No WTFast, You Can't Bribe Customers For Positive Steam Reviews

Fanghawk

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Feb 17, 2011
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No WTFast, You Can't Bribe Customers For Positive Steam Reviews

Sorry Steam users - WTFast Gamers Private Network can't exchange your positive reviews for free premium time. Because that's a bribe.

Let's say you're selling software on <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/steam>Steam, but a significant portion of customers <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/129967-Valve-Turns-Game-Recommendations-Into-Steam-Reviews>are giving it negative reviews. How do you handle this? Do you try to respond to legitimate criticisms and improve your product? Or do you privately email customers offering free premium access for countering positive reviews? Oh wait - you can't legally do the latter because it's what's generally referred to as "a bribe". But that's exactly what WTFast Gamers Private Network suggested - to which <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/valve%20software?os=valve+software>Valve and the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/steam%20community?os=steam+community>Steam Community responded about as predictably as you'd expect.

WTFast advertises itself as a client/server program that helps online games run faster and have fewer latency problems. But when WTFast started getting negative Steam reviews - <a href=http://store.steampowered.com/app/315880>citing that it didn't work as advertised and even caused crashes - CEO Rob Bartlett leaped into action. Apparently feeling the problem was actually trolls trying to ruin WTFast's prospects, Bartlett wrote the following in an email to customers:

Now we are on Steam, which is awesome, but there are also a TON of trolls on Steam leaving negative reviews; it is very frustrating. We know WTFast isn't perfect and it can be always improved; some of the negative reviews are legit and we are using the feedback to help improve WTFast. However, there are a ton of negative reviews that are blatant lies and pure trolling.

It would be extremely helpful if you can leave a positive review about your experience using WTFast. Simply say which game you were playing, and the results you got with WTFast. This will help us to counter the trolls.

In exchange, we will give you a free month of WTFast premium time!

All you have to do is leave a positive review on our Steam store page, and then link your review in an e-mail to [email protected] - that's it!

If you leave a really impressive review, we will give out 10x 3 months premium time to the 10 best reviews (to be decided over the next month).
Now I understand that premium time isn't a tangible thing you can grasp like currency, but that still looks a lot like buying positive reviews. At least that's what the Steam Community thought - who immediately forwarded the information to Valve before hitting WTFast with even more negative reviews. Bartlett quickly followed up <a href=http://steamcommunity.com/games/315880/announcements/detail/177104512148158892>with a new Steam announcement:

I am writing this message as an apology to our fans who have given us great reviews about their experience using WTFast. We are unable to give you a free month as we promised. Valve has told us that we cannot offer free WTFast premium time in exchange for reviews.

We screwed up, and we apologize for the inconvenience. We really appreciate our fans around the world for their continued support, but we cannot give you any incentive to vouch for our services. Your support means a lot to us. We really do value your voice to show that WTFast does get great results for a lot of users.
Sorry, Steam users. You can't have that premium lag-free experience that WTFast promised for writing positive reviews... because Valve said so.

Source: Steam Community

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Lightknight

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Nov 26, 2008
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People don't like our product? They must be trolls!

Or... and this is just a possibility, they could also be dissatisfied customers.
 

Scarim Coral

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Well if people wanted to give them good reviews, they would had written one in the first place and are not expected to get a "reward" over it!

Also yes that is pretty much a bribe and not the usual reward scheme some company do (usually something that accumulate like e.g. buying games overtime not specifically earn like buying specific bad games).
 

Daemascus

WAAAAAAAAAGHHH!!!!
Mar 6, 2010
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Bribery and all aside, I'm still baffled how running a secondary program is suppose to make you connection better/less lag-y.
 

snekadid

Lord of the Salt
Mar 29, 2012
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So now, not only did they bribe people for good reviews.... THEY'RE RENEGING ON THEIR BRIBE! BURN THEM!
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
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Apr 3, 2020
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These people are either idiots or have their heads shoved so far up their ass they can't see. First they bribe people to write good reviews and then make it seem like Valve are being dicks for not letting them go through with it. I hope anyone who gave them a positive review for this changes it to negative. And calling paying customers trolls is usually not a sound business decision. Just saying.
 

