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TF2 Spreadsheet Scandal

Discussion in 'Discussion Archive' started by Duskfall -a^DF, Aug 28, 2012.

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  1. Duskfall -a^DF

    Duskfall -a^DF New User

    As you may or may not know, there was a recent inquiry to the integrity of the TF2 Spreadsheet. A reddit user posted a thread with a number of pieces of evidence against the operator(s) (Personally, after reading the thread, I am unsure whether the site is run by one or many people).

    The thread is located here: http://www.reddit.com/r/tf2trade/comments/yk9ji/psa_i_believe_the_tf2_pricing_spreadsheet_at/

    6 days ago, a rebuttal was made by the TF2 Spreadsheet staff, located here: http://tf2spreadsheet.blogspot.com/2012/08/integrity-of-spreadsheet.html

    We obviously have two sides. Personally, I don't know what to make of the entire situation. Steamrep obviously holds a lot of power in the trading community as a red mark on this site would ruin one's trading career, unless dealt with (I know Steamrep doesn't abuse this power though).
    With that said, I was wondering what the Steamrep staff's stance on this issue.

    Can I still trust the Spreadsheet?
  2. Champelliot

    Champelliot New User

    I would never recommend trusting an arbitrary price guide. Being able to formulate your own prices based on experience and knowledge of the trading community will always be superior to simply following a guide. While I do not doubt its usefulness, I feel that it is over used in many cases, and with high value (+10 keys) items, it is often wholly inaccurate.
    I can hardly blame them for buying a few new items before a recommended price was released, since there was one (or possibly very few) cases of this, I can only assume that it was sheer coincidence that the Admin bought the Medi Gun before the price was announced. If it was a more common thing occurring whenever a new item was released, well that would be a different story.
    Melkor likes this.
  3. Fiskie

    Fiskie tf2bazaar founder Partner Community

    I wouldn't trust anyone who pretends something hosted by Google for free costs money to run.

    That and he swims in ad revenue because of it.
  4. DARKLY | Jakk

    DARKLY | Jakk New User

    Keys are not free, especially near a 100 of them, Ad Blockers cut his revenue, which I'm seeing many people use.

    I think this Reddit user's (Biased) raging at the site because many people use it (or overuse it) and he can't make a profit being able to buy lower and sell higher than it states. Nothing is perfect, every system has flaws, their methods might be a little unorthodox, but could you consider a better way to get accurate data on prices? It does seem to have been manipulated on a couple of items, but it shouldn't throw their entire integrity into question. Especially since it's a one-item and very limited base, versus voting or a joint collaboration on people purposely trying to get something to sell for a higher price to make profit, I'm not seeing this here.

    Bottom line, these spreadsheets serve as guides, not set-in-stone prices, it is up to each and own self discretion on whether they want to sell near the posted market prices, guides, etc, or follow their own prices.
  5. ЩĄ | Horse

    ЩĄ | Horse Administrator SteamRep Admin Partner Community

    SteamRep Admin:
    My take on it.... if the spreadsheet was a stick, I wouldn't use it to scrape dog (you know what) off my shoe.
  6. Fiskie

    Fiskie tf2bazaar founder Partner Community

    I'm not talking about the keys. He's a regular trader so he probably knows how to make a quick buck. I don't care for his attention-getting publicity stunts.

    He said, I quote, that he spent money on the site for "upgrades". Not keys, but "upgrades".

    You don't seem to know how dearly Google pays for adsense - he has put 6 ads on the page, so he's getting a light source of money from views to begin with. Clicks give you even more. Sure many people use ad blockers, but it doesn't seem to stop me or many other webmasters from getting tons of dosh because of how great banner ads are for revenue.

    A site like backpack.tf pays for itself alone on ad revenue and the owner is paying for it himself as he rents a dedicated server. He even makes a bit of profit. Do not underestimate ad programmes.

    And guess what! The spreadsheet has more traffic from the drones that use it, and with those six ads, he's raking in money. How long has the spreadsheet been up? Quite a long time. He's raked in well over a thousand dollars by now, for FREE at Google's expense, because guess what, unlike everybody else he's not paying a cent towards the thing he is doing.

    Tl;dr, keys don't mean a thing, I'm sure he's got a ton of item donations from people who are grateful for his sly services so even that has probably paid for keys.
  7. PotatoPotato

    PotatoPotato New User

    That Reddit link is quite out of date. A more information has come to light since then, and he eventually admitted several of the allegations against him, after being presented with irrefutable evidence.

    The case is not closed. It is still under investigation by SteamRep. Here is an updated report, which is also much clearer and easier to understand, I hope:


    Unless you have new evidence to share, please post your comments here, and not on the report thread - thank you. (the original SR report was locked because it was attracting so many comments attacking the Spreadsheet admin).
  8. SiickNastikillr

    SiickNastikillr New User

    Let me break down this argument piece by piece:

    See Fiskie's comment above. He runs a site with ads, and knows probably how much Brad Pitt (backpack.tf and stats.tf) is getting from any ads he has up, so I am sure that he knows exactly how much the Spreadsheet should be getting, judging by the amount of people who use it.

