Tobold's Blog
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Interview with a Gold Seller

Another short interruption of my holidays, for an unusual post: Instead of writing just my opinions or news copied from elsewhere, this is actual original news, an interview, and thus the closest I ever got to "journalism". I frequently receive offers by e-mail to advertise in exchange for money various companies selling virtual currency. I always tell them that I don't do any advertising on my blog, and especially not for gold sellers, and usually I never hear from them again. But in this one case I got a polite reply, which developed into a discussion about the reputation of the real-money trade (RMT) industry. The discussion of the issue on MMO blogs is heavily lopsided against RMT, because the people who sell gold usually don't participate in that discussion. So I thought it would be a good idea to give somebody from the industry the opportunity to express his point of view. Chris Bottomley, the Marketing Director of MOGS agreed to be interviewed by me.

Tobold: As introduction, could you tell us your view of what MOGS is doing, and what your role is in the company?

Chris: First off, thanks a lot for arranging this interview Tobold; we appreciate the chance to put over a perspective of RMT that's seldom visible between the forum flame wars and Chenglish press releases.

Whilst not trying to use too much marketing-speak, MOGS provides MMORPG gamers with virtual currencies and services using an approach that's secure and geared toward ingame needs. I mention our approach not as a mean of shameless self-promotion, but rather to differentiate ourselves from shady (Chinese) service providers out there.

We also work closely with gamers and suppliers in the USA and Europe to buy-in currencies on a variety of games. We've developed a network of trust among Western suppliers so that we don't need to rely on workrooms in China.

My role within the company is to communicate our unique position to gamers, make them aware that they can deal with a reputable American company without paying a premium. Many of our new customers are under the illusion that Chinese RMTs, though a risk to deal with, are significantly cheaper than companies like ourselves – they're pleasantly surprised when they discover that's not the case.

Tobold: In our e-mail exchange you mentioned Chinese competitors destroying the reputation of your industry. How does your company differ from other RMT companies?

Chris: Like night and day. MOGS has been born out of a passion for gaming, all our staff are MMORPG gamers themselves and thus have a deep-rooted understanding of gamer needs. In contrast, the companies in China are almost all established on the back of venture capital, so they've no need to understand or respect the needs of gamers or the standards we have in the West. I don't make this judgement based on ignorance or prejudice; prior to working with MOGS I spent 12 months with a large Chinese RMT company, so I'm very familiar with how the RMT business is treated in South East Asia.

MOGS is completely independent and registered in the US, so we have to be accountable. Operating in a way that's legitimate and sensitive to the needs of our customers is the only way we can operate. If we were to indulge in the practices of our Chinese counterparts (stealing accounts, not delivering currency and then lying about it, using leveling accounts to farm Gold etc) then, as an American company, we would be liable to be sued for malpractice. Have you ever tried suing a Chinese company? It's virtually impossible, and the Chinese RMTs know and take advantage of this on a regular basis. This is what has given the industry the reputation it currently suffers from and it hurts more than just the practitioners of these ill deeds. In my view, this lack of accountability is the core reason for gamers mistrusting RMTs and who could blame them?

The problem is amplified when you bring in venture capitalists as a factor. By pouring money into these illegitimate operations, they are enabling them to spread misleading information to millions of gamers in the hope that they can gain their trust long enough to take their money. Due to their lack of service quality these companies cannot grow organically; they can't retain customers and so must spend to bring in new ones. Conversely MOGS is independent, free from outsider investment and unable to match the advertising budget of the likes of IGE and THSale. We've gotten to where we are today through delighting customers, having them come back again and again, and ultimately growing the company through word-of-mouth.

Tobold: Virtual items paid for via PayPal are not protected, the buyer can't charge back the money if he doesn't receive the virtual items or currency he paid for. But gold sellers demand payment in advance, so there is an obvious danger of being scammed when buying virtual currency. How can legit RMT companies build trust? I'd guess it would be hard to get references even from satisfied customers, because few people would admit buying gold.

Chris: This is an issue that works two ways and we would love to see PayPal deal with both. If you're making a purchase with your account balance, then a dispute will almost certainly go the way of the illegit RMT. However, if you use a credit card you can reverse the payment with the credit card company directly, and there's literally nothing the RMT can do about it. Obviously this is a much safer option for the gamer but it also leads to large amounts of fraud with cyber-criminals purchasing currency, reversing the payment with their credit card provider and then re-selling the currency to the same company. PayPal need to recognise both issues and put in place measures that protect legitimate buyers and sellers against the undesirables out there.

