Tradespot (formerly the UO Market) continues to be a lightning rod for criticism and controversy. Here’s some words from one of its founders, Zamboni Driver.
Howdy all, Zamboni Driver here (no, not one of the 146 fake Zamboni Drivers who are trying to steal your gold, the real one).
I’d like to take this opportunity to reply to some of the allegations against Tradespot that have appeared in the fora on this site. Here are the allegations, as I understand them:
(a) Tradespot is full of greedy bastards out to make a buck any way we can;
(b) Certain members of TS staff are low-life scammer doodz who should be drawn, quartered and fired from TS (not necessarily in that order); and
(c) TS doesn’t always respond well to the needs of its customers.
Here are my responses:
(a) When I started in the merchant website business (waaay back with The Trading Post, the precursor to UO Market and Tradespot), the website was pretty much all buy/sell ads for UO items. There was no housing resale market (no house ownership yet), there was no ebay market for UO (aside from duping, there wasn’t enough of a gold supply in those days to support gold sales for cash) and life was simple.
Well, The Trading Post merged with UO Market (when our host site, the-egg.net got hacked and we lost all our files) at just about the same time that the big housing patches went in and all of a sudden there was a housing sales boom. Some of us at UOM identified a big problem with the market – there was no way to do secure trades. So, those of us who had already established a reputation in the community started to do some third party brokering – we’d act as the middleman on deals for a fee (5% of the value of the trade). At the beginning, most trades were pretty small – even towers were selling for around 2M gp or so (now that’s the average price for a legally placed large brick and it’s almost impossible to buy a tower except for $ sales).
Over time, as the brokering service became more heavily used, we added a Broker FAQ to TS to explain to people how to safely conduct trades with a TS broker. To my knowledge, NO ONE who has ever used a TS broker and who has followed the correct procedures has been scammed.
I have brokered well over 1500 trades. Yes, I’ve made a lot of gold doing so – there’s no denying that fact and, quite frankly, no reason to do so. Without exception, all of my clients were happy to pay the fee (which is, by the way, less than 5% on big deals) for the security of a safe trade.
Keeping that in mind, I have been one of the biggest and most vocal proponents of a secure house trading system (check out my latest rant at Zamboni’s Wish List.) Our goal when we started to broker wasn’t primarily monetary (although the gold was a nice side effect) – it was to help players. I’m not claiming to be a tree-hugging-love-thy-neighbour-altruist, and I’m sure the hard boiled among those who read this spiel won’t believe me, but that’s the simple truth.
(b) I’ve always maintained an open in-box policy. If anyone has concerns with a TS Broker or staff member, that person is encouraged to email those concerns to me at email@example.com. I always investigate the complaint fully and report my findings to the
That said, people should understand that the benefit of the doubt goes to TS staff – people who have been chosen based on their reputations and their friendships with other TS staff; however, benefit of the doubt means just that – it does not extend to an assumption of innocence.
To date, no one has made damning accusations against Pucky (the TS Broker who’s at the centre of most of the controversy) that have been backed up by evidence. Until someone presents us with evidence that Pucky has scammed other players or duped in UO (an accusation that he’s been cleared of by OSI), he will continue to be welcome as a TS Broker. TS will not serve up Pucky’s head just to placate a screaming lynch mob that can present no evidence. If anyone has evidence (it doesn’t have to be written proof – verbal evidence is welcome) that he or she would like to submit, please do so.
(c) On this last point, I’m forced to agree with some of our accusers. TS hasn’t always been fast enough in responding to the needs of our users. As TS has grown (far beyond our original expectations), we’ve made some questionable calls and expanded too quickly to keep up with the additional work. The area of TS which has suffered the most has been the Banner System – we didn’t have a clear chain of responsibility for the Banners and consequently, when problems arose, everyone assumed that someone else was looking after them.
As we continue to expand, I’m sure there will be other problems – we never claimed to be (even close to) perfect. We’ll tackle those obstacles as we come to them, making mistakes along the way, but doing our best to serve the UO community.
I hope that answers a lot of your questions about TS and recent events. As I mentioned above, I’m always happy to chat about events at TS, in UO or in the world at large – feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.