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The biggest scam you've never heard of

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#1 - 2012-03-14 16:24:46 UTC  |  Edited by: KwarK uK
Some of you will be aware that until Crucible the default contract sort setting on the top right drop down menu was Date Created (Oldest) rather than Price (Lowest). Most of you were not. Most people were aware that they could also sort contracts by price by clicking on the price column in the interface, they were not aware that it only sorted the first 100 shown on the page by whatever filter was selected in the top right. Oddly enough the majority of people sorted through the oldest interface, rather than lowest, so much so that they actually artificially depressed the price of all the modules in question by lack of demand while their demand was met entirely by two individuals who between them acted as a wholesaler monopolising upwards of 80% of the entire market for the mods in Jita. And the prices we set had absolutely nothing to do with supply and demand.

What this meant is that if an enterprising individual were to list, for example, three hundred Caldari Navy Ballistic Controls on 14 day contracts at 165m each then after a few days they would be the oldest contracts and people sorting by oldest and then subsorting by price would see a remarkable consensus in the price of CN BCS at 165m each. And they would buy them. In the thousands. If you want to see evidence of this then look up the contract history of a corp called "Unlimited Speeds". Skip the most recent few pages of contracts accepted by X ATM092 which was me liquidating and look back to the pre crucible dates. That was just one corp made for running corp contracts, I personally had fourteen with over thirty subscribed accounts (over 100 toons) used in the running of my operation and I wasn't the only one doing it.

About two trillion isk was taken by West and Grey (the guy who discovered it) and I, a list of contracting alts can be provided if anyone wishes to check through them and confirm that number. I think this is a brilliant example of the kind of insane metagaming **** that makes EVE the fantastic sandbox that it is. A poorly optimised interface was found, some smart guys worked out how to manipulate it and then a business of stunning complexity, scale and logistics grew around exploiting it. Also it's a pretty epic brag that I was making 11 digit numbers daily, kind of puts that moon goo into perspective.

I recently wrote up exactly how it was all done as well as a basic economic history of myself and The Hatchery and posted it on our site.
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=88359&currentpage=1014#20274
(CCP mess with links and break it, copy the link by selecting all the text and ctrl c (not right click copy link) and then paste it into a new tab)
It's a long read and I expect TLDRs but if anyone gets off on the economic metagame of EVE then I think they'll like it.

Shoutouts go to West and Grey for inventing it, Karah Serrigan and Apturan Reech for being way smarter than me, Tanith Yarndemon for playing the opposition at the end and corestwo for knowing all the details of how to do it and not thinking it was worth his time :p.

You should vote for KwarK for a lowsec presence on CSM8. It's a good idea. I'd do it! https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=213851

Brave Collective
#2 - 2012-03-14 16:57:04 UTC
Only starcraft players.

/slow clap
Scorned Syndicate
#3 - 2012-03-14 17:03:35 UTC
Well done sir.
I wouldn't exactly call it a scam though. How are your fingers after creating so many contracts?
Minmatar Republic
#4 - 2012-03-14 17:04:53 UTC
Not too difficult thanks to the 'Copy contract' function. That thing is godsend.
Scorned Syndicate
#5 - 2012-03-14 17:22:27 UTC
Hmm.. not seen that, but I haven't really been using contracts. I did notice some nice changes in the latest patch though. Looks like CCP are finally reducing the clickfest that was/is eve.
Circle-Of-Two
#6 - 2012-03-14 17:23:02 UTC
When I first noticed the dropdown that changes how pages are sorted, I often wondered how many good (or bad) deals happened because of it. I even argued with people on my ts about it when they kept saying the cheapest module x on contract was higher than the cheapest one I could see having sorted the pages properly myself and even after linking cheaper contracts they sometimes still insisted that I was wrong.. It never occurred to me it could make me rich though. Well done.

I used to have a clever sig but I lost it.

#7 - 2012-03-14 17:26:47 UTC
Well not quite "never heard of", as I certainly sold billions upon billions of mods to West & Grey; although admittedly I didn't know at the beginning what you were doing with them I certainly had no qualms about continuing to do so once realised.

Personally, when the prices were right I had no probs sacrificing some profit for instant no hassle bulk sales - it's also fair to say I probably overestimated the general populations intelligence/awareness and presumed the "oldest first" listing method to be far more hit and miss and more work than it apparently was.


Anyway, the "new" contract rigging method is in auctions, and if inaction is any guide it's officially sanctioned by CCP - nicely correlating with the apparent complete abandonment of the bug reporting program - https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=609699
#8 - 2012-03-14 17:31:50 UTC
Tekota wrote:
Well not quite "never heard of", as I certainly sold billions upon billions of mods to West & Grey; although admittedly I didn't know at the beginning what you were doing with them I certainly had no qualms about continuing to do so once realised.

Personally, when the prices were right I had no probs sacrificing some profit for instant no hassle bulk sales - it's also fair to say I probably overestimated the general populations intelligence/awareness and presumed the "oldest first" listing method to be far more hit and miss and more work than it apparently was.


Anyway, the "new" contract rigging method is in auctions, and if inaction is any guide it's officially sanctioned by CCP - nicely correlating with the apparent complete abandonment of the bug reporting program - https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=609699

Our research into the auctions trick concluded that it was impossible to bully someone else out of the auctions market because of the way it sorted by start bid with a set minimum rather than date (which could be exploited using blocks of contracts). There's isk there but you can't monopolise it and make it easy the way you could with the old way.

