Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Somer Blink RMT steals from CCP and legitimate affiliates

Update, the RMT-ers are dead! Anyway the post is still interesting about affiliate business and why they were bad:

Somer Blink, the infamous RMT site used to be is out again, offering 45M ISK bonus for buying PLEX via their affiliate link, similar to their old scheme That scheme was banned, the new one is not, but it's essentially the same, if you buy PLEX from Somer, you get more ISK than buying from CCP.

At first let's see how affiliates work everywhere in the business. For example a T-shirt maker hires a blogger to be his affiliate and gives him percentage after every T-shirt sold via the link of the blog. Why does he do it? Because the blogger with his visibility gets him new customers, more customers than he'd get by simply offering a discount. The blogger is performs a marketing service for the T-shirt maker.

CCP runs his affiliate program for the same reason: if you bring new customers for CCP, you can get a percentage for every sale. The good examples are alliance affiliate links. If you are in alliance X, you are asked to buy your PLEX via the alliance affiliate link, earning money for the alliance leadership. The reasoning of CCP is that the alliance leader creates content that keeps people playing and these people would quit if the alliance leader would have to get a job and couldn't create content all day.

For simplicity, let's say you can buy PLEX for $15 and the alliance leader gets $2 for everyone who buys via his link. To continue, we have to see that there are two kinds of customers:
  1. those would indeed quit without the content created by the alliance leader (or whatever affiliate creates them content)
  2. those who would not
Since PLEX cost them the same, they are both likely buying PLEX clicking the affiliate link to help someone who creates them content. On these two groups, running the affiliate program CCP gets:
  1. $15-$2 = $13. Thanks to the content created by the affiliate, these players remained customers or joined as new ones (for example TEST recruitment drive on Reddit).
  2. $-2: they would be playing anyway, so CCP pays the affiliate for nothing.
The size of the two groups are unknown, but the marketing department guesses the second isn't 7x bigger than the first to make the scheme unprofitable for CCP.

Enters Somer Blink with its RMT scheme: "if you buy PLEX from our link, we give you extra ISK". It seems the same as any other affiliate scheme, except this time we know exactly how big the first group is: zero. There isn't a single man on the planet who would quit playing EVE if he couldn't play SOMER Blink, since you can only win in-game items and it's worthless to you if you wouldn't play. So every $ CCP pays to SOMER as affiliate is a waste.

On the other hand the second group is largely inflated. No random people click on the affiliate link of some alliance leader, but every EVE player has the reason to click the SOMER link, even if he doesn't even know what SOMER Blink is: the bonus money. Using the T-shirt affiliate example, imagine that the blogger wouldn't even have a blog, just stand front of the T-shirt shop and give 50c coins to people entering the shop if they claim inside the shop that they were sent by the blogger (despite they came to the shop anyway).

This is why the "community" is outraged on something that gives extra ISK to the players. If the players do what's good for them in the short run, they click on the link of SOMER instead of the link of the affiliates who actually give them content. So SOMER takes the affiliate money of opinion leaders who are genuinely outraged over that and make their followers shoot monuments. Below you can see the real reason why the propaganda site of the Evil publishes multiple posts over the topic:

One obvious question rises: how could CCP not notice that SOMER is stealing money from them and make their community figures mad? That weasel Somer answered it: he scammed a salesperson (screenshot) by telling he is just offering a buyback service to save people the effort to sell it on Jita for the best price, while he clearly buys it much higher than that. True, the salesperson could notice "You can only sell 2 PLEX at this rate for each ETC you purchased (so you can't just go buy PLEX in Jita and resell them to Blink for more than you paid)" which is explicit proof that he is aware that Blink rate is above Jita best price enough to motivate people to buy PLEX in Jita and resell it to Blink.

If CCP doesn't ban him after publishing this they openly challenge every scammer out there "go and get us if you can"! But besides that, if CCP wants to keep its affiliate business, they must ban all SOMER-related accounts (not the clients, the organizers) and cancel business with Markee Dragon (financial enabler for SOMER). This would scare off future exploiters from investing into yet another RMT scheme, since they have one weak point: they must advertise themselves to a large player community to get clients, so they can't fly under the radar. Knowing that being caught is losing business would make resellers careful when picking their affiliates.