Tobold: What drives your business? Why do you think that players are buying virtual currency for real money?

Chris: I don't think there is one single reason. Buyer motivations range from not having sufficient time to go through the grind and enjoy other aspects of the game, to simply wanting a competitive advantage over friends or rivals.

We've established ourselves and continue to operate on the basis of enhancing gaming experience. Some players don't agree with these "enhancements" and believe it goes against the spirit of the game, which we completely respect. We're not in the business of making everyone agree with us or enforcing ourselves onto gamers (which is why we don't conduct ingame advertising or mass-mail spamming); if a player does not approve of our services then they have the choice not to deal with us.

Tobold: Blizzard recently won an injuntion against RMT company Peons4Hire, but interestingly was sueing them for spamming, and not for gold selling. Do you feel at risk from possible lawsuits from game companies? Do you think that the legal argument of game companies that all virtual currency is part of their intellectual property and thus can't be sold would hold up in a court of law?

Chris: The legal issues faced by RMT companies is certainly an ever-present risk and should encourage RMTs to operate in as fair and legitimate manner as possible. The Peons4Hire injunction was completely just and I'm glad Blizzard are taking measures to minimize ingame spamming. There needs to be more action of this type in games such as Guild Wars, where there is often more spam than legitimate chat.

Where does the intellectual property line lie? I'd feel uneasy answering that one not being of legal background. For years gamers have debated over whether developers will take legal action against RMTs and whether or not virtual trade is legitimate. Personally, I don't believe Blizzard would ever take action because it simply does not make business sense for them. MOGS doesn't force customers to buy virtual services; we're not holding your family with a list of demands. The fact is that gamers, for whatever reason, feel they would benefit from these services and Blizzard recognizes that RMTs keeping World of Warcraft gamers happy and continuing with their monthly subscriptions makes sense for them.

After posing this perspective I'm often asked, "So why do Blizzard ban RMT accounts then?", and the answer is always the same. To open a WoW account requires both a CD Key and subscription, but as Chinese credit cards are not accepted this become a 60-day pre-paid game card. A Chinese workroom would pay around $35 for both these resources, the majority of which goes right into Blizzard's pockets. As a rough estimate based on experience within Chinese workrooms, I would say 200,000 workroom accounts were banned in 2007, 99.5% of which would have been replaced by a new account (with a new CD key and pre-paid card) right away. Based on these numbers, the banning of Chinese "Gold Farmer" accounts was worth approximately $7,000,000 last year alone. Now you can better understand why RMT continues to exist and why legal action against RMT is extremely selective.

Tobold: One of the main tools of game companies in fighting RMT is banning the accounts of the sellers. Is that just a cost of doing business for you? Interestingly there is very little known evidence of gold buyers getting their account banned. Do you think your customers are safe, or do they risk losing their account when they buy gold from you?

Chris: Second question first; we have NEVER had a customer lose their account on World of Warcraft, or even incur a suspension, due to purchasing Gold. Going back to the points above, the last thing Blizzard wants to do is alienate gamers who feel they need the support of RMT to better enjoy their gaming.

Accounts being banned is a factor for the majority of the industry, though I'm happy to say we've not had a WoW account banned since April 2007. Blizzard has introduced a lot of processes to identify Gold farmers and sellers, including advances in Warden and a metrics-based system, but mainly it comes down to an IP sweep. They know that Chinese workrooms will continue to buy accounts regardless of how often they're banned and that they are the most likely to engage in undesirable practices, so this tried and tested method claims most RMT accounts.

Tobold: Recent changes to World of Warcraft delay the arrival of gold by mail, whether sent directly or via the auction house. Does the future of gold selling in WoW involve meeting in dark alleys of Ironforge or Orgrimmar?

Chris: The mail delay was brought in shortly after the introduction of metrics testing; looking at character behaviour as a means of identifying farmers/traders. As far as we can see this is a buffer period in which Blizzard can further inspect who you are and whether you're legit. Gold can still be sent via mail securely, but extra measures must be taken in order to ensure this. Rather than give up on mail, we've developed a system that allows us to continue to utilize it and guarantee it is not deleted in the inbox.

