Monday, August 18, 2014

Somergate 2014

Not everyone uses Twitter. CSM9 had an early morning (USTZ) prelimiary meeting with CCP Leeloo and CCP Falcon over Somer Blink's new program. Stay tuned.

Update: We have spent the day talking with CCP. It has been back and forth and back and forth. I realized that I didn't put my personal opinion up here earlier so here it is:

I don't like this. I don't feel that it is okay. I also really, really want to know what is going on and get this stuff hammered out so that it is not happening over and over again. I find the rules clear but it seems that I lack a particular type of creativity for this.

Several of us have asked questions in the thread of CCP Falcon. We've repeated the concerns that have been expressed to us. And we'll keep this going.

CCP Falcon released a statement here. I'm reposting it for those who do not wish to go to the forums.

Hey guys,
Apologies for the delay in putting out a notification, I’ve just arrived home from the office after a bit of a busy day talking to various departments to get a handle on how and what’s been going on with this situation.
This issue was first brought to the attention of the Community Team by the CSM around 24 hours ago after concern was raised by members of the community regarding the promotion that’s currently going on over at SOMERblink.
Myself and CCP Leeloo has been sat with various groups within CCP today and have been in constant contact with the CSM throughout the day to discuss the concerns of the community and make sure that some form of resolution is reached. They’ve been very clear, direct and unified with their opinion on the situation, and this is a sentiment that I share with them.
This thread will serve as a place where we’ll be updating you guys on what’s going on with this to make sure that there’s a central place for information, because it’s quite clear that this is an issue that the community is taking seriously. It’s also something I feel incredibly strongly about.
At this point in time, we’re investigating exactly what’s going on with the whole situation, and I’ve been in contact with our Legal department, Sales and our Information Security team with a view to having this looked into and resolved.
Given the sheer size of the investigation that we’ll be undertaking, this is going to take some time, as a lot of ISK and assets have changed hands. While some temporary action has been taken in order to keep a handle on the situation, any outcome of an investigation is still to be determined, and I can’t give any further information regarding the process while it’s ongoing.
There’s not a great deal more that I’ll be able to give you guys tonight, but please be aware, and rest assured, that you will not be stonewalled over this, and within reason the Community Team will be letting you guys know exactly what’s going on as and when we can release more information.
I’m hoping to have more on this for you guys tomorrow as we look into this further, but for now, this is just to let you all know that your voices have been heard, we’re actively looking at the situation, and will feed back as soon as we have more information that we can share.
We'll be locking all the other threads that are discussing this, and diverting them here to keep feedback concise and centralized in one place, so please feel free to use this thread to talk about the issue openly.
Just remember to keep it civil and within the forum rules, which also means no discussion of warnings and bans.
Thanks for your patience,
- F

16 comments:

  1. Posting here to avoid the noise elsewhere.

    There's a lot of talk around about Somer breaking the EULA last year. I don't recall any bans or similar action. So either Somer is getting preferential treatment, or as was suggested by some people at the time, Somer technically wasn't in breach of the EULA.

    What CCP did last year, was change the conditions of resale for PLEX, and basically told the resellers that if they wanted to continue they'd have to stop any such deals.

    So CCP cut the PLEX supply, they didn't punish Somer.

    Presumably Markee have checked with CCP over this new scheme, it would be huge risk for them to allow Somer to do this without doing so. Somer "CCP approved" statement probably follows from this.

    If CCP did approve this, then somebody needs to hauled over the coals for this - they should've known what was going on.

    If CCP didn't approve this, then CCP should close Markee's reseller account, and warn any others that if they deal with Somer they're likely to go the same way.

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    1. Or if they approved it, they you know approved it and know exactly what is going on and stand by their approval. And have to do absolutely nothing at all. Because CCP makes CCP policy and not EVE's players.

      Frankly I didn't see an issue last year and I still don't see one now vOv Nothing is being introduced into the in game economy from thin air and as long as that doesn't happen I have no quarrel with it.

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    2. Last year there was a sort of implied approval and grey area, until it got out of control with players using the same scheme Somer was using to cash out their ISK. Then CCP issued an "Enough is enough, now cut the shit" order and it stopped. No bans were handed out, or at least made public.

