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Community Concerns Regarding SOMERblink

First post First post
Author
Dinsdale Pirannha
Pirannha Corp
#241 - 2014-08-19 13:30:30 UTC
If this mess goes another day, end of the week tops, without some precise wording from CCP, (and no, I don't mean Falcon saying " we are looking at it guys"), I would expect the cartels and any other organized group with a ton of free ISK cash flow will start making it public they are working on their own website tied into some plex seller affiliate.

Frankly, if CCP is going to tacitly sanction this by inaction, any group that has trillions of ISK lying around would be nuts not to do it.

I love the people who keep saying Eve is 'just a game".
CCP Falcon
#242 - 2014-08-19 13:30:51 UTC
Hello again <3

So, a second morning of speaking with people and moving forward on this. I've been tied up pretty much all morning, but now that I'm eating lunch I'll give a few answers to some of the questions in this thread.

Sion Kumitomo wrote:
The community team rocks, thanks for all your hard work on this thus far and for the communication you've had with us on all this.

One question I have to ask though, was the community team consulted about this at all ahead of time?


Thanks for the support. You guys are amazing, and the CSM has proven that it is worth it's weight in gold after the flexibility and openness we've seen from you guys on this.

To answer your question, the community team was not aware of this until I was contacted by the CSM in the middle of the night on Sunday.

Ali Aras wrote:
Thanks for the updates-- given the investigation, I assume we can conclude that the reports of this being 100% okay with CCP are greatly exaggerated?

And yeah. For me, at least, I just want the RMT lines to be clear-- I was there for this last year, it was ******, and it seems like it's something nobody wants to see happening again.


I think the community response to the emails that were released (without our authorization) answers this question perfectly Smile

James Amril-Kesh wrote:
Can I clean my hair with those?


Use L'orael, because you're worth it. Oops

Remiel Pollard wrote:
Let's keep it simple, shall we? I'm arguing against making assumptions and jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions. That's all. If you don't like that, then you probably won't like the outcome anyway, regardless of what it may be.


This is exactly why we're taking the time to investigate fully. No knee-jerk reactions, no rash decisions, no forum posts full of drama, we need to look at the problem first, which is what we're doing, then we'll make a direct, concise and informed decision.

Andski wrote:
Lisa is with CCP legal, not with sales


As pointed out by others in this thread, Lisa is VP of Sales. She's not with our Legal department.

Dinsdale Pirannha wrote:
This could have been dealt with in about an hour today.
Hilmar, or some other delegate of CCP, types a statement in this thread stating that CCP has zero-tolerance for RMT, and any scheme to circumvent the EUALA and TOS will not be tolerated. THEN he can make the comment that CCP is dealing with their lawyers about this.

End of story. People would then know that they are coming down like an anvil on Somer-Blink. And if they did not hammer Somer, there will be zero ambiguity in the fact that CCP would then NOT consider this RMT and the floodgates are open for the cartels to do this, as well as anyone else with a ton of ISK, a web page and a affiliation with a plex seller.


Frankly, you have no idea what you're talking about. You also have no idea how deep we have to dig to investigate this, given the sheer number of transactions that this service generates.

If you'd like to rumor mill as usual, do it elsewhere, or be prepared to lose your ability to post on this forum.

Thatt Guy wrote:
Turns out that CCP DID authorize this: http://cogdev.net/blink/lisa.txt (unless this is a blatant lie)

So now we're back to CCP allowing this to go on, but only for their special snowflakes.

Don't worry Somer, I'm sure you get some more limited edition ships, or other goodies outta this.


This was not authorized by our legal department.

Thatt Guy wrote:
BTW, why is it that if John Q. Player is suspected of anything, the account is banned pending an investigation. However this is the second time Somer has done this, yet no action has been taken?


This came to light late on Sunday evening. Investigating an individual can take a day or so, investigating this case given the sheer number of transactions that have occurred, and tracking exactly where everything is going, takes considerably more time. We're actively working on it.

Josef Djugashvilis wrote:
Are SOMERblink too big to fail?

For the sake of the game, I hope not.


No one is too big to fail in EVE Online.

