by Mike Masnick

The Streisand Effect Takes Up Residence In Project Entropia

from the learn-when-to-give-up dept

You would think, after countless examples of the Streisand Effect at work, companies (especially in the tech world) would realize that trying to suppress something online is generally going to have the opposite effect -- getting it a lot more attention than it would have received otherwise. Apparently, the folks who run the online world Project Entropia hadn't picked up on this lesson. A few weeks ago, Project Entropia got a ton of publicity (including from us) about a plan to let people withdraw their virtual money as real cash at certain ATMs. A law professor, Dan Hunter, who also follows the virtual worlds space, wrote up a blog post criticizing much of the coverage, noting that very few looked too deeply into the announcement to realize that it wasn't anything special. Apparently, that didn't sit well with the CEO of MindArk, the company that runs Project Entropia, and he started sending Hunter and his boss at Wharton angry emails, claiming the post was slander. Being a law professor, Hunter knew it wasn't slander, and chose to ignore it. However, the emails kept coming, and reached the point where he wrote about the emails publicly. This is a classic Streisand Effect case. The original blog post was already fading away. However, now that they've made a big stink about how it's slander and should be taken down, a lot more people are going to see it. Not only that, but we're going to read about the various other publicity stunts Project Entropia has pulled in the past -- making us more skeptical of any news about them in the future. For example, we had heard the well-publicized story last year about how someone had bought a place in Project Entropia for $100,000. We didn't post it, partly because the story seemed a bit strange. However, in the blog post, we find out that the part that was never revealed was that the guy who bought the space in the virtual world just happened to be an employee of the company (Update: in the comments this is disputed, but he clearly appeared at places listing his title as "Project Entropia, US Spokesman" -- though, whether or not that was a paid position, a made-up evangelist position or something else is up for debate). There are also a few other questionable activities on the part of the company... none of which we would have known about if they hadn't started nastygramming the law professor and his employer.

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  1. identicon
    bob, 18 May 2006 @ 6:28pm

    nastygramming... thats hilarious

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    my comment, 18 May 2006 @ 7:26pm

    my comment

    There have been so many example of the "Streisand Effect" that I think we are all well and truly aware, nay sick and tired of hearing about it. This isn't new or interesting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Thomas, 18 May 2006 @ 7:30pm

    Correction to your article

    The Person you refer to who bought the space resort in the game is Jon 'Neverdie' Jacobs. He's not an employee of Mindark, nor has he ever been. This has been reported incorrectly in several articles. He did appear at a few Gaming conventions talking about how great he thought Project Entropia (Now called Entropia Universe) is, but if you had just spent the kind of money he did, and the only way you could get it back was to ensure others came to your virtual resort, wouldn't you be out singing the game's praises?
    As far as the addition of Debit Cards to the Entropia Universe, how many other mmorpg's have that, or are planning on it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Correction to your article

    Ooo a company troll, O sorry, I mean man, spouting the company bullshit O sorry I mean company's view...

    Pretty damm transparent Eh? Do you actually think we are that stupid ? (well at least not most of us)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Alex Hagen, 18 May 2006 @ 10:40pm

    Trolling by calling people a troll

    "Do you actually think we are that stupid ? (well at least not most of us)"

    Well, maybe just you. Thomas's post was pretty straightforward and factual. A tiny bit of research will show that this Jon Jacobs wasn't a real employee but just an evangalist, so the articles on Terra Nova and here were indeed incorrect. And he is also correct in his implication that no-one else is doing anything like this...and I would think that eventually transfering money from the online world and back will be very common so it is an interesting step. So what exactly is the troll in his post?

