Aventurine pays up

As if the high from an epic sea battle was not enough, just this morning I received my first Community Publisher-related payment from Aventurine via PayPal. Very painless process (I entered my paypal info into my account page, and the money got transferred automatically), and a nice bonus for doing something (writing about MMOs) I would be doing anyway. Interesting to note is that this payment is for US sales only, and my EU sales (shown in Euros on the account page) have not been paid yet. I’m curious to see what conversion rate is used, and when that payment will arrive.

What remains interesting and something I’ll continue to track is the percentage of link clicks to purchases, and how they correlate to my DarkFall-related blog posts. Will epic tales of being a sea pirate inspire more people to give the game a shot? Do days of overall higher blog traffic result in a higher percentage of sales, even if the traffic is generated by a general MMO post rather than something directly DF related? How much do big updates like “Conquer the Seas” drive people to make a purchase? What effect will a boxed copy becoming available have on sales here? What effect on sales will the conclusion of the current 6 month pricing special have, and will any future promotions also increase sales?

Fun stuff to track, and hopefully it will lead to some interesting data analysis once I have acquired enough of it to make a further post.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Darkfall Online, Site update. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Aventurine pays up

  1. RoBErTiTo says:

    Numbers! We want numbers!

    • SynCaine says:

      The number 2 is a good one. It has a long history. 3 also, but 2 > 3 IMO. 1 is kind of the ‘tard’ of numbers, nothing all that great about it, it’s just kinda ‘there’.

      • RoBErTiTo says:

        Amazing! 2 is my favourite number.

        This must have some kind of meaning!

        PS: By the way, could you do that post on DF Specializations please? :)

      • I’ve heard that 1 is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. 2 can be as bad as 1. It’s the loneliest number since the number 1.

  2. sid67 says:

    Will epic tales of being a sea pirate inspire more people to give the game a shot?

    Wow. With posts like this one, it’s a wonder that you expect readers to believe you when you say that the Community Publisher program won’t influence your writing.

    So here’s an interesting statistic. Since you started the CP program on Nov. 17th, you have made 16 blog entries specific to Darkfall, 2 that were sandbox/DF related, and only 7 that were about another subject.

    So out of 25 posts since joining the program, 18 of them (72%) have been focused on Darkfall.

    And perhaps equally as interesting is that the 9 entries in which Darkfall is NOT the main subject are your most popular blog entries (at least measured by the number of comments).

    • Draglem says:

      And the statistics for other posts related to Darkfall prior to this? How about when Eve Online made up a good chunk of posts without being paid? Clearly the Program is at fault here for the bias on your statistics also.

    • SynCaine says:

      Those are nice stats, if we ignore that DF just released a huge expansion, one that not only adds a lot of content to the game, but content that is somewhat rare in the MMO genre (how many games integrate naval combat into a character-based combat system like DF? How many have a housing solution that has the multi-faceted impact that DF housing has?). Add to that a rapid pace of (IMO) interesting updates through Spotlight features, and it’s easy to see why most days lately I had something DF-related to write about. Given how great an impact CtS has had on what goes on in DF now, I don’t expect that to change too drastically either.

      I mean look, I could easily make a WoW 3.3 thoughts post, it would get 75+ comments, and ‘I’ would likely find it funny. I might still do that, if I see enough people bitching about its issues (which would be funny given AV’s patch size and speed of error correction).

      Like I’ve written before though, if I wanted to write for traffic, I could. It would be easy, it would get this blog to 2000+ views a day, and I’d likely enjoy it a lot less than what I do now. I think the fact that my traffic has gone up slightly even though the DF-related content has gone up significantly thanks to CtS shows that if anything, even though most readers don’t play DF, they like reading about it.

      It’s amazing how many tinfoil hat wearers believe their is some dark conspiracy theory behind my blogging content and connection to AV. I’m playing a game that has me more interested and excited about MMO gaming than I have been in years, it’s doing things that have not been seen in years (if ever), and it’s content/development makes for (IMO) good blogging. That’s it.

      • sid67 says:

        Up until this post I was inclined to believe you that this doesn’t influence your writing.

        Now it’s obvious that’s not the case. And I’m not talking about the monetary compensation so much as I am about the “If I do this, do they buy?” curiosity that you are expressing.

        And more to the point, you are expressing that curiosity while at the same time being extremely secretive about actual results.

        Your agenda, which has always been there, is to get people to buy/play Darkfall. The program didn’t change that.

        But what it did do is give you a tool to
        measure how effective you are at it.

        If it turns out that “epic sea pirate” tales convert more players — I can be pretty well rest assured that I’ll be seeing a lot more sea pirate postings.