Josef Djugashvilis wrote:
Had CCP dealt with this issue properly last year, there would be no need for this thread.


For what it's worth, I agree. There have been a lot of changes at CCP since then, and we're working toward fixing this situation.

Abrazzar wrote:
It's easy to speak for the silent majority. They rarely object to what you put into their mouths.


This is hands down the best post I've ever seen anyone make on these forums in the history of EVE.

KaRa DaVuT wrote:
Ali Aras wrote:
CSM just had another meeting with CCP, including the VP of Sales. It's great that CCP has kept us so involved and are actively seeking the input of us and the community. Mad props to Leeloo and Falcon for their hard work.


Falcon is a dedicated guy.

So when will the results declared to public?


Yeah, we just had a meeting with the CSM and our VP of Sales. I feel that it's only fair to include your elected representatives in the conversation as we resolve this issue.

I have a further meeting with Legal, Sales, our Executive Producer and several others this afternoon so that we can hopefully work further toward a resolution.

That said, this whole situation is so massive that it's going to take a decent amount of time for us resolve it. Please be patient.

For what it's worth, I fully agree with community sentiment on this.

CCP Falcon || EVE Universe Community Manager || @CCP_Falcon

Happy Birthday To FAWLTY7! <3

Ali Aras
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#243 - 2014-08-19 13:31:10 UTC
KaRa DaVuT wrote:
Ali Aras wrote:
CSM just had another meeting with CCP, including the VP of Sales. It's great that CCP has kept us so involved and are actively seeking the input of us and the community. Mad props to Leeloo and Falcon for their hard work.


Falcon is a dedicated guy.

So when will the results declared to public?

As it is said: edit, fck, beaten.

http://warp-to-sun.tumblr.com -- my blog

Talvorian Dex
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#244 - 2014-08-19 13:34:29 UTC
Pitchfork Vendor wrote:
111010110 wrote:
EULA
Section "Your Account"
Subsection "A. Establishing a New Account"
Paragraph 4:

"Accounts may not be used for business purposes. Access to the System and playing EVE is intended for your personal entertainment, enjoyment and recreation, and not for corporate, business, commercial or income-seeking activities. Business entities and anyone who is acting for or on behalf of a business or for business purposes may not establish an Account, access the System or play EVE. Accessing the System or using the Game for commercial, business or income-seeking purposes is strictly prohibited."

^ This.
If you need to send an email to the sales dept. to get approval for your schemes, your account is no longer non profit.


Business is an interesting term. We all, to some extent, run a business in Eve. We all find ways of making isk, and ways of spending it. We watch our income statement (our "wallet") carefully to make sure we're in the black. What if we were doing so much volume that we had to hire more people to help us out, and we paid them? That's essentially what Somer's doing. Getting isk from a venture isn't a business; and I suspect the "business" restriction relates more to turning Eve into a viral marketer's dream (Imagine a sov entity called "Buy Coca-Cola's New Raspberry Coke"... not what CCP wants). Businesses that take in isk are not businesses in the real-world sense.

Now, they do capitalize on that traffic. Any ads on their website are ways of making money from Eve traffic, but not taking money out of the gameworld. TheMittani.com, for instance, receives ad revenue for every view, but that transactional relationship is this: a business pays TMC.com for every visitor who sees their ads, TMC.com puts out worthwhile content to maximize the number of those visits, and the visitors "pay" for that content by viewing the ads. How TMC.com gets the content is irrelevent; theMittani can pay his people in isk if he chooses - what's to prevent me from giving isk to a friend for the pleasure of his in-game company, or for any reason, for that matter? The isk is staying in the game; it goes from one player to another. The player providing the writing doesn't gain any money out of the deal, and the money given to the ad company doesn't interact with isk in any way. The money is acquired thorugh purely out-of-game reasons that players only interact with when they choose to leave a CCP-run site/server and interact with third-party media or resources. Nothing in Somer's in-game presence relates to any advertising company, and TMC.com is entirely out-of-game.