This is another measure, however, that whilst hindering illegit RMTs in one sense, benefits them in another. It seems that many Chinese RMTs are using "it must have been deleted in your inbox" as an excuse for incomplete Gold orders. If you request Gold to be resent you will either be ignored or schooled in the fine art of Chinese RMT logic e.g. "We sent it, you didn't get it – it's not our fault!".

The mail delay is another half-baked measure put in place by Blizzard to create the perception that they're fighting RMT, when they're really counting the profits from all those banned accounts!

Disclaimer: I have not bought any gold from MOGS and thus cannot vouch for their claims. No currency, real or virtual, changed hands in exchange for me posting this. This post is an honest journalistic attempt of showing a subject from a different angle, not an endorsement of RMT.

So here you have it, the other side of the story. I do find the concept of there being "white hat" gold sellers interesting, as most of the complaints I hear about RMT are about things like bots or gold spam, and not so much about the selling of gold itself. Earlier claims that RMT will bring the WoW economy to a crash haven't come true, after over three years the WoW economy actually appears more stable than the real world economy, in spite of a multi-million dollar RMT industry all selling WoW gold. If it was really possible to separate RMT from it's secondary negative effects like scams and spam, the only remaining objection is that buying gold is cheating. Which it certainly is. How serious a crime you consider cheating in a video game to be, I'll leave for your personal ponderation. I'll just give you to consider that the answer very much depends on whether you consider MMORPGs to be competitive or cooperative games.
Congrats, you have just given a gold seller a nice full page advert seen by thousands of WoW players.

Didn't it occur to you that perhaps the reason they where being so polite during your email exchanges was so that they could get you to write something nice about them?

Rest assured, I won't be reading your blog again.

Is this a joke?
Cool gold seller advert :S Or did they just hack your account???
well, i found it interesting to hear what gold sellers think of other gold sellers and accept this article as giving the balancing view.
whatever people's own feelings, anyone who is unable to take MOGS's comments with a pinch of salt isn't someone you want reading your blog.
there's lots of blog articles about how terrible RMT is but it's a huge industry so there must be lots of people who are buying gold. i think it's time more people actually discussed the issue in a proper journalistic way instead of just repeating the same lines about how terrible it is.
Here we go again.

Apparently people are so stupid they think a link to a gold selling website is going to make people buy gold.

No, if you were never going to buy it, a link isnt going to change your mindset, and if you wanted to - you probably already have. Please use the brain we have been given by Evolution, you'll find its mighty useful.

And if you find a link to a gold selling website makes you want to buy gold, im sure you find a trip to a major city in WoW for example, becomes mighty expensive.

Oh please..

Sometimes I loose all faith in Humanity.
So.. first he says that suing Chinese companies is hard. Then he says that the fact that Blizzard isn't suing Chinese companies is proof that Blizzard condones gold sellers and just wants profit from their resubscriptions? Obviously Blizzard's not suing the Chinese because it's.. well.. hard?
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Who cares. ITS A VIDEO GAME. I love these self righteous people that comment on gold sellers in here.

The entire MMO industry is starting to suck hard and people are getting way to wrapped up in it.

You wanna bitch about something, bitch about what really killed WoW: Blizzards crappy PVP system.

Who cares about gold sellers. I have a good mind to go drop 20 bucks on some just to piss people off. Get over yourselves and your digital characters.

I actually found this interview interesting. Someone has to have the balls to post something like this instead of just pissing and moaning about it.

Just play the game, quit trying to change this facet of the industry.

It's not gonna happen.
A very interesting read. The demand is there, and it's up the MMO companies to legitimize the trade so that consumers can feel safe.
You start our stating that you don't advertise, specially for gold sellers.

However, this interview was nothing but an advertisement.


I always respected and enjoyed your posts and views.
I thought the interview was interesting.
Honest journalism???
Oh my...
One big advert of ugly, illegal practice, so convenient for some, that they turn blind eye on its bad sides.
Gosh, you'd think he just interviewed a serial killer.

As others have said, you are either the type to buy fake money or not...this article isn't going to sway you one way or the other. Get off it.
Don't be discouraged by the petty comments Tobold, I thought it was a good article and very bold of you to go for it, esp. since you had to have known these comments would have come out of the wood work.