        My point about the postings is that IMO, you are driving away some of your audience by becoming a one-trick pony.

        It’s your blog, you can write about what you want. I can only tell you that most of the blogs I read cover lots of MMO subjects. Lately, you’ve been covering one subject.

        • SynCaine says:

          You are correct until:

          “If it turns out that “epic sea pirate” tales convert more players — I can be pretty well rest assured that I’ll be seeing a lot more sea pirate postings.”

          The above is wrong, because it assumes I’d sacrifices my personal enjoyment in writing this blog for some tiny (but now measurable) gain in DarkFall. Sorry, but a few more DF players that I may or may not interact with are not worth writing about things I don’t want to write about. The same applies for the money, it’s not enough to make me go “Ok, I need another $50, lets write up a pirate post”.

          I think what you ARE missing is the timing by Aventurine in all of this. They release the CP program to help promote the game and make it easier to acquire, and along with it their communication increases, plus they have a huge expansion set for release with a TON of interesting details being released about it slowly. Of course if you are a site (be it a blog or otherwise) that covers DF, your coverage of the game increases because so much ‘news worth’ stuff is floating around.

          It’s a smart strategy by AV, and I ‘played along’ because I find all of the stuff they release interesting enough to blog about. If at any point a reader decides they don’t care for my posts about DF happenings, no one is holding a gun to their head saying read it and buy DF.

          Plus, what exciting MMO happenings have I missed due to my DF focus? Like I said, talking about 3.3 would be in jest, SW:TOR got a post, and I don’t real need to comment on why Aion getting prettier is not going to save it from it’s impending doom, do I?

  3. Knqui says:

    I think telling us the $ amount you’ve made would go a long way.

    Selective disclosure is a bit shady.

    • SynCaine says:

      To me doing that would feel too much like talking about what I make at work. It’s just not something you talk about, for a number of reasons.

      When I do the data post I’ll talk generally about the amount and my expectations, but I don’t plan on writing the exact amount, sorry.

      • Billy Hicks says:


        I think there is a big difference between talking about what you earn as a job and what you earn as a bit of a perk in your hobby.

        What difference would knowing make? It would let people not able to see how useful something like this might be to them better understand a working example.

        How would us knowing affect you? Not at all. It really wouldn’t matter if you had sold one copy or 100. Those who think your a sell out would still think that and those of us who don’t care either way still wont care.

        Have you thought yourself about why you don’t want people to know?

      • Knqui says:

        Interesting, so your full disclosure policy only extends to what you decide you want to say.


        • SynCaine says:

          It’s almost like I make the rules up around here. Oh wait.

          Maybe I will give the amount, it’s not something I honestly feel strongly about one way or the other, and if it will please the tinfoil hat army, how can I resist?

        • Knqui says:

          It’s not that, you just said before that the total doesn’t come close to matching a single days pay in your real job, yet you feel as strongly about keeping it secret as you do about your real salary.

          You don’t need a tinfoil hat to draw conclusions from that secrecy.

        • SynCaine says:

          What if I misjudged just how many people I can trick to buy DF, and it’s become a gold mine?

          I was actually going to reply that I generally don’t talk about money overall, but then I thought about my monthly poker game and I talk about the amount I win in that, so I can see the different.

          Fear not, the post about the statistics will include the amount, you win :)

        • Maladorn says:

          Non-tinfoil-hat conclusion: Syn either
          a) likes his privacy in regards to the mountains of cash he earns daily (both via normal work and selling his soul to Adventurine) so that gold-beggars don’t beat down his door, or…
          b) loves tweaking the folks who get their undies in a bunch about a video game blog doing “full disclosure”.

          I’m leaning towards “B”, but only because I don’t want anyone else elbowing in on that mountain of unused cash that must surely be lying around here someplace. I’m pretty sure souls are worth quite a lot.

          Wait, did I just say that last bit out loud?

        • Maladorn says:

          This must be some strange new definition of the term disclosure that I wasn’t previously aware of. You do realize that, with scant exception, every DarkFall post has a disclaimer at the bottom saying that Syn has an interest in DarkFall sales through the program? Asking for a number on the amount earned is needlessly pedantic.

        • SynCaine says:


          Good word.

        • Billy Hicks says:

          I can’t speak for anyone else but for me its about me just being interested.

          I don’t have his talent for writing. I don’t have his skill for drumming up page views. I don’t have the passion or the time he does for his blog.

          I am interested though about how effective marketing DF will be for a blog. Could this really prove to be something for people to make a living off (I doubt it) will it be enough for Syn to go out and by a few rounds of beer (my guess is it will get him drunk a few times at least) but at the end of the day, it wont change anything.

