Adventures in Azeroth

It’s a Druid’s World (of Warcraft)

He Said / She Said – Gold selling version

I continue to do some research here and there on the gold selling front.  Not arguments for/against – those battle lines have long been drawn.  No, I’ve been trying to track down some hard facts on whether the owner of some of our favorite online research sites – WoWhead, Thotbott and Allakazham – are or are not connected with gold selling.

However you feel about gold selling, I believe you should have solid facts on which to base the decision of what online sites you use.  And while I have not seen a gold selling ad on any of those websites recently, if in fact the parent company of those sites indeed owned other gold selling interests, then I believe that would be information of interest to some of my readers.

This is actually much harder to track down than you would think, and I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I have “hard” facts for you to look at.  But here’s what I have so far…

I started with the original announcement of the acquistion from the Wowhead site.  This is the one of course, wherein the parties involved in getting married denounce any claim of current infidelity.   As if any of us believe that the questions asked, and the responses given in the “interview” that was part of the news item has any link to reality.  Those are scripted events and everyone knows that.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they are lying, just that nothing about it would force you to tell the truth.

The statements in that announcement clearly say that the gold selling organization was IGE, not ZAM, and that ZAM had sold IGE:

“Didn’t you sell to a bunch of gold sellers?

Tim:Nope, and that would have been a deal killer. The ZAM guys are an independent content business, and they don’t promote RMT (Real Money Trade). Period. You will never see gold ads on Wowhead or their other ZAM sites. We made sure that was true before proceeding.

What is the deal with Affinity Media? Why all the secrecy?

John:Affinity Media is a privately held company with gaming assets that operate independently. This includes the ZAM Network. The reason we are not more forthcoming in what the company owns and does it there are a lot of moving pieces. At one point, the company owned IGE but it was sold this spring. It was a private transaction so we can’t reveal details. As head of the content network, I was thrilled we sold.”

Ah, okay – there we go.  ZAM and IGE are both part of some big company.  Big company buys WoWhead, they don’t like the gold selling part of the company, so it gets sold.  Mystery solved.

Except “big companies” have a tendency to do what benefits them, not act on the requests or demands of a smaller company they are buying.  So who is this mysterious Affinity Media?

Easy one there, let’s just check out their website.  Pretty easy to find and says absolutely nothing, except for that little tidbit about a new CEO.  The very brief news article it links to, dated June 26th 2007, explicitly mentions the recent saleof IGE.  It even says that as part of recent transitions, their current CEO is stepping down and being replaced with a new one. 

Ah, okay – there we go.  That makes perfect sense.  Big company buys little fansite and bows to their demands to sell their gold selling business.  Big company CEO is so upset he “transitions” and is replaced by CEO more in tune with the players.  And what’s up with this one page website for some company supposedly as big as Affinity Media is?  That just makes me suspicious right there.

(I wrote an E-mail to the info@ address on their website requesting an interview with company management to clear up this issue.  Hey – it could happen…)

So, after hitting that dead end I started doing Google searches on the topic and it doesn’t take long to come across lot’s of posts on the issue.  The one that stuck with me is this one from MMO Gamer

Ah, there we go.  Court Documents.  Now there’s something you can sink your teeth into.  As MMO Gamer correctly points out, look at the description of the defendant in the proceeding says that IGE is now know as Affinity Media. 

Hey – there could be something up with this too.  Just because it’s a court document doesn’t mean it’s gospel.  Probably a good shot, but people play games with the court system all the time.  But between a 5 sentence statement on a one page company website and a legal document – I’m betting on the document. 

So at the very least, and I mean the veryleast, it would appear comments in the news releases by Affinity that IGE has been sold is highly suspect.  The other thing that is odd to me is that with speculation and debate raging in the forum and blogosphere, no one from Affinity has come forth to “deny the rumors”.  At least I haven’t found anything. 

Not sure why I posted all this other than just letting you all in on pertinent articles and links I’ve found in my searching. 

 I certainly don’t want to open up a fresh debate on gold-selling, but if anyone has any other concrete information on the situation or the companies involved, please share with us all in comments.

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December 7, 2007 - Posted by | World of Warcraft

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