After Blizzard had decided to provide free trial game-play accounts, World of Warcraft players noticed that there are more spam from bots advertising these services. It is said that this problem is particularly prevalent on the European realms, with gold being over 14 times more expensive to buy on US realms than their European counterparts. In May 2007 Blizzard filed a complaint against In Game Dollar LLC (trading as peons4hire) in US federal court. In February 2008, the parties filed a consent decree in which In Game Dollar agreed to refrain from using any World of Warcraft chat or communication to advertise any business or sell any services relating to World of Warcraft CD Key. As characters progress in World of Warcraft and take on some of the toughest challenges, many of the rewards received are bound to that character and cannot be traded, generating a market for the trading of accounts with well-equipped characters. The highest noted World of Warcraft account trade was for £5000 (€7000, $9,900 USD) in early September 2007. Buying or selling WoW CD Key has generated significant controversy. On February 21, 2008, Blizzard released a statement concerning the consequences of buying gold. Blizzard reported that an "alarmingly high" proportion of all gold bought originates from "hacked" accounts. The article also tells us that customers who bought character leveling services had found their accounts compromised months later, with all items stripped and sold for virtual gold.
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