Comments

Gods, I wish I could walk away for the SOMERblink player-initiated controversy, but I can’t. A blogger I have no small about of respect for has labeled SOMERblink an RMT site. His last two EVE related posts have been all about that. But is that SOMERblink’s intent? I actually got to talk to the owner of SOMERblink this past weekend. I found him to be an earnest entrepreneur trying to run a business. Yes, a business you knuckleheads; just like you all wish you could run. Keeping that site running is not cost free. It takes real world money, or do you also still believe in fairies? That makes it a business even if it is essentially a non-profit.

But back to this RMT charge. In a standard RMT transaction, one party creates ISK through the game mechanism designed for that purpose, and then sells it to a second party for real money. This transaction may involve many people: multiple bot runners, RMT web site managers, as well as the person buying the ISK. But, there is a very clear intent by all those involved to conduct RMT. It’s why the botters bot, the web site exists and the lazy gamer finds it in the first place. Everyone, at every step, knows exactly what they are doing and their actions show it without a doubt. Their intent is to circumvent the game from the beginning to the end. No contract between any party in this chain of events is allowed according to the EULA or ToS.

Now, let’s look at the SOMERblink incident. First of all, there is no clear cut contract connecting all parties to a single purpose. You actually have three contracts in action here for three separate reasons. At least two of these contracts are sanctioned by CCP.

The first sanctioned contract is Markee Dragon selling GMT. That is a contract between CCP and Markee Dragon. It is no different than the contract given all sellers of GMT; ‘nuf said. It is the least controversial segment of this chain of events.

So Markee Dragon asks a site operator with a shit-ton of hits per day to act as an outside sales person for them. This is the second contract and it is done EVERY DAMN DAY in this world. It is not illegal and does not violate the EULA or ToS anymore than syndication agreements between EN24 and bloggers are illegal. I know, I’ve been a recipient of ISK for that sort of thing. Does that make me an RMTer? If the agreement between Markee Dragon and SOMERblink is illegal, so are all those other agreements out there. The fact they all exist argues otherwise.

There is nothing “wrong” with the previous two contracts. They are also distinct and different. SOMERblink does not sell the GMT directly. They are an agent of Markee Dragon, a duly authorized seller of GMT. We all good up to this point? I hope so because there is nothing controversial about these relationships whatsoever.

Now we get to the third contract that has everyone in an uproar. SOMERblink made a decision to entice their users to use Markee Dragon by offering them blink credit. It is possible for the recipients of blink credits to redeem some of that credit for ISK. It is an indirect process to be sure, but it is possible. Now, this contract is between SOMERblink and its users. If the user uses the link on the SOMERblink site to buy GMT from Markee Dragon, SOMERblink will give them 200 million blink credit. Is this RMT? Well, I’ve written posts and received ISK for them so I’m inclined to say no. Others say yes.

But ask yourself this. If SOMERblink did not get paid for the transaction, would they still issue the blink credit for using the link? The answer is yes, they would. How do I know? Because I personally got blink credit for a GMT sale that was initially refused by Markee Dragon. I had to contact Markee Dragon directly to sort it out. Here’s the email thread.

However, SOMERblink still gave me the blink credit on the 11th. No real money had yet been given to them, because I had not reordered yet, but they honored their contract with me. Wish I could prove it beyond a doubt. The 200 million blink credit they gave me has scrolled off the history available on the SOMERblink web site unfortunately. But the fact I got blink credit first indicates to me the contract has nothing to do with actually obtaining real money via the transaction I conducted with Markee Dragon. It is an incentive not unlike the coupons stores offer to get people to buy certain products for which those stores have a special pricing agreement (SPA) with the manufacturing company. Perhaps SOMERblink would have reclaimed the credit if I had not followed up and resubmitted the order. Perhaps I could have scammed the hell out of them. They’ve been robbed before. But either way, calling it all RMT is a hell of a stretch.

