Recently I had an issue with someone attempting to do something very dodgy compromising my steam group http://steamcommunity.com/groups/indelacio which is publicly open for anyone to join and previously had an unlocked chat room and bulletin board, however this was abused by the steam member brattysnax who joined my group and proceeded to make out that they were a long term “fan” and began to post unauthorized “giveaways” and “competitions” after I had questioned why any developer would give them steam keys for them to sell for their own profit through a chat room on a well known gaming bundle website where I had personally stated I don’t think game developers would be happy to give them keys for free to be sold on lower than the developers sell them for.
Within an hour of questioning that person I discovered that they had been posting illegal and unauthorized giveaways over the internet as though they were a part of my site, so immediately I banned the user once I discovered this action had been taking place, shortly after which they began making posts all over the internet about being “wronged” for being banned, so this video and this post were required to explain the situation.
Not only were giveaways and competitions never authorized, research into the user brattysnax lead to some shocking discoveries. The user had been associated with groups which in the past had extorted keys from developers under the threat of negative steam reviews https://www.reddit.com/r/Steam/comments/38dega/curators_using_threats_of_bad_reviews_to_extort something I would never be involved in, and as a result I would not wish members remotely associated with such abhorrent behavior anywhere near anything with my sites name which is why the user was immediately banned, and if anyone ever hears of a user or email address doing such things and attempting to associate with my site and reviews incorrectly I would request you immediately inform me www.indelacio.co.uk/contact/ which contains the only official contact you should deal with.
I have always been on the side of developers and even valve (steam) and do not stand for people attempting to take advantage of sites like these for their own profits, as not only does it mean the developer essentially loses a sale to the scum, but also deprives indie developers of funds they need to live or even develop sequels and further games, and don’t question supporting valve need I mention the whole desura thing, they’re not too big to fail if they lose their income sources!
That is the main problem with charity bundle websites, sure they were established with the best of intentions and yes a lot of them are getting better and raising the minimum price to reduce those who buy 50 bundles to resell keys and deprive the developers of a fair income they have worked hard for through making their game, especially when it comes to early access or greenlight games, this is one of the reasons a developer will give up on a title before release if people like this have taken advantage to get the game for pennies and sell it on for pounds undercutting the developer and devaluing their game.
It is nice of developers to give their games in the name of charities and does help those who cannot afford full retail to get hold of some good games and it does help with exposure but if you’ve already given away your title for next to nothing to the majority of your audience actual sales become difficult, which is why I would state if you’re ever going to give away a game in a bundle think about your reasons for doing it, as well as considering the downsides along the benefits. The best practice would be to only do it once your game has been through at least a year on steam, taking advantage of the summer and winter sale boosts along with your launch income, then providing it for charity once you’re satisfied with it’s sales, and if you’re looking for promotion of your game there are better options to get your game noticed without giving it away to millions of people.
Of course ultimately the choice is down to the developers, but it is worth noting that this element exists out there on the internet extorting keys to sell for their own income, a practice which I am not involved in and would never be involved in as I find it disgusting. I would prefer to simply avoid posting a review or help the developer to fix a game than post a negative review and I have never requested extra keys for giveaways or extorted developers in any way shape or form, and it was obvious that brattysnax had joined my group to attempt to use my sites name to do this
How was this obvious you might ask? Well the instant they saw my site’s name and that I didn’t perform this they attempted to hijack my group using it to run giveaways and competitions (where they are involved in rigged giveaways through that reddit forum post) and then it would become obvious that they would email developers claiming to work on behalf of my site “showing the giveaways” they ran to attempt to gain more keys for “giveaways” which they had established they actually sold through what they had stated on the game bundle website, and perhaps even extort keys through the threat of negative reviews which they had also seemed to be involved with. So blocking this user and removing all their posts along with any ability to post on the group was required in order to shut down this behavior and protect my site. I run honest reviews based upon my gameplay and will do whatever it takes to protect my site and reputation from dodgy users such as brattysnax.
Furthermore I always provide a steam link to games that I review and play because this provides profits to game developers for their game at a fair price, and also a fair share to steam who host the game and have earnt a fair share for providing a service which keeps all of your games together in one convenient location as well as providing the server space/bandwidth, automatic updates etc and providing what is easily established as the best gaming experience.