Interview with a Six Figure Simolean Seller

by Alphaville Herald on 24/02/04 at 5:18 pm

In this interview we meet a well known TSO and eBay simolean seller. Badly injured ten years ago in a steel factory explosion, he has lived on disability since then, but this year he will report an income of around $100,000 US from selling simoleans. He describes how he got into the business, how his business has grown, and about the dynamic world of the simolean dealer in which programs and job objects continually come and go. Wishing to remain anonymous to avoid harassment by EA, we will simply call him Simolean Seller.

Urizenus: You are a simolean dealer?
Simolean Seller: Yes indeed for over a year now
Urizenus: do you sell on eBay, web site, both? other venues?
Simolean Seller: Both eBay and a web site yes
Urizenus: do you deal anything else? Rare pets?
Simolean Seller: I’ve thought about it and have wanted to, but the time and money consumed from the game just to locate them just takes too much time and energy for what they sell for
Urizenus: is this your main job, or do you have a r/l job too
Simolean Seller: Well ironically like a previous interviewee of yours, I’m physically challenged and do not have a RL job although you can consider this my RL job..
Urizenus: so how much money did you make selling simoleans over the past year?
Simolean Seller: Well beyond a RL job because I actually spend twice as many hours at this as opposed to when I used to work RL jobs..
Urizenus: lol
Simolean Seller: The past year entirely was beyond $150,000
Urizenus: sheeeit! Do you have any idea what your expenses were, or were they minimal?
Simolean Seller: Well let me tell you the story how i started and progressed…
Urizenus: sure!
Simolean Seller: I was an avid sims player since its debut in 98 was it? Anyway I knew of TSO coming and was accepted as a beta tester early Sept of 02…
Simolean Seller: In the beta days I’d met and became friends with another guy and he actually sold UO ultima online money/objects and when he first told me about it I though he was insane, lol
Simolean Seller: I couldn’t believe he sold game items for RL money
Simolean Seller: Well time went on and the beta closed and he and his wife left TSO… about a month later I wanted to contact him but his email changed so I went to eBay to look up his user id to contact him and to my surprise I ran into TSO items for sale…
Simolean Seller: I though heck I have well over a million simoleans, back then that was ALOT and I had made it to get on the richest sim list.. Yes beta ended in December on the 17th to be exact in 2002
Urizenus: k
Simolean Seller: So I put up an auction or two and they sold surprisingly to me so a week later I put another up…
Simolean Seller: At that time 100,000 simoleans was selling for $25.00 USD, but earlier it had sold for as much as $75.00 and a million would sell for $250, but nobody back than sold more than 400,000 at a time
Simolean Seller: After a couple more sold I figured hey I can do shat these sellers do so I started buying about 400,000 per city from each of them. Oh yes of course I had to get more accounts to do that…
Simolean Seller: So I wound up with a sim or two in each city and start working their virtual tails off lol I’m still waiting to get a class action suit slapped at me on behalf of virtual people lol. I’d put up an auction or two a week and they kept selling.
Urizenus: how did you keep them all working at once?
Simolean Seller: Well I have several PCs here and would run each sim manually working. I’d use remote PC software that allowed me to control any of my PCs from the one I sit at
Urizenus: ic, so no bots?
Simolean Seller: At first I’d go to houses that had many sims working and join the single job objects, then later graduated to the multi-sim objects
Simolean Seller: No I was only running 1-3 sims in a city by hand and not really doing it more then a few hours a day back then and I had no clue what bots were at that time
Urizenus: lol
Simolean Seller: Well each week people wanted more so I wound up buying more and more TSO accounts and more and more PCs to run them until I eventually wound up with more then 50 TSO accounts
Urizenus: so how did your remote PC software work, you just switched from one pc to the next or did you have a divided screen?
Simolean Seller: yes it’s a program that allows me to view into the other PCs from my main PC
Urizenus: how many PCs did you have running?
Simolean Seller: Well at first 1 – 3, but I have at times ran up to 18 a full house of sims lol
Urizenus: 18 PCs?
Simolean Seller: Yes sir
Urizenus: lol
Simolean Seller: All bought with the earnings from TSO as well as all the other TSO games and accounts I kept adding
Simolean Seller: not all at once but slowly over time
Urizenus: and then…?
Simolean Seller: well let’s see then the mazers hit the scene and prices took a major decline because money was made so easily by so many users