        • Draglem says:

          Hrmmm… Now that you mention it I find this meatloaf rather shallow and pedantic.

  4. Maladorn says:

    @sid67 So… are you saying that, despite the established history Syn has of commenting on all things DarkFall, somehow adding a button to earn some money, albeit indirectly, means that he’s supposed to talk about the game less? Syn’s been a DF blogger for a while now, that’s part of why he’s in the Community Publisher thing in the first place. It would be more germane to your point to compare the content makeup of posts before the addition of the pay button to after. But it still wouldn’t say anything important, because Syn loved DF before he got paid when people bought it. He has months of credibility that insulates him from the shady nature of your insinuation.

    Also, saying that “general mmo” posts are more popular based on the number of comments is like saying that basketball is more popular than synchronized underwater basket-weaving based on the number of people talking about it. The population that play any MMO is much, much larger than the DarkFall crowd, so it stands to reason that more people will have an opinion about the state of MMOs in general than about the addition of new features or the squashing of bugs in a specialized game.

    Syn, keep up the good work. While I’m not in DF, I like to keep tabs on various MMOs, and you give great, consistent, open reviews of where things are at. I’m still smarting from WAR, but if I get into DF, I’ll be buying through your link.

    • sid67 says:

      Read my reply above. What I’m saying is that while Syn has always had an agenda to get more people playing Darkfall, he now has a way to MEASURE his success at it.

      If he finds certain posts are more successful at it, then guess what? You are going to see more of those types of posts.

      The result is that I feel his blog is becoming more of a one-trick pony.

  5. Argon says:

    I have no trouble believing that his is not influenced by the phat cash. Syncaine just really, really loves Darkfall. Nothing wrong with that. It sounds like a cool kind of game for what it does. Not my kind of thing, but I enjoy reading about his adventures.

  6. Tethil says:

    Yup, Syn, you’ve got more readers/supporters than you probably think :). We just focus on reading the highly entertaining stories not necessarily feeling the urge to comment.

  7. Bhagpuss says:

    I read this blog for the same reason I read all the MMO blogs I follow, namely it’s articulate and interesting.

    Since I bought my first copy of New Musical Express in the early 1970s I have followed certain reviewers first and foremost for the quality of their writing, and now it’s the same thing with Bloggers. I read these things for pleasure, not to find out stuff.

    Whether the writer is doing it for love, money or insanity makes no nevermind. Whether he has an attractive prose style and can amuse, entertain or provoke thought, that’s what matters.

  8. Stabs says:

    To be honest I don’t know why you even argue with the people trolling you Syncaine.

    It’s obviously a hobby, you are obviously saying what you genuinely think about Darkfall and if people want to rant about conspiracies they should start their own blog and do it there.

    Thanks for maintaining a thoughtful and interesting blog. I know you would do it without payment but if you’re getting a few dollars and building up your game’s numbers at the same time good luck!

    • SynCaine says:

      I pick and choose which comments to address, and since I think I have a thicker skin than some bloggers, nothing written here bothers me or ever ‘gets to me’ to the point that it’s going to change anything written here. It’s also why I don’t delete anything not obvious spam.

      I’ll listen of course, and things like revealing the amount paid I’m willing to change based on that feedback, but don’t worry about it changing the blogs content or my approach to it. At the end of the day, my personal enjoyment out of all this comes before everything else.

    • Knqui says:

      He addressed the concern of some readers head-on and got to a happy solution for both parties, if you think saying anything but positive on a blog comment is trolling, you’ve got some learning to do!

      I’ve been reading and commenting for a while, and I only piped up negatively just now, does that make me a latent troll or something?

      • pitrelli says:

        well considering you popped over to my blog just to troll. Yes yes it does :)

      • Stabs says:

        I guess for me it’s a matter of good old-fashioned manners.

        This is Sync’s little corner of the web. There are many like it but this one is his.

        Going round a friend’s house, picking up all the ornaments and going “how much did this cost?” is just poor manners.

        He doesn’t owe you any duty of disclosure. He’s not some service for which you pay taxes. He’s someone who maintains a space that is interesting enough that we choose to visit him here.

    • sid67 says:

      Stabs, I wrote the exact same thing you wrote here on Tobold’s blog when Syn was getting attacked by people who obviously don’t regularly read his posts.

      Blogging is a hobby and most bloggers, including Syn, only write about things that inspire them.

      That said, he does have an agenda to get people to play Darkfall. He had it before the referral program and he’ll have it if it ends today.

      My point is that he now has the ability to measure his success at it. And he’s not willing to share that success.

      So Knqui hit it on the head when he wrote that ‘selective disclosure’ is shady.

      Now if you think that if he KNOWS certain types of posts are more likely to get a certain reaction, it won’t (at times) influence what he writes about then you are naive.