And that’s the point here people. We are not talking about RMT when there are three separate contracts being completed, two of them are outright sanctioned, and there is no intent to get ISK for money. Fact: I bought the GTC for blink credit, not ISK. I wanted to play for “free” and not have to use my hard earned in-game money to do it! How in the universe can this be considered RMT? Well, obviously many do. They believe SOMERblink and Markee Dragon are in collusion.

But a charge of collusion requires a huge amount of evidence. Without said evidence the accusation is at best envy and at worst outright libel. Bloggers need to walk a very fine line here. Making such accusations without proof is a dangerous undertaking. So far this does not seem to have affected SOMERblink or Markee Dragon as a business. But if it does, rest assured that the businesses which are SOMERblink and Markee Dragon may have legal grounds to seek compensation. And don’t forget, libel is a civil charge, not a criminal one. The courts are much more lenient on interpreting the term “harm” in such cases. Be very, very careful treading that field. It’s full of mines.

I’ve another concern too. The EVE community is full of ISK for work deals. We all accept those as legitimate without ever questioning them. But are they really ligitimate? If I pay for this blog (I don’t BTW) and accept ISK for the things I put on it, am I not guilty of RMT by the same logic used by all those who want to burn SOMERblink down? I am, after all, using my real money (and time, which everyone knows is money) to get ISK. To use another analogy, Pandora should never have opened that box.

- Mabrick

He’s been around the block a time or five. With over 15 years of MMO playing under his belt and a memory that reaches back to pencils and dice, he offers his insights into the not so virtual reality we call Eve Online.

  • PersonalGuard to Jeffraiderrrr

    Again..you faggots won’t let this die already ffs

  • The Observer

    moral of the story? order GMT through SOMER link, receive credit, don’t verify, get money refunded, repeat, PROFIT!!!.

  • guess

    Mabrick goons own blink and have done for some while now.

    • Simon pieman

      oh dear, fuck off tinfoil twat man.

      • Truth

        BEcause Marmite just has an infinite amount of ISK behind them.. Oh wait they do, it’s called Somer Blink. A corp that pops ships… run by Goons. Me thinks more people would use Somer Bllink if they were losing super expensive ships all the time.. Hmmmmm. Corrupt? yes.

        • Simon pieman

          How in hell are you making this connection? from marmite to goons to SOMERblink? you sir are a idiot.

  • Kama Kairade

    “But, there is a very clear intent by all those involved to conduct RMT.”

    This is a false dichotomy. State untrue facts and base an argument on it. Absolutely everything you wrote after this paragraph is broken because of this.

  • Azule

    I think at the heart of this matter is the exact definition of RMT. Is it simply the selling of Isk for real world currency or does it go deeper than that. If you look at what basically real world currency, it is a medium of exchange between entities for goods and services rendered. Keep that in mind.

    At one point the person that runs this site offered a bounty of a carrier for the best story of the week. When the subject came up as to how he could afford that, he stated that it was possible because of the income he received from the blink ads. Now i know that a lot of the Eve related sites will accept donations of isk as well as the donation of currency to help support them. Whether or not the transaction between these entities was in isk or in currency, services are or could be sold for isk.

    CCP for one should be all in favor of things like the blink site. Anything that helps sell PLEX is a good thing for them. How many people do you know that would buy a couple of PLEX to buy a chance at a rare ship? In my opinion anything that causes a demand for isk, in game or not will be supported by CCP and they would be thrilled if isk became an internet currency of sorts, even on a limited scale.

    So is RMT just the selling of isk for actual currency, or could it be considered that using isk in place of currency is the same thing? If both can buy goods and/or services, what difference does it really make?

  • Truth

    “But a charge of collusion requires a huge amount of evidence.”

    Literally Quadrillions of ISK and hundreds of RL $$. Ya, nothing sketchy here.

    I’m still a firm believer that Somer has become a silent CCP partner in sucking trillions of ISK out of the game every month, ultimately leading to more RL $$ for PLEX. What’s it at now, 650M ISK per PLEX?

    The whole thing has fraud and corruption all over it. If you are too blind to see reality then you deserve serfdom.

