Last week I wrote about my harrowing experience of finding a gold farmer in one of my instant messaging windows. Apparently somebody "in one of those countries" (I'm slapped on the wrist every time I single-out China) must have swallowed a creativity pill. Just when I thought there was nothing new on the horizon, Aleeyah from Livejournal posted an article -- complete with screenshot -- of an odd in-game e-mail that was received from someone we can fairly safely assume is in the professional gold farming business.
The written English in the in-game message is nearly bad enough to send one of my editors into a seizure. It's almost bad enough you can't understand it at all. The bare essentials that I can (barely) glean from the message is that the farmers are now offering gold to guilds in exchange for advertising.
Why would they do this? As I said in my last article on this subject, I think they're losing on the home front. I think their current marketing techniques are not bringing the level of revenue that they want. I think more and more people are discovering just how easy it is to right-click a spammer when they're checking their mail, silence the spam, and have the feel-good feeling of knowing they've done something right for their community. I know I do it all the time. I won't go as far as to call Blizzard's anti-spam tactics a flourishing success, but as the old saying goes "If you can't beat 'em, wear 'em down," and I think that's exactly what is starting to happen.
So if real-money transactions are frowned upon by Blizzard and prosecuted by Blizzard, why wouldn't they just try and move their advertising medium to neutral ground? Sure, there are lots of guilds that will have nothing to do with selling their corporate souls to the devil in this manner. You can rest assured however that there are also lots that would jump at an opportunity like this that could pay for all their bank tabs for nothing more than a measly advertisement on their guild web site. It does bring up the interesting question however, of whether a guild that supported a gold farming business financially could potentially face retribution from Blizzard. While I can't see a guild getting banned en masse for this, it would sure be a wakeup call if such a guild logged in to find their tag gone along with all their guild bank slots and contents.
Does this mean that the spamming around the Ironforge and Orgrimmar mailboxes is going to let up? Not likely, or at least not very much. It just means "these people" have found yet another way to devastate our server economies for their own profit.