If you are American you are likely preparing for Memorial Day, which is the yearly migration of Americans north to Canada. Our illegal immigrant problem skyrockets this weekend as countless thousands of Americans cross the border with no intention of ever going back. I do happen to be looking for a gardener, so if any of you are heading up the 401 from Toronto to Ottawa feel free to drop off a resume, in Canadian English please...find the "u" on your keyboard and use it.
If you frequent our network then you are aware that we tell it like we see it. Our honesty and our opinion sometimes gets us in disfavor with developers and publishers. It's a curious conundrum. We rely on developers and publishers to bestow exclusive content on our network and they in turn rely on us to give their titles exposure. It's a lot like getting a loan from a bank. You go in and ask for a loan. They immediately ask you if you have any money as collateral. The answer of course is, "No", because if you had the money you wouldn't be at the bank asking for it now would you?
We no longer have problems getting interviews, screenshots and other game assets from our developer friends, but smaller sites and new sites do. To be fair, game developers are swamped with requests from guys in Romania named Ivan who want freebies for their website; a site that gets exactly one visitor per year, Ivan himself. What gets me though, is when I visit a site that I know is owned by a secondary market company and they are either running paid advertising from a developer that claims to be against the secondary market or they have some new and fantastic exclusive content that could have been deployed on a site that actually cares that the developers' game has a future.
Frequent TenTonHammer.com flyers know that we have a "No Gold Ads" policy. In a nutshell, this means that we do not accept advertising dollars from companies that directly or indirectly support the secondary market. Unfortunately, these companies are voracious advertisers, spending as much and often more than the publishers and developers of the games themselves. Make no mistake about it, companies who take the high road do so at great expense. We give up thousands of dollars per month in revenue. Some opponents of these secondary market companies believe that they are the devil. We don't believe that, but we're pretty sure that secondary market companies eat babies, and not just human babies either, cute babies, like baby koalas or baby labrador retrievers.
A select few of these secondary market companies are also voracious consumers of game sites. They don't just eat babies. They eat game sites, whole, without chewing them first. What better way to pawn your wares than to buy the venues that your potential customers frequent? Not only do you get to put advertising in the face of those who are most likely to be influenced by it, but you can track the habits of those people, both on the website and in the games that they play (through UI Mods) to find out where best to farm the gold that you are trying to sell them.
It always surprises me, though by now it probably shouldn't, how many of our readers have no idea which sites are owned by secondary market, gold farming or gold selling companies. They visit those sites, blissfully unaware that they are indirectly supporting the companies that they rail about in forums across the industry. You'd think that the "Buy our gold NOW!" ads on some of the sites would be a dead give-away, but not all sites are that blatant. Some don't show gold ads at all. Instead they take your money through subscription or through advertising and dump it into the coffers of the parent company. Some are even more insidious, building tools that allow the users to upload information directly to the gold farmers' databases.
Our readers aren't the only ones who unknowingly help the secondary market companies. Some developers are shocked when you ask why they are giving exclusive content to a site owned by a secondary market company like IGE. They simply didn't know that the ultimate owner was a company that not only breaks their End User Licence Agreement (EULA), but does so flamboyantly.
The secondary market changes the playing field for every player in the game. Imagine for instance, if you were playing Monopoly and every time your opponent landed on a unclaimed property he could just reach into his wallet, pull out some real life cash and buy more Monopoly money to purchase the deed. Imagine if every time he landed on one of your properties and couldn't pay that he did the same thing. As a player who isn't spending real life cash you have no way of competing with him. MMOGs are no different. People who obey the EULAs put forth by the developers are put at a disadvantage by those who buy from the secondary market.
LotRO Source, a superb site dedicated to covering Lord of the Rings Online posted an article about the secondary market yesterday. They mentioned us, which we appreciate, but that's not the reason I'm mentioning their article; their community has posted some well thought out comments in their forums that are worth the read. We have also put our money where our mouth is and sponsored the Hospitality Suite at the upcoming Lord of the Rings Online Gathering II to be held in Providence, Rhode Island on August 4th and 5th. If we didn't sponsor it, one of the gold farming sites would have.
Which sites are owned by secondary market companies you ask? Let's throw out the names of a few of the big guys.
How many of you visit those sites regularly?
Which sites are "Gold Free"?
The question is, what parts of the "owned" sites do you want replicated on TenTonHammer.com? We aren't going away and we are going to continue to provide MMOG players with a safe, gold-free home.
Leave a comment, go on now.. leave one. If you are shy you can E-Mail me. , but I'd much prefer a comment that others can in turn, comment on. It's a comment circle of life thing. I think it started in Africa. If you are reading this via our newsletter then you need only to click here to be magically whisked away to the of milk and comments.
Looking for a place that your guild can call home that doesn't run gold ads? Look no further than GuildPortal.com.
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As always, thanks for visiting TenTonHammer.com,
-- John "Boomjack" Hoskin