Gaming Open Market dumps PayPal for YowCow

by Alphaville Herald on 26/06/04 at 8:57 am

As reported earlier, GOM has ceased transactions in all markets except Second Life. As of July 9, they are also dumping PayPal for the payment service YowCow. Apparently YowCow is being more helpful about payments for virtual goods.Meanwhile, this issue has generated a lot of heat on Terra Nova. Jamie Hale’s latest press release follows.

It’s funny. I have a very short attention span, and yet I frequently write enough volume to bore even the most patient of people. With that in mind, I’ve put the important bits at the top here. Those of you with lots of time on your hands, please feel free to read my rantings that follow.

1) As of midnight eastern time on July 9 2004, Gaming Open Market will no longer take deposits from or send withdrawals to PayPal accounts. As of that time, we will begin transferring all remaining cash on deposit to our master YowCow account. YowCow will be the main payment service, although we will make Interac and e-gold transactions more accessible. If you leave your cash with us past July 9, you will simply have to choose another method of withdrawal – your GOM account balance will remain!

2) Effective immediately, trading of all game currency *except* the Second Life L$ is terminated. Without the combined support of the game companies and payment services, the risk for us is too great. If you have currencies on balance in any of these other games, please request withdrawals in the usual way and contact either Tom (for MTGO, SWG or There) or myself (for the rest) to schedule them. THE RECENT FRAUD IS *NOT* THE REASON FOR THIS CHANGE.

Now on to the gushy stuff.

First, let me send out a sincere thank you to everyone that emailed offering their support over the past week. There have been some really nice things said about Tom and I and our work, and let me tell you, it’s great to know that the work we’ve put into GOM over the past 9 months is appreciated. If I haven’t responded yet, I’m sorry. I’ll try to get to everyone in time.

Second, to those of you who have made donations, again, please accept our most sincere thanks.

A lot of you have written in offering suggestions of ways to help prevent fraud, like the event this past weekend, from happening again. All of them are valid suggestions, and we appreciate the feedback. Don’t for a second think the decision to terminate trading has been made without a huge amount of thought. We have reviewed the options, and we’re confident our choice is the right one.

PayPal is a funny company. They have *so* much exposure, and so much weight in the marketplace. If they were to put their minds to it, they could revolutionize game commodity trading. With a little pressure from them, they could no doubt get a few of the game companies on board providing signed documented proof that deliveries actually took place, eliminating *most* of the fraud that occurs in our community. Our community by the way, that of the North American game commodity trader, spends on the order of $25-50 million USD per year, a number that’s growing steadily as more games are released. For some reason, I’m just not able to get through to them.

YowCow, on the other hand, is a relatively small but fast-growing payment alternative. Small, in this case, is terrific for us. They are agile enough to work directly with us towards more fully integrating our services. These guys are working very hard to make online payment safer for you. Check them out! (And help us out by using our referral link!

Last Sunday, as most of you are aware, we were the victims of over $3000.00 worth of fraud through PayPal. This is not why we are closing markets. Let me repeat that. THE RECENT FRAUD IS *NOT* THE REASON WE ARE CLOSING MARKETS. The fraud was simply a slap in the face, making us sit up and take serious notice of our situation.

In order for us to provide a safe place for you to trade, we need three things:

1) Game publishers need to recognize the commodification of their game worlds, and accept that out-of-game trading is going to occur. Plain and simple. Until they do that, no trading, mule or deposit account is safe. Of course there are *many* good reasons why the companies might not want to do this, and I won’t bore you with the details. (Email me if you would like to discuss it.)

2) Payment services have to start recognizing that FedEx courier tracking numbers are *not* the only way to prove delivery was made. PayPal doesn’t, and has no interest in considering it.

3) Game companies have to become open to working together with payment services to prevent fraud. This isn’t hard. The game companies simply have to be willing to provide documented proof for the payment systems to use when defending themselves against a claim. What’s so tough?

Working together with Linden Lab and YowCow, we *can* provide you with a safe trading environment.

This is why we’re terminating the other markets. Not because we’ve been beaten down, but instead to continue pushing boundaries. With more time to focus on a single world, you will witness Gaming Open Market grow its list of banking and financial services. What’s in store? Well now you’ll just have to wait and see won’t you?

