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Turbine Tears Down the Offer Wall

Posted Wed, Apr 14, 2010 by Martuk

As you might recall, Turbine launched the Offer Wall for Dungeons and Dragons Online a couple of days ago and it was met with intense scrutiny from the community. Questions about compromised personal information came from simply visiting the offers on the wall. After the community voiced concerns, Turbine disabled offers on the wall to investigate the matter. Today, Turbine addressed the issue and has shut down the wall completely. As it turns out, Turbine actually chose to pass player email addresses through the link to facilitate emailing receipts between players and their partners. PlaySpan and Super Rewards received the email addresses after the link was clicked, but Turbine states that it went no further than that and the partners have since removed the information from their database. The full statement from Turbine representative Marketroid can be found below.

Turbine’s slogan is “Powered by Our Fans." That means more than just words to us. It’s a promise. We pride ourselves on listening closely to you, our players, and working with you to do what’s right.

Turbine is continually looking for ways to stretch the boundaries of pricing and commerce models in our games. That’s the kind of thinking that lead to Founder’s pricing in LOTRO and the launch of Free-to-Play in DDO. We’re always focused on providing the best possible value to the widest group of players, but not if it compromises our relationship with our fans.

Recently, we opened an Offer Wall with a selection of ads that got a strong negative response. There were also technical issues that raised valid questions about security. Overall it was a poor user experience that was not up to our standards, and for this we apologize.

Based on your feedback, we’re stepping away from the ‘Offer’ category for now. We’ll keep exploring alternate ways for players who want points to get them. We’ll also continue to innovate in pricing and accessibility because that’s who we are. As of today, the Offer Wall is coming down. We’ll collect all the feedback we’ve received over the last few days and will use it to guide future decisions.

Finally, there was a lot of speculation about how information such as your username or e-mail address was being used by our commerce partners. Ultimately we chose to pass the e-mail address to our commerce partners in the URL to facilitate e-mailing receipts to players. It went no further than that. Neither PlaySpan nor Super Rewards passed the information on. It was stored in the user database only and not transmitted to any of the companies who advertised via Super Rewards. Players who visited the page did not expose any new information to PlaySpan (our in-game store provider) that they did not already have.

Even though this implementation did not constitute a technical breach of our privacy policy, we certainly understand the concerns that have been communicated to us and how seriously players take their privacy. As a result, the Super Rewards team has already removed the e-mail addresses from their user database. If we decide to return to the Offer category in the future we will certainly work with our partners to implement a better system than the one we tried this week.

Thanks to everyone for your patience as we worked through this. We very much appreciate your support and candid feedback!

After Marketroid's initial post there were still questions from some players about why Turbine sent usernames to certain URLs through the Offer Wall link. Marketroid responded to DDO community member Gol's question on the subject, informing the community that the sources that received the information were Turbine and PlaySpan, who handles crediting Turbine Points to accounts.

For now, the Offer Wall has been shelved and Turbine has addressed most of the concerns voiced by players. Players seem satisfied with the response offered by Turbine for the most part. The forums are certainly a calmer sea today.

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