Friday, June 19, 2009

Gold sellers - updated opinion

So Tandanu scheduled the gold selling ads to be removed on from last Monday.

Gold sellers used to be amusing - back when botting was the norm and there were real people playing real accounts and actually FARMING the gold. Back then, (vanilla wow, and early TBC) I had no issue with gold selling. There was minimal hacking and if you had ethical problems with selling, there was something you could do about it - go PvP with a gold farmer! There was immediate satisfaction and something you could actively do. Since then, blizz has cracked down on botting and gold farming leaving gold sellers having a demand and no way to supply that demand in the traditional way that the business started. So they started hacking.

And when that started, the entire business changed. My opinion of them went from harmless (and in some cases was shown to be good for wow economy, if you are interested in that kind of thing) to something dangerous and illegal.

Hacking changed everything. Bear that in mind from my point of view when you read the following:

I am still dubious about Tandanu's reasons being valid, and I am sertainly dubious about his site admin Nitram openly saying "Buying gold has nothing to do with getting hacked" and "ok, the "facts" are, that people get hacked if they don't know what a .exe file is. And just clicking all with "yes" but you are wrong if you think you got hacked if you BUY gold" (ok, that is just plain naieve and stupid) and that he "know[s] a lot of people who actualy buy gold and they do this often without problems and account hacking stuff. So I personaly have no problems with gold sellers. " (emphasis mine).

Tandanu's reasoning for removing the ads? "The other ad that was mentioned here is not a Google Ad, it is only shown to visitors from the US and does not collect any data like Google does (just an <> tag surrounded by an <> tag, no script and no tracking cookie here...). This banner will stay online until June 15th at least as it is pre-payed for a month...($180 in case you are curious how "rich" we are becoming here...) I'm currently considering to take the banner offline by June 15th as these few extra-dollars not worth the flames... " - Tandanu


He also edited this post later on to indicate he still doesn't get it: "And you cannot be hacked by a .gif image." - Tandanu

*another facepalm*

I cant describe to you how much that fails. Gold sellers DO hack your accounts and websites, it has been proven time and again. And honestly what other reason could there be for taking your account and selling all your gear and dumping you guildless and naked to the streets of Dalaran after getting your account permabanned for spamming gold ads in /trade?

Perhaps the ads themselves don't, but the people running the site are, on the whole but possibly not all, involved in shady dealings, and some gold seller buisnesses definately do hack other websites to put keyloggers on your PC.

Anyway, Tandanu bowed to public pressure and put a skerrick of effort into looking at what ads get put on his site... that he owns... that supposedly represent something he loves doing ... that pays his bills and allows him to write DBM as a full time job (if I remember correctly, or was that quest helper?) and if not full time then at least funds part of his lifestyle. See where I am going with this here? I wont push that point.

Anyway, the thing about boycotts is there is no point to boycotting if you are not willing to change your buying attitude once the boycotee gets the message. In this case, the ad is down, but NOT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS, leaving me in a quandry; do I continue to boycott or do I start using the mod again? After some thinking, I am going to give google ads the benefit of the doubt, because they are harder to police because of the way they work. But police them you can. You can write that black list, it just takes some effort.

Now, he also brought down the ad that concerned me, the manual one direct from a gold seller, but he brought it down for the wrong reason. Which, to me, is still not quite the idea behind the boycott getting through to him. But for all intents and purposes, it has worked. The ads are gone, and hopefully will not come back.

So, I guess I am at a bit of an impasse... until a poster on another forum gave me a wonderful idea. Just use the mod via a downloader directly. No donations, no going to the website, don't support him just use his mod. Now, I can get behind that idea, I guess, but it still feels a bit wrong. I will grab the latest copy of DBM and see how it goes. I still have bigwigs (and actually am preferring the way it does announcements and has CD timers for innervates and bresses! and comments when things get resisted) so I will probably keep running that.

The downside to doing that is that Tandanu doesn't care, which means leaching has no effect on him:
"Traffic? 300kb for one download, that's what?" - Tandanu
"About 60% of all downloads from this site come from WoWMatrix users (about 400.000 of 660.000 downloads since the patch day) but this is perfectly fine, I don't consider it "stealing bandwidth" as Curse and WoWInterface do. " - Tandanu Apr 18, 2009 (date for an idea of the timescale for the numbers)

I am now thoroughly convinced this guy is totally made of money for not caring about bandwidth costs, or living in some kind of fantasy, open-source dream world (which I would dearly love to be true, but reality is a bitch, my friends!).

But I think that will be my solution. I will continue to say Tandanu doesn't get it, and explain to people why gold selling is bad, and also tell people why I am not supporting him, and they can make their own choices as to what to do.