Studying supply and demand with Steam trading cards

Playing on Steam (platform where you can buy PC games), you get “trading cards”, which can be exchanged with friends, sell on the market, or forge a complete set in a “medal”.

Everything is technically useless, have a medal or a complete set does not unlock new game levels, is purely aesthetic. That said, there are thousands of players who buy cards on the market to forge medals and thousands are also selling them and then use the profits as a credit on the purchase of other games.

So this market is quite similar to stock trading, we see that there are thousands of sell and buy orders: supply and demand for each card they decide its value.

Every year, during sales, each player gets up to three free cards every day. Those are “temporary” cards, which will automatically disappear at the end of promotion. The high supply (everyone get them free) and low demand (everyone will want to get rid of before the end of the promotion) means that the price collapses a few days after the start. Not right away, because in the beginning there are many who buy them to have a complete set (high demand) and yet not everyone have had them for free (lowest bid)

You can see how the price falls from 12 cents to 6 cents (minus a 2 cents commission)

But this year there’s an interesting twist: from January 2 is no longer possible to earn cards, but you can still swap and combine them until February 2nd; I am curious to see what will happen.

In fact, every time someone forges a medal, 9 cards are destroyed. There are 5 levels of medals, so collectors could destroy up to 45 cards each!

There will be more demand while supply will be zero.

We will see in the coming weeks how this “alternative” market will work đŸ˜‚

What do you think will happen?

Outsourcing? Be careful!

IMG_20141111_083209At work, some months ago, I got a simple idea to sell to my customers. Nothing really complex, just a simple tool to make gift wrapping more pretty. I could have done it by myself, but not at the right price point.
So I went on Alibaba and I did a custom order from a chinese company.
I got the stuff, exactly as I expected, I was happy.
I planned to launch  my idea in a few weeks, on time for Christmas, when this morning I receive an email from the chinese supplier.
The email is addressed to all of their customers (obviously all in clear text, there’s no privacy for them) and it says “new hot sell 2014”: they are selling my fucking tool as it was their idea!!!!!
Not to mention that I made a small batch just to test the waters, so the unit price that I paid was much higher than the one that new customers will get, because I was the one who paid the molds!!!!!
So, now I have dozens of competitors that can launch my idea on the market before that I could launch it as I wanted!!!
You can imagine how much I’m pissed off right now…

Helping people to get cheap hospital treatment

I just received a fun spam mail. It said that there was a way to make $2000 in a month helping poor individuals that couldn’t afford medical treatments.
Wonderful, I said, and I immediately answered from my fake email account. Finally I have the chance to make a boat of money without effort and helping people! Wow!
After a few minutes they told me that there are some poor individuals that don’t have money to pay for hospital treament, but there are some philantropist that are willing to pay for them!
Unfortunately, those poor guys don’t have a bank account, so they can’t receive donations…
So, that’s the job: you receive thousands in your account, then withdraw all keeping a 10%, and then send via Western Union to those poor guys.
The problem is: who is sending this money?
It’s not sent by a philantropist, but from a stolen bank account. The scammer feel safe because will receive money anonymously and can’t be traced, while you are going to have a bad time. If you are lucky, the bank simply takes that money back (at your expense). If you are unlucky, you will have some years of jail time for money laundering…

What do you get when you download a scam app from a Facebook ad

Recently, when I go on Facebook, I find a lot of scam ads, like the one pictured on the right.
Make $431 23 minutes; no, make $700 in 5 minutes, download movies for free, download apps for free, download music for free, and so on
When you see an ad you have to remember that there is someone who paid thousands of dollars to show it to you.
If it’s really possible to make $700 in 5 minutes, why pay thousands of euro to teach the strategy to other people for free?? It’s because, the best way to make $700 in 5 minutes, it’s to persuade 100 people that’s possible and it’s easy to do.
However, the topic of this post isn’t binary options (I will talk about it in the next weeks), but how those “free” downloades are working.
If you want to know what happens when you click on the WhatsApp for PC ad, click here.Or, if you want to know what happens when you click on the GTA IV San Andreas ad, you can continue to read this post.

I click and download it:
From the digital signature, we can see that it’s NOT an official Rockstar Games app (they made GTA IV), but I will continue, so I run it.
After a short introduction, the setup wants to install a toolbar. With this, the scammer will make some cents every time we do a search on the net. I click on Advanced, then deselect all, then I click on DECLINE, otherwise, if we click on ACCEPT, it will be installed anyways. I click on DECLINE:
No! If you click on DECLINE, you get a popup, prompting you to install it, unless you press CANCEL:
Then we get other FOUR adwares, to help the scammer to make more money

Then, we get another one: (we still have to press DECLINE)


And every time we get an “are you sure” confirmation, and we have to press CANCEL:

Then I get another adware:

And more….

And more!!!!!!!!!

AND MORE MORE MORE MOAR!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, the download starts, 1.8 gigabytes!


When the install is done, it simply closes, there is no indication about what to do. Luckily, this was an empty computer for testing, so I noticed this file inside the Documents folder:
I open it with 7zip, but I don’t find anything useful inside!!! It’s just a GTA IV mod that can be freely downloaded from (The Liberty City/New York map will be replaced with a San Andreas/Los Angeles map). Without having a working copy of GTA IV already installed on your PC, this file is completely useless!!


So, the scammer tricked us to install TWELVE adwares, with FOUR toolbars and FOUR fake “speedup” programs, that will bring your computer performance to its knees, but don’t worry: one of them can remove the junk you just installed for a small fee…