Thursday, December 9, 2010

This is Interesting.

So I'm messing around in the blog controls yesterday. Blogger put in a bunch of new doodads and widgets (highly technical terms, I know) and controls for making your blog more personal.  I have composition of the blog down to a science so I don't look for changes to what I know. I'm a bit resistant to change, frankly. What I had learned worked so why do I want to mess around in controls I don't know and, quite possibly, break the formula I have. Much to my surprise, the new posting controls are nice and will allow me to do some things the old controls didn't.

One of the things they did was add a "Stats" tab. I have no idea how long it's been on the tool bar. A comment was that people were using outside programs to keep tabs on stats about their blog so Blogger decided to add this to the controls.

I find the stats quite interesting. As I expect, because I live in the US, most of my hits are in the US. I have a number of guild mates from Canada so I was not surprised to see Canada second on the list of hits. What surprised me, at first, was Russia coming in 3rd.

But then I got to thinking. It's because of my connection to and blogging about World of Warcraft. In the game, you need money to purchase goods and services. By design, there is a thriving economy. You purchase items that make the gaming experience more successful, more useful to you and more fun. Yes, it's pixel transactions of fake merchandise with fake money. But I don't think the game would be as successful as it is without having some form of currency to buy goods and services. There is an incentive to continue to do quests because the gold reward will go toward the purchase of something. It cost me 16,000 fake gold to get my fake Traveler's Tundra Mammoth. But when we are raiding, that mammoth comes in handy because it carries a repair guy and a vendor who has food, drink and items needed for people to cast spells. It was well worth the 4 months it took me to make the money to buy it.

And that leads to abuse of the established system. They are called "Gold Sellers" and in the capital cities of this world, they come into the main square and yell their sales pitch. "Worried about having enough gold? Go to [insert web site] and be certain your transaction is safe. 10,000 gold for only $19.95." Yes, you read that correctly. People will pay REAL money, REAL coins and dollars for fake gold so they don't have go into the game and earn it. It's against the user agreement you click "Accept" when you install the game but people do it a lot.

And here is where Russia comes in. That real money gets funneled out of the US to places like Russia. Blizzard knows there are Chinese people spending hours at computers hacking their way into game accounts, clearing out all the goods on characters, selling them and then stockpiling this fake gold to be sold to people who don't want to earn it. This occurs in Russia too. Maybe I have a Russian reader or two, but I'm really willing to bet it's not a reader who came to my blog. It's a spam bot or other search engine that just happened to see I tagged WOW in the labels.

I looked at this yesterday and there was a hit from Singapore and Brazil. Today, those locations are absent. I also know that these probably aren't real "readers", that these are just hits from a search engine who happened to find one of my labels for someone doing a search. But I like to think that, thanks to this grand thing we call the "Internet", someone in the Netherlands today read the piece about the first snow of the winter.

I hope they enjoyed it.

Beverage:  Lady Gray tea (Lunch time and I finished the English Breakfast)


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