    • devil’s advocate

      Erm…. If there was more RL $$ for PLEX (and therefore more people buying plex from CCP for RL money, or just more plex bought by the same number of people from CCP for RL monday) one would assume that the isk cost ingame would drop, considering the whole supply and demand thing, not increase as you’re stating. You appear to be contradicting yourself somewhat.

  • Revolution.

    DDOS SOMER!!!

    • Simon pieman

      and 4 makes you a sad fuck lol

      • Kitty Cat

        Actualy, you are the sad fuck here, cause you have the need to comment his bad posts, and you still think that you are funny… how sad is that?

  • Revolution.

    Show me evidence that Somers items come from players and not just placed into hangars by CCP.

    • Simon pieman

      Show me evidence that they are, someone isn’t guilty by default, they need to be proven it.

  • Revolution.

    Somer gives away so many cap ships that would take weeks to build at a rate that would be impossible without a corp with 100 POSes and constant 20 man mining fleets.

  • Revolution.

    Lets us see Somer’s logistics chain… pardon the pun.

    • Simon pieman

      thats 3 posts.

  • Revolution.

    Where does Somer’s inventory come from? A mommy and a daddy? both named CCP?

    • Simon pieman

      you posted the same thing twice? are you really so sad?

  • Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

    MABRICK! You complete idiot! You just had to troll the tinfoil windowlickers out of the woodwork! Now look at the mess…. drooling all over the floor, crapping in the corners, knocking over trashcans, and digging up the flowerbed.
    Grab a mop, you’re cleaning this up… Not me.

  • CCPYitzak

    Why does everybody and his mom try to distract attention from CCP in this affair?

  • Kuji

    Hi Mabrick, thanks for your post. Please allow me to play Devil’s advocate.

    The entire crux of your argument is that Somer’s business model does not engage in RMT because it lacks the rule breaking definition due to many legitimate transactions taking place that just happens to lead to a watered-down dollars-for-isk situation, where as a straight forward dollars-for-isk bot-farmer website is designed specifically to break rules by definition. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing in the SomerBlink model because it’s all legitimate separate components and to say otherwise is basically libel. To bolster your case, you cite that you got promo blink after your transaction with the GTC seller failed. But I find that line of reasoning unpersuasive for the simple fact that the entire system of everyone involved with this business model, including CCP, is basically sanctioning isk laundering and all involved just happens to be the separate recipients of either isk, in game ships/items, or US dollars. No one involved mined minerals to make the ships, no one researched BPOs to capitalize on time or resources, no one here is actually playing EVE – it’s all metagame fueled by external website and the definition of lazy gaming that preys on the fact that House always wins. Heck the Blink model doesn’t even need EVE. You can insert it into many gaming or non-gaming ecosystems because the engine is online gambling window dressed with promos – get people to spend money on a chance to win! The External website does not need EVE to run.

    I believe the spirit of the EULA should protect the EVE ecosystem and promote honest gaming and entrepreneurship within the game itself – good old fashioned isk/hour. This is why I pay a subscription – to a space ship game. I’m happy the owner of SomerBlink is making actual US dollars off of EVE, and we can congratulate him and call him a true entrepreneur while the rest of us are just knuckleheads – but I do feel this entire situation breaks the spirit of what the EULA was trying to protect and this is the real reason why so many folks are very upset about this scenario (not because we are jealous or don’t get it).

    There are many pseudo EULA lawyers on the EVE forums right now trying to interpret the EULA and win some sort of legalese case for or against the SomerBlink model; but, when CCP is ready to put priceless and unique ships into what is already a controversial system and give special treatment to one entity in EVE over another which leads to an in-game economic advantage… *scratch that* in-game monopoly on micro lotteries*, of course there is going to be an insane amount of outrage in this highly competitive environment. Rightfully so. I simply don’t understand why CCP thought promoting Blink was a good idea ‘for the community’, especially when there are many players that are paying CCP costumers who abide by the EULA but are banned from the Blink site due to a wholly different set of rules created by SomerBlink.