Keep in mind that RMT is about taking money away from CCP. All PLEX in the game originate from CCP. They allow third parties to sell plex in exchange for a commission. However, that monetary distribution is CCP's decision, not ours. CCP gets all the money they choose to get for those transactions; if they choose to give some of it up, that's fine; they're making about a 20% markup vs. subscription costs anyways already. But the choice is theirs. PLEX reduces the cost incurred players who buy PLEX on the market to 0 - and in so doing earns CCP more money than they would otherwise get if that PLEX buyer just paid his/her subscription fee; it doesn't return money to the players' hands in a net-positive fashion.

RMT, on the other hand, takes the process entirely out of CCP's hands, and it DOES return money to a player's hands. CCP doesn't get the extra cut out of a PLEX (PLEX cost minus subscription cost) and loses the ability to regulate and monitor it. It IS, in fact, stealing money from CCP. Naturally, they want to prevent this from happening in their game.

So, tl;dr:

1) "Business" Is a flexible term, and
2) Paying people in isk for generating Eve-related content isn't RMT, even if you use that content in an out-of-game setting to make real money through ad revenue. The ad revenue is dependent upon and enabled by a third-party site; the content could easily be distributed via forums or simply awful or reddit, as well. I, for instance, make no ad dollars for my blog, but I do still generate the content.
3) RMT has nothing to do with gameplay balance; it's solely assoicated with ensuring that CCP gets every bit of money due to them. That's fine; they're a business, after all.

The question at hand is really whether Somer is breaking any rules by choosing to pay above market rate for PLEX in order to win that referral commission. Also, are they able to pay out straight isk, or is the bonus exclusively in blink deposit credit?

Writer of Target Caller, an Eve Online PvP blog, at http://targetcaller.blogspot.com

Talvorian Dex
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#245 - 2014-08-19 13:39:23 UTC
CCP Falcon wrote:
Hello again <3

So, a second morning of speaking with people and moving forward on this. I've been tied up pretty much all morning, but now that I'm eating lunch I'll give a few answers to some of the questions in this thread.

...

For what it's worth, I fully agree with community sentiment on this.


For the sake of scroll, I truncated, but I appreciate everything in this. Falcon, you're awesome, man. From a PR perspective, it's clear you're saying everything you can, and trying to be as frank as possible given an ongoing situation and a lack of clarity.

Writer of Target Caller, an Eve Online PvP blog, at http://targetcaller.blogspot.com

GeeShizzle MacCloud
#246 - 2014-08-19 13:40:43 UTC
Ali Aras wrote:
CSM just had another meeting with CCP, including the VP of Sales. It's great that CCP has kept us so involved and are actively seeking the input of us and the community. Mad props to Leeloo and Falcon for their hard work.


well talk about someone who may well be in the thick of the controversy!

This is part of the email chain from Somer Blinks website, considered their defence.

Quote:
Lisa Bell-Cabrera - lbell@ccpgames.com

Apr 13

Hey Somer,

Sorry I thought you were just kidding. I give you my written authorization by future of this email.

If you think you need something more formal we can take your proposal or create a letter of understanding and have it signed by legal.

LMK, Lisa

Sent from my iPhone


The underlined bit is what you might want to focus on. However this is just a txt file on somers website, not concrete proof in any way.

CCPs VP of sales is Lisa Bell-Cabrera - http://i.imgur.com/dFszCOK.png?1
TigerXtrm
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#247 - 2014-08-19 13:46:39 UTC
And the scheme is inactive again on the SOMER site. Someone's probably bummed right now Lol

My YouTube Channel - EVE Tutorials & other game related things!

My Website - Blogs, Livestreams & Forums

Ali Aras
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#248 - 2014-08-19 13:47:38 UTC
GeeShizzle MacCloud wrote:
well talk about someone who may well be in the thick of the controversy!

This is part of the email chain from Somer Blinks website, considered their defence.

Yeah, I read those. Why do you think she was in the meeting? Blink

http://warp-to-sun.tumblr.com -- my blog

Handar Turiant
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#249 - 2014-08-19 13:48:03 UTC
Is SomerBlink a singular EVE Player, or a business?

What did CCP gain, hypothetically, from this supposed favouritism?