To everyone that has traded with us over the past 9 months, we send a heart-felt thank you for taking part in our tiny piece of history. While we sincerely regret what we have to do, we feel confident that what we have built *is* the future of game commodity trading. Watch your worlds for Gaming Open Market branches re-opening soon!


Jamie Hale
President – Gaming Open Market Corp.

11 Responses to “Gaming Open Market dumps PayPal for YowCow”

  1. Ian

    Jun 26th, 2004

    I got that but this is what I think. That since the buyer got all his money back, he didn’t actually steal any US dollars. However, he “stole” credits in two games, that do not acknowledge credits as real worth value, and it’s even “illegal” in their TOS to sell them. I am not trying to say, Jamie, you got what you deserved, I mean I feel bad that someone asshole had to do this to you, since basically everyone who buys your products and read this blog, does acknowledge the fact, “credits have US dollar value”. However, what this “scammer” did, was something he could, and probably will get away with. Since these credits are property of SWG (SOE) and ISK, you can’t really say they are yours, however what you are selling basically, is your hard work in acquiring these, which we all know, we can’t put a price value on that. Thus, your work could be worth $0. This is going to be a tough one to prove and get your money back. However, I continue to support you (I buy SL money all the time). Good Like Jamie!

  2. RB

    Jun 26th, 2004

    The fraud did have *some* impact on GOM. I find it hard to believe this large about face came all about over time :)

    Like Mr Hale said, it slapped him in the face basically, and made him think about how he does things. Particulary with the scam risk PayPal encourages by having ZERO protection for virtual traders.

    - RB

  3. Urizenus

    Jun 26th, 2004

    I guess I might have tried trade limits first before I shut down. say $100/day, or something. YowCow looks interesting though. Hope it catches on.

  4. RB

    Jun 26th, 2004

    I have already signed up for YowCow. Just need some more info on a few things then will see how it goes. Looks good.

    - RB

  5. Urizenus

    Jun 27th, 2004

    rereading the thread on Terra Nova, I was impressed by what Cory Linden had to say on the matter. I wish these Linden guys weren’t so sane, cuz then I could stop shilling for them and do my job and start bitching about them.

    “The digital world operators do know whether the delivery happened and a standard could easily be established to allow delivery reporting. Or, a digital world could decide to act like an issuing bank and say, for example, that the maximum liability in digital currency is L$50. In other words, if a chargeback happens, it is treated as fraud, the person who sold their digital currency gets most of their currency refunded and the user who made the chargeback is suspended or banned from the world.

    Obviously, this would require cooperation between the digital world operators and the trading sites, which comes back to one of my core disagreement with Bartle et al. Since world creators can’t stop commodification — yes, they *may* be able to reduce it, but there is no evidence that they can stop it — there is tremendous harm by pretending to block it and forcing it into black and gray markets. Black markets neither protect customers nor allow legitimate cooperation between digital worlds and 3rd party traders.

    It’s time to stop ignoring the elephant in the room and realize that commodification is a basic feature of digital worlds. Only then will fair and rational approaches be taken to address the problems that it raises.”

  6. Ian

    Jun 27th, 2004

    Uh, that’s kinda what I said too, haha.

  7. Aaron

    Jul 2nd, 2004

    GOM to go back to PAYPAL:

    Mash Mandala: Gonna turn some time to Zeppi
    Zeppi Schlegel: Pardon me for a second…
    You: cheer for zeppi!!!
    rynox Zapata: /yay
    Zeppi Schlegel: Howdy all!
    Zeppi Schlegel: Happy Canada Day! :)
    Mash Mandala: :)
    Drift Monde: Same to ya Zeppi
    Pepplar Sklar: *Canada hangover*
    Zeppi Schlegel: You folks have been absolutely awesome!
    Anam Abattoir: thanks for the compliments Hehehehe
    Zeppi Schlegel: Thank you everyone for the donations and the kind words in the forums.
    Mash Mandala: Must mean we want you to stick around
    Anam Abattoir: oh good turn out Zeppi?
    Anam Abattoir: Yes
    Anam Abattoir: good
    Zeppi Schlegel: As I said there, it’s really nice to know that all the time that goes into GOM is appreciated.
    Anam Abattoir: How are you?
    Zeppi Schlegel: And a special thanks to Mash for setting all of this up.
    Zeppi Schlegel: /calp
    Rebeccah Baysklef: Just ducky. Don’t mind me if I stare at that outfit. I love it :)
    Evon Lament: :)
    Zeppi Schlegel: :)
    Anam Abattoir: sure :-)
    Anam Abattoir: Yes
    Anam Abattoir: Would you like to be ABDUCTED?
    Anam Abattoir: Hehehehe
    Rebeccah Baysklef: laugh
    You: shhhhhh :)
    Zeppi Schlegel: With your support, and the combined support of Second Life and Linden Lab, we’re continuing to service SL in a very safe way…
    Kit Curie: *nestles against David quietly*
    Zeppi Schlegel: We’ve been speaking at lengths with LL and have a neat deal worked out – details to be announced later…
    Rebeccah Baysklef: Thanks!
    Mash Mandala: YEAH
    David Valentino: great!
    You: cool
    prak Curie: Woo!
    Evon Lament: YAY!
    Zeppi Schlegel: But what this means is that we can cover our butts without PayPal’s seller protection.
    Anam Abattoir: Good
    Zeppi Schlegel: For those of you with any doubts, Lindens are *very* cool folks.
    David Valentino: cool
    Drift Monde: keeping PayPal?
    Zeppi Schlegel: Yes, you’re the first to hear it officially, but we are keeping PayPal.
    Mash Mandala: OMG
    Mash Mandala: to cool
    You: WHAAA
    Drift Monde: thats great Zeppi..
    Draxon Twilight: wow,
    You: wow
    Rebeccah Baysklef: Thats pretty gutsy
    Timber Satyr: Wonderful!
    Zeppi Schlegel: We’ve had a *lot* of feedback from everyone, and don’t ever let it be said that we don’t listen. :)
    rynox Zapata: (secure transactions through LL me thinks)
    prak Curie: You will still have the option not to use paypal though?
    Zeppi Schlegel: GOM, Lindens and PayPal will be *attempting* to work together towards safer trading…
    Mash Mandala: GREAT NEWS
    Zeppi Schlegel: But until PayPal is onboard completely, Lindens are really helping out with the liability stuff.
    Zeppi Schlegel: Yes, we will still service YowCow and e-gold…
    Drift Monde: yay Lindens
    Zeppi Schlegel: And of course money orders…
    Anam Abattoir: /
    prak Curie: Excellent.
    Evon Lament: :)
    Zeppi Schlegel: I’ll be adding the pages to actually support e-gold and YowCow next week I hope.
    Zeppi Schlegel: Oh, and those of you who buy and get sick of waiting for me to be online to pay you…
    Drift Monde: So you will be able to bring your other games back up soon then Zeppi?
    Zeppi Schlegel: Fully automated ATMs are on their way. :)
    prak Curie: Woo!
    Anam Abattoir: Yes
    Evon Lament: woot
    David Valentino: wow
    David Valentino: nice
    Anam Abattoir: good for when I do
    David Valentino:

  8. Aaron

    Jul 2nd, 2004

    I wanted to post that quick… Zeppi Schlegel is the operator of GOM… this was at an event in Second Life just minutes ago where he announced that Linden Labs, Gaming Open Market, and Paypal are in negotiations to set up a secure, in-game trading system. Zeppi’s hope is to prove it works in Second Life, and with PayPal on board, will add to the weight of other companies to see why they should not punish credit traders.

  9. Urizenus

    Jul 2nd, 2004

    thanks for posting that Aaron. Zeppi said he would sit down and talk to the Herald as soon as he got everything nailed down. or at least had a plan.

  10. crankyuser

    Jul 9th, 2004

    Gaming Open Market down
    The Gaming Open Market is a stock market clearing house where players can trade currency in different MMOs. They recently lost $3k in a trade where a player claimed the delivery did not go through, so they’re revisiting their policies….

  11. crankyuser

    Jul 9th, 2004

    Gaming Open Market down
    The Gaming Open Market is a stock market clearing house where players can trade currency in different MMOs. They recently lost $3k in a trade where a player claimed the delivery did not go through, so they’re revisiting their policies….

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