Kenjitsuka

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Sep 10, 2009
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"Simply say which game you were playing, and the results you got with WTFast. "
This is physically impossible, because of how the Internet actually works you can NEVER prove the things they claim to offer actually worked like advertised during some specified time. Science might be a *****, but marketing.... just the worst!
 

The White Hunter

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Oct 19, 2011
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Daemascus said:
Bribery and all aside, I'm still baffled how running a secondary program is suppose to make you connection better/less lag-y.
It reroutes your traffic, to put it simply. It's essentially a VPN service, and it does work, for the most part. Used the free trial for a while in FFXIV when trying to get my Ninja raid-viable, saw a 50 dps increase from the latency reduction, but Ninja is so latency dependant and the ping to the weird canadian servers so bad I just went back to my Summoner anyway.
 

MonsterCrit

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Daemascus said:
Bribery and all aside, I'm still baffled how running a secondary program is suppose to make you connection better/less lag-y.
Well judging by the reviews... it doesn't. That's sporta it. Basically it's like how Registry CLeaners claim to be aable to turbo charge your PC... snake oil.. Except that they forget that there are very real cauises for lag and latency. Also they forgot that people can actually measure their ping times so yeah they can see the difference betwene using the service and not in a very clear numerical way.
 

cpukill

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Feb 26, 2011
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MonsterCrit said:
Daemascus said:
Bribery and all aside, I'm still baffled how running a secondary program is suppose to make you connection better/less lag-y.
Well judging by the reviews... it doesn't. That's sporta it. Basically it's like how Registry CLeaners claim to be aable to turbo charge your PC... snake oil.. Except that they forget that there are very real cauises for lag and latency. Also they forgot that people can actually measure their ping times so yeah they can see the difference betwene using the service and not in a very clear numerical way.
But...but...but...they said I could [a href="http://www.downloadmoreram.com"]download more ram![/a]
 

oldtaku

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Jan 7, 2011
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This whole thing looks so scammy, like that stupid RamDisk on Steam that sold way too many copies to idiots who have no idea how they work.
 

Smooth Operator

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Oct 5, 2010
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So that is it, they release a snake oil product, buy good reviews from people and the only sanction is... they shouldn't give out the bribe?
Wow that is some hard moderation there Steam.
 

TheStranger

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Mar 24, 2015
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I was the original poster of the review on Steam which first brought the email to attention. I gotta say I feel kinda shit for mentioning it in the first place since there has been such a backlash about it in all honesty. But I'm glad that the practice itself has illicited such a reaction. Pretty clear that pc gaming is not going in the same direction as mobile gaming thank goodness.
 

gardian06

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Jun 18, 2012
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this is why if I am really questioning the purchase of an item then I will only read the top 3 most helpful (that are longer then 10 words), and then I switch over negative helpful reviews, and read through the top 5-10. the primary reason for this is that the top 3 most helpful (that are longer then 10 words) as these will usually be more honest, and granted this is an assumption that they are being honest of their experiences. then the reason I switch over to negative only is that a lot of time if they are longer then 10 words they will usually levy rather realistic complaints. then again for any individual that states "the thing didn't run" should probably be giving a spec list just to be sure they are not a hardware fluke.

my first though when reading this topic was "shitty publisher/dev does something shitty on steam, and Valve does nothing", but at the very least Valve did issue a WTFFFFFFFFF WARNING.

in the context of this programming they mis-named their program by adding -ast to the end of it.
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
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Kenjitsuka said:
"Simply say which game you were playing, and the results you got with WTFast. "
This is physically impossible, because of how the Internet actually works you can NEVER prove the things they claim to offer actually worked like advertised during some specified time. Science might be a *****, but marketing.... just the worst!
if you got a stable connection you can actually test things in controlled enviroments. but that would only prove that program to be complete snake oil so they dont want that.