Urizenus: when was that, do you recall?
Simolean Seller: Well to be honest a few people had them as early as the beta days but we just weren’t aware of them… Only a few sellers over time had them and they kept them to themselves so that they could I guess keep the market mainly to themselves?
Simolean Seller: Then eventually more programmers started to create them and then people decided to sell them to make money from that as opposed to the simoleans
Simolean Seller: my guess would be April to march when the first mazers started to hit the market, but as i mentioned they existed secretively for quite awhile before that
Urizenus: did you have to jump on the mazebot bandwagon then?
Simolean Seller: I’ll be honest yes I used them and I’ll tell you anyone who sold simoleans I any quantity had to of. There’s no way that they didn’t unless they just worked off of bugs/exploits as opposed to 3rd party programs
Urizenus: so around that time — March 2003 — do you have any idea how many simolean dealers there were? or who the big ones were?
Simolean Seller: At that time I was just starting as a small fish and there were mainly two large sellers in eBay and there were no web sites at that time and maybe a few other small sellers.. my maze days hadn’t started until about May/June or so
Urizenus: can you say who the big eBay dealers were in those days?
Simolean Seller: well i can tell you their eBay IDs but that’s all I knew of them and as far as I know they’ve long left the TSO scene, but you never know they could always be someone else under another name lol
Urizenus: ok… so it sounds like you kept growing…
Simolean Seller: yes it got to be more and more each week until like I said I had to use the mazer which at the time put out an average of 400,000 simoleans an hour
Simolean Seller: then as time went on and other mazers became available and the programmers upgraded them they became faster and faster..
Urizenus: so how many mazebots were you running at the end?
Simolean Seller: When the first mazer was introduced to players the cost was $300 and even had a subscription to keep it active of $50 a week.. then as others came out the price averaged $250 to as low as $21.00 as time went on
Urizenus: there must have been a lot of programmers writing mazers then.
Simolean Seller: well the very most I ran at the same time I suppose was about 8 PCs at the same time, most times I only ran a few just to keep a stock ahead of demand so I wouldn’t run out and get stuck selling something I didn’t or couldn’t have…
Simolean Seller: I can think of about 6 different programmers with mazers that were available
Urizenus: all good or were some better than others
Simolean Seller: well some were just plain bad and they went to very excellent… I could say 3 of them were well worth every dollar they sold for and I often told the programmers that they were selling their software very cheaply compared to the earnings that they brought in..
Urizenus: can you name the good ones or is that a bad idea
Simolean Seller: Yes first there was one known as Kmazer which was the 1st one to run entirely unattended as it would take care of all the sims needs. Then the next was known as Bmazer which had more options and did go somewhat faster and also handled sims needs.. It even went as far as logging your tso accounts in and out for you at times that you would preset into the program.. Finally there was Ma Zing that was the cheapest on the market and almost equally as fast, but it only mazed and wouldn’t handle sims needs
Urizenus: are these guys still in business?
Simolean Seller: Well the programmers like players seem to move on in time and i guess they move to the “popular” or more “profitable” games at the time.. Right now one of the programmers, a different one than those last 3 maze programmers I mentioned has a couple bots on the market now, but the programmer who made the best one is just returning to the game and will be creating new bots so all of the sellers are anxiously waiting to see what develops
Simolean Seller: one of those programmers that currently has bots is you’ve probably seen that site
Urizenus: Is band the next thing to be automated?
Simolean Seller: currently code or cbu and pizza bots had been created by mysims.., but they’re going to be done by this other programmer and I do believe band will be done also
Urizenus: we should get back to your history in the biz
Urizenus: anything to add to that?
Simolean Seller: Well people now wonder why the prices of simoleans have increased as they have since maxis had disabled the maze
Urizenus: and your answer…