Finally: even if CCP wants to give another chance to SOMER for whatever reason, they have to understand that this scandal will not go away. A player clicking on the SOMER PLEX link is a player not clicking the link of EN24, Zkillboard, or the link of whatever content creator he used to click. If SOMER stays, they will go bankrupt and have to get a real job instead of living from playing EVE. They will fight till their last bullet as they are fighting for their (no)life here.

PS: I'm not having a PLEX link (just a 51-days tryout link) since I'm talking about making ISK, so my followers probably haven't paid a cent to CCP after the first 1-2 months earning their first billion. So I have no dog in the race, I just hate RMT-ers more than even Goons.

PS2: CO2 is bad. TNT ditto. Finally, look at this beautiful report about a Battlement Coalition + Ev0ke + VEGA fleet bravely up-engaging a Goon capital fleet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Battlement Coalition in July

The title is misleading, since there was no Battlement Coalition in July. It was created in mid August. However its members existed and fought against CFC. I did a complete analysis on CFC PvP activity in July, so I redid it with the assumption that Battlement Coalition existed.

It isn't fair as the whole is always larger than the sum of its parts and also some of these alliances weren't deployed against CFC, so their main PvP activity could not be seen on the CFC killboard. For example Never Look Back didn't kill a single CFC in July, while their recent killboard is full of them. Still, the July data is more than nothing. As always, the data is de-whored, if you did 1% damage of a 100B titan, you get 1B kills booked, not 100B.

This is the redid summary, with Battlement inserted, along with Marmite Collective which does coalition level damage alone. The problem is that "coalition level" is actually "around 5%". An average enemy coalition has this magnitude of activity (kills + losses) alone. The soon-to-be-Battlement wasn't different. They did 248B damage to CFC and had 115B from CFC losses which isn't bad, but still just 6% of the CFC activity. The good thing is that their ISK ratio is much better than of the other coalitions, since they weren't (and aren't) Sov-holders facing the blob, but pirates massacring ratters.

The list of the individual members show problems. The members after the #3 combined had as much activity as #3 alone and their ISK ratio is plain bad. I repeat that this can be because of not being deployed against the CFC, but still this doesn't look promising. The first 3 members on the other hand are long-standing anti-CFC pirates, so we can hope that the rest learn from them in combined gangs and get to their level.

However these results pose a serious risk for the newly formed coalition. I've found that MoA killboard ratio and CFC overall ratio strongly depend on fleet sizes. In short: CFC gets massacred in small-gang engagements but wins most of its large-fleet battles. So if Battlement forms up with 100+ pilots for various timers, they will indeed do nothing but provide entertainment to CFC pilots. I hope they'll stick to small gangs, destroying CFC ratting, industry and renters. The risk is coming from the alliances with large-fleet background in the coalition who can act as bad influence.

Of course if they want to grow, they need income, and CFC moons are an obvious source. However they need timer battles, so I'd rather let individual members siphon the towers and base the alliance finances on donations. The CFC earned hatred all around New Eden, it won't be hard to find donators.

Finally, a teaser image from our recent campaign with MoA (and now coalition members help, you can see when they jumped on the boat) against the Evil. This is going to be huge, official results will be published on Sept 1:
PS: Don't make guesses in comments, I'll moderate them out. Just watch and laugh!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Entering Nullsec was never easier

OK, maybe when the servers first started and all nullsec was empty, it was easier. But ever since, if you wanted to carve out some space, there was never a better time to start it.

What? Everyone whines how it's very hard and the "little guys have no chance" and how "nullsec is broken" and that CCP must fix it or EVE dies and so on and so on. But I believe in numbers instead:
What is it if not the most dynamic growth EVE ever seen? BRAVE, TEST and GSF in their finest days couldn't grow that fast. And to make it even better, it's totally inclusive. You, yes you with your few-men real-life friend missioning corp can join today.

