My Lawlord: Ars Technica On The Evony Case

By Kieron Gillen on April 6th, 2010 at 10:43 pm.

Hello. I'm a little shy about making too many gags around stories which lawyer up. At least when I'm linkblogging, eh?
This is some fantastic stuff from Ars Technica. Following on their piece looking at Evony earlier in the week, they do a follow up, giving right to reply to Benjamin Gifford and Walt Yarbrough of Regan Mercantile, the folk behind Evony. Lots of stuff covered – especially good is the news they’re in the process of dialing back their distinctive ads-barrage – but the most jaw dropping material comes later in the piece, in relation to the just-dropped Evony/Everiss case, where Ars Technica have the transcripts to Gifford’s cross-examination on the stand…

Really, you should go and read everything in the article – this is the sort of journalism we should be supporting with clicks – but here’s a couple of particularly mindblowing teasers to get you clicking…

Q. You are an out and out liar, aren’t you?
A. No.

Q. How do you say you are not an out and out liar when you have approved statements on the Internet that you hold a Bachelor of Arts, earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Business Administration?
A. That was put there purely as a PR actually.

Q. Mr Gifford, is that a serious answer?
A. Yes.

And later…

Q. So you are actively seeking to mislead people with this press release?
A. Yes.

Q. You were activity consciously seeking to do that?
A. Yes.

Q. And you didn’t have a problem with that?
A. No.

Q. And you still don’t have a problem with that, do you?
A. I can change that statement, yes.

Q. Do you currently have a problem with this, Mr Gifford?
A. Yes.

Q. When did you develop that problem, in the last ten seconds?
A. Yes.

Honestly, go and read it or better yet read the article from the top. Marvelous stuff which does – as Ars note – put some doubt on the team’s stated position that the case was dropped because it was unpopular with Evony’s community.

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42 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Makes me feel like a genius compared to mr Gifford.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I’m sure that bothers him a lot as he snoozes on his pile of ethically dubious ducats.

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      I’m not sure if being untruthful equates to stupidity… In some ways he’s quite clever.

  2. bbot says:

    Any interview where one of the questions is “You are an out and out liar, aren’t you?” is a good interview.

    In fact, every interviewer needs to ask if you are an out and out liar. Just in case.

  3. Jockie says:

    Well the fact that there are immoral liars working in PR/advertising doesn’t surprise me, thought that was a given. Apart from Mr Gifford coming across as a bit of a snake and embaressing himself in the court room, I was surprised at how sympathetic the article was towards Evony.

  4. Eplekongen says:

    Not to be all picky and stuff, but you linked directly to page two of that article. Maybe change that to page 1? I was very confused.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I link to the article when I’m talking about the article and link to the transcript when I’m talking about the transcript. I’m going to change it a bit though.

      KG

    • Eplekongen says:

      Uhm… ah. Good with the new link and all but, uhm, they both link to page two.

  5. Mike says:

    I can hardly believe that is real. That is absolutely stunning. Everiss must be pissing himself.

  6. Phill Cameron says:

    The transcript of that interview reads like something written by Pinter or Beckett. It’s absolutely astonishing that a) this was a real line of questioning, and b) those were the answers. It’s contradiction on self-undermining on utter absurdity. I mean, it’s fucking hilarious, but it really shouldn’t be. Evony both intrigues and baffles me, every time I read about it.

  7. Spoon says:

    The trainwreck that is Evony never ceases to entertain me.

    And I don’t even play it.

  8. Coded One says:

    Gifford = owned.

    That is all.

  9. Wulf says:

    Wow…

    That’s really all I can say.

  10. Doug F says:

    I’m having a great time picturing the reaction of Mr. Gifford’s attorney as this was happening.

  11. pedant says:

    re marketing/advertising/pr

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

    Pretty much nails it in this case.

  12. Robert says:

    This is really special..

    Is it disturbing that I actually want to play Evony now…?

    • Wulf says:

      Yes.

    • Robert says:

      Visiting the site cured me of that strange feeling. It has half-nekkid breasts and a MALWARE-FREE sticker on it. I could hear the voices: “YES, COME IN. TRUST ME. IT IS SAFE!”

  13. Tei says:

    The 3 rules of spammer.

  14. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Ars Technica is still one of the best pieces of internet journalism out there. The quality and depth of their articles don’t surprise me anymore.

    But the game Evony, the companies that surround it and the players that play it do surprise me at every turn.

