Friday, August 20, 2010

Stopping the Goldseller (and buyer) evil

Recently in a Groinstabber's Gold post I mentioned buying mats from hacked accounts, and that I though it was a good idea. At the time I did not really understand the consequences of doing that. A comment from Euripides (from the Call to Auction podcast) reminded me that buying from hacked accounts is risky and can get you permanently banned. But before I go on here's my story.

The most profitable Trade
When I first got into gold-making it was all about the AH game, until I saw a trade chat advertisement selling stacks of epic gems at well below AH prices. So naturally I contacted the person, bought the materials and went on my merry way. I made more than 10k profit that day.

I had a couple of more trades lek that one, and everything was well until, one day, after completing another such trade, I ran towards Stormwind bank only minutes later, only to see the guy I had just bought from, completely stripped of all gear. It dawned on me then I had bought from a hacked account, and I got that sinking feeling. I felt extremely guilty.

The next day I discussed thi with friends of mine. They assured me hacked accounts get all their stuff back. and I shouldn't worry. So I didn't I kept buying of trade chat sellers, except this time, I knew that the sellers were most likely hacked accounts or funnel accounts for hackers. Then after 1 such trade involving 48 Primordial Saronites and 12 stacks for Dreadstones, I was slapped with a 72hr ban. I received an email from Blizzard notifying me of the ban and explaining that I was suspected of "manipulating the in-game economy using real-world currency". I of course, immediately sent an email back, stating my innocence and that the trade was completed using gold, not money. 40 Hrs later my account was reactivated and I received an apology email from Blizzard.

Don't buy from hackers
Now it is important to note that my view on the issue has taken a reverse turn. I am now fully against buying materials from hacked accounts, and I'll tell you why.

I had a recent email exchange on the topic with Euripides and at the end of it he said something that made me think. He said "that they should punish the (gold)buyers, not the people duped by the sellers." I have always agreed with that statement, without goldbuyers there wouldn't be any Gold-sellers. Anyway, seeing that statement made me think of something else; when you buy from mats from these hacked accounts, you give them the gold that they will sell on. In other words you suddenly become the supplier to these gold-buyers, and, in my opinion, that is just as bad.

But lets look at it from another angle, one I haven't looked at before myself. The materials a hacker sells either from hacked accounts or funnel accounts are, effectively, stolen goods. Now would you buy stolen goods in the real world, knowing they are stolen goods? I didn't think so.

Recognising hackers
So how can we recognise hacked accounts? There are a few things to look out for:

1. The name- If the seller has name thats just some scrambled letters he could be a funnelling toon for hacked accounts (eg. Hposeutpsfh)

2. Attempt to engage the seller in conversation. Talk about the goods being sold. Hackers want fast sales, they want to minimise the amount of time they spend online, so they will only reply in singular words, or sometimes not at all.

3. look at what their selling and the price they are asking. Again, because of wanting quick sales, hackers will sell the most common materials (epic gems, Primordial Saronites, enchanting mats, etc) at well below AH prices. As they say, if you see a deal too good to be true it usually is.

It's just plain wrong
I won't be buying from trade sellers again, the risk is just too high for me, and more importantly, it feels morally wrong. I will not be a contributing factor to gold-selling or buying. Anyone who feels there's nothing wrong with buying from hacked accounts needs to get their blinders removed and see the whole picture - it's wrong, it's promoting the theft of accounts. What are your thoughts?

Let's all do our bit to stop these hackers and gold-sellers,



  1. If we are get all moral about it, then we should stop auctioning items for profit all together as we are doing nothing but taking advantage of other people.

  2. There is no way to tell if you are buying from a hacker. If hes a hacker, he's probably got no problem lying to you either and saying he's selling out b/c he is quitting.

  3. And if I'm not buying his cheap goods, then my competitor will, and that will eat into my sales so buy cheap no matter is what I say. Don't ask / Don't tell. Maintain you innocence and just buy all you can for as low as you can.

  4. (sorry for multi-posting, but at work im restricted to only a few lines per entry.) LOL

  5. That was the same way I used to think myself. For me, I knew they were hackers, because I did have trades with people who simply wanted to quit. How can you tell? They don't mind having a chat with you. Hackers don't. And about getting moral, well the AH is the way I'm going to go, because its even playing field and in my heart I know my hard-earned gold isn't going to the gold-sellers. In the end it is up to everyone themselves to decide if their going to buy from these accounts. This is just my point of view.

  6. I guess the thing that really bugs me is that fact that soooo many folks won't use authenticators. I know they are a hassle, and yes they kinda suck, but if everyone used one this isn't a topic.

    I kinda of wish Blizz would make them mandatory.

    Great post. Thanks.

  7. I'd also like to note that there's no easy solution. Even if we all stopped buying from them, they can always just sell them on the AH. I don't buy from obvious hackers, but that's half because I don't want to have to go 40 hours without wow.

  8. Yeah I agree, with the Authenticator comment, although I have hear of Authenticator accounts getting hacked too - don't ask me how :). And Euripides, I agree there's no easy solution, it's just more thing that can be done.

  9. Anyone using a mobile authenticator on a blue tooth device can be hacked rather easily. I remember an article in Wired Magazine about the new way bluetooth devices are easy to steal all your info from. I specifically recall in the article how a hacker could carry a device on him that would steal all of the contact info from nearby bluetooth devices that he passed by.

    -Thanks for putting me in your blogroll!

  10. I know nothing about iPod or its exploits but on an android device you can't even read the authenticator's serial # without being root AND running the hack or exploit as a super user. as for bluetooth your lucky to even get an RFCOMM connection setup with the phones next to each other, let alone read protected memory (no bt profile built in to do that).