Looking to get your little gold farm out of obscurity? Could need some free advertising from reputable finance and gaming sites? Nothing easier than that. Just lie.
This week there was a lot of coverage of a supposed deal - a virtually unknown gold seller got bought for 10 million USD, featured on Yahoo Finance.
Blogs wide and far are reporting the news. It sounds like a fairy tale for the owner. Well, it is.
Let's see how this all got started. PRWeb was the original source of the press release. Take a look at it - it comes with a nice clipart of gold coins. PRWeb allows anyone to post a press release - the more money you pay them, the more they distribute it. Here you can see all releases for that day ... the yellow stars next to them indicate how much was paid for it. Scrolling down for a few screens gets you to our friends MyMMOShop - 9 stars. Not bad. That means they put up a $300+ investment for this. Not quite free, but for that amount a yahoo news editor wouldn't even give you the time of the day.
Within minutes of this going live, the release got automatically distributed, landing on sites like Yahoo Finance and getting reposted on Kotaku and several other blogs. What a crafty gold farmer...
Did anyone bother to check what they printed? Not really. Otherwise they would have seen that MyMMOShop does not rank 3rd of all gold sellers (as claimed in the press release), but sits somewhere between no. 200 and 300.
How do I know? Aside from the fact that we're monitoring a few hundred shops, it's also quite easy to check yourself. Take a look at their traffic rank according to Alexa. It shows this website ranks below number 2,000,000 for the last three month as of February 2nd. In this industry this comes down to roughly 10 visitors a day! Feel free to look up big names like IGE, MOGS or THSale and you'll notice the difference. Surely this waste of hosting space that's not worth the bandwith it takes up to load must be worth 10 million USD.
However, not all is bad. The main fake reason given for the fake purchase ('strong reputation for providing optimal customer service') is probably not even fake. I mean, how hard can it be to provide 'optimal customer service' if only 10 people a day see your site?