This kind of blogging is great, and it's the other sites that pander to their users (e.g. WoW Insider) that makes for bland and "safe" content. They would never rile up their user base with an independent and truthful article, and would rather compromise any integrity they had and just go with the "Stupid Chinese Gold Farmer!" angle.

I don't think there's any conflict (or hypocrisy) in you doing/posting this interview. It was informative.
@Shalkis, while you could be right, the truth is probably a mix of the 2 reasons.

@Tobold, very nice interview! People who feel this is just an ad for the gold seller have no idea what the words "reporting" and "objective" mean. Keep up the Good Job :)
Good thing to hear someone from the other side. As people said, gold traders are not drug trafficers or serial killers that have blood on their hands.

Yet the questions were not too bold (pun intended) in my opinion.

How about a follow-up with some answers about:
- What do you pay your farming personnel ?
- What kind of profit margin is in this business ?
- Do you feel threatened by SOE´s station exchange and other firm´s moves to integrate RMT into their MMORPG offerings ?
- How do you see your business in 5 years ?
- What would be the advice for anyone getting into the RMT business ?
It's a several paragraph advertisement.

If this interview was randomly posted on various WoW message boards, it would immediately be flagged as a spam bot.
Wow, some people are so inflamed by gold-selling that they construe any information about it as "advertising."

It's not like gold can buy you the best items in the game, anyway. Once you have your epic mount, a few minutes of daily quests can easily pay for raiding consumables, etc...
Actually I found this interview extremely interesting as well, especially the point about workhouse account renewal and how it benefits blizzard. Maybe there's some truth to what the man is saying.

As to the part where people call the interview an ad, sure it's partly getting their name out, but I prefer this way over the regular whisper, mail and trade channel spam you get in world of warcraft. Atleast this way we also get to know something about how it actually works and maybe get some fresh views on the subject.

I'd also like to point out to someone renald, who called the business illegal, the only illegal part is that they sell intellectual property.

I always thought about it (especially after daily quests were added) as buying time. I myself don't buy gold simply because I enjoy the game too much, but I can see why someone wouldn't like to spend hours and hours grinding gold and would prefer a more convenient way. For me for example, all my gold goes to raiding (I have to work and sleep too), so no getting rich for me. If I suddenly needed 10 000 gold, I'd have to either stop raiding or buy gold.

Whose fault is it then that gold selling is such a big business? Blizzards or peoples weakness, I don't know, all I know is it's here to stay and I think blizzard would make bigger money if they just started doing it by themselves.

People who say the article was an ad, going to shattrath brings you 20 more aggressive adds in like 2 minutes via trade and LFG channels, also commenting about that in this response box probably won't kill the industry...

Good interview Tobold, keep up the good work :)
That was a very interesting interview.

Thanks for posting it.
A couple of points:

1) Yes, every interview is publicity for whoever is interviewed. I was well aware of the price I was paying for this interview, that is 1 link plus a whole page of content that is subjective and pro-RMT. Do you think an interview with lets say Tigole is not a totally subjective ad for WoW? That's the general deal: journalist gets original content, interviewed person gets publicity and his point of view out. Everyone should know that and read interviews with that in mind.

2) You can't ask any question you want in an interview, for example he would never have answered the questions about pay or profit margins, get real!

3) This article will be gone from my front page in a week or two. Many, many other blogs have Google Ads, and if your blog is about MMORPGs, the Google Ads will be from gold sellers. If you aren't reading any blogs that have RMT links on them, your choice will be severely limited.

4) None of the people who wrote rabid anti-RMT posts here even tried to explain why gold selling in itself would be evil, if there was no spam or account hacking involved.

5) There are good arguments for saying that RMT is a copyright infringement, at least that is what Blizzard's lawyers will tell you. If you think that copyright infringement is the crime of the century, please check your hard drive and see if it isn't full of pirated music and videos.

As I said, I don't endorse RMT. But *not* discussing it obviously hasn't worked to solve the problem. The question of whether there could be something like "clean" RMT and how we could get there is something we should at least think about.
Hi Tobold

I have a fairly neutral view on gold selling but I am uncomfortable about this article for a couple of reasons. Firstly I feel that you were duped by Mr. Bottomley into publishing a puff piece where he got to tout all the virtues of his company while bad mouthing his competitors. Secondly since he exclusively identifies his competitors by their assumed nationality the piece comes across (to me) as being deeply racist.
RMT is a symptom that something is wrong - that there are fundamental problems with your game design.

