Is there going to be some response regarding this incident and the praise/rewards/compliments/endorsements that SOMER received from several of the community devs?
I am not looking to reopen old wounds but the community brought the nature and ethics of SOMER as an entity up over a year ago, and in response the community devs defended and praised them. Below are just a few examples:https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3656860#post3656860https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3660642#post3660642https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3725799#post3725799https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3722431#post3722431
We were assured that they were basically trustworthy, reliable and on the up and up - yet it took a few of us no more than 15 minutes or so of examining their promotions to realize last year that they were RMT'ing.
I guess what I am saying is this - CCP should be investigating how this entity, which you clearly state has never had a business arrangement with CCP (despite being charged with handing out prizes to the community on CCP's behalf), managed to garner the trust and support of CCP devs. Either there was overt wrong doing (which I do not necessarily believe) or, more likely, this is more a matter of staff education regarding the complicated conflict of interest issues that can ensue when you engage in the sort of support that devs gave SOMER. In short: you guys were played.
So how do you plan to prevent this from happening in the future? I've never even really seen an acknowledgement from anyone at CCP that the sort of support and praise granted to SOMER was inappropriate - yet clearly this incident has proven that it was.
The lesson isn't that SOMER was 'bad'. Instead, the real lesson here is that despite what you think you know - the wrongdoing may always be there - and so outside of specific, legally and ethically vetted business agreements, CCP should not be endorsing a 3rd party, especially when in reality, that third party does not even exist outside of the game structure (they, aside form their RMT, are not a support or fan site - they were just an eve corporation, making isk).
Those posts were over one year ago, and CCP told SOMER to cease, and we would have thought that lessons were learned. But then this happens, and the mails from the VP show the problem persisted and indeed seems to be endemic at CCP. SOMER was NEVER a business entity - they were players of the game, with a history of violating the EULA, yet one of your VP's engaged them as if they are above the game, not a part of it. That is a serious problem.
I for one would like to see 'words' from Hilmar (as well as Lisa) on this - because I think it is is genuinely that concerning to me, as well as others, that the folks that are supposed to be unbiased adjudicators of the game decided to choose winners and losers and that even after being shown the folly of that one year ago, it continued. And once again realize that it was wrong whether or not SOMER turned out to be a bad egg.
I hope that CCP, whether they make public further statements about the business ethics being brought into question here or not, takes a hard look at the root cause of this problem and further educates all of their staff on maintaining appropriate boundaries between them and the players in the future. Although I do like to think we deserve and are worthy of, a statement or two on this issue.
Lastly, thank you for your prompt and appropriate response in this matter, you certainly deserve praise for that. I do not mean to take away from that in any way, but I do think that there are issues of business ethics and conflict of interest that have been raised that go beyond this one incident. I hope those issues receive the same prompt and proper response. Thank you.