    There are many problems at the very heart of this situation that is generally not good for EVE as a whole. We spent basically a month arguing between the community and a confused CCP community team about this on the forums and on sites like this when we should have been talking about Rubicon development and all the great things the CSM is doing. As a 2005 player, I am thrilled about Fozzie’s work and tiericide. EVE is in the best shape and balance then it’s ever been and there is a lot more on the horizon. Instead we’re still talking about Blink, a non-EVE entity that needs to be defended with the threat of Libel. It really can’t get any lower than this.

    • DNSBlack

      ” We spent basically a month arguing between the community and a confused CCP community team about this on the forums and on sites like this when we should have been talking about Rubicon development and all the great things the CSM is doing. As a 2005 player, I am thrilled about Fozzie’s work and tiericide. EVE is in the best shape and balance then it’s ever been and there is a lot more on the horizon. Instead we’re still talking about Blink, a non-EVE entity that needs to be defended with the threat of Libel. It really can’t get any lower than this.”
      I agree. 100 %
      I am also sad cause some of the best ships for my play style are coming out and I find myself not wanting to log in much and play. The friends and other DNSer’s on coms are why I continue to focus on EVE, I owe them that. The rest of your response was spot on.
      Mabrick I respect your opinion but find my self on the other side of this fight. There are a lot of core issues being challenged because of this issue. This is a major cross road for CCP,EVE and myself as a EVE player.

      • Chris

        Why is it a crossroad?
        It doesn’t impact you.

        Why does such a RMT scheme diminuish your enjoyment of the game?

        It is CCP’s job to determine what is RMT and what not. Or CCP can of course doing a favor to certain corps/orgn/whatever and let them RMT ;-)

        You are just an attention whore -.-

        • Dave Nick Smith

          So you are saying is that if CCP is doing something you do not like to the game you love you should just shut up and unsub your account instead of actually voicing up your concerns?

    • Dick Hauser

      My corpmates no longer play EVE. They chat in coms and play Somerblink.

      Thanks for killing EVE. o7

  • Dirk MacGirk

    Did you really go to actual real life “libel?” In what fancy country? You couldn’t successfully prosecute cyber bullying let alone libel for some internet spaceship blog trying to make a possible case for collusion. I hear what you’re saying, but the seriousness you said it with was a bit much.

  • qwer

    Biggest problem with SOMER Blink is, that people tend to think RMT = BAD automatically. Which is actually wrong. RMT itself isn’t a bad thing. It would be nice if I could easily convert couple extra billions of isk to money, when I have earned all that money just by playing game without breaking EULA. What makes RMT look bad, is the consequences that usually follow it. If a game provides people a way to make money, there is going to be people who try to abuse the maximum money out of it, without caring how much it destroys the game economy. The action that is bad for EVE economy isn’t the part where Matt Damon buys 10b is with 200$, it’s the part where the seller has made the isk by botting.

    In SOMER Blink case, as long as many people keep playing their games, there is no danger that their RMT business does anything harmful to EVE. In theory, if their player numbers are low except for these players who play with their GTC bonus money, they could start botting to keep their isk flow positive. But, easier way would be just fix their games with couple players that play for the house, and I think that is in the game terms again totally acceptable. But as far as I know about their user and prize figures, they really won’t need to use any of those too options for a long time even if all their isk depositing players would stop playing now.

  • normal eveplayer

    Shut down all this Lottery -and Pokersites. Maybe Pilots starts to make isk ingame again. Provide sites like Dotlan, evecentral … with free accounts and pay the servercosts.

  • Simple Question

    Where does Somer get all their ships from?

    As far as I’m concerned CCP have to prove they don’t spawn Caps for Somer to “offer”

    We shouldn’t ask CCP to audit Somer… we should ask DNSBLACK to audit CCP!

  • Lieutenant of Barad-dûr

    <>

    Mabrick, let me preface this with the statement that I generally
    enjoy your posts and find your writing and opinions to be insightful
    and based in a admirable level of EVE knowledge. I do not have
    time (due to mandatory over time) to write an opposing counter view
    op-ed piece so I will leave this here

    What an unmitigated load of pseudo-legalese bollocks. I am much
    more knowledgeable on criminal law than civil due to my profession,
    but a hasty search of my memory and a quick reference to my last
    in-service on US tort law tells me you need to have the following:

    Intent: You have to have intent to commit an act or show careless
    indifference to the fact that your act could bring harm on another.