What alliance I'm talking about? The renters: NA., BoT and PBLRD. They are (or rather, the first two are) the future of nullsec entry. You don't need doctrines, don't need thousands of "friends", you don't need hundred supercapitals, you don't need nullsec expertise, all you need is what you can easily earn in highsec: ISK. Once you are in, you can earn even more from utilizing your space.

It's amazing how problems are solved within the playerbase, using mutually beneficial trades. Of course there are oldschool moralists who say that the "true" method would be uphill in the snow, grinding multi-million HP structures in subcaps like they did, and what you rent isn't "real". Well, it'll be pretty real when you anchor your tower and start to live in it. Ignore their whining and get to work!

What? You need to sign a treaty to have space? News bulletin: even the largest and strongest has to. Anyone goes maverick and "I do what I want" will end up in lowsec faster than a renter not paying his rent. Everyone has to negotiate, sign treaties, build blue lists on top of having a thousand battleships and hundred supers. Your treaty is no different from theirs. So check the alternatives, sign the best and plant your tower today!

PS: FA is still bad.
Important ratting advice: totally safe for CFC!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend minipost: the coalition of Good

You might heard that several "pirate" alliances joined into a coalition called "Battlement". You can see that their mission statement, is pure Good. They don't fight for land or a nice killboard, just for the good of New Eden, to crush the Evil that corrupted this World, taking the control from pilots flying spaceships to liars plotting on some Jabber channel.

The members are:
The Scourge.
Psychotic Alliance
Mordus Angels
Never Look Back
Unkind Initiative
Intrepid Crossing
Negative Waves
The Serenity Initiative

I'll obviously run some numbers, but it's a weekend minipost, so I merely welcome this turn of events. You can see that there are no coalition level finances, every alliance pays SRP for its own members. It makes Goon spying much less effective, as they can only steal the money of one alliance. I did and will keep financially support Mordus Angels, the strongest member of this coalition. We also cooked up something really nasty for the Evil Ones: the idea and the financing is mine (didn't want that 20B anyway), the execution is theirs. The results are already looking good, you'll see it at the end of August.

Finally I suggested to make a donation board for the coalition of Good. There are countless "carebears" who were abused by the evil Goons, they will surely jump on the idea that they can get their revenge on their tormentors by donating the fruits of "carebearing". It'll be up soonTM.

VFK by spring! GRR!

PS: Goons didn't want that tower and fleet anyway.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend minipost: big bad Goon ganks innocent mining barge

Sort of.

Breaking news: FCON is still bad.

On another note: highsec titan down. I think it was RMT, because one tornado couldn't kill it with hardeners on. Also, pretty retarded fit, the pilot has no other killboard activity, despite being almost 2 years old, he was in NPC corp and in his corp history the only player corp has no WH activity, despite he was stuffed with WH loot. His killer is even more suspicious, he did nothing but expensive, stupid fit ship ganks, but way less than you'd expect from a ganker and only very expensive ones. It's like every other week he undocks once and the first thing coming his way has 10B in the hold. Either very lucky, or regular buyer of illicit ISK sellers.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Elite PvP: GSF vs NC. in 2013

You probably know that NC. is one of the most "elite" PvP alliances out there. They utilize the best tactics and recruiting only accomplished veterans with high SP. GSF on the other hand are recruiting newbies from their forum and stumble around in cheap ships exploding hilariously. Or, this is what their propaganda says. Let's use the old 2013 GSF kill and loss data and compare it with the newly downloaded NC. 2013 data. As always, the kills are de-whored so if a 100B titan was killed and only 1% of the damage came from NC., they got 1B kills and not 100B.

Without further ado:
  • GSF: 8403B losses, 12138B kills, 59.1% ISK ratio.
  • NC.: 3782B losses, 5392B kills, 58.8% ISK ratio.
So much about both propagandas. The killboard of GSF was greener in 2013 than of NC. Which is funny on its own and would deserve a post. Note: GoonWaffe had 1908B losses, 1933B kills, which is 50% ISK ratio.

