Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Somer Blink RMT steals from CCP and legitimate affiliates

Update, the RMT-ers are dead! Anyway the post is still interesting about affiliate business and why they were bad:

Somer Blink, the infamous RMT site used to be is out again, offering 45M ISK bonus for buying PLEX via their affiliate link, similar to their old scheme That scheme was banned, the new one is not, but it's essentially the same, if you buy PLEX from Somer, you get more ISK than buying from CCP.

At first let's see how affiliates work everywhere in the business. For example a T-shirt maker hires a blogger to be his affiliate and gives him percentage after every T-shirt sold via the link of the blog. Why does he do it? Because the blogger with his visibility gets him new customers, more customers than he'd get by simply offering a discount. The blogger is performs a marketing service for the T-shirt maker.

CCP runs his affiliate program for the same reason: if you bring new customers for CCP, you can get a percentage for every sale. The good examples are alliance affiliate links. If you are in alliance X, you are asked to buy your PLEX via the alliance affiliate link, earning money for the alliance leadership. The reasoning of CCP is that the alliance leader creates content that keeps people playing and these people would quit if the alliance leader would have to get a job and couldn't create content all day.

For simplicity, let's say you can buy PLEX for $15 and the alliance leader gets $2 for everyone who buys via his link. To continue, we have to see that there are two kinds of customers:
  1. those would indeed quit without the content created by the alliance leader (or whatever affiliate creates them content)
  2. those who would not
Since PLEX cost them the same, they are both likely buying PLEX clicking the affiliate link to help someone who creates them content. On these two groups, running the affiliate program CCP gets:
  1. $15-$2 = $13. Thanks to the content created by the affiliate, these players remained customers or joined as new ones (for example TEST recruitment drive on Reddit).
  2. $-2: they would be playing anyway, so CCP pays the affiliate for nothing.
The size of the two groups are unknown, but the marketing department guesses the second isn't 7x bigger than the first to make the scheme unprofitable for CCP.

Enters Somer Blink with its RMT scheme: "if you buy PLEX from our link, we give you extra ISK". It seems the same as any other affiliate scheme, except this time we know exactly how big the first group is: zero. There isn't a single man on the planet who would quit playing EVE if he couldn't play SOMER Blink, since you can only win in-game items and it's worthless to you if you wouldn't play. So every $ CCP pays to SOMER as affiliate is a waste.

On the other hand the second group is largely inflated. No random people click on the affiliate link of some alliance leader, but every EVE player has the reason to click the SOMER link, even if he doesn't even know what SOMER Blink is: the bonus money. Using the T-shirt affiliate example, imagine that the blogger wouldn't even have a blog, just stand front of the T-shirt shop and give 50c coins to people entering the shop if they claim inside the shop that they were sent by the blogger (despite they came to the shop anyway).

This is why the "community" is outraged on something that gives extra ISK to the players. If the players do what's good for them in the short run, they click on the link of SOMER instead of the link of the affiliates who actually give them content. So SOMER takes the affiliate money of opinion leaders who are genuinely outraged over that and make their followers shoot monuments. Below you can see the real reason why the propaganda site of the Evil publishes multiple posts over the topic:

One obvious question rises: how could CCP not notice that SOMER is stealing money from them and make their community figures mad? That weasel Somer answered it: he scammed a salesperson (screenshot) by telling he is just offering a buyback service to save people the effort to sell it on Jita for the best price, while he clearly buys it much higher than that. True, the salesperson could notice "You can only sell 2 PLEX at this rate for each ETC you purchased (so you can't just go buy PLEX in Jita and resell them to Blink for more than you paid)" which is explicit proof that he is aware that Blink rate is above Jita best price enough to motivate people to buy PLEX in Jita and resell it to Blink.

If CCP doesn't ban him after publishing this they openly challenge every scammer out there "go and get us if you can"! But besides that, if CCP wants to keep its affiliate business, they must ban all SOMER-related accounts (not the clients, the organizers) and cancel business with Markee Dragon (financial enabler for SOMER). This would scare off future exploiters from investing into yet another RMT scheme, since they have one weak point: they must advertise themselves to a large player community to get clients, so they can't fly under the radar. Knowing that being caught is losing business would make resellers careful when picking their affiliates.

Finally: even if CCP wants to give another chance to SOMER for whatever reason, they have to understand that this scandal will not go away. A player clicking on the SOMER PLEX link is a player not clicking the link of EN24, Zkillboard, or the link of whatever content creator he used to click. If SOMER stays, they will go bankrupt and have to get a real job instead of living from playing EVE. They will fight till their last bullet as they are fighting for their (no)life here.

PS: I'm not having a PLEX link (just a 51-days tryout link) since I'm talking about making ISK, so my followers probably haven't paid a cent to CCP after the first 1-2 months earning their first billion. So I have no dog in the race, I just hate RMT-ers more than even Goons.

PS2: CO2 is bad. TNT ditto. Finally, look at this beautiful report about a Battlement Coalition + Ev0ke + VEGA fleet bravely up-engaging a Goon capital fleet.


CFC Grunt said...

VeGA/Ev0ke aren't in the battlement coalition, to the best of my knowledge. They may be allied with it, but they operate from two completely different areas.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but the idea that Goons are only outraged by someone getting away with RMT because they also sell PLEX is absolutely absurd.

Nobody likes RMT except the people doing it so stop trying to turn this into a strawman argument for grr goons.

Gevlon said...

Yes, Goons hate RMT so much that there is a coalition rule NOT to report blue botters to CCP.

maxim said...

There is something about seeing RMT companies crumble that leaves a deep sense of satisfaction in the soul.

Not sure why that is :)

Gonzo said...

> there is a coalition rule NOT to report blue botters to CCP

Seriously? Do you have anything concrete on this? If so, you should bring it to CCP's attention.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, Goons hate RMT so much that there is a coalition rule NOT to report blue botters to CCP."

This is not true. There is no such rule regarding blue botters. I don't even think there's any such thing as 'blue botters' to a Goon.

There is a coalition rule not a petition blues, which aims to have individuals seek Corps Diplomatique assistance in sorting out disagreements between them and other blues.

Any talk of EULA violating activity (botting, RMT) on CFC infrastructure provided by Goons results in the offender getting purged.

Babar said...

They have a rule against that? Any source for this?

And even if they do, how does this prove or even imply RMT?

Anonymous said...

Isn't an inflated SRP in exchange for clicking the affiliate link giving ISK for real money?

Perhaps not everyone in the SRP clicks the link, but if enough do, replacing the ships of those that do not is just the cost of doing business. And since that cost is paid in imaginary space money, it is not exactly a hardship.

Gevlon said...

They have a rule against reporting blues for any reason. "Any reason" includes botting and all kind of RMT.

Anonymous said...

"They have a rule against reporting blues for any reason. "Any reason" includes botting and all kind of RMT."
Incorrect. Like other have said the only rule we have covers disputes and the like, and it's less of a rule and more of a guideline. Getting CCP involved when a couple of people get into an argument is just plain silly. If anyone in the CFC spotted a botter operating within the CFC and didn't report it (either directly to CCP or to a diplo), they'd fine themselves being purged with the botter.

If you have evidence against this, please show it. It will be nice to see whoever said anything to that effect being shown the door.

Anonymous said...

Mittani himself said it in a SotG, something along the lines of..... "it's not our place to do CCP's job", and "anyone reporting a goon botting is 'goon fucking', which is grounds for purging"