    And to "my comment"; yes there are plenty of examples of the Streisand Effect. It's still fun to watch, especially when somebody gets completely and humorously owed like this CEO has been.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    UnNamed2.0, 19 May 2006 @ 1:47am


    I do believe the game is galled "There" Its another game that uses realy american currency to purchase game money. You Can Buy real estate and it has a tun of "emotes". Its more of a mmo that you just hang out on at other peoples cribs... wich is more or less a interactive chat room

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Thomas, 19 May 2006 @ 4:49am

    Re: Re: Correction to your article

    Actually, I'm a programmer in Orlando, FL. I do play Entropia Universe, but have never worked for Mindark either. So feel free to continue with your misguided attempts at being sarcastic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Name Withheld, 19 May 2006 @ 6:28am

    It's not just on the Web that trying to hide something often has the opposite effect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    anonymous coward, 19 May 2006 @ 9:57am

    virgin losers debating the relative merits of the jerk off fantasy worlds they create since they can't hold a conversation with a real human being.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    anon, 22 May 2006 @ 10:51am

    Re: Yah....

    Entropia Universe, Second Life, There

    These are all examples where you can buy in game objects with real dollars as part of the game. Not sure about taking money out of the game though. I know EU lets you. (I tried the game. It was nice but not for me.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Nunya, 6 Nov 2007 @ 12:35pm

    Entropia is a huge scam

    Where can I start? There are only a handful of people actually playing this game on a regular basis who are not employed by Mindark. When a new player joins, they are befriended by several Avatars immediately. These are generally employees of Mindark who are paid staff sitting around to show you how to sweat, get to know you a bit. The avatars are many times the same employee logged in as several different people at the same time. Another thing these employees do is rig the auction to affect the market price of the various items for sale. It is a simple thing to see this is a fact. Just TRY to put an item up for sale in the auction at market price, chances are very good that it will never sell, until you drop the price below market value. Look at the names of the avatars selling and bidding, you will consistently see the same names popping up. Sometimes you will even see blatant market manipulation such as an avatar selling a number of an item, and in the same auction you will see them bidding on items others are selling which are identical to the ones they are auctioning off!! Notice the people in your friends list, keep the window up, sometimes their computer crashes and several avatars will go offline all at the same time, then a minute later you will see them all pop back up within a few seconds of each other. Watch it several days, you will see it happens EVERY time it is NOT a coincidence. Also note the avatars just standing around Port Atlantis, you will see one or two dash across the courtyard only to stop again and just stand there doing nothing as they make a couple more avatars dash about, then they stop and others do the same thing. Also, pull up the friends list, pick 3-4 avatars you saw log off all at once and then back on a minute later the day before, and initiate a conversation with each of them. At first all will answer you in turn, but then as you hold up the conversation you will notice them getting confused as they try to keep up. Another thing, look in the auction for a component called basic filters. These are a crafted item which is useless, it is only sold to the trade terminal for 0.01 PED each. Yet pull up the market value of them, you will see they apparently are valued OVER the trade terminal price. This blatant market manipulation by the employees. Another thing to see how much of a joke this game is, after yo uget all of the teleports, go to each one and take note of the amount of green dots in the area. You will note many in Port Atlantis, almost always, since this is the starting place for new players and they want to make a good impression. But continue cycling to all the different teleports over the course of a day then do the same thing over a night, I have done it many times, the same avatars are always standing around, they will just stand in same place for hours, or pretty much the same place. This is not possible for a player who is not logged in to the server over a LAN, if you are connected through DSL/Cable, after a period of inactivity you will be booted. One other thing, go to an area where there are a few players, try nymphtown, there are few players there yet see how terrible the lag is as you try to sweat creatures. I could go on and on with this, but i don't want to bore you with the thousands of other observations I have made in this "game" which prove to me and my friends beyond a shadow of doubt that there are perhaps 2000-3000 active players in this game (even that may be an exaggeratedly high figure) and majority of them are Mindark employees. Only a tool will play this game, or scammers, but the biggest scammers there are Mindark staff themselves, the majority of scams perpetrated in the game are done by the staffers. They will kick outsider scammers because they withdraw their proceeds, but the staff scammers loot goes into the pot for Mindark and their friends. Don't be a tool, stay away form this scam.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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