[MUD-Dev] Player Accounts on a Non-Commercial MUD

Crosbie Fitch crosbie at cyberspaceengineers.org
Tue Apr 30 10:32:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Here's an idea as to how to discourage multiple accounts without
taking any money.

Say that there's a prize (lottery, competition, etc.) only available
to legit account holders.

Now the trick is to make it unappealing to have more than one
account. So, you make it cost something (without getting money) to
have an account.

You make the cost both hassle and monetary. However, it's possible
to go through the hassle and cheat about the monetary bit, but the
thing is, cheaters are probably too lazy (hopefully).

Instructions to the player for getting an account:

  1) Find a 10 dollar bill

  2) Note the serial number

  3) Email the serial number to us with your name & address

  4) You will instantly have a new account opened (with restricted
  capabilities perhaps, e.g. poor use as a mule)

  5) In 10 days your account will require password access and will
  then become fully activated

  6) Your password will be sent to you in the post (or pay us $20 by
  credit card - if you've lost the $10 bill, or can't wait for the

  7) You will only be entitled to the prize if you are able to send
  in the original $10 bill (or paid $20).

An e-mail address could be used instead of a postal address, but
then it's very easy to create multiple e-mail addresses for the same
player. A telephone number could also be used (but has similar
problems and is more expensive to call).

So, this scheme allows a player to get an account for nothing (it
costs you postage & admin though - perhaps outweighed by the credit
card players who want an instant account).

The player keeps a $10 bill aside until they're bored with the game
or reckon there's no hope of winning, etc.

So why don't players simply make up a load of serial numbers?

  1) They need a different postal address (or credit card) for each

  2) They won't win a prize for those accounts

NB Sorry if this method is as old as the hills, but I only thought
of it the other day and it seemed quite neat.

As an alternative, if you consider asking the player to ultimately
send in that $10 bill, it could be used as a method of getting
postponed revenue, i.e. it's a voluntary IOU by the player with
patent money-back-guarantee (they already have the cash). You say
pay the full amount now or later by credit card ($50 say), or tell
us a serial number of a $10 bill now, and send it to us when you
think it's worth it. This works for purchase of accounts into which
the player builds personal value. Cheaters end up having to pay more
than honest players if they value their accounts. If they don't
value their accounts, well, you don't really want them as customers.
Although you don't see the cash until later, it may still be
beneficial to have that cash reserved for your product as soon as
possible, i.e.  psychologically the player may be more committed
(converted) than if they have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.

Just an idea...

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