Three Reasons to Never Buy Gold

It is generally frowned upon in the WoW community to purchase in-game gold for real-world money. Take an informal poll amongst your friends and guild mates and you may be hard pressed to find anyone who will admit to ever buying gold. But someone is doing the buying. The sites that sell gold for real world cash proliferate and there never seems to be a shortage of advertisements directed towards potential customers. If demand dried up so would supply but this simply isn’t happening. The size of the gold selling industry is tough to nail down due to the black-market-like nature of the business but the most credible figure we were able to track down estimates that the size of the overall MMO cash-for-gold industry is roughly $500,000,000. There are other figures out there but we won’t quote or link to them because they often either have advertisements for buying gold themselves or are otherwise nefarious in nature. The working conditions for your average gold farmer certainly don’t sound like our definition of a dream job but obviously someone is making a good amount of real-world money from this practice.

Blizzard, for their part, regularly takes action against the gold selling industry both through in-game improvements (such as streamlining the spam reporting feature) and through legal proceedings. There are also a ton of articles and forum posts on-line lambasting both gold sellers and buyers, which tells us again that the practice of purchasing gold is at least socially frowned upon.

But we are not here today to tell you about moral decisions and right and wrong. No, we’d like to share with you 3 quick reasons why buying gold is simply what they call on Wall Street “a bad trade” and not something you should do with your account.

1) It will cause you to have even more spam. Gold sellers don’t only make their money from selling gold. Similar to catalogs and magazine subscriptions, these businesses also make a significant amount of their revenue from selling your information to other gold sellers. This means that each time you make a gold purchase you are added to a list of known buyers which is then sold to other companies who will have their marketers harass you with their fresh level one toons with more and more gold offers.

2) It could cause a targeted attack against your account. In the early days of WoW the gold selling agencies mostly made the gold that they sold by identifying and utilizing exploits within the game. As the game matured these exploits were fixed or removed and the business model turned to farming. Most recently, as Blizzard has taken stronger and stronger action against botting, the industry has moved to a new model of gold generation: account hacks. Many gold farmers no longer farm at all. They simply employ programs that allow back doors into your computer that do things like track your keystrokes to steal your password and subsequently hack into your account and take and sell your (and sometimes your guild’s) items. The profits are mailed to an intermediary and then delivered to the gold buyer by yet another toon. Granted, the company that initially sold you gold is not likely to hack your account. But they will sell your information as mentioned above to other people who also hack accounts and have no loyalty to you since you’re not their customer. Is this a risk you’re willing to take?

3) It can get your account banned. Buying gold is a direct violation of Blizzard’s Terms of Use to which we all agree simply by playing the game. The specific line items detailing the violation can be found in section 11 of the document and purchasing is given the same outlaw treatment as selling. Now we agree that small time purchasers of gold are likely to never be caught or punished but wouldn’t you feel dumb if you spent all that effort leveling a toon only to find you were never allowed to play it again? Is it even worth the risk?

As we said, never mind the moral implications or social implications of buying gold. It is simply a bad idea to risk something in which you have invested so much time and effort for so little gain. And to think you have to shell out real-world cash and endure this risk simply makes for an undesirable transaction from our point of view. Feel free to share your own experiences with buying gold or gold sellers in our comments section.

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8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, WoW Market Commentary

8 responses to “Three Reasons to Never Buy Gold

  1. d

    data (at minimum anecdotal evidence). 1) More spam, is this I heard from a friend that his friend, or has this been documented? I’d like to see someone create a test account record spam received over a month and then buy gold from three sources and report spam received the next month. 2) I don’t see much of an increased risk from targeted accounts after buying gold unless the websites visited or software downloaded places the buyer at risk. What seems risky to me is sharing account information with a power leveling service which is a offered by many of the gold farmers. Nobody is selling information to individuals that target accounts because that’s not how the technology works as I understand it. It’s a mistake players often make when they think another player has targeted their account for hacking. Unless you somehow lure someone to download software or visit a website with dangerous scripting, I don’t see the risk. 3) Account banning, definitely, but it’d be interested to know how often this happens. Blizzard is unlikely to share this information. If the test account used for the spam test got banned, that would be interesting to read about. I wonder if it’s the seller and not the user that Blizzard pursues. I don’t buy gold because it’s expensive (with help like what is offered here, a player can make the gold they need) and because I don’t want to sully the game for myself. I’d like to say I discovered this website last night and have found the information useful and interesting. Keep up the good work. Providing some experimental results and/or least documenting anecdotal evidence could take this website to the next level, so to speak. 🙂

  2. d

    I found this information interesting, but it would be more believable with some associated data (at minimum anecdotal evidence). 1) More spam, is this I heard from a friend that his friend, or has this been documented? I’d like to see someone create a test account record spam received over a month and then buy gold from three sources and report spam received the next month. 2) I don’t see much of an increased risk from targeted accounts after buying gold unless the websites visited or software downloaded places the buyer at risk. What seems risky to me is sharing account information with a power leveling service which is a offered by many of the gold farmers. Nobody is selling information to individuals that target accounts because that’s not how the technology works as I understand it. It’s a mistake players often make when they think another player has targeted their account for hacking. Unless you somehow lure someone to download software or visit a website with dangerous scripting, I don’t see the risk. 3) Account banning, definitely, but it’d be interested to know how often this happens. Blizzard is unlikely to share this information. If the test account used for the spam test got banned, that would be interesting to read about. I wonder if it’s the seller and not the user that Blizzard pursues. I don’t buy gold because it’s expensive (with help like what is offered here, a player can make the gold they need) and because I don’t want to sully the game for myself. I’d like to say I discovered this website last night and have found the information useful and interesting. Keep up the good work. Providing some experimental results and/or least documenting anecdotal evidence could take this website to the next level, so to speak. 🙂

  3. josh

    i can vouch on the spamming thing for sure! I’ve bought gold 3 seperate times, the first was to help out large, lower level guild get 3 bank tabs. The second was to get my mounts and new gear. And the last, and final time, was to pay that huge 5000g price tag for flying 280%.

    What I learned: don’t trust anyone lvl 1 🙂 I report them as spam almost instantly and it happens daily. I get spammed on my new email account at least 10 times a day now 😦

    Also, it’s against Blizzards rules, which I was told it wasn’t before, but after asking a GM I decided to stop buying gold.

    Hope that can be of some help!

  4. BA

    I’ve bought gold 3 or 4 times before, all to get mounts on my characters.

    I’ve never been able to see that the gold whispers I received, was a direct result of my buying gold.

    My account has been hacked once before, but I can’t say it’s because of buying gold for sure – been involved in some account trading as well.

    I’ve never ever gotten banned or even a warning for buying gold. I knew about the fact that it was a banable offense before I decided to buy it, but after talking to a few people I knew had bought gold before, all saying nothing happened, I decided to go ahead and do it too.

    I always bought from the same company, if I were to do it again I’d do it there, even if it was a tad more expensive than other companies. I can’t see myself do it anymore however, as blogs like this one has opened my eyes on how to make some for myself 🙂

    – Thanks for all the information and thoughts you’re sharing 🙂

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  8. Fourth reason:

    Making gold in WoW is dead easy if you have any level 80 toon and are willing to quest & grind to get rolling. Check out any of the popular free gold blogs – Gevlon’s Greedy Goblin, Just My Two Copper, Wow Street Journal, etc. and if you can’t clear an additional 1,000g/week, then something is very, very wrong.

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