You should vote for KwarK for a lowsec presence on CSM8. It's a good idea. I'd do it! https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=213851

#9 - 2012-03-14 17:47:25 UTC
Ah good point, hadn't considered that angle.
#10 - 2012-03-14 17:49:31 UTC
This is fantastic, mad props to you.

I had no idea this was being done deliberately. I noticed in January that a lot of faction items were showing on the "first page" for ridiculous prices but were readily available for much less of that. RF Gyros for instance.

I cashed in all my old mission LP and stuck my contracts on the same page to sell. They did indeed move for that much.

This "scam" has probably netted a lot more ISK to other people than you realise, too ;)

"Do not touch anything unnecessarily. Beware of pretty girls in dance halls and parks who may be spies, as well as bicycles, revolvers, uniforms, arms, dead horses, and men lying on roads -- they are not there accidentally." -Soviet infantry manual,

#11 - 2012-03-14 17:51:54 UTC
Khanh'rhh wrote:
This is fantastic, mad props to you.

I had no idea this was being done deliberately. I noticed in January that a lot of faction items were showing on the "first page" for ridiculous prices but were readily available for much less of that. RF Gyros for instance.

I cashed in all my old mission LP and stuck my contracts on the same page to sell. They did indeed move for that much.

This "scam" has probably netted a lot more ISK to other people than you realise, too ;)

The best was when people noticed it but did not understand it and listed up mods for a few mil cheaper than mine which would get forced to the top and then sold because of my own contracts except they listed them on 7 days rather than 14. They expired without ever being listed on price or oldest and the guys doing it never understood why.

You should vote for KwarK for a lowsec presence on CSM8. It's a good idea. I'd do it! https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=213851

#12 - 2012-03-14 17:58:11 UTC
This isn't a scam. Which is a shame. If it was I wouldn't have to feel so jealous.
Minmatar Republic
#13 - 2012-03-14 18:01:05 UTC
It's not a scam in the obvious sense of the word, but I would still call it a scam. It's 'abusing' the mechanics of the game. The way CCP have designed the game has allowed Kwark/WG to convince people that don't know better to pay absurd prices for mods that they usually would pay much less for. How is that not a scam?
#14 - 2012-03-14 18:04:36 UTC
Firebolt145 wrote:
It's not a scam in the obvious sense of the word, but I would still call it a scam. It's 'abusing' the mechanics of the game. The way CCP have designed the game has allowed Kwark/WG to convince people that don't know better to pay absurd prices for mods that they usually would pay much less for. How is that not a scam?

I agree with the guy actually, convincing people that the price you want to sell for (often over 100% markup) is "the price" through controlling exposure and bullying the smaller competitors is not a scam. But it seemed simpler to call it that than try and explain that the free market is pretty lulzy.

You should vote for KwarK for a lowsec presence on CSM8. It's a good idea. I'd do it! https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=213851

#15 - 2012-03-14 18:08:27 UTC
Firebolt145 wrote:
It's not a scam in the obvious sense of the word, but I would still call it a scam. It's 'abusing' the mechanics of the game. The way CCP have designed the game has allowed Kwark/WG to convince people that don't know better to pay absurd prices for mods that they usually would pay much less for. How is that not a scam?


Because no one lied to anyone, broke any agreements or stole anything. It's no more a scam than is selling rifters for 1bil isk. One might argue that it's an abuse of game mechanics but that's a different issue.
Umbrella Chemical Inc
#16 - 2012-03-14 18:18:16 UTC
I would call it market manipulation rather than a scam. It's really no different from buying out a region, marking it all up, but leaving the region next door untouched. Sure, there's a difference in having the products be half price one page away, or one system away, but the fundamentals of removing them from first view of the lazy buyer is the same.
Caldari State
#17 - 2012-03-14 19:12:38 UTC
Hey Kwark, I'm still sorry about that Manticore :(
#18 - 2012-03-14 19:24:27 UTC
Semantics really.

A fool and his ( /her - girls play Eve too, it's true!) money are easily parted.

Advertising X mexallon in a contract at bargain price when it's actually Y mexallon is a scam aimed at people who don't pay attention.
Before thousand seperators and million/billion clarification were added the contracts system was full of people offering one billion of good X when it was actually one million of good X (or charging an advertised X million when actually charging X billion).

These are both "scams" but rely upon the same trick West & Grey and their ilk relied upon - people not paying attention to the interface.


I tend to be a bit down on scams which exploit a trust but I'm far more accepting (from a space-morals perspective) of scams which exploit inattentiveness (is that a word?)) - but I'd still probably classify this as a scam. Like the opening statement, it's a question of semantics and I think many of us who are rather anti-scammer can appreciate a skilled and well planned exploitation of the system regardless of whether we consider it scam or not.

I dumped billions of isk worth of mods with West & Grey, arguably I was scammed in as much as I could have gotten much more had I realised the extent of their operations or the success they were having. But given I was making a happy 10% or so for bugger all effort I don't consider myself particularly scammed :o) Although anyone, and apparently they were legion, who bought 160m Cal Navy BCUs was undoubtedly stiched up a kipper as they say round these parts.
Minmatar Republic
#19 - 2012-03-14 19:39:19 UTC
Let's not turn this into a debate about 'scam or not scam'. :)
Goonswarm Federation
#20 - 2012-03-14 19:53:47 UTC
Well done.

Fix POSes.  Every player should want one (even if all players can't have one).

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