    Players:
    It’s actually quite scary that a game that has had nothing more than bad publicity throughout its whole history, all over the web and in its own forums, is played by so many. This viral effect online games have on people really deserves a sociological study. It can also be said it puts a dent in the “85 million people can’t be wrong” type of argumentation. They can. A community of 85 million people sharing a similar taste is not a social movement. It’s simply the number of people liking the color blue.

    Company:
    It’s scary indeed that a company operating a game with the potential to reach anyone anywhere in the world at the distance of a a mouse click is allowed to operate under such a cloak of indecipherable business. We don’t know exactly who they are, who own them, how many work for them, what they do, where are they…

    A regulated internet is a scary thought. That’s not what I signed for back in the 90s. But we must admit we also left the doors wide open to demons. More than we have been doing in our societies, over the in the internet medium there is room for nearly unstoppable exploitation.

    • Premium User Badge

      DollarOfReactivity says:

      Exploitation, but mostly in the same way people can be exploited by a street-corner con with cups or a pyramid scheme over the phone. From what I’ve read, and especially what Everiss seems to have uncovered, Evony is part of a very shady business.Illegal? Maybe, depending on where you are, but it seems foremost there is a failure of people to practice common sense. There is still some general expectation of safety on the internet that is completely unwarranted but ingrained in society.

      As for the number of players, and I think the parallels with Farmville are more than a little telling, it is curious. It speaks to the power of an idle mind and the need for entertainment. It’s things like this that tell me there is a vast undefined gaming market (perhaps broadly labeled “casual”) that when poked by even shady games produces a torrent of interest. Hopefully there is more that can be done with it.

    • TeeJay says:

      Seeing as they lie about other stuff, can we really believe they do have 85 million players?

      Does anyone here know anyone who plays Evony?

  15. Gritz says:

    I love the irony of Ars Technica writing a piece about obnoxious advertisements a month or so after they begged their readers to stop using ad-blocking software.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      …that’s an interesting unstated assumption. Doesn’t seem to be supported by the facts, either.

      (A. Ars Technica wants their users to see their ads. B. Ars Technica condemns obnoxious ads. Thus, C. Ars Technica is hypocritical… if their ads are obnoxious, which, from wandering around their site with my ad-blocker momentarily off, they don’t particularly seem to be.)

    • Starky says:

      That would only qualify as irony if Ars was full of obnoxious ads, or had a history of ad-spamming – which it isn’t and they don’t.

      So not ironic at all really.

    • Starky says:

      Bah beaten too it :P

    • Jayt says:

      Gritz your a smart cunt ey?

  16. Adventurous Putty says:

    Yes, yes, this is all well and good…but just WHO is Lu Lu?

  17. Radiant says:

    That was good journalism but still difficult to read.
    Every small company pulls some shenanigans but to read one being raked over the coals like that was awful.

  18. MultiVaC says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at that cross examination. I could easily picture it coming from a scene of “The Office” or something.

  19. Calabi says:

    That confused me, I read through half of it without a clue what it was about just some guys suing one other guy for some strange reason.

    Couldnt we get a summary in the post?

  20. Bruceongames says:

    Whilst those exchanges may be humorous it is important to remember that Benjamin Gifford was trying to destroy my life with his evidence.

    The net result of all this is that my articles, which I was being sued over, are still there for anyone to read, they were never taken down for even one second. And Evony are going to have to pay the legal bill, both mine and theirs. Which is probably some way north of $300,000, or what Evony earns in two days.

    Lu Lu is a friend of David Guo, the actual, ultimate owner of Evony who was also the owner of WoWMine.

  21. Alexander Norris says:

    Honestly, go and read it or better yet read the article from the top.

    Both of those links go to page 2 of the article. I presume the second one was meant to go to page 1.

    (It’s been three hours since KG said he’d change things, so I consider myself in my right as far as nitpicking goes. :P)

  22. MrFake says:

    Q. Mr Gifford, is that a serious answer?
    A. Yes.

    … and then Her Honour intervenes.

    Brilliant sketch.

  23. Pod says:

    I opened each link in a tab, and ended up with “http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/04/evony-speaks-to-ars.ars/2″ open 5 times :P

    Maybe I should read it quice* times?

    (*it’s a made up word for “5 times”)

  24. Cogito Ergo Sum Dei says:

    So Lu Lu is a “friend” of David Guo? I didn’t know that “friend” that latest PC euphamism for “shagging’. I must be behind the times.