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    3. "Frankly I didn't see an issue last year and I still don't see one now vOv"

      I totally agree. As long as I can cash out my isk in the same way I have no problem with it.

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    4. The problem, at least the way I see it, is not what Somer are doing. It's that they are the only ones allowed to do it.

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  2. Special relationships are what keep EVE going!

    Why are CCP so keen to avoid any mention of special relationships and details of ALL the parties?

    It must be terrible to be in this position...

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  3. Naoru, somer did get stuff from thin air, remember magnategate/AT stratioses??

    Also, bot farms also dont produce anything from thin air.

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    1. Bot farms don't require players present apples/oranges.

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  4. Sugar, there is one aspect of this issue which was brought up during the last Somer Blink scandal, and which I've seen mentioned again, but which has been consistently ignored and gone unaddressed by any CSM or CCP representative. I would like to hear your take on it, and whether you would be willing to bring it up in your discussions with CCP.

    The question in particular is in regard to this portion of the EULA, under the section on creating new accounts:

    "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."

    During the last discussion, Somer Blink's previous PLEX affiliate (prior to Markee Dragon) reported that in their time working with Somer Blink, Somer's portion of the profits amounted to over $130,000. It is estimated that after switching to Markee Dragon, Somer has at the very least netted this same amount, but most likely much greater (based on lottery participation statistics from Somer Blink's site during these time periods).

    These amounts are clearly far above the purpose of using PLEX sales to support website costs which has been allowed by CCP, and fall squarely in the realm of a profit-generating business. As I recall, Somerset Mahm has even boasted about the multi-monitor top end computer he uses to play EVE, which was paid for by his site.

    So my question is this: setting aside all technicalities and legal loopholes of what is and isn't RMT, why are the accounts of any individuals associated with the Somer Blink website allowed to persist when they are obviously engaged in an income-seeking business which is facilitated through said EVE accounts?

    No one has ever offered a satisfactory answer to this question. For that matter, no one in any authority has even acknowledged this question. To my knowledge, no one has ever tried to argue that Somer Blink is not a business. So when the case is so clear, why is such a blatant violation of the EULA allowed to continue? I attempted to petition it myself, but was only met with the standard canned response which essentially amounted to "we'll look into it, but can't tell you what we decide." As Somer Blink is still operating, it's pretty certain that nothing ever came of it.

    So my request to you as a CSM member is whether you will confront CCP with this question, and see that they give their customers an explanation as to why their policies are not being equally applied or enforced? The primary purpose of the CSM has always been to provide transparency to the players, and to be a check against CCP misconduct. This situation would certainly seem to fall under that role.

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    1. I also added it to the forum post because I think it is a very, very good question.

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    2. This is interesting - but the purpose of such a clause is to prevent eg McDonalds from registering 1000 accounts and going around in a hamburgler fleet in lowsec or some such spamming the fk out of Jita local with offers for pizza or whatever.

      More broadly should The Mittani or Chribba or even The Angel Project be permabanned as they make money from their eve accounts. Hmmm does Sindel Pellion advertise her music with her toon? Or maybe Sugar Kyle if she decides to makes money from her position on CSM by selling ad space on this blog?

      Arguably if Somerset Mahm advertised Somer Blink without CCP approval by spamming Jita local then there could be an issue here. Otherwise you have someone playing eve while running a separate eve related business. If the business involves playing Eve a particular way then the clause is not violated. But if eg you are selling Geiko in Jita - which is so easy a Minmatar slave can do it then you got a problem.

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    3. So an out of game business named "Somer Blink" using an in-game corporation of the same name, and advertising their services in various chat channels and on the forums (things which they have done), is somehow different than McDonalds using in-game accounts to advertise their services?

      The only distinction I see is one of scale, and the EULA does not say "only large multinational corporations may not use EVE accounts for business purposes".

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. oh cute, anyone notice how some dude who just got back from their weekend/vacation/acidtrip is used as an excuse to stonewall some more? sound familiar? "oh, HAI GAIZ! sorry i'm completely clueless about something mysterious"

    really? oh right, i so must have missed the memo. Sorry about us assuming some scammer being obvious about it means it's obviously in the EULA preventing that...silly us.

    oh wait

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