If the CEO wants to give his kid a 7mil EHP 99% resist 10k/s frigate with 15 slots per rack and 50K DPS and have his writers create lore that an EVE capsuleer god has been mysteriously pooped out of the Nth dimension, so what? Would be kind of cool. Big fleet battle, suddenly the EVE Kraken God appears, and everyone runs for the hills. Like the sandworms in Dune 2 ;-)

Where does it say CCP cannot do whatever the hell they want? EULA's, as a rule, are about the licensor being protected, not the troglodytes who actually buy the product.

What I'm basically saying is: so what?

And please, hold the Ad Hominems with regards to my person when answering. Enough rage in this thread as is.




Schmata Bastanold
In Boobiez We Trust
#250 - 2014-08-19 13:48:13 UTC
CCP Falcon wrote:
cool stuff but...


So... lying about CCP's approval to boost my RL sales AND involve players in my shady RMT shenanigans is ok but me saying I'm an alt of ... is bannable offense?

Well next time I expect to see on main page of SOMERblink a fully fledged letter from Hilmar addressed to "customers" of SOMER encouraging them to use SOMER's referral link due to excellence of service. Why stop at one-liner when you can just go gunk-ho?

Word.

*drops da mike next to tinfoil hat*

Invalid signature format

Dinsdale Pirannha
Pirannha Corp
#251 - 2014-08-19 13:53:02 UTC
Schmata Bastanold wrote:
CCP Falcon wrote:
cool stuff but...


So... lying about CCP's approval to boost my RL sales AND involve players in my shady RMT shenanigans is ok but me saying I'm an alt of ... is bannable offense?

Well next time I expect to see on main page of SOMERblink a fully fledged letter from Hilmar addressed to "customers" of SOMER encouraging them to use SOMER's referral link due to excellence of service. Why stop at one-liner when you can just go gunk-ho?

Word.

*drops da mike next to tinfoil hat*


Hey, look at the quote of mine that he embedded and then threatened me with a banhammer for. Not one shred of a rumour, but that is what the threat is for. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
Scrooge mcChumly
Inner Circle Exploitation
#252 - 2014-08-19 13:57:03 UTC
To quote a departed soul:
"What Is Good For Somerset Mahm Is Good Enough For Me"
(sadly the article is gone from the web, but still in my possession)

So yes:
if they can everyone can;
if we cannot, they cannot (and should be punished accordingly)
Sarah Nahrnid
Association of Commonwealth Enterprises
Goonswarm Federation
#253 - 2014-08-19 13:57:38 UTC  |  Edited by: Sarah Nahrnid
Ali Aras wrote:
GeeShizzle MacCloud wrote:
well talk about someone who may well be in the thick of the controversy!

This is part of the email chain from Somer Blinks website, considered their defence.

Yeah, I read those. Why do you think she was in the meeting? Blink

CCP Falcon wrote:

KaRa DaVuT wrote:
Ali Aras wrote:
CSM just had another meeting with CCP, including the VP of Sales. It's great that CCP has kept us so involved and are actively seeking the input of us and the community. Mad props to Leeloo and Falcon for their hard work.


Falcon is a dedicated guy.

So when will the results declared to public?


Yeah, we just had a meeting with the CSM and our VP of Sales. I feel that it's only fair to include your elected representatives in the conversation as we resolve this issue.

I have a further meeting with Legal, Sales, our Executive Producer and several others this afternoon so that we can hopefully work further toward a resolution.

That said, this whole situation is so massive that it's going to take a decent amount of time for us resolve it. Please be patient.

For what it's worth, I fully agree with community sentiment on this.

CCP Falcon wrote:

Andski wrote:
Lisa is with CCP legal, not with sales


As pointed out by others in this thread, Lisa is VP of Sales. She's not with our Legal department.


I think that sums it up?

Quoting system sucks
Victor Andall
#254 - 2014-08-19 14:06:56 UTC
Did anyone else feel tingly when CCP Falcon told Dinsdale off?

I just undocked for the first time and someone challenged me to a duel. Wat do?

19.08.2014 - Dinsdale gets slammed by CCP Falcon. Never forget.