    Act: an actual act that is voluntary in nature.

    Result: There must be an effect that arises from the act.
    Usually refers to damage or a quantitative loss.

    Causation: The phrase “but for” is used and is the
    test. The loss/harm is DIRECTLY precipitated from the
    defendant’s action.

    You are missing two if not three out of four elements of proof.

    There is no way to link the writer’s actions to a change of policy
    by CCP. It’s like a restaurant suppler trying to sue a
    restaurant for changing it’s menu because the customers didn’t like
    the food and complained to the manager.

    Maybe a different analogy is that of a customer giving a general
    contractor a bad review on a web site for a sub contractor’s work.
    You see, the complaint of the engaged player base is not against
    SOMER. No, I applaud SOMER for making the ultimate EVE scam,
    and that was the scamming of CCP itself. The complaint is
    against CCP, for allowing an in game organization to engage in RMT
    (yes, it is RMT to me) and then furthermore reward them with in game
    items.

    Furthermore, there is nothing that bars
    a private person from expressing their opinions unless the expression
    of that opinion is both false, and made to a third party.
    Furthermore the statement must be made without prudent research into
    the truthfulness of the statement. Some very clear defenses that
    come to mind would be the fact hat the statements are made in good
    faith and reasonable belief, the fact hat the statements are opinion,
    and that the comments are made in matter of public interest (at least
    to fellow EVE players).

    Also, you use the word contract
    inappropriately. There is no third contract. A contract is an
    agreement creating obligations enforceable by law. What legally
    enforceable contract exists between SOMER and it’s “customers”?
    I want you to find a court that will give you standing to a suit
    against an in game corporation for not giving you your in game items.

    You ask for proof. Unfortunately, the
    only people who can obtain the proof required is CCP, but the part of
    CCP that actually seems to care about EVE is busy making Rubicon
    while the Sales team runs amok leaving, as “The Player Possibly
    Formerly Known As DNSBLACK” ( and hereinafter referred to as
    TPPFKAD) put it, “feline presents in the sandbox.” You accuse
    members of the community of envy and outright libel. You cannot
    prove the second, and in closing, I wish to speak to the first.

    There is no envy, only fear and concern
    on the part of loyal customers to CCP that they are treading,
    knowingly or unknowingly, down a path that can lead to the ruin of
    their game and SOLE source of income. DUST514 is currently a flop.
    Valkyrie is a hopeful maybe. WOD? Don’t hold your breath.

    The entire reason I wrote an op-ed
    piece which was likened by one commenter to the written version of
    oral sex for TPPFKAD was I became utterly convinced after hours of
    interview (along with Trebor Daehdoow and Hans Jagerblitzen and
    others) at the utter sincerity of motive and concern, not only for
    the pixels of a video game but the people who make the game.
    TPPFKAD actually made mention that as a labor rep, he was concerned
    for the employees who make EVE, because if CCP looses subscriptions
    again like after the debacle of the Summer of Rage, people’s careers
    and families will suffer again.

    • Lieutenant of Barad-dûr

      Profuse apologies for the terribad formatting above. MS Word screwed me up.

    • Tigger

      ” I want you to find a court that will give you standing to a suitagainst an in game corporation for not giving you your in game items.”

      Aros VS Linden Labs (in game copyright dispute with MMO manufacturer and one of their subscribers concerning in game items, Linden Labs Settled)

      Bragg VS Linden Labs (Brag sued Linden Labs for removing his in game items, Judge refused to throw it out, Linden Labs settled.)

      The fact that the judge refused to throw out the cases when petitioned shows that at the very least it’s a viable argument. Because both cases were settled we will never know how it would have fallen.

