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“These spam bots are really making this chat unusable. They really have to do something!”
“I saw a person spamming this gold seller URL in chat. I think it was some kind of bot.”
“Report all spam bots so they can get banned from the game immediately!”

Spam Bots and their History in Online Games
Good online games have always allowed their players to interact with each other either through chat, teaming up and even economically through trading items and auction houses ect. Now, some crafty people figured out that if they find a way to farm ingmae currency and items using cheat methods, such as labour from 3rd world countries or software like farming bots, they could actually sell those ingame items for real world money. – So RWT (Real World Trade) in online games was born and literally hundreds of websites appeared out of nothing, a new market was created.

Gold / Item selling is a very tricky thing legally speaking, since in many cases the gold sellers are directly competing with the developers of the game that are selling currency as well. – In some countries it is indeed deemed to be unfair competition and is therefore illegal. But that is not the subject of this article. – However, it does show you that many gold sellers are working in a legal gray zone.

So these gold sellers needed a way to promote their websites and sevices and since most online games do feature some kind of chat, sometimes global chat, sometimes instanced ect, some decided to exploit that fact and create software to automatically spam these chats and promote their websites.

Now obviously this kind of advertising is incredibly cheap, since it only requires a PC and an internet connection instead of paying for every click and those gold sellers that did not spam chats were quickly put out of work, since they could not compete with the spamming competition. And that is essentially the amazing story of how spam bots cane to ruin all our ingame chats all over the world.

 

game-spam-bots

 

Developers vs Spam Bots: FIGHT!
Inevitably the developers of games were made aware of the spam bot problem by their players and had to start fighting this kind of problem. Many simply added chat filters that would not allow bots to post URLs, but that was useless, since those filters will not recognize stuff like “w-w-w---buygold----c-o-m”, but humans will. So developers had to come up with more complex ways of getting rid of spam bots. However, banning bot account was not a good idea either, since a lot of the spam bot accounts were actually hacked accounts that belonged to legitimate players and the problem got even more complex. Overall, there does not seem to be a real solution, except for chat muting spamming parties, which is what we think the best method of doing things. Also having an easily accessible button to report spam in game is always helpful.

In some cases RWT sites are seen as heroes that are competing with the developer’s overpriced offers and some cases they are seen as parasites that hurt the game. We do not really have an opinion on that, but spam bots do certainly make games less enjoyable if they impact your ability to communicate with other players and we do deem that to be highly annoying.

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