Sion Kumitomo
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
#255 - 2014-08-19 14:10:07 UTC
CCP Falcon wrote:
Hello again <3

So, a second morning of speaking with people and moving forward on this. I've been tied up pretty much all morning, but now that I'm eating lunch I'll give a few answers to some of the questions in this thread.

Sion Kumitomo wrote:
The community team rocks, thanks for all your hard work on this thus far and for the communication you've had with us on all this.

One question I have to ask though, was the community team consulted about this at all ahead of time?


Thanks for the support. You guys are amazing, and the CSM has proven that it is worth it's weight in gold after the flexibility and openness we've seen from you guys on this.

To answer your question, the community team was not aware of this until I was contacted by the CSM in the middle of the night on Sunday.


Thanks heaps for your frankness on all of this.

And I do believe that with that we've pinpointed the problem. It also reinforces the points I made in my most recent TMC article, and it will be my suggestion going forward that community be more looped in and integrated into business-side decisions given the importance EVE's community plays in making EVE all it is.

On twitter @siggonK

KaRa DaVuT
Cutting Edge Incorporated
RAZOR Alliance
#256 - 2014-08-19 14:18:23 UTC
CCP Falcon wrote:
Hello again <3

So, a second morning of speaking with people and moving forward on this. I've been tied up pretty much all morning, but now that I'm eating lunch I'll give a few answers to some of the questions in this thread.

KaRa DaVuT wrote:
Ali Aras wrote:
CSM just had another meeting with CCP, including the VP of Sales. It's great that CCP has kept us so involved and are actively seeking the input of us and the community. Mad props to Leeloo and Falcon for their hard work.


Falcon is a dedicated guy.

So when will the results declared to public?


Yeah, we just had a meeting with the CSM and our VP of Sales. I feel that it's only fair to include your elected representatives in the conversation as we resolve this issue.

I have a further meeting with Legal, Sales, our Executive Producer and several others this afternoon so that we can hopefully work further toward a resolution.

That said, this whole situation is so massive that it's going to take a decent amount of time for us resolve it. Please be patient.

For what it's worth, I fully agree with community sentiment on this.



Well Thank you and ALI both for your responses. You were the least reasons that I believe this situation will solve for good.

Hope this thing will solve quick for the sake of the New Eden

Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is in your heart and on your mind... And what you decide to do every day, makes you - not your race - a good man - or not.

Andski
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
#257 - 2014-08-19 14:18:44 UTC  |  Edited by: Andski
Talvorian Dex wrote:
The question at hand is really whether Somer is breaking any rules by choosing to pay above market rate for PLEX in order to win that referral commission. Also, are they able to pay out straight isk, or is the bonus exclusively in blink deposit credit?


Take the PLEX out of the equation. If I give you ISK (or any other reward that could potentially be exchanged for in-game value) in exchange for buying something through an Amazon affiliate link that I provide you, we are both, without question, in violation of the rules.

The entire thing with the PLEX/ETC just convolutes it, but it doesn't make it any less shady.

Twitter: @EVEAndski

"It's easy to speak for the silent majority. They rarely object to what you put into their mouths."    - Abrazzar

KaRa DaVuT
Cutting Edge Incorporated
RAZOR Alliance
#258 - 2014-08-19 14:20:55 UTC
Ali Aras wrote:
GeeShizzle MacCloud wrote:
well talk about someone who may well be in the thick of the controversy!

This is part of the email chain from Somer Blinks website, considered their defence.

Yeah, I read those. Why do you think she was in the meeting? Blink


Well I want to hear her response or wanted to see her face when all these things blew up

Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is in your heart and on your mind... And what you decide to do every day, makes you - not your race - a good man - or not.

RomeStar
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#259 - 2014-08-19 14:21:24 UTC
If nobdy is banned for this then is it okay to RMT?

Signatured removed, CCP Phantom

Pitchfork Vendor
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#260 - 2014-08-19 14:26:56 UTC
RomeStar wrote:
If nobdy is banned for this then is it okay to RMT?

Banned? This is Somer Blink we're talking about.
If they aren't given a few Ishukone scorpions for this I'd be surprised Smile

Pitchforks! Pitchforks! Get your pitchforks here!