Based on Somer's reaction, my advice to the community last night on twitter was to cash out of Blink before Somer tried to pull an Eve Bank and hit the exit running.
This morning the CSM had another alarm clock meeting with CCP. The picture of what happened is getting quite clear at this point. What you don't need an NDA to know was actually posted up by Somer himself where he linked his proposal to CCP, and CCP's VP of sales e-mail response to him. Where Somer hung himself on this was where he said:
Now I can't speak for CCP on this, but the way I see it, offering to buy PLEX back from only people who buy from you at a price substantially above market looks to me like extra ISK in thanks for dropping a little RL $$ in your pocket. Making it retroactive for almost a year saw PLEX prices in Jita yesterday rise from 785 to over 800 million as a result of what I assume were people snapping up PLEX on the market to cash out on what Somer said he owed them.Blink provides no extra ISK or bonus Blink credit for buying through the link. - Somer
Somer's entire proposal reeked of a sleezy sales job, deliberately deceptive as to what his intentions were, and tailor made for an audience with limited knowledge of the actual game Eve and its economy. It's also telling that he seems to have avoided the Community team on this, where his proposal likely would have found its way to the trash bin faster than a Doritos bag in the hands of a fat kid.
Based off the e-mail chain posted by Somer, it also appears that Markee Dragon has had his hands in this, and Somer was trying to cover Markee's ass almost as much as his own in seeking approval for this RMT run. Markee himself is no stranger to RMT, and has a deep seeded history in it going all the way back to Ultima Online. He may have cleaned up his act since those days, but I refuse to believe he doesn't recognize an RMT scheme when he sees it, especially one as blatant as this one.
So where does this leave us at this point? I'm absolutely of the opinion that Somer is in breech of the EULA and TOS. His "approval" from CCP means jack shit. His proposal for this promotion was deliberately misleading as to what his actual intentions were. He knew what he was doing from the start, and put a house of cards in place to attempt to cover his ass from the inevitable community backlash that would result from this, a house of cards that has gone up like flash paper thanks to his own revealing of both his proposal, and the VP of Sale's response.
While Somerset Mahm is a player in eve, Markee Dragon is an official CCP business partner, and PLEX resellers are governed by a different set of rules than players. He could also play the plausible deniability card, stating that he took what I did from Somer's proposal and didn't realize Somer was actually going to give the ISK bonus as an above-market exclusive buyback.
If this was my call to make (and fortunately for Somer it's not) I'd see SOMERblink burned down epic BBQ style for this. This guy has gotten so many breaks at this point it almost makes me sick. This latest incident is a nose thumbing not only at the community, but also a nice little teabagging for CCP in the process. This is the sort of person you make an example of for others to understand that this is not how to conduct business.
Sadly, as of this evening, it looks like Somerset Mahm has chosen seppuku over the possibility of a public execution:
Thanks for all the years of Blink that we've spent together. It's been a long four years-- some of it longer than others!
Unfortunately, as of today, Blink is going to go on extended-- perhaps indefinite-- hiatus. CCP has gone back on everything they said several months ago, and the resulting environment is so hostile that it's not one we want to try to operate in, if CCP throws us under the bus.
If you have prizes waiting, they will be fulfilled. You can claim prizes as normal. Bonk tickets have been refunded to your account balance. We will begin refunding all account balances of people that have played in the last 6 months, starting with balances over 10 million ISK. As always, we're not in the business of stealing your money.
It's been an absolute pleasure to meet many of you, through Blink, Eve, and our lotteries channel. Thank you for the experience.Smart play on his part returning the ISK to people, assuming he follows through on it. That will at least ensure some goodwill from his customers if he ever figures out how to run an Eve business without resorting to RMT. I'd like to think this will be the end of it, but Somer strikes me as the dramatic sort. While a quiet fade into the night would be preferable for all those involved at this point, one can only hope he provides us a little more rope to hang him with.