Simolean Seller: It’s easy and just like in real life when something isn’t easily obtained and d4emand is high prices are high, but when there is plenty of a product and plenty of people that can supply it prices drop… right now the best ways to earn money in TSO are multi-sim job objects code and pizza… if you do code it takes 50 RL hours to make a million simoleans.. Pizza takes about 30 hours so lets say me for example selling a million for $75.00 which is current on the higher end of prices if you break it down it comes to just under $3 per hour for my work and now it is work, lol…
Simolean Seller: prices right now seem to be any where from about $38 to just over $100 for a million simoleans depending where you look
Simolean Seller: but most people who are selling at the lower end are still selling off the money that they had accumulated from mazing b4 maxis d9isabled the maze
Urizenus: Will those prices hold for a while, or will they drop when the new bots come online?
Simolean Seller: I really don’t expect prices to drop if at all and that is because although bots might be entirely automated in future versions to come they still only create the simoleans at rates no faster then if the player actually played the game their self and compared to the two bots on the right now from mysims … well a player very easily could outdo the earnings created by those bots.
Urizenus: Let’s get back to your earnings a sec. when you say you made 150K US, is that revenue before expenses like computers and tso accounts, or is that after you’ve covered your expenses?
Simolean Seller: Although as in any market I’m sure someone will come along at some point and figure hey “if I sold cheaper I’d get most of the business” that is inevitable and won’t really be caused by the bots, but just by the person thinking they can gain a corner on the market which nobody can do to be honest
Simolean Seller: Yes that’s way before expenses… Figure over time I’ve accumulated over 50 TSO accounts and each game cost $50 as I bought the charter editions.. then the monthly costs.. I easily added $30,000 worth of computers and related hardware networking them all.. Figure also web site costs, eBay costs and my monthly bills there were hitting near $2500 a month..
Simolean Seller: misc software bought to make web pages, images, cgi scripts on the web site and programmers, advertising costs (google, overture etc) heck electricity to run all these machines etc and my time in general doing all this which pretty much the last year I spent almost all day every day doing something with 9it… now of course you don’t have to go as far as I did, but I’m a PC nut and want the best regardless so I could have got away with doing it much cheaper but chose not to
Simolean Seller: there are more things I’m sure that I’m not including
Simolean Seller: most people are under the impression that we just go play the game for a few hours having a blast and then have millions of simoleans to sell and life is 4easy and all fun, they don’t know how much work actually is done that they never would think of
Urizenus: so what does that make your profit after expenses? still around 100K?
Simolean Seller: Hmmm it could be, probably is
Urizenus: have you calculated what your hourly wage must be, given the time you put in?
Simolean Seller: Its funny how many people get mad at us and say “why don’t you get a real job”… I tell them well do you think you work harder or longer then I do? they are quite surprised to hear when I tell them that I spent at least 12 hours a day every day doing auctions, deliveries, creating money, and everything else involved lol
Simolean Seller: I haven’t really calculated that beyond very simple terms of stating that if I sell a million for say $75 and you divide that by the 30 hours to create it its under $3 per hour, I am sure if you add up all I made and the time I’ve spent here with it all that it is probably even less even though I made that much in revenue last year… But as I said I’m handicapped so I would have been here at my pc doing something else anyway so what the heck I may as well earn some money for a change… and it actually felt good to have an income that I worked for the first time in many years…
Simolean Seller: I am sure Uncle Sam is going to be happy with me this year lol
Urizenus: As you know there are several critics of simolean dealers on the Stratics boards, and there is an organization — SARP — that is dedicated to stopping high payouts and simolean sales (you may have seen our interview with AJ). How do you respond to their charge that you and other dealers are ruining the quality of the game?
Simolean Seller: Funny you say that… I really have to laugh at that because people would really be surprised that many of those that are against us sellers are in fact customers of ours that buy behind the scenes secretively.. Several of us sellers have talked about it and have noticed the same… If TSO decides to create this “tougher city” it will be the best thing for the sellers… demand will be incredibly high there and those ones posting their displeasure about how buying simoleans is cheating etc are generally ones that have bought simoleans themselves.. not all, but I can see many names that have