The White Hunter said:
It reroutes your traffic, to put it simply. It's essentially a VPN service, and it does work, for the most part. Used the free trial for a while in FFXIV when trying to get my Ninja raid-viable, saw a 50 dps increase from the latency reduction, but Ninja is so latency dependant and the ping to the weird canadian servers so bad I just went back to my Summoner anyway.
Uh, how would having more hoops to jump through make you jump faster? VPNs are used for privacy at the expense of speed (all VPNs speeds suck unless your going business category)

Since lag is not meansured in DPS (thats more closer to what your printer is using) im not sure how you could measure that for latency.

oldtaku said:
This whole thing looks so scammy, like that stupid RamDisk on Steam that sold way too many copies to idiots who have no idea how they work.
DimmDrive isnt a scam. its just like any RamDisk its only useful to a user that knows what he wants with it. Granted, DimmDrive Tim advertised it to kingdom come and i gave him flack for that multiple times, but the product itself is solid (and without actual real alternative for windows users that doesnt cost an arm and a leg).

Now granted in order for it to be worth buying you have to have a need for one to begin with, but people who buy RamDisks should already know what they want to do with them. im assuming you know how RamDisks work?
 

The White Hunter

Basment Abomination
Oct 19, 2011
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Strazdas said:
Since lag is not meansured in DPS (thats more closer to what your printer is using) im not sure how you could measure that for latency.
Weaving a series of 3 uninterupted oGCD spells with a .5 cast into a 2.0 GCD and having the server take 4 or 5 seconds to register it, then actually being able to weave it after using the VPN, begs to differ, and the lack of delaying my GCD's to cast leads to a dps increase.

I'm still not paying for it though.
 

kyp275

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Mar 27, 2012
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@Strazda



Since the quoting system seems to be broken once again?





It?s not about ?having more hoops to jump through?, nor does ?all VPN speeds suck?. Services like WTFast is about jumping through DIFFERENT hoops than the one you normally would be, which may or may not be beneficial to you depending on the circumstances.



What White Hunter said is spot on. FF14?s NA datacenter is located in Toronto, where a substantial number of users routed through a Level 3 connection that is often unable to handle the demand, which causes severe latency issues for some people. While I don?t usually have much lag issues, there were a few weeks awhile back where I had to resort to VPNs like WTFast because the L3 hop at Toronto were losing so many packets it was nearly impossible to play the game(ping plotter showed 70-90% packet loss).



And yes, while lag is not measured in DPS, its impact can definitely be measured there. Players who parse regularly knows where their DPS number sits, and the drop off from the norms is easily measured. If you normally put out around 500 DPS in T10, a drop to 400 or 450 is definitely a sign of serious issues.



Ninja in FF14 is especially vulnerable to this, as their ninjutsu requires a specific combination of up to 3 skills within a 2 second period that takes 0.5 second each to complete activation, with the wrong sequence either yielding the wrong ninjutsu or cancel the whole thing entirely (which can?t be cast again for another 20 seconds or so), which is a very real dps drop. And since all ninjutsu actions have to be cast sequentially in order without other normal skills weaved in between, if you slow down the input of ninjutsu skills to account for lag to make sure you get it right, it would mean you?re spending a lot of time NOT using normal weapon skills that you otherwise would be using ? again, a real negative impact on DPS.



Bottom line is, services like WTFast isn?t what I?d consider ?snake oil?, they do work ? provided your specific connection issue is one that can be addressed by a VPN service.
 

MonsterCrit

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Feb 17, 2015
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cpukill said:
MonsterCrit said:
Daemascus said:
Bribery and all aside, I'm still baffled how running a secondary program is suppose to make you connection better/less lag-y.
Well judging by the reviews... it doesn't. That's sporta it. Basically it's like how Registry CLeaners claim to be aable to turbo charge your PC... snake oil.. Except that they forget that there are very real cauises for lag and latency. Also they forgot that people can actually measure their ping times so yeah they can see the difference betwene using the service and not in a very clear numerical way.
But...but...but...they said I could [a href="http://www.downloadmoreram.com"]download more ram![/a]
Wait... what... how ... I just...Who...OW!!!

Sorry, my brain just slipped a cog there...Anyone stupid enough to fall for that should not have access to a credit card or a computer
 

Vlado

Independent Game Journalist
Feb 21, 2015
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I find it hard to comprehend how this guy didn't realise what he was doing was not right... It'd be even harder to believe if he thought he'd get away with this, that not a single one of his customers would forward the info to Valve.