because I'm obviously a heartless human being for selling high priced arrows in a virtual world, I will have no problem robbing them.

Nielas said...

@Liklick

Just think of robbing your neighbour as a game with no consequences and you should not have a problem.

Gibbiex said...

It doesn't matter how people justify it, but it should be well understood that it's immoral to do this. However since Gevlon * friends has no morality that I can tell, good for them. Praying on the stupid isn't exactly a good business strategy. Wouldn't you rather make your money more ethically by say selling stacks of 1000?

Juan Carlos said...

seems that theyve actually corrected the issue... 1000 displays as such... i wonder how long selling 100 stacks will keep up

Spelz from Nagrand said...

The epic projectile crafters have shut down this business on our server and it was so simple. The crafters have started listing some lots in 100s at market rates + 10%. I don't think they sell many lots of 100 but 800% markup business is dead.

Anonymous said...

I used this trick to tank the price from 150g for a full stack to 10g for a full stack. Then I bought all of the arrows listed and reposted them in stacks of 100. Should be interesting to see the results.

chase said...

Since there are people already doing this on my server I decided to try to make money from them.

I post a few stacks of 100 at 1/4 the stack price. The "scammers" either buy it out to reduce visibility of the scam, or some smuck buys it thinking they got a great deal on a full stack. Either way, I win.

Sten Düring said...

@ GrG and Gevlon

First, I'm NOT arguing that our national laws (where I live) and Blizzard's in-game rules bear any resemblance to each other.

That cleared: This thread of comments is an excellent example why our laws concerning business to consumer advertising are written as they are. The advertising part bears the entire burden of proof that the advertisment cannot be misunderstood.
Hence, when advertising bulk you're forced to clearly and consistently display the price per unit in such a way that it cannot be misunderstood.

I', not saying this is a good thing (albeit I personally think it is), but rather that if this had been a business to consumer situation where I live, then it would have been a clear breach of our laws.
Again, don't mismatch this with the rules in WoW. That's a totally different entity.

Last: My primary comment was that the different reactions, as far as I can see, stem from people indeed doing this very mismatch, or at least arguing that such a mismatch should be applied.

Anonymous said...

Where I live, every grocery store, pharmacy and a supermarket has an impulse buy shelf (or shelves). Its typically located in a vicinity of a cash register and its full of individually packed candies and gum, sometimes cookies and slices of cake. This same grocery often sells boxes/packages of the same exact goods for a fraction of the cost per item, down in the isle. Are they being unethical? Not really. Are they doing anything illegal? Not if they are not reselling goods that are clearly marked "not for individual resale"

Would I buy arrows in stacks of 100? Yes, if there were no stacks of 1000 available for less long enough for it to be getting close to raid time. 'd even buy individual arrows if after calculating the cost I'd find it worth it. Have I ever bought one of those individually wrapped candies? Sure thing, when I knew I only wanted one piece, not the entire box. I didn't do it because I was dumb, I did it because it was a convenient and logical choice at the time. And I know I'm not a unique snowflake.

kcs said...

there is a small town in mid-Missouri called Mack's Creek. It sits at the bottom of a valley and is on one of the few highways between two larger cites. A few years ago (~30) the town fathers came up with an ingenious scheme for generating revenue. They moved the city limits out to the tops of the two hills on either side of the town (roughly a mile and a half in either direction) on the highway, and posted (very small) 35 MPH speed limit signs. Then the city policeman sits and waits...

They've made a LOT of money of off this "scam". It's posted, so the driver has no excuse and no recourse but to pay the $100+ fine (often more as they get clocked at 65 MPH in a 35 MPH) zone.

Legal? Obviously yes since its been going on for better than 30 years. Ethical? Who knows... I know that I won't buy gas or anything else in the town but that's a price the town is obviously willing to pay.

Our world is full of fine print and similar scams. Caveat Emptor is the rule of the day. If a stack of arrows is 20g LESS than it was an hour ago.. beware and double check.

Andrei Filimonov said...

@Gevlon
"...it's the same here. The GM's warning = "cease and desist". Ignore it and ban (= prison).

The GMs just CHOOSE not to ban this."

The main difference that you are missing is the one that many virtual law expert think is a significant flaw in current game EULAs. EULA tries to regulate interactions between players but in fact it is just a contract between individual player and game provider. And a game provider usually decides not act if player stays reasonably within EULA or it is not economically feasible to pursue the action even if the conduct adversely affects other players.

RL laws on the other hand are specifically written to regulate relationships between people or legal parties. Therefore they are more efficient though not perfect in acting as intermediary in such relationships.

Zizi said...

I wanted to try this method and failed miserably. I bought 1000 arrows for 35g on the AH and tried to put 10x100 back and wanted to charge 20g for each pack. Now, that failed as I accidentally put each pack to the AH for 2k gold.

On the bright side, somebody bought a pack :-D :-D :-D

luv2bdryvin said...

FYI- If you think you're server is "too small" and people surely wouldn't be stupid enough to fall for this—they are.

I'm on a very small population server. I think there are only a few engineers with the patterns so far.

Stacks of 1000 sell for 50g.

My stacks of 100 sell for 35g— I can't keep them posted fast enough. Yes, I'm paying 50g for something worth less than 2g in terms of mats... but I sell that stack for 350g... so I'm still coming out ahead.

PS- to all you QA2 people, GL, QA won't let you split in stacks larger than 40. Auctioneer is the only one you can automate for this.

Sargeta said...

Heh, I'm probably the only one currently doing this on my realm and I gotta say, this is awesome!

I kinda figured that out by myself, but started doing it after 3.3, and boy was I surprised? "Scamming" is fun!

About all the social, being anti-ethical stuff, I say, screw them! They're wasting money because they can't figure out a simple UI issue. If they're dumb enough to buy overpriced stuff, someone HAS to be smart enough to sell them!

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