GMbar - Profile
Ranked #172 out of 413 shops
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Shopping and Payment The website is littered with annoying problems. A big mess. It bothered us that the topmost menu had a coding bug that made it seem as though the website was no longer functioning properly. They could just remove that menu row entirely since the services are listed anyway individually per game on the side bar. They also combined in one long list the servers across all games so it's a real pain to find your server and proceed with the order. Currencies even don't display correctly. Also, the only payment options accepted are PayPal, credit card via PayPal and Western Union.
Pricing Because the currencies are not displayed correctly it was impossible for us to do an accurate price comparison outside of Final Fantasy XI Gil prices, which we found to be somewhat cheaper than the majority of sellers at MMOBUX.com.
Speed Deliveries are advertised as taking as short as one hour and as long as half a day, with the average leaning more towards the shorter end of that range. It is rare though for the delivery to be faster than an hour.
Customer Service There was no live customer help available, only email support which will obviously turn off a lot of customers who want expedient service response to order queries and issue escalations.
At this point, very little has been known about the company`s customer record. Although some customers had claimed about missing gold, they got their refunds.
As at July 3, 2007
Below is a short interview with the seller.
Can you give us some background about the company?
Gmbar has been professional in selling virtual currency, power leveling and accounts for 2 years. In 2005, we saw the secondary market as another developing dimension of the MMORPG experience. Gmbar started with selling lineage 2 adena and accounts. Now, Gmbar has expanded to several MMO games, including Lineage 2, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Vanguard SoH and so on.
As demand for in-game services are growing, Gmbar would like to give the game players even more game play flexibility and enjoyment.
Please give us some overview of your operation. Do you employ your own farmers or do you only act as a distributor or broker?
Our employment base can be divided into marketing segment, customer service segment, business segment, accounting segment, technical segment and farming workshop. They are made up of a variety of well educated and experienced people in RMT market; some are major in marketing, others are major in e-commerce. This team of professional and enthusiastic people support the main website, Gmbar.com and another Chinese site.
The main role, we play in RMT market is a broker. We are striving to establish the leading platform which provides virtual currency with competitive price and fast delivery.
However, we do have own farmers for some servers of games we provide. 20% of the employees are full-time gold farmers, working for WoW gold, Lineage 2 Adena, LotRO Gold and other games.
What are your thoughts on news reports about `Chinese gold farmer sweatshops`?
It would be a gross overstatement to say Chinese gold farmers work in sweatshops, a generally held misconception by many. Chinese gold farmers cram in a small room with poorly paid and exhausted from their punishing shifts,. They chain-smoke and rub their eyes, while their colleagues sleep on the same mat on the floor.
But as we know, unemployment rate in China is high. Chinese gold farmers are mostly poorly educated and jobless. I think nobody can deny the fact that gold farming releases Chinese employment pressure and even crime rate.
And not all bosses provide poor conditions to the gold farmers. For example, farmers hired in my company work in a big room with air-conditioning and we provide accommodations.
How would you describe a typical owner of a gold farming or selling business? Could you tell us more about your personal background? How did you get the company started?
A typical owner of a gold farming or selling business is an entrepreneur who responds to the innovation and market needs. At the time, it was an early stage for RMT industry, I predicted it would be a high-profit industry and was willing to take the risky business.
As for my personal background, I am Chinese living in Mainland China but we have a branch which collects the latest industry information, purchase original game cdkey and so on in Huston, TX, USA. Two years ago, I played Lineage 2 and saw the needs to buy Adena by many foreign players. Due to time constraint, they would buy rather than farm gold themselves.
I calculated the difference of sale price and buying price from farmers and realized that it would be a high-profit industry with fast growth. We saw this opportunity and started this company.
Many customers often complain about no delivery of gold which is perhaps `intercepted` by Blizzard before the customers take it out of the email. What has changed for you over the last two years given the increased reports about counter-measures employed by companies like Blizzard? How do you deal with this problem and the customers?
Many farming accounts are banned and the price of virtual currency inflated with the changing demand and supply. Now the profit of RMT has decreased sharply.
Because of the counter-measure policies from Blizzard, it is more diffcult to gather enough WoW gold for our big orders and it is also difficult to deliver.
In the case, we cannot deliver gold within one day, I will refund the full amount to our customer. I had a case where I sent 700 gold to one customer but before he picked them up, my delivery character was banned and all his data was cancelled including the 700 WoW gold. The customer complained about it and because customer comes first, we gave him the full refund.
How would you describe your relationship with game operators? Can you share your worst experience with a game company? Do you have any experience like getting a very valuable account banned and lost tons of gold in one night?
Like merchants in the real world, gold selling sites make game economies prosperous. But they also destroy game economies. It is a difficult situation with the game operators. Account bannings happened but I have professional players who specialize in investigating how to avoid getting banned by game operators. And they do it very well and protected us from several big bans.
Many gamers have been annoyed about in-game spams from gold farmers. How do you promote your company and services?
Mainly, we do our promotions and advertisements by search engine ranking. I have very good results with the LotRO keywords. The website appears among the top results when you search for `buy lotro gold`, `lotro cdkey` and other keywords. However this has a limited success. As we know LotRO is a new MMORPG and the total search volume for LotRO is lower than for WoW gold - my site performs poorly for wow keywords.
What is your outlook for the future of RMT?
Some game operators like Blizzard made it clear that buying and selling WoW gold, items, accounts with real money is not allowed and severely attack gold farmers. However, I believe Blizzard can not ignore the players strong need for WoW gold and power leveling service.
Unlike another popular MMORPG publisher, SOE is accepting the new trend and has introduced the Station Exchange for players to auction their currencies and items to other players for real money. Second Life even encourages players to buy virtual money with real money.
The government has seen the big contribution of RMT to the developing economy They will draw up policies to standardize the new virtual industry, rather than stop RMT as pessimistic people think.
Before 2006, ROI of Real Money Trade reached up to 1000%~2000%. The RMT industry created many new start-ups who were sensitive to market change and good at seizing opportunities. But with the increasing number of `gold diggers` entering into the profitable industry since 2006 and strict policies from game operators against gold farming, the profit has fallen sharply. Many workshops went bankrupt as a result of the frequent bans from game operators. The RMT market has changed from a high-profit industry into a relatively stable business. The competition in the RMT market in China is very fierce.
What is the situation with RMT in China? Is it illegal, any policy that the government is looking to use?
RMT in China is neither illegal nor legal. Currently the Chinese government does not have any formal policies to standardize RMT. But March 2007, te government drew up a `Notification` that (1) Strictly limits the total amount of virtual currency of game operators and the total purchase of virtual currency of a single consumer; (2) Virtual currency can not be used to buy real goods; (3) If consumers want to redeem virtual currency to real money, the redeem money can not exceed the original purchase price; (4) Strictly prohibits buying virtual currency and sell it at a profit. Some financial experts said RMT will destroy the Chinese financial system. I think it is an overstatement. But there is no doubt that the Chinese government will draw up policies to standardize the RMT industry to control the situation.
I believe RMT will has a bright future ahead.
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