Simolean Seller: well you can look at it a couple ways as to whether we ruin the game or not..
Simolean Seller: Some say because we make the money available to people so easily, they don’t spend the usual amount of time in the game because they have no reason to skill their sims and then to earn money…
Simolean Seller: But on the other hand gamers who can’t spend that kind of time just to succeed a little to upgrade their house or buy things can now enjoy the game and play and not be turned away from the game because of the time they’d need to progress
Simolean Seller: tso is a game with no goal or direction and honestly once you have skilled sims which honestly does not take long to maximize and then buy the largest lot after awhile you can lose interest easy enough, but its what you do with your friends etc that keeps your interests there… unfortunately for me when beta ended 95% of my friends dropped out. Sure I made more friends, but it grew old and then the selling started because the game grew stale to me..
Urizenus: so I don’t suppose you are going to name names here. I’d love to know who the hypocrites are!
Simolean Seller: well no I’d rather not mention names but it is funny to see what some of them say or how against things they preach to be
Simolean Seller: I’m just going by posts at Stratics of people who claim to be for these lower payouts and a tougher city etc, but yet those are names of customers
Urizenus: Lemme ask a personal question if I can. You say you are physically challenged. Are you interested in talking about that at all?
Simolean Seller: I was in a work related explosion many years ago from the RL job I worked at the time it was a steel factory
Urizenus: do you live in the US?
Simolean Seller: yes
Urizenus: and you have received disability payments for many years then…
Simolean Seller: yes
Urizenus: It must be a great feeling to be making 6 figures for yourself on tso
Simolean Seller: 25% of what I used to earn monthly is what they paid and yes it was very a rewarding feeling.. now when I claim my taxes this year I’m sure that will affect that in some way.. I will see when I get together with my accountant
Urizenus: anything to add?
Simolean Seller: Hmm just that I had higher hopes for TSO as a game player as opposed as a seller and I’m sure maxis did too… I’ve read your stories and unfortunately they would rather shut up, turn off (terminate accounts) of things they think are threats to their game or shall I say “threats to the way they feel their game should be played”.. they didn’t have to remove the maze as an effective way to stop mazers and banning accounts is no cure either..
Simolean Seller: they take the fast easy or lazy way out…
Simolean Seller: when it’s as simple as some code changes that would prevent the game from running several instances on one pc that could have stopped it
Simolean Seller: or as simple as making the screens that come up after the maze completes appear in random positions.. they have so many things they “could have done” but instead chose not to lol
Simolean Seller: what will they do now that these other bots appear? disable every job object? that’s no cure, but then again since these newer bots can only go at human speeds they really don’t pose the major threat to the economy as the mazers that pumped out 2.5 million an hour per pc that they ran on did
Urizenus: Any thoughts about tso, where its going, whether it is dying or doing well
Simolean Seller: It started dying the day they went live
Urizenus: lol
Urizenus: Respected Banker has started taking wagers on when they will pull the plug on tso. What is your guess?
Simolean Seller: When it was in beta you had a very hard time getting into the cities every night and that was true in all cities… tso initially expected to have 25,000 users per city, but they barely had over 3,000 which is pretty much where the cities still cap off at and if not its not a whole lot more… I mean it took a year for the cities to fill to that point where you cant enter because they are full.. I don’t see it going beyond another year or two
Urizenus: what will you do when they turn off the lights? another mmorpg?
Simolean Seller: nope this was my 15 minutes of fame… TSO is an easy point and click game that you don’t have to be fast in order to do it. I can’t play other online mmorpgs so I’ll fade away into the net and probably do what I’d done for the past 10 years and go back to playing cards LOL… I didn’t have to be a seller; I chose to because 1) it gave me something to do on my pc daily and being handicapped using a pc as my daily life it filed a big gap… 2) it gave me an income and as mentioned it was a very good feeling working for a change and being able to make a living for myself as short as it may be… I’m not even sure if I’ll hang around until they turn off the lights…

