Gold Spammers

I was actually a bit surprised a few months back when I started playing EVE Online.  Within an hour of creating my character I received an in-game mail offering to sell me the in-game currency for EVE-Online, ISK.  It was crudely written but to the point, “ISK for Sale.”

That seemed, at that moment, to be outlandishly brazen.  Somebody surly reports these to CCP?  The account sending the email must surly get banned and through enough clever network tracking the source of the accounts must surly get blocked from creating new accounts eventually?  I thought surly this would be a short-lived phenomena?

I can be somewhat naive at times.

Yes, I thought wrong.  Three months later I still find such mails coming to me in-game every so often.  I won’t get any for a week or two then, suddenly, I will log in and find three waiting from me.  Sometimes they direct me to one web site, sometimes to another.  It seems that this will be with us for a while.

Well, at least it is only in EVE I thought.

Then I started getting messages like that in World of Warcraft.  At first they were equally crude and pretty random.

The other night however, they started getting more sophisticated and more pervasive.  I logged in and found an ad on Blintz.  Then I logged onto another character and found he had an ad as well.  Then I went through ALL of my characters, on four different servers.  Every single one of them had either one or both of the ads below:

gold01.jpg                      gold02.jpg

(information obliterated to prevent any gain to the sellers… no gold ads here!)

These are actually starting to look professional.  And they appeared on every one of my characters!

Gold Spam Comes To WoW!

I still haven’t seen this sort of thing on EverQuest or EverQuest II as yet, but perhaps the market isn’t big enough to warrant this sort of effort.  All I see there is the occasional message on the OOC or Trade channels pointing to gold selling sites, but their days may come.

5 thoughts on “Gold Spammers

  1. Deniticus

    Played WoW since December 2004. I don’t think I saw anything gold selling related activities in game until about mid-2005 or maybe later.

    By mid-2006, I was getting occasional tells crudely offering gold for sale, usually from a level 1 toon named Xwerpqiourysd or something similar.

    Its only in the last month or so that I’ve seen brazen in-zone general chat spam (not surprisingly by the sender of the emails you noted). And most recently, zone spam in SW and IF which was previously unheard of.

    When I’m in a particularly vindictive mood, I’ll report these chat spammers– inevitably a level 1 toon, but this time with a “real” sounding name. To Blizz’s credit, a GM usually responds within 5 or 10 minutes during prime time, so they do appear to take it seriously. Not sure it really does any good, but if it makes their life a bit more difficult, then huzzah.

    Q1: Any idea how gold spammer accounts effect the WoW account stats? I doubt that WoW has/had 2.5 million gold spam accounts, but anyone know if its a significant % of reported subscriptions?

    Q2 (Conspiracy guy): If these banned accounts are launched with prepaid cards, does Blizz just ban the account or the card? Creates interesting incentives to foster the creation and banning of these accounts.

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  2. Silverstep

    They’re most certainly in eq2, not only with the random tells from level 1’s fresh off of the Queens colony boats, but along with the emails. They used to send you 1g and tell you that you could have more, oh yes you could! If.. you just visited such and such site. It’s only gotten increasingly worse over the past six months.

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  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Maybe I am immune at the moment because I have taken the last 10 months off from EQ2. I imagine that addon tools that work like WoW Census (and the EQ2 equivalent) are being used to farm names and, not having been on EQ2 for a while, my characters have not yet been picked up.

    I wonder how much gold sellers change the bottom line of companies like CCP and SOE. I would guess that WoW, being totally off the scale compared to everybody else, would see little benefit or loss from the gold sellers.

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