    What exactly constitutes being Biased about something? If I am understanding your connotation correctly, then everyone is biased. Therefore, the point has no use, and is just an attempt to use the negative connotation of the word against the person who made the reddit thread. It is, frankly, manipulation, and the specific term for it is Ad Hominem, which is a tactic used in debates when you can't think of way to refute the other person's arguments (or can't at all), so you just attack the person's credibility. To add to that, you are making assumptions. Why do you think he is mad at the spreadsheet because it means he can't buy/sell lower or higher? Do you have ANY proof for this claim? or is this another attempt at Ad Hominem?

    Yes. Community voting is much better than a private, unknown group of people (or even a single person!) handing out prices to the majority. To add to that, while price manipulation is possible in community voting, you act like there is zero moderation. This is false. Brad Pitt, from Backpack.tf, is known to stop attempts at manipulation by finding evidence through sites like outpost, and such...to add to that, the system he has in place has many limits attached to it, meaning that you would first need to build up rep by voting in correct prices, and suggesting correct prices before you could make any significant changes.

    Here is another way to think of it:
    Brad Pitt's System = Democracy with limits
    The Spreadsheet's system = Dictatorship/Authoritarianism with citizen input at the discretion of the dictator/authorities

    Which system is better used for a capitalist market like the TF2 Economy? A dictatorship? Or a Democracy?

    Stop. You just admitted he manipulated the spreadsheet on purpose. If so, what is stopping him from doing that again? A sense of good will? Don't kid yourself. If he did it before, and has faced no real adverse side effects from it, then he will probably do it again.

    It should CERTAINLY put their integrity into question. There is no question about that. Manipulation is not tolerable. It is that exact ideology, that, "oh, he only manipulated someone once, he's okay," that allows people like him to get away with what he is doing. Now he knows that people are watching him. He will obviously be more careful with what he does, and the next time he does it, it will be much MUCH harder to catch him.

    The next sentence doesn't make much sense to me. Could you fix some of the grammar in it? I am getting multiple meanings from it, and I don't wish to get the wrong interpretation.

    So we ignore the power he holds over people trading in tf2? Get real, just because something is a resource that you have a choice to use or not use, does not mean it has zero effect on the people of tf2. Regardless of this, if you want to take this route, then fine. Let me explain where it leads:
    1. The TF2 Spreadsheet admin understands he has a spreadsheet that affects many people.
    2. He intentionally lies about the price (yes, LIES. He says the minimum for the price was 10 keys, and he himself bought it for 8 keys minutes before he posted that.) to trick people in paying more.
    3. Some guy, now influenced by the lie he put up on the spreadsheet, offers to buy his for 10 keys.
    4. Minutes later, after earning a profit, he brings the price done to what it should have been in the first place.

    I am sorry, but doesn't lying about something important make you a scammer? Doesn't deceiving someone to make a profit make you a scammer? Let me show you Steamrep's own definition of a scammer real quick:

    I rest my case.

  9. D4t Ch33z3

    D4t Ch33z3 New User

    Spreadsheet should have been down for a LOOOONG time,i mean It's not like a guy Makes his own prices puts them On the internet and everyone must follow it,It has become Extremly annoying.
  10. metoxys

    metoxys New User

    I don't understand the big fuzz. Ze spreadsheet's always been a handy tool eh. Stop bashing on its owner.
  11. He doesnt make the prices himself, he look for what people are offering, wanting and paying for items, then put a price at that.

    I have heard of admin abuse on spreadsheet but I wouldnt know because I havent asked them so its wrong to judge, it could be jealous propaganda.

    But Im not a big fan of spreadsheet myself. That because you try to take the TF2 market wich is a market economy and put prices on the things to make it a planned economy.
    You can see on the website that he is a former stock trader and I think he knows what he is doing.

    But whats wrong is that kids and new traders take the spreadsheet for the holy script and thinks the prices for items are set in stone.
    I shiver at the thought of someone trying to make a unusual spreadsheet because you cant put a price on a item like the spreadsheet does without saying THIS CAN GO LOWER OR HIGHER.
    I know that the spreadsheet has been working hard at that but they havent succeded.

    The items prices differs from person to person, its all about taste, some hats are hate or love and thats what it is all about.

    What really tells the price is: the markets demand, the markets supply, the items popularity, the buyers and sellers opinion if they like it and if the person are buying or selling it

    For instance, the all father is sade to be worth about 3-3.5 keys on spreadsheet if its clean. But I have a hard time seeing anybody selling it for that because its so popular so anybody who haves it can demand more of the buyers and get about 5 keys probably.