But let's dig a bit more to find some interesting data and maybe the proper definition of "Elite PvP".

The above lists are sorted by activity (kills+losses), listing the top enemies of the two alliances (except NPC corps). It's pretty obvious that the NC. list is much greener. How could then GSF has greener overall result? Because the lists only contain the top enemies, and not the long tail:
As you can see, NC. had more than half of its activity against only 10 enemy alliances and only 12% from the long tail. On the other hand Goons did more than 1/3 damage to the long tail. We can also notice that NC. had very similar ratios against all groups, while GSF had around 50% ratio against notable enemies but very good ratio against the long tail. Funny note: awoxing is so common that both alliances got into the top 10 opponent of themselves.

What is the long tail? Ganking. Random pilots who got caught at the wrong place and the wrong time. They are in the long tail exactly because of their randomness. If a group again and again clashes with Goons or NC., the exchanged kills put this group high on the opponent list. But if you just catch them once and never see them again, their name blends into a nameless long tail list. A telling number: NC. had killboard activity against 3500 different groups (alliances and alliance-less corps), while GSF against over 12000.

I believe the proper measure of the skills of a large alliance is their de-whored killboard ratio against their top enemies. With this, NC. has 57% ratio while GSF has 52%. Still not staggering difference, but there is some.

However, even with this, the problem of "Elite PvP" alliances stay: they aren't much elite. The propaganda and elitist recruitment criteria of NC. and similar alliances is based on inflated self-worth, while they aren't much better than the "Goons who are bad at EVE".

PS: the head of evil now says that the only people entitled to speak about the proper leadership of North Korea are the top Communist party members, since no one else has experience. Clarification: I don't question that someone who lives in null knows more of it. But he is motivated to tell only stuff that helps them against their enemies and preventing outsiders from entering.

PS2: a very good read about EVE not being a PvP game.

PS3: epic moron (see who did top damage, not just the Darwin-fit). And a less then smart Goon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Evil reveals himself!

The head of evil in New Eden wrote yet another piece. Looks pretty harmless. Some smug, some lies about the conspiracy to control HERO, excuses for betraying his Rus allies, business as usual in Hell, I guess. But at the bottom he was careless and instead of just ignoring/censoring a revealing comment, he answered it.

The commenter asked why renters are considered top-down income source, despite they operate the same way as the model bottom-up: ratting. In both cases Average Joe rats, gets taxed, the corp sends the taxed money to coalition level for services like SRP for the fleet defending the land where the ratting takes place. The only difference is that the money is called "rent" instead of "leveraging corp taxes on the megacorp". The commenter seems to be right.

His answer is "You, as a line member, have zero agency regarding that [top-down] alliance income" and "[bottom-up] directly ties the fortune and success of the line grunt to the alliance as a whole" and "Renters are actually even more top-down than a money moon, as moons must be serviced by logisticians and their products sold and then sent to the alliance wallet". This just seems dumb, as renter money must be farmed by the line renter guys and he learned the hard way that renters are quick to respond if they aren't treated well. His answer simply doesn't make sense. It's not propaganda, it's just honestly dumb.

The solution is that he honestly finds the question naive, because in his view, the "line member" doesn't include renters, despite they do exactly what line members do on the PvE front. He views renters not as humans, but as objects like moons or reaction farms. But why? Not because the renter is a PvE player, as he considers "provides a place for players with a non-PvP focus in an alliance" a benefit of bottom-up and also Goons are the biggest ratters in nullsec.

The renter is not considered human, because he isn't a Goon or at least someone who kissed the ring of the Goons. Therefore his well-being isn't considered, his effort isn't valued, he is just a bad mechanic that should be replaced by a "true" bottom-up method, one that relies only on Goons and not on these filthy things.

This shows that mutually beneficial cooperation with Goons cannot exist. PBLRD members went as far as one can go to cooperate with Goons. Yet they aren't even humans in their eyes. Besides total slavery, there is no way for you to make them consider you. This is as close to the idea "evil" as it can be.

PS: if idiocy could kill... oh wait, it can.

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