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The Lawbringer: The relationship between Blizzard and PayPal

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

On Wednesday, Blizzard announced that PayPal would be its payment service partner for the new Battle.net wallet and Diablo 3 real money transaction Auction House coming with the release of the next Diablo game. Was anyone really surprised at this announcement? I sure wasn't, but that's because I already knew PayPal would be the payment service partner for the Diablo 3 real money Auction House from the moment the Diablo 3 real money Auction House was announced. I'm not trying to be smug here, because you knew it, too. You just didn't know that you knew.

The relationship between Blizzard and PayPal is an easy one to decipher because of the nature of the business Blizzard is getting into with the Diablo 3 RMT Auction House. Auctions for real money are firmly in PayPal's wheelhouse because, shocker of shockers, PayPal is owned by eBay. When you think about the feasibility of the RMT Auction House and all of the legal ramifications that go along with it, you point to the eBay model of online auction facilitation for what works and provides the path of least resistance.

This article is not a critique of PayPal as a service. There are plenty of places on the web to find that type of article. Instead, The Lawbringer will look at the actual services that Blizzard provides with PayPal, why PayPal was the obvious choice for real money transactions, and how PayPal's integration into Battle.net is not the potentially apocalyptic scenario that a few have presumed.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Blizzard strikes gold sellers with Paypal notices

Last week, Blizzard sent out strongly worded complaints to Paypal, accusing many gold-selling companies and resellers of "intellectual properties violations" for selling World of Warcraft goods. After receiving these complaints, Paypal sent notices off to the gold sellers Blizzard had complaints against, stating that if these activities continued through their websites and the Paypal service, Paypal would revoke their ability to use the popular payment site as a payment option.

Here is Paypal's letter to the gold sellers:
You were reported to PayPal as an Intellectual Properties violation by Blizzard Entertainment Inc. for the sale of World of Warcraft Merchandise.

If you feel your sales do not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of the Reporting Party, please complette the attached Objection to Infringement Report by January 21, 2011.

The completed form should be faxed to the attention of the Acceptable Use Policy Department at [number removed] or emailed to [email removed].

Should you choose not to object to the report, you will be required to remove all World of Warcraft Merchandise from the website [url removed] in order to comply with the Acceptable Use Policy.
What's very interesting is that Blizzard is claiming intellectual property violations in the face of the most recent decision in the Glider case. Where Blizzard lost on intellectual property concerns under the EULA, they could have a better shot over their game assets being sold, if somehow it ever went to court. Still, Paypal is the easiest route to go for Blizzard's plan of attack against gold sellers, since most of them are run outside of the country. Suffice to say, it's nice to see some action being taken against gold selling.

Filed under: Blizzard

Battle.net authenticator now available for other platforms


The Battle.net mobile authenticator is now available for a wide variety of mobile platforms in several different countries through the Battle.net mobile store. Originally available only for the iPhone through the App Store, the mobile authenticator can now be used on virtually any phone that can run third-party applications.

There's only one catch - unlike the original mobile authenticator found in the App Store, these new versions aren't free. The prices vary depending on your country due to PayPal conversion rates, but they amount to roughly $1 (it's €0.50 in parts of Europe).

Despite the need to purchase it, we at WoW.com can't recommend it highly enough. Account security is an important thing, particularly with the rampant account hacking and phishing going on these days. Now that it's available to use in a wide variety of platforms, there's little reason not use the Battle.net mobile authenticator. A dollar is a very small price to pay for that additional layer of security.

Editor's Note: Apparently now the download is showing as "Coming soon" for US/EU carriers. It was showing as up before, but now is not. We blame the Gnomes. Or Ghostcrawler.

Thanks to Medros from All Things Azeroth for the tip!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Account Security

Pay for your WoW account with PayPal

BlizzCon attendees already know this, but Blizzard just officially announced the ability to pay for your WoW account with PayPal.

At BlizzCon, there was a PayPal booth where you could enter a contest to win one of 2 Segways, complete with helmet, if you switched your WoW account payment over to PayPal. Even if you didn't stop by the booth, the PayPal employees handed out many, many flyers.

I think this is a step forward to make it easier for some customers to pay for their online hobby. Of course, the easier it is to pay, the greater the chance customers will keep doing it. It's good business. And it didn't even take developers off of whatever content you are waiting for!

Is this good news for you? Will this make it easier for those of you currently using game time cards?

And, if you are one of the BlizzCon attendees who won a Segway, will you please send us action pictures?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

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