      • Lieutenant of Barad-dûr

        You are wrong. Excellent use of a
        search engine though. What is the notable difference? In both cases a
        customer sued an MMO company. I did not say that no contract existed
        between the players of EVE Online and CCP. I said there is no
        contract between SOMER and his “customers.” Show me where
        you had to acknowledge a legally binding EULA or TOS when you signed
        up to SOMERblink. Again, for the confused. Show me where in the US,
        Iceland, or anywhere else in the world you can sue an in game
        organization. CCP’s TOS states that all in game assets are theirs and
        remain theirs. Therefore, you have no quantitative loss because you
        have not lost anything. If CCP took all of SOMER’s ISK and items,
        SOMER would have precisely zero legal recourse. Why? YOu, SOMER< nor anyone else have any legal claim to their accounts.

        "Your Account, and all attributesof your Account, including all corporations, actions, groups, titles and characters, and all objects, currency and items acquired, developed or delivered by or to characters as a result of play through your Accounts, are the sole and exclusive property of CCP, including any and all copyrights and intellectual property rights in or to any and all of the same, all of which are hereby expressly reserved."

  • GunnerWolf

    most people have nothing wrong with the 200m ISK from buying GTC’s, it’s CCP GIVING FACTION SHIPS to blink that has everybody in an uproar. I’m sorry Mabrick, but while I normally enjoy your posts, this one is just a pile of uninformed crap.

    Don’t assume you know what the problem is when you really have no idea. The whole point of journalism is to do research on the issue and (attempt to) give unbiased reports on the issue, not hear there’s an issue, make up some BS about what the cause is, then write an article completely supporting those at fault.

    Terribad article Mabrick.

    • Pete

      you are wrong, the true die of journalism is to search for sensations and play on peoples emotion, if you want to learn something go read books

  • LOL.

    i think your comparison is broken a bit.
    I agree SOMER is no RMT though. But i’m quite certain they get some sort of affiliate bonus (which in my opinion is OK) – in the end what they do is give an incentive for one of their advertisements.

  • sux

    somer sux , banning people without reasons , i bet it is a RMT

  • Mr. Krieger

    This is basic marketing. You can even look at MarketDragon and Somer as 2 different entities.

    SomerBlink incentives 200m of _own_ Credit. Now with some tinfoil on your head, you might even think about them altering chances for you to win anything with that free credit …. But thats off topic. They benefit from this: it creates activity, might bring back some players to play there and does apparently a fantastic job in putting their name on the headlines. Thats free advertisement in terms of marketing. You guys just did them a huge favour. And if they get a set amount of ISK/Real money from MarketDragon for each GTC that gets sold to finance servers and so one, whats bad about it? It’s multiple benefit for those enterprises. Its called marketing. And its not harming the customer (YOU) in any way I can think of.

    And then there’s MarketDragon. He now has a unique selling advantage. People like to Blink. And some buy GTC. He now adds to their Blink by them actually buying GTC’s (what they probably did anyway) from him. It’s brilliant and kudos for coming up with this idea! Why should one buy somewhere else now? Its free credit, right?

    It is redistribution of margin behind the curtain. MarketDragon increases his volume of sales by adding another party who he shares a little of his profit with. CCP happily sells any amount of PLEX to MarketDragon who happily sells them to you. This actually creates revenue for MarketDragon, Somer (If they receive real money), and CCP wich then is used for nice web services, a funny game we can play waiting for fleet or while mining, and actually to pay of the game we actually play. I do not at all see any problem with this.

    As in RMT: Here someone tries to get money away from the game. RMT actually is harming the game, the players and especially the company behind it. That is why it is banned. I do see a difference in that.

    And now I wonder if anyone will read this WOT …

  • Ex EVE Player

    Somer Blink is a gambling website made for profit, it has also subsequently turned into a RMT site sanctioned by EVE devs, apparently the guy is a good friend of some devs in EVE, so they show him favouritism, with free special ships and look other way when he RMTs for personal profit. Soon CCP will sanction all forms of RMT to make this a non issue.

  • More Dumb Fucking EN24 Niggers

    Oh look. More retarded EN24 “writers” with no idea how the game works. WHy hasn’t this site been taken down yet.