    SiickNastiiKillr, I agree with you to some point and you bring valid arguments wich is rare and welcomed. But I havent seen evidence yet wich I heard there is but I think its too early for me to judge anyone yet.
  12. DataStorm

    DataStorm Retired Staff

    The TF2 Spreadsheet has been used by many people. That didn't make it invalid, and lots of ppl just want to know what a item aprox costs. *shrug*. That the price isn't exactly right, meh. There will be haters, and there will be lovers. Tbh, I dont care. Its a tool for those who dont know price and dont want to spend too much time on it to search for that specific item on TP or OP and find what ppl offer on it.
    Sjru, metoxys and [WP] VenGanZa like this.
  13. VenGanZa

    VenGanZa User

    ^^ Pretty much sums things up.

    Use it or don't, no one forces anyone either way.

    One thing I do tend to notice about the place currently, are a bunch of vocal people trying to use this as a pretext to push a competitor.
  14. DataStorm

    DataStorm Retired Staff

    Never understood that concept really. The competitor now, is the client tomorrow.
  15. SiickNastikillr

    SiickNastikillr New User

    You are correct that it is a tool. Many sites made for tf2 trading are just tools for traders to use. However, in much of the same manner, SteamRep itself is a tool for finding scammers, just as the spreadsheet is a tool for finding prices....so does that make it OK for you guys to abuse your power? Or any other site's management to abuse their power? I certainly hope not. (BTW, not accusing you of abusing your power, just giving an example to show why I think what you said is wrong.)
  16. DataStorm

    DataStorm Retired Staff

    Really, the "power" one bestows to be on one another is fictional in here.

    Say, SR would start abusing for real. We're regularly accused for that, go ahead and search for those drama threads. So far we always addressed them, and let them call out their concerns. We have always answerred on that and showed up on it.
    An example. Really.

    If SR would become abusive, it would undermine its own position, and all the communities that are now linked with us would throw us out. The only way to keep the trust is by continuing to be true and close to the rules. It is very stiff at times, but its the only way to prevent abuse. And any admin can be called upon on a decision by the other admins, and any decision can be questioned. That this doesn't happen often, for we can fairly trust each other in most cases. We just keep an eye out on the bigger cases and ask things on those so all ppl know enough.

    Same goes for any community, we've had a community where their bans where done unjustified, we where lucky to be able to address it there, and get things straight there again. Otherwise we would have to drop them. Nowadays it means something to be affiliated with SR. But as soon as SR would go abusing, we would lose rapidly the respect we have. There are admins who research who they got banned by the SR plugin, and check if that was right. And that is their right, to monitor their own community and make sure bans aren't for nothing. They would be out fast if it was for abuse, and afaik, there where none that where for no reason, but if found so, we would rectify it. For errors DO happen.

    On abusive of a TF2 Spreadsheet "admin" / "trader", I cant really go in details, I'm not handling that report and what I know might not be correct. Having said that, why would a maker of a spreadsheet be blocked to trade for items unlisted on his spreadsheet? and advertizing with alts, meh. Sure there are other grounds on to research for us to it, but I'm not going to discuss those, for I want that that admin can do his research in all ease.

    But you also have to understand, there is a difference in the trust in the admin and his actions in trading, promoting etc. and the trustworthiness of said spreadsheet. Do they have some linkage? yes, and if there is manipulation, then that will lose him the credibility in his spreadsheet. That is what is happening atm, and SR isn't having an real opinion on it yet.

    I can understand that ppl want some answers, but that will have to wait. The admin is going thru a staggering near 800 MB of screenshots, evidence and other crap, and will have to piece that together to see the offenses we find guilty off, and if those are within our policies to do some with. Till that, SR cannot give a stance.

    That is yet another thing. I could throw in my personal views, what I know so far etc, but that would not only undermine me on that, but also SR, as I'm speaking as a admin of SR. Especially if those opinions and/or views don't match the reality of the evidence.
    Sjru likes this.
  17. Dronefly

    Dronefly New User

    My opinion on this matter is listed below.

    The spreadsheet has been an invaluable tool for me. I have used it to price out rarer items that are not worth too much money. I accept the fact that if a price on the spreasheet drops by a scrap to a couple of recs then that is what the general market trend is. Ultimately I use it to help me price parts of a backpack that I can not price myself. When it comes to something worth keys I always research active sales and even read what offers come across (I dont just take "Asking" price as the current market price, but rathat i Prefer to open trades where the item is grayed out and see what it sold for). I understand doing this for a 1.33-1.66 hat (spreadsheet price example) is not that important to check every hat. I do it based on quickness of sale. If it is a hard to sell hat because the market is flooded with them (I check how many pages on outpost are asking for it versus how many are selling and determine a want / need percentage ratio). If there are WAY more wants then needs then I pay the higher of the spreadsheet price, if there are 50 pages selling and only 2 asking I give less then spreasheet price. This has served me well.

    Also, since so many are following the spreasheet so religiously I accept it as market price more or less without asking questions just because so many out there are doing the same. Does not mean I will get a buyer out of everyone. Ultimately, anyone who wants it will have a value in their head what they want to pay. If I am comfortable with that price, I will sell, if not, I won't. Doesn't matter WHAT the spreadsheet says.

    I sell dirty Deus specs for 2.