EDIT: I got some confusing info from a user on twitter. While I made sure to include wording such as "if so and so is correct" to avoid presenting the info as solid fact, the claim of that user has been called out as misinformed on several fronts. I've put a
strike throughon the affected part of this post.
At this point I don't have a ton of details. What is known thus far came initially from THIS reddit thread, and there has been a lot of back and forth over Twitter as to exactly what is going on.
On the surface, it looks like SOMERblink is at it again with another crazy masked RMT scheme. Their last one ended in a sort of implosion of public angst, and was shut down by CCP in no uncertain terms. This latest one was apparently "vetted and approved" by CCP.
|Screen cap provided as one needs a Sb account to see prices.|
Assuming 8% of the sale and a PLEX sale price of just 780 million, $35*0.08=$2.80/2=$1.40. 830m-780m=50m actually spent per $1.40. 1 Billion ISK/50 Million=20*1.40 = $28 per Billion ISK.
The lower the sale margin, the better for Somer in this case, so if they are able to sell off their PLEX for the equivalent of 785m ISK they make $31.10 per billion at an 8% commission. Even at $28 per billion, Somer is far outstripping any "honest" ISK selling service (read: the dudes who don't try to hide that they're doing RMT) who are making $11-$13 per billion, and getting both their and their buyers accounts banned left right and center. If you or I buy a pair of PLEX for $35 and sell them on the market for 785 million ISK a pop we are spending about $22.29 for 1b ISK, but this is before the SCC takes their cut.
Bear in mind that if Somer puts that same PLEX up in one of their blinks at a 20% markup, they will also pull in 936m ISK, so really, they're paying nothing except perhaps a little more than if they purchased off the market.
|Last year's SOMERblink graphic updated!|
Whether blink credit or straight ISK payouts, the scheme would be positively brilliant if not for the fact that anyone with half a brain should be able to see that this is still obviously RMT, and should be quite against the spirit of the game, the EULA, and TOS and all that jazz.
Of course, according to SOMERblink's website, "This program has been vetted and approved by CCP." Assuming for a moment that Somer isn't dumb enough to make a false claim about that, I have yet to see anything from CCP endorsing this. If I were a betting man (haha get it?) I would put my ISK on Somer dropping a petition outlining what they wanted to do and getting a response from a GM saying they didn't see anything wrong with it. Since there is no point of reference on Somer's site, and petitions are considered confidential information (you can get banned for a copy/pate of a GM response to a petition even if you don't post it on a CCP service) this seems the most likely scenario.
From a lot of the angry words I'm seeing on the net, there are some hot headed people ready to string up CCP over this scheme for "endorsing" it, but I would urge everyone to stay calm. Why?
1: This scheme is complex, and we don't know how this was explained in the petition (assuming there was one. I have no insider info on this and can't confirm or deny this was even done through petitions). In simple terms, they could have just asked if it was ok to purchase PLEX from players in exchange for Blink credit. It's obviously ok to purchase PLEX from someone for ISK. All of that seems pretty legit except for the part where that PLEX purchase and what looks like a bonus requires a RL cash payment to SOMERblink in order to obtain. Without all the facts presented in a clear fashion, even I would probably give the nod to this. Without the RL purchase requirement, people are just dumb to sell something worth 780m to Somer for the equivalent of 644m. I'd call that a scam, not really RMT, since if Somer wasn't required to get paid RL $$ to sell the PLEX to you in the first place, it's just in-game items being exchanged, and there's nothing wrong with that.
2: Even if the scheme was explained to a CCP employee in the fullest detail, this would not mark the first time in Eve history that some clever player got a GM to tentatively sign off on something, only to have the decision completely reversed upon further review.
Look, there's no way CCP lets this scheme stand, it'll get shut down just like the last one. Ideally, I'd like to see SOMERblink and Markee Dragon get their pee pees slapped for this, because both of them should know better and shouldn't have tried to pull this stunt in the first place. Unfortunately, if someone at CCP did sign off on this (and I doubt that they would if given all the facts) I think the best we can look forward to is a swift and decisive closure to this little loop hole, and another cease and desist order from CCP to its PLEX resellers.
For the CSM's part, while I can't speak for the other members, I don't think anyone is happy about this, and I wouldn't be shocked if you hear or read words from the others as this develops.