13 Responses to “Interview with a Six Figure Simolean Seller”

  1. Cindy Lou Who

    Feb 24th, 2004

    When I dealed with this guy he was quite rude and smug. He only makes so much becuase he is the most expensive Simolean seller out there. Price around, he is the most expensive. Personally, I wouldn’t do business with this guy… But that’s just me, find out for yourself.

  2. Urizenus

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Well gee, Ciny Lou, you sound like the Grinch here. If you don’t like his prices don’t buy from him, it’s that simple. Oh, and you wouldn’t be dealing simoleans yourself these days would you?

  3. D Grinch

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Mr. AVH I think I already said I wouldn’t be buying from him. It was not the prices that turned me away. Customer service is key! Am I not free to speak my mind Mr 1st Amendment?

    Cindy Lou ‘D Grinch’ Who

    P.S. No I am not selling Simoleans at the moment. Why else would I be buying them? duh

  4. urizenus

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Dear Cindy Lou or Grinch or whoever…

    Yes you are free to speak your mind here, but given this precious liberty, could you please take advantage of it and say SOMETHING INTELLIGENT!


    your turn.

  5. Boo Who

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Ooooooooooooooh!! It’s on now, ding ding. lol

    Intelligent, wow 4 syllabels (sp). I’m proud of you. I’m gonna print this and put it on my refridgerator. Your my special boy! *teary eyed*

    Cindy Lou ‘Boo’ Who

  6. another seller

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Ha! He was rude huh? Good for him you have no idea the c rap sellers take daily from buyers. Well being a seller myself you’d be quite amazed at how extremely rude the buyers are… The second they hit the submit button they’re screaming for delivery.. NO major product web site can even come close to giving you the service that you expect out of many of us sellers do by giving you cash the very second you purchase it.

    Many of the buyers could use some lessons in manners too. My guess is he probably gavce back what was handed to him.

  7. urizenus

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Syllables & refrigerator are the spellings you will come up with when you learn how to use high technology devices like spell checkers.

  8. Cindy Lou Who

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Mr. AVH, your too easy of a target. I shall let you live. Too funny. As for you Another Seller, no one was rude.. I had done business in the past with him with no problems.. All it takes is 1 time to mess up a customers opinion. I get my Simoleans elseware now with no problems. I could give a rat’s ass how fast it get’s too me.

    Cindy Lou Who

  9. Nick

    Feb 24th, 2004

  10. another seller

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Well says you of course, but i’m not here to argue whos right or wrong… Everyone always thinks they are right now matter how they may have acted. Some people never realize that they are rude and when someomne acts rude in return they get upset or offended. He may be equally as happy that you no longer patronize him.. I too have customers that every occasionally get upset with me and hey it’s a free country if you don’t like how I conduct myself or my business you’re free to go elsewhere as another buyer is very willing to replace you after you go just as easy as it is to replace your seller. People in TSO are very finicky people and get quite upset very easily… And as a seller you have no idea of thejunk we get put through and called or made out to be just because there are some bad sellers out there… I’m not talking in rude terms, I mean the scaming types or ones who could care lesss when they get what you bought to you… Anyway it’s a game have fun with it and let’s stop the silly arguing and name calling shall we all?

  11. Ms Oprah Winfrey

    Feb 24th, 2004

    Too Funny!!!

  12. RB

    Feb 25th, 2004

    Now that comment posting has been fixed, here is my comments from yesterday.

    Uri mate, you are quick to let everyone know when i only mentioned i would be starting the bets thing *today* . lol. I have not even started yet, that is just a seperate poll. And i agree with “simolean seller” (most should know him) . Selling is not a picnic job of just raking in cash. It is very hard work requiring long hours and can get mentally tiring at times.

    I know up until X-mas i also was working about 12 hours per day. It was tough during busy periods of the day, you’d have 5-7 IM’s, deliveries being done in TSO. All simultaneous. Pretty much *phew* at times. But unlike what “another seller” said, I don’t think i ever had 1 rude customer. =D not in my 150+ sims served (small time, but i was happy) biz which is temporarily closed. I guess not being so large, maybe filtered the bad sims out or something.

    lol. (considering i did’nt start til as late as september 03, and then got booming in november) I congratulate “Simolean Seller” ;) on his achievement. $100k is a super goal. well done. Shame about the accident tho. I know someone who says they broke 7 figures for the year tho. =O Yes people can take this thing VERY seriously. lol. it becomes there life. I however was a 2 person operation. lol. just me and a yank friend with 3-4 PCs. split $ down middle. good deal.

    *wanders off reminiscing about the good times*

    - RB

  13. CherryBomb

    Feb 25th, 2004

    I have been thinking, too, that automating the other job objects wouldn’t do anywhere near as much damage as the maze bots. The amount of Simoleons they spewed out was enormous.

    One more comment: A cap of 3,000 users per city? Hee, hee, hee, hee.

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