What you need to know about copybotters

Friday, June 21, 2019

 

Attn: Creators, Gacha Resellers, & Gacha Fullset Collectors


I wrote this as a (very long) Facebook post, but there has been some issue with sharing it, so my compromise is just to write all that info here instead.

Something has been crossing my mind since Linden Labs announced their changes that will affect creators in Second Life, and that is that I’m sort of anticipating some brands that do not create gacha, or don’t create gacha often, may start making gacha (or more frequently) because the power of the micro sale may be more substantial than the paycut. 

Maybe I’m wrong about that, but just in case it helps anyone, I’m going to share some advice about being involved in the gacha atmosphere right now, considering copybotting seems to be at an all-time high. Hopefully this is helpful both to the original creators of the gacha and also people that really enjoy collecting full sets of gacha.

What is Copybotting?

It’s duplicating any transferable item (including gift cards) in their inventory in whole or in part. 

How is it done?

Abusing the servers. (I won’t get into this as this isn’t a manual on how to become a copybotter.)

How to identify copybotted items?

We have to approach this with realistic expectations. There is no way to know for sure whether an item is legit or not, but there are definite red flags.
  • Most marketplace stores selling copybotted items will sell many RARES and things named FULL SET or COMPLETE SET.
  • Whether you are searching for a rare, a common, or a full set, PLEASE visit their mp store to see if they sell any full sets, and:
    • PUT 10 OF IT IN YOUR CART AND HIT CHECKOUT. Don’t worry. It won’t buy it because it asks you to confirm if you want to use your linden balance, so this won’t actually make you buy anything, but it will check if they have the stock available.
      • So why is this the way to know if it’s copybotted?
        Because who the heck has 10 copies of a full set, or 10 copies of a rare that was in a gacha with 30 other things? Copybotters, that’s who.
        Be suspicious of these stores. Now one or two legit full sets, that’s no big deal. But 10? Don’t fall for it.
    • Sort their store by Best Selling and then Relevance. Copybot items and sets almost always have reviews, no matter if they are positive or negative, because they sell so many, people have things to say about it.
      • For an item to be near the top sorted under Relevance, they have to have sold A LOT of them. If a Full Set is at the top of the list when sorted by Best Selling and Relevance, it is definitely a copybot.  
    • Check if the store sells commons. Having many rares to spare would accrue a person hundreds of commons, but copybot stores don't usually bother duplicating them to sell outside of fullsets. If the fullset was legit, there'd still be 100s of commons leftover. 
  • Simple math. Honest gacha resellers want to make their money back when selling their duplicates, right? Example:
    •  [Creator] sold a gacha of 25 items for 50L/pull. With perfect probability and no duplicates, a person spends a minimum of 1250L. A copybot store would sell that fullset for 750L or less. It's always a discount. It's not rational. 


It worked! I identified a marketplace store selling copybotted items. Now what? 

  • CONTACT THE ORIGINAL CREATOR OF THE ITEM.
    Please. This is the most important thing you can do.
    (do so PRIVATELY, not in a Facebook post nor inworld group)
 

I’m the creator. I found a copybotted item. What do I do?

  • This sucks but you need to buy it, because you need to leave a marketplace review. 
    • Leave a 1 Star review that is professionally written, give the title some name like “This is a copybotted item”, then in the review box itself, announce yourself as the owner of the store and original creator of the item, warn shoppers that the item is not legally obtained and that they should not purchase it, and purchases made will not be available for any necessary support. 
    • Here is an example:

  • Flag the item choosing the option “Infringes My Intellectual Property”.
  • File a DMCA. Click here for a walk through on how.
  • Ban the owner of the store from your vendors, and if they have a partner in their profile, ban them, too.
    • Copybotters think they are being sneaky by playing your gacha from one account while listing it on a marketplace store owned by another, but they're really not that smart and like to partner these accounts.
  • In addition to leaving a review on the item, you can leave a comment on reviews already left on the item. If you do, feel free to include a link to this blog post to help educate those shoppers about copybotting; it may even deter them from buying copybotted merch again.
 

