The end of the Ingress Store Spammers?
Just today, Ingress announced that they will be finally taking a stand against the in-game item selling from rogue stores. A few hours ago this was posted:
Purchasing in-game items from unauthorized sellers is a violation of the Ingress Terms of Service. There are currently no authorized third-party sellers of in-game items. Niantic is committed to keeping Ingress and the battle between factions fair.
We will be sending warnings to anyone who received items that can be traced back to a third-party seller. In the future, we will remove items from the game that were purchased from unauthorized sellers. This means that any items purchased through third-party websites or services will disappear from inventories – even if these items were passed to other players unknowingly.
We appreciate your cooperation and continued support of Ingress.
The post is clearly being well received, with more than 950 likes and 250 comments within the first 2.5 hours. Ironically, several of the comments are advertisements for the rogue stores.
It would appear as though Niantic is now able to track the farm-bots and will be sending out warnings to accounts who hold items that were illicitly farmed. Note that due to the ability to give away items, it’s entirely possible that items that you received from a friend or another agent may have originated from someone who bought them. I assume that repeated warnings will eventually result in a ban, but that may be easy to provoke (just keep giving away items that you buy from a dummy account), so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Note that the notice says that “In the future, we will remove items” — hopefully that means that your current cache of items is safe, but we are hearing otherwise.
Although we cannot verify this, it appears that this is the email that agents are receiving:
We have detected items in your inventory that were originally obtained by means that violate our Terms of Service, such as GPS falsification or using unauthorized third-party tools. We are not able to discuss which items were detected or share any additional information about the account(s) that delivered these items to you. If you did not directly purchase these items, it is possible that they were passed to you by another player.
We are committed to ensuring that Ingress remains fair for all players. There are no authorized third-party sellers of in-game items. Please do not make unauthorized purchases as these items could be removed from your inventory.
Note here that the warning email does not indicate that you will lose items, however people are reporting some items missing. Has this happened to you? Are you missing any items?
Although getting rid of the annoying COMM spam as well as people’s ability to purchase unlimited inventory is a great thing, I have mixed feelings about this. At the moment people freely trade and donate gear, so it’s not fair to punish the receivers if they had no idea. What do you think?