      He’s written often that when he “wants traffic” that he’ll just write a WoW parody. And likewise, when he wants to promote DF, he’ll likely choose whatever post format seems to do that well.

      I’ll concede there has been a lot of Darkfall “news” out there worth writing about but that’s true of any MMO. I bet if you went to an Everquest blog, you would see lots of EQ news.

      And that’s the feeling I’m getting about Syn’s blog over the last month — it’s becoming a Darkfall blog.

      Which is fine if that’s what inspires him. I just personally don’t have many blogs on my reader that are one-trick ponies. Particularly for games I’m not currently playing.

      • Stabs says:

        See, the blog is going to be about what he likes playing.

        I agree it’s becoming a DF blog but that seems to be clearly because he’s having a lot of fun there, not because he’s spotted a way to make money out of us.

  9. So what if he’s motivated by the money? What difference is it to you?

    If you like what he writes, read it. If you don’t, don’t.

    It’s one thing to disagree with what he writes about various topics, after all, starting a discussion is presumably one reason for writing in the first place.

    It’s another thing to question how he runs this site. If you don’t like it, start your own site!

  10. theJexster says:

    First, congrats, you are a good blog writer, and now you get to earn something monetary for doing something you seem to love doing, and would do/have done for free. Quality should be rewarded.

    Second, the bad news people who don’t like what you say will always use this against you to “prove” your not being honest about DF and try to disscredit your opinion as bias.

    Third, one has to wonder if a monetary reward (no matter how small) creates a conflict of interest. Can anyone in this position maintain the faith? It’s worth debating.

    Last, off topic, can anyone explain to me how the US goverment system is any different that the Mafia system the government made illegal?

  11. Stropp says:

    I suggest that all those hopping on Syn’s back about him making a few quid posting about Darkfall also unsubscribe from any games they are playing, turn off their televisions, and throw out any books, magazines or newspapers they are reading.

    All those things exist for the *single* purpose of making money. The creators of those forms of entertainment are getting paid for what they are creating, and incidentally don’t owe the consumers of that content one whit of information on how much income they are making.

    Syncaine’s blog is also entertainment. That you think he does not deserve to derive any income from it, when you are obviously okay with other content producers making money, makes you a bunch of hypocrites.

  12. brannagar says:

    Much ado about nothing. Syn wrote constantly about Darkfall long before there was a Publishing program. I see no differences in his posts from then to now. He mixes in content about other games and whatever tickles his fancy and he has every right to: IT IS HIS BLOG.

    I read Syn’s blog because it is a good read, period. I did subscribe to DF because of some of his post and I am glad I did. I did it before the Publishing program was announced and I see no difference in what he is doing now from then.

  13. Beau says:

    Who cares. As a fellow blogger I can tell you that writing pretty much everyday, sometimes doing actual research (yawn) or assembling statistics, or even just the act of writing, takes actual work.

    He is not quitting his day job. The only bloggers that are are employed by major websites. If he can get a little cash for his hard work, go for it. HE already was a fan of the game, and has rarely talked about more than a handful of games anyway.

    Post the numbers if you want, Syn, but I would NOT do it to satisfy a few readers. They’ll keep reading, don’t worry. You’re not being dishonest, you’re just moving on from a minor subject. If a reader cares more than they should, there are literally thousands of blogs out there.

  14. Sifo says:

    fuck the haters… i dig your blog

  15. pitrelli says:

    I just dont get the bias comments, c’mon people everyone is bias or has their own opinion. I blog about Fallen Earth and WoW and have a certain bias towards them over other games.

    Whilst I disagree with syncaine on occassions they are merely difference of opinion or the fact that Syncaine is posting about a game he hasnt played for 3 years ;)

    As for the comments about Syns blog being a Darkfall only blog, I hope it does happen. I love reading about Darkfall and the mechanics involved, and yes Syncaine has almost had me clicking on that link in the top right corner.

  16. n0th says:

    Its rather obvious that Syn is a Darkfall fanboy, it was well recognizable before the DF banner.
    That being said his DF-related posts actually provide useful information on what the gameplay in DF is like.
    I come here for the DF-related posts (and i *think* a so does a very significant part of the reader-base). The themepark vs. sandbox rants/tr00 pvp vs. carebear talk/bitching about wow + aion is rather repetitive – i mostly skip that.

  17. Pingback: I’m bias and hey I dont even get paid! « Kill that Cheerleader

  18. pitrelli says:

    Im awaiting Tobold to make a post about this ;)

  19. keystone says:

    Oh noez… there’s money involved; let’s all freak out and cry about something other than our own lives! sheesh people, come on!

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