Friday, December 17, 2010

The Auction House Dark Alley

Everyday I see things on the auction house that many people consider scamming, mean, and just plain wrong.  You know what I'm talking about and maybe you have tried a few of these things in your time.  From the classic posting 1 arrow or bullet for just under the price of an entire stack, to the people intentionally messing with prices on certain items to attempt to cash in later with people who fully trust Auctioneer scans.  Then there are the people who post an item well above normal value and then log onto another toon or account and spam trade for that item at an even higher price.  These are true scams.  Anything in which you actively deceive another player and give them some sort of hope for profit.  Even myself can't say that the allure of easy gold hasn't kept me from attempting a few of these on occasion.

With it being so easy for someone to create a new toon to pull these scams off and not have their Main or even their guild's integrity compromised how do you put a stop to these?  One idea would be to educate your server and be a whistle blower anytime you see these scams.  Of course plan on taking a lot of abuse from the Trade Chat Trolls.  Another method would be to actively report these obvious scams and hope some action is taken.  Still you could try and guilt the scammer into stopping his actions.  If it is someone who plays the auction house for fun you could try devaluing his "achivements" and swear he couldn't do it a legitimate way.

Before we belittle and destroy someones toon or account we have to remember they may not realize that it is wrong.  There are many players who see similar scams everyday.  They also see the people falling for them and can only imagine the gold the person pulling it off is making.  They may also be recruited by someone else to do the dirty work for them so in a way they have become oblivious street soldiers in a WoW mafia.  Often a little education into the possible infractions the man (Blizzard) can place on them is enough to get people to stop.  Once they understand it's wrong direct them to a forum or gold blog where they can learn how to make gold legitimate ways.  Sure they may become competitors but knowing that you helped them get to that point should be enough reward to cover the little gold you may lose out to them.

For myself the few scams I tried early on in my WoW endeavors proved to be successful monetarily and there was a bit of a thrill to know I was ripping someone off.  However once those feelings started to fade the actual "worth" I put on my gold was little.  I would put a bunch of time and energy into these scams and in the end I would feel no sense of achievement for all the gold I had accumulated.  Thats when I started looking for new methods and stumbled upon a few sites that set me onto the path Auctioneer and away from that of the Scammer.  (JMTC and later The Consortium along with countless other gold blogs.  Many of them in my blogroll)

I'm talking about this now because of a few new possible scams I have seen ideas popping up for.  Now for those of you unsure if what you see can be considered a scam or not take into mind a few things.  Is said person somehow planting false hopes into other players to attract buyers?  Is it possible the person claiming to be scammed or calling someone a scammer is just upset because of how high priced the "scammer" is selling an item for?  Is this player possibly being setup up by a trade chat troll so that they look like a scammer?

Finally what is your thoughts on true scamming?  Should people be able to profit by completely leading someone down a false path?  How harshly should blizzard punish those caught?  What have you tried to combat these people if anything and were you successful?

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