Instead, I have to talk about SOMERblink again, because otherwise it's like making a report on the Rose Bowl while the f--king stadium is on fire behind me. Thanks CCP!
the issues with giving SOMERblink super special rare shit to give away to promote their service. Done? Great, now let's talk about what is tentatively being called T20 '13 (twitter hashtag #T2013)
Some people were equating the previously revealed part of this swag give away with the T20 scandal from all those years ago, but that wasn't fair at all. Everything was done out in the open, and regardless of whether I or anyone else agreed with CCPs choices on this, at least it didn't look like something was being hidden. This new bit that's come to light though, now THIS is pretty close to T20. It's not exact, but tossing up some serious bling to a bunch of employees of an Eve enterprise that is more wealthy than Eve's most powerful alliances on the sly is eyebrow raising at best, and Jita riot worthy at worst.
I'm about to say some things that are not exactly nice, but I want to make plain that regardless of anything else I say here, I have no problem with SOMERblink. SOMERblink is a legit Eve enterprise. It's creators and the people that run it have found a way to make Scrooge McDuck look like he's in the poor house in terms of wealth in Eve. They sponsor some cool events, support various aspects of the community, and people appreciate that as well they should. But as I've said before... they're a business, not a charity.
Let's start by looking at some numbers. SOMERblink has now given away almost 1.2 QUADRILLION ISK in prizes (we're only half a trillion away at this point, so forgive me for rounding up). That's amazing! That's a hard number to wrap your head around, so let's write that out and color code it. Green will get us to a billion, which most of us can relate to, yellow to a trillion, which is an easier number for the head of a super rich alliance to relate to, and orange beyond that.
So that's 1.2 million billion, or 1,200 trillion ISK. But that's what they've given away. To make math simple, let's say the profit margin on a SOMERblink lottery is 10%. We all know it's closer to 20%, but let's assume that as a responsible business, half of their profits go back into the business through employee wages, event sponsorships, promotions, and whatever else you can think of. 10% profit means we need to take away a 0. That leaves us with a paltry 120 Trillion ISK in profits. Heh.. paltry. Let's be honest, that's a lot of money. How much is it really though? Let's go full-on-super-stupid here, and convert all this ISK to cash for a moment... you know, because it's what the press is going to focus on with this.
The Nosy Gamer, his most recent listing for ISK based on plex conversion puts us at almost $31 USD per billion ISK. Because I like simplicity, I will round down to $30. 120,000 Billion ISK comes out to... wait for it... $3,600,000.00 USD. So, if SOMER only pulls in 10% profit, that's $3.6 million dollars of ISK, to say nothing of all the kickbacks from Markee Dragon for PLEX sale referrals which come out to real life $$$ money coming into the site. I can't begin to estimate what money is flowing in there, but from all accounts, with 200 million ISK in bonus credit per purchase, the business is brisk for both MD and SOMERblink.
Again, there's nothing wrong with this. Good on SOMERblink for making more $$ in ISK than I've made in RL cash for my entire working life so far. That's incredible!
How much money has Jason Parks made developing and supporting AURA for Android that tens of thousands of Eve players use every day to enhance their Eve experience? (hint: nothing) How many trillions has EVSCO pulled in supplying kill boards to almost Everyone in Eve. Chribba runs (what? 5?) websites for the Eve community out of his own pocket. Eve Uni has been making up for Eve's piss poor tutorial for as long as I can remember. Dozens of bloggers are hitting the web every day keeping the Eve discussion churning. If all of these sites went dark tomorrow, Eve would be a far shittier place. If Somerset Mahm decided to pull an Eve-Bank tonight and cash out his ISK for RL cash, some people might not be able to feed their gambling addiction tomorrow.... and Eve would be making headlines in Time Magazine.
SOMERblink employees, already compensated at 1 plex per month and up to 125m ISK per hour of their time are pretty much the best paid "employees" in Eve, pulling in more ISK/hour than just about any CCP designed in-game activity can grant a player. They're doing such a good job in fact, that CCP has slid them a pile of ships worth somewhere between $13,500 and $18,000 (depending on who you talk to) under the table! If they choose to convert to plex and activate for game time, that'll be a savings of $450-$600 each!
But why are people mad? The Ishukone Scorpion only refines for 1 tritanium, and is actually an inferior ship to a regular scorpion. So what if CCP gives a bunch out to their super rich pals in SOMERblink as a thank you for running "one of the most awesome community sites we have" (read: Online Casino). People must be jealous. FunkyBacon is mad he doesn't have an IW Scorpion in his hangar, right?
Eve-Bet is stepping away from this one stating "For the record, we would like to state that EVE Bet has never received, nor would it ever endorse, having CCP hand us special "gifts". These sort of prizes should be reserved for more deserving winners and not sites that can afford to purchase limited edition ships off the market like everyone else."
It's the underhanded way this was handled. If I wanted an IW scorp, I could buy one right now, I hear they're dropping in price. CCP could announce today that they are making a 1 off special issue pink Revelation that can jump through star gates, and delivering it to Chribba in the Amarr system. Outside of a few trolls, the community by and large would be perfectly fine with it, because Chribba provides a lot of community service. If Chribba suddenly undocked that ship tomorrow with no announcement from CCP on where it came from, we might have a 2nd broken statue in the Amarr system from the riots as people demand how many of the ships were given out and to whom.
Do you even want to consider what this scandal would be if the IW Scorps were secretly given to the staff at themittani.com?! The Grr Goon sentiment would topple CCP headquarters in a shitstorm tsunami!
The problem here boils down to a few key points:
- SOMERblink is just about the wealthiest entity in Eve. They are more than capable or promoting themselves through sponsorship and advertising with various in-game and out of game events. Yes, they give a small portion of their profits to sponsoring worthy causes and in game events. In return they gain advertising and more customers.
- Regardless of sponsorships and other philanthropic deeds in Eve, SOMERblink is an Online Casino, not a community service.
- Over the last week, CCP was already perceived as granting incredible favoritism to SOMERblink with lavish prizes to give away that dwarfed any previous community site prize donation by miles.
- The "secret" bestowal of 30 extremely rare ships to SOMERblink employees that was revealed today exacerbates #3, creating what appears to be a scandal in line with ex-CCP dev T20 spawning some T2 BPOs for his friends in BoB.
- No criteria have been given, or procedures made public as to how it is decided who receives special CCP spawned ships aside from "when we feel like it".
All this community has asked for in these cases over the last several years are 2 things. Transparency, and fairness. That CCP hasn't seemed to grasp either concept yet (as demonstrated yet again today) has many people in this otherwise extremely supportive community throwing up their hands in frustration, and in some cases disgust. I can't personally help but wonder how many new cases of bittervet syndrome were acquired in the process.