The problem is that farmers pay a monthly fee just like everyone else, and the publisher makes money off of them.

This creates an incentive not to address the problems that lead to RMT. Do developers really want to do away with a system that attracts professional farmers? That would mean fewer subscriptions and less money.

That's why I despise farmers. They create a financial incentive for developers to maintain the status quo, instead of trying to improve on the established formula.

Notice that games such as WAR and AoC aren't really changing the established formula for economies and crafting. They're making sure to create a nice cozy environment for all the gold farmers, because they want the extra subscriptions.
I think its sad that so many people react so rabidly to something that is just a symptom of a flaw in game design.

Blizzard admittedly caters to casual players because they are a bigger group. Yet they fill thier game with long boring grinds and make less and less attempt to disguise the grinds.

As long as games are full of faction grinds that require you to kill 100,0000 of anything to get enough drops to level their faction one level then there will be players with money willing to bypass that content by buying gold.

THe only way they could stop it is to make the game so fun no one cares if they have to earn the gold, or just make everything BOP and do away with the auction house.

good article.
At their site MOGS say they will pay US$8.50 for 500 WoW gold, or $17 for 1K.

By comparison that 1K gold gets sold to buyers for approx. US$45 which allows up to $30 for general expenses, salaries, overheads, etc.
Interesting article Tobold. I think a lot of people were hoping for a sort of "hard talk" piece were you challenge the interviewee on everything he says, but whether or not that was necessary or even possible I think is of lesser importance then having a post from a different point of view.

A lot of the people who disparage you here are effectively rooting for a form of self-censorship that any journalist/blogger who believes in what he or she is doing should always strive to overcome.

I think the real victory here isn't the interview, which lets face it was merely informative, but the fact that you had the courage to do something you knew would get you in trouble with a lot of your readers.
I agree and disagree with Tobold's individual posts, depending on the subject. Sometimes I'll even take part in a discussion.

This is an interview with an RMT executive. This is neither positive or negative. It simply is.

If you can't grasp the concept of an interview, don't read it.
Thanks for this nice post.
And despite I don't agree with RTM in general, I agree for such post as they are informative and show gold seller point of view. Or at least one of those.

And anyway I can tolerate RTM as long as isn't ruining my gameplay. So for me a gold seller is a good one if I don't notice him. That means that there's no spam and no particular camping or lockout of resources in the game.
I found this very interesting. Thank you for doing it.

As a European who has lived extensively in China, I find myself with a lot of sympathy for Chinese gold sellers. It's a good income in a poor country. (Average annual income: $2,025!) And trust me, the working conditions are much better playing WOW than in the Chinese factory sweatshops where they make toys or clothing.

RMT isn't just shady Chinese operators. The money is paying for the workers' family health care, children's educations, etc. I really wish they could do RMT in Africa too. In the greater scheme of things, who cares about some MMORPG gamers feeling wronged.

Of course scamming is a problem, but then I'd rather support ideas like Sony Exchange. Gamers need gold and Third World countries get to earn some money. Win-win I say!
I don't like RMT but I don't have any issue with doing an interview with a RMT company. Even if it sends business their way. I personally would have chosen not to provide the direct link to the company but it is not a big deal.

As Sombrero mentioned the only thing I don't mind about actaul RMT is the rich supporting the very poor.
I thought it was an interesting read. Nice work.
Interesting read Tobold, thanks for putting it up there!

It's sad that there are so many people on here with the idea that this will somehow promote RMT. Be it as an advertisement or some kind of endorsement by you.

Truth of the matter is simple, if you play MMOs you already know about RMT. And Tobold posting a quick interview on how some RMT company's view others, isn't going to make hundreds of thousands of players suddenly start to use RMT.

And if you think it is, your just daft =)
Late in reponse, I know, but I wanted to give you a "good job" for posting this article!