What to NOT do if you find a copybotter?

  • The obvious, DO NOT give them sales. 
    • The single exception is if you are the creator of the item and buy it to leave a review, as mentioned in point above.
  •  DO NOT share the copybot store’s link on Facebook.
    • You might think you’re doing a world of good by warning people and tagging the creators, but you’re doing as much damage as you are doing good. Often what happens is your post will drive them more sales, because curiosity takes people to the link and they say “oh hey, here’s a thing I spent 3000L playing and never got it, and it’s only 50L, that won’t hurt anyone. ..what else can I get this cheap..”
    • Instead, message them in world about it, or on Facebook. This way it’s out of the public eye, because it’s not the public’s business. This isn’t “tea.” This is people’s ability to keep their lights on and feed their kids. This is a person not only being robbed of their money, but their time, their sleep, energy, everything that went into creating it in the first place. So basically, don’t help the thieves and simply message the creator in private. 
 

Can I prevent this from happening?

Not really, but there are some deterrents.
  • Give the option to buy the whole set in Copy/NO Transfer.
  • Don’t put so many items in the machine. 
    • The reason this can help is because the more items that are in the machine, the more a specific common can be more difficult to obtain than a rare.
    • Drop rates should be proportionate to the amount of items in the machine. The sweet spot is 12-19. 
 

Understand that the more items you have in your machine, the harder it is to obtain a fullset. 

This frustrates many customers and gives them an incentive to look for specific items on marketplace. Copybotters understand this and are drawn to gachas with more than 20 items. 
The more items you have in your gacha, the higher the risk there is that your gacha will be targeted by a copybotter, especially when no option is available to buy the fullset from you directly.

***

Final Advice for Creators

Most copybotting takes place within 24 hours of event opening, because this is when sales of the duplicates is highest on marketplace. What you should do is after the event opens, check marketplace several times in the first 48 hours with search words "FULL SET" sorted by Most Recent. Check if the person selling it played the gacha at all. 

Listen to your customers if they communicate to you about having bad experiences playing your gacha due to having too many items in it. They will graciously play more when it feels rewarding, and the positive experience will encourage them to play your future gacha releases, opposed to staying away from them because they remember their frustration.

Final Advice for Gacha Set Collectors

If you like the set you're hunting down, it probably means that you really appreciate that store and creator, so please be sure that you are supporting them and not the people stealing from them. There are many honest gacha resale stores on marketplace, and following the steps listed in this post will ensure that you aren't giving your money to thieves.

Communicate to the creator if you'd love a Buy Full Set option, or if you think the number of gachas in the machine is causing commons to be close to unobtainable.

Final Advice for Gacha Resellers

The best thing that you can do is just be aware that this is happening. You selling your gacha spares is totally fine and don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. You just have to be aware that the gacha resale market is shared between honest resellers and thieves. Updating your product descriptions to mention that you're selling your spares is a great little thumbs up to collectors that you are not a copybotter. 


***

Copybotting has been an issue in Second Life for many years, and while Linden Labs is aware of it's occurrence, it is low on their list of priorities to fix this vulnerability to prevent it from happening. 

We as a community should act in solidarity and support our creators. Notify the original creators. File the DMCAs. Leave all the comments. Hold the thieves accountable.

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1 comments

  1. Going to Share a story of my experience with a copybotter, a very well known store owner played a gacha i had in a event, someone noticed a store on mp selling their items and mine along with a few others in the event cheaply, we was able to purchase 10 of each item including rares, which made us even more suspiciouse as we are able to trace rare wins and who purchased them. i tracked the store owners wins on my machine and everything minus 1 item was listed for sale and in stacks of 10 the day the event opened. they had won only one of each item they had stacks of them on mp, what is sad is this is a very well known store owner in lots of events and made excuses that someone they knew had done it, or bf/gf had done it.. but the purchases were made by them, what is even wild is most events have the blogger pack up for free in the rooms, so this was done with every intention of it being botted and resold, obviously we cannot name names, nor call them out because our evidence is heresay, even though 3 stores all had the same evidence with purchase logs.

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