Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bad to the Bone (Part 4)

Last time I discussed the strategy of making false or misleading statements in the classified section of Magic Online  This whole concept of misleading statements to sell a product or a service has a name: marketing.   Some have described the field of marketing as legalized lying.

Whether or not a soft drink is the best soft drink around is purely a subjective statement.  Whether the taste of a diet food is the same as its equivalent is open to legitimate debate.  These debates center on subjective matters; designed as such to get around the legal barriers to the truth in advertising laws.

Objective claims typically not made because fact checkers will indeed attempt to verify the authenticity of said claims.  If your bot claims to have 60,000 cards in its inventory, it is much easier to verify than stating that your bot has a large inventory.  (How is large defined?)

But this bad behavior is trivial compared to what some botters do: change the credit their customers have.

Why would a botter openly change the credits of one of their customers?  Maybe the customer is a cherry picker, picking only the best cards and leaving the chaff.  Maybe the customer is really another bot and one does not want the competition to profit at their expense.

One might even be tempted to think that this is a profitable strategy.  After all, they’ll reason, the bot gives the customer their balance at the start and end of each trade.  Most customers have multiple accounts across the various bot chains and who is going to be meticulous enough to actually verify each and every account?  Plus, computers do not lie, right?  So who is going to notice if their balance drops?  We all trust computers, don’t we?

There are several reasons why this unethical approach will not work.

It is not cost effective.  In terms of your time, the amount of time it takes to alter a customer’s credit is not worth the fractional ticket you will gain.  (Even the most casual customers will notice a negative credit balance.)

Getting caught will bring about serious consequences.  First off, you will have one extremely angry customer who will definitely publicize that your bot alters credits.  The accusation alone would be enough to cause some players to black-list your bot so that it could never happen to them, which naturally means no customers and thus, no profits.

WotC could intervene.  While the bot owner would argue that this is not the prevue of WotC as trading has little to do with the game experience, the legal arm of WotC might see things differently.  Ripping off customers would be considered a violation of the Terms of Service and thus, terminate your account without prejudice.  This would mean losing all your inventory.

OK, so you use a mule bot for such things.  WotC could up the ante and decide to terminate all accounts which the bot owner has.  No problem, register each bot under a different name and email address.  But WotC would track all MTGO activity from your IP address, making it real simple for them to suspend or terminate your bot chain.

Is losing your business really worth 0.35 credits?

No comments:

Post a Comment