To the rapid fanboys who, literally, go ape-nuts when the topic of RMT is mentioned, please remember that just because you don't agree with a topic makes it verboden (sp). Not discussing a topic is akin to putting your fingers in your ears and humming so as not to hear something. Shame on you for acting like a 3yr old.
A few key points:
People do get banned from buying gold. It’s called an Economy Exploitation ban. - The interview reads as-if Blizzard takes no action against Gold buyers. This is categorically UNTRUE and they DO ban people for buying gold. It can take as long as 6 months for the ban to occur, but they CAN and DO happen all the time. This guy has a vested interest in you believing that Blizzard doesn’t ban for buying and may even honestly believe it, but anyone who follows banning trends closely can tell you that Gold can and does get people banned.

Chris Quote: Based on these numbers, the banning of Chinese "Gold Farmer" accounts was worth approximately $7,000,000 last year alone. - I always see this argument used to support the idea that Blizzard somehow secretly appreciates and thanks the farmers for the community service they provide. Again, this is untrue. First the amount of development time and resources put into Warden, server-side detection, customer service and the growing problem of accounts hacked for Gold far outweigh the benefit gained from new subscriptions. Secondly, Blizzard could make far more money by offering RMT themselves if they truly wanted to endorse it.

Tolbold Quote: most of the complaints I hear about RMT are about things like bots or gold spam, and not so much about the selling of gold itself. - THIS COMPLETELY IGNORES THE SOURCE OF THE GOLD. Your presumption is that legitimate players are selling 1000 gold for $17. The reality is that botters using products like Glider are a major source of the gold. And worse, keyloggers hacking accounts to sell off gold to these services. They may not be in a position where they hack accounts, but they certainly enable people to make a profit at it.

Part of the irony is that the guy keeps spinning the “Chinese bad” and “we are good” hyperbole. Ironically, the $40 for the 1000 gold is sure a lot more helpful to the poor Chinese worker in a 3rd world county than it is to teenage kid running his bot while he sleeps.
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Overall great article
Of course I love action movies so I was hoping for a little more hardcore questions but I understand the limitations on what you can ask an RMT rep without getting into RMT trade secrets or financial information.

Here is my take on using RMT
I don’t really care one way or the other about buying gold. If you want to buy it fine it’s your choice and this country was based on freedom of choice. I would never buy gold or power leveling as I have a crap job and have more time then money so I can make my own gold at will  Lets say life was different for me though and I was a Doctor who had much more expendable cash then expendable time ...well in that case yes I would probably buy gold or power leveling.

My take on Tobold putting out the article
Bravo! Nice to see someone running a gaming forum with some balls. Also to the flamers, Freedom of Press ever heard of it? There are no mogs adds on this forum and as far as I know there have never been any sort of adverts for rmt industry on this forum (unlike many other forums which are actually owned by rmt companies). So its evident Tobold is telling the truth about typically blowing these rmt guys off.

Is it Legal; will Blizzard ever sue a RMT company for gold trading?
No in my opinion it will never happen. It’s like Lego trying to sue you for making life size nudes with their Legos, they my not be happy about it but they sold you the product and what you made from it is your own intellectual property. With the time I have put into playing wow (124days played) I would like Blizzard to come tell my main is their intellectual property. Ask yourself does your toon belong to you or Blizzard?

Will RMT ever go away and does blizzard want it to?
Many industries have a secondary market. Ford is not out trying to shut down the Used Car dealers and lord knows there are some shady ones. Secondary markets are always beneficial to the primary market. Someone buys the used car then buys new parts from Ford when something breaks. In the RMT to Blizzard relationship Blizz benefits every time a player quits the game and sells their account as the new buyer insures the $15 a month is still coming in. Many may have quit game already for lack of time and being able to keep up with their friends if they didn’t have the RMT business to buy gold and PL services.
Also I am sure Blizzard uses the RMT to balance the economy and give a shot of sales into their pockets when needed. Hmmm having a slow sales month ban all Chinese farmers = boost in subscription & games sales for that month. Hmm...Economy getting out of wack...program a new event in wow for a gold sink or just simply ban a ton of gold farmers? If you don’t think Blizzard uses RMT to their advantage your naive.

Comment about Mogs guy Bashing his Chinese competitors and self promoting
Who wouldn’t try to take advantage of this. I have seen Girl Scouts selling cookies do this  Over the last few years I have heard so many horror stories from friends and guildies on bad experiences when buying something from an RMT site.
I did a lil research here and checked 18 RMT sites out on Bizzrate and researched their ownership/histories online. Only Mogs and one other of the 18 sites was actually American owned although many claimed to be. Only 3 sites had been in business for more then 4 yrs and mogs happened to be one of them. Mogs by far had the highest rating of the group with the other American owned company coming in a distant second. In their reviews on Bizzrate People talk about mogs like there are godly and rave about their customer service team. The other 16 Chinese sites I checked had horrible ratings and many claims of scams against them. So is it beneficial for the mogs guy to say mogs it great and everyone else sucks of course it is..but in this case my research also shows he is telling the truth.

One more note then I will shut it:
SO many Tech and Customer service jobs have gone overseas and many Americans have lost jobs due to this. If RMT industry brings a few of these jobs back to the states then you shouldn’t cry to much about it.

Well those are my thoughts on all this...Nice to be able to openly talk about RMT on a forum, as it is such an interesting topic but so taboo right now. I think this is a first..GJ Tobold and thanks for anyone bored enough to still be reading at this point lol

Seriously folks, it's an interesting article leave it at that. No need to take offense and unsubscribe, this isn't a RP server.

If you're going to take anything from this, look at the way he spun things and played down the reliability of his competitors while citing his own. He also lessened the most common fear that Blizzard drives into the general player base - account banning only happens to sellers, not buyers. Oh, and he tops it all off with how RMT doesn't really hurt Blizzard because they make tons of money off the farmers buying up new accounts.

It's genius. Small bits of truth laced with his own form of poison to get you to buy from him. He's clearly doing his job.

Good stuff, Tobold. ;)
@sorcefire, totally agree, we can't just ignore the problem by not talking about it

@Tobold, great article and thanks for posting it.

As Tobold has mentioned in previous posts, don't blame gamers for reacting to inherent flaws within the game. RMT simply wouldn't exist if Bliz wouldn't MAKE the game such that people desired RMT to exist. Don't blame the farmers for responding to a capitalistic driven desire of the gamer base and don't blame buyers who want to avoid the tedious grind. AND certainly don't blame Tobold for simply trying to add some perspective to the issue.

Can you imagine buying a single player non-mmorpg and be expected to stay in an an area killing and re-killing every monster there for 10,000 or 100,000 kills just so that you can continue to the next area? The game would be laughed right off the shelves and into the wastebin. So, why do we have it in mmorpg's? keep you paying money each month w/o adding new and interesting content.

Though rarely are things just black and white, the core of this problem exists in the design of the game. If Bliz REALLY wanted to end RMT, they have complete control over every dynamic of the change the dynamic to void the desire of buying gold.

I don't buy gold but I am a very casual gamer so I see the 'lure' of it. Personally, I'm neutral on this issue but understand player's feelings on both sides of the issue.
Thought Adia's post today was better then the interview itself lol GJ Adia
I thought it was a great article. It is nice to hear the other side of the story for sure.

It seems like some people won't even tolerate hearing from others that they don't agree with...
I've yet to hear anyone talk about the RL benefits of RMT.

Being one of the few lucky individuals who are permitted to grind WOW gold in my downtime at work, I would love to have a chance to make an extra $2.75 per hour by doing what I would be doing anyway.

2.75 per hour X 40 hours per week may not seem like much, but annually it's about 5k USD. Decent bucks.

The only problem is when you look at the interview, Chris states that dealing with paypal isn't always the best way to do business, yet that is the only way they will pay those who want to sell gold. Oh, and try clicking on their terms and conditions.... you will get a blank page... Not making me feel very safe here Chris!
Tobold has always been pro-RMT, I'm not surprised at all that he's advertising one, though disappointed.

It's amazing that someone can talk about how legit and trustworthy they are while they are breaking their EULA agreement or encouraging others to do so in order to maintain their business.

Just more of the same deception here, nothing of value to see.
"Not rabid anti-RMT" is not the same as "pro-RMT", you can find lots of suggestions on my blog on how to stop RMT. But apparently this is like the pro-life / pro-choice debate, where people aren't allowed to have non-radical positions.

Speaking of "deception", did anyone notice that most of the anti-RMT people are anonymous?
Insightfulness of a comment is not dependant on the name (or lack of one) of the person who expresses it. However, a weak anonymous argument is still a weak argument.

Yes, in hindsight Tobold probably should have challenged the interviewee more. However, figuring out counterpoints and exposing non-answers during the interview is something that even professional journalists have difficulties with. And even if you do come up with challenging questions, sometimes you have to choose between a softball interview and no interview at all.
I'd like to start off by commending Tobold for having the stones to venture into controversial territory. Tackling a subject like this in a gaming community is like writing a newspaper editorial on abortion - no matter what you say, there will be people who lift you up on high for your bravery, and people who vilify you as the scum of the Earth. It's not exactly a win-win situation, but the flip side - nobody writing any articles - is akin to ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room.

That said, keep this in perspective as well - Tobold is not Wolf Blitzer, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, etc. In fact, I'd wager that Tobold has not even had one college-level class in Journalism in his lifetime. To hold his attempt to the same standard that one might expect from The New York Times is ludicrous; try to keep perspective here and remember that he is a talented amateur doing his best to maintain a neutral journalistic stance.

To those that say it's nothing more than an advertisement: this is a simple statement to make and reflects little in the way of an introspective response - especially to say "I'll never read you again". Anyone that has found their way to this blog is no stranger to WoW. Like many of you, I spend a lot of time surfing across the WoW blogosphere and there are several stops that I routinely make. Most don't advertise at all; some do. Big deal. Try looking up strats for your next raid progression without hitting an ad. In fact, try standing near the mailbox in Orgrimmar or Ironforge for more than 30 minutes without being exposed to gold spam. It's not an ad anymore than an editorial on any controversial point can be considered a lobby one way or the other. I'd even wager that the inclusion of the seller's website was a condition incumbent on Tobold if he wanted to be granted the interview in the first place. What he's done here is, in it's own way, a groundbreaking achievement in our little MMORPG world.

The gold seller is the Boogeyman. The gold seller is the annoying neighbor kid. He's the ghost in the machine. The fact is, gold sellers are something that we, as players, know precious little about. It's interesting to see someone shine a flashlight into their insular little world, to see how the other half lives. What did any of us know about them before reading this? If you were like me, your list was likely short and sweet: "slanty eyes, get your account banned, and rip you off". It's a short-sighted opinion to have, and smacks of ignorance. Better to understand the beast; knowledge is power. In fact, even if you don't like them, and don't ever plan to use their services (and, for the record, I don't, and I never will, respectively), then you have taken one of the central tenants of Sun Tzu's Art of War from this: you know your enemy.

The majority of us detest gold sellers. There is nothing wrong with that, and the hatred is well-deserved. Keep your feelings where they belong, though. Tobold does not deserve to be flamed for an honest attempt at "real" journalism. Give him a break, and appreciate the fact that he's even trying where most of use would never even have the guts to respond to an email, much less publish this.

Finally, I'm not so bloggy and whatnot, and I'm not really very good at figuring out computer stuff - but I dare say that I won't hide behind a curtain of anonymity on my post; I just have to put it at the back end where my simple mind can comprehend what it is that I'm doing.

Ribeye, Skywall-US
The deception referred to in the above anonymous post is referring to the gold-seller, not the blogger.
Chris: ...that's seldom visible between the forum flame wars and Chenglish press releases.

...I mention our approach not as a mean of shameless self-promotion, but rather to differentiate ourselves from shady (Chinese) service providers out there.

i honestly was going to read this, until in the first three sentences, the guy simultaneously 'lumped together and crapped all over' chinese people.

way to go, fucktard.
Does MOGS offer a discount if you say, "Tobold sent me?"

Heh, following the link to MOGS, I do see that the Tobold interview is on their front page.

It is always interesting to hear how companies like this spin themselves, though I would have to agree with a comment above in that they should drop the rather racist "Chinese gold farmer" stereotype. If they want to differentiate themselves from off-shore companies, that is one thing. But turning it into overt racism does not help their cause in the long run.
If you look closely you'll see that the link is a "pure" one, just the URL of the MOGS home page. There is no "reference" information, and as I already stated in the post I do not get anything from you following the link, nor do you get a Tobold discount.
I am RMT.

Does anyone want to see a regular player's point of view?

- See the profile of a real RMT buyer.
- Discuss RMT law.
- Does RMT REALLY affect you?

I don't sell gil, but I have bought it. Am I loser? Share your opinion.

Engage in an intelligent debate:
to all people i think buying gold is awsome ...

all it is working smarter not harder

wake ppl this is how the world works

for you ppl who complain about how much you hate gold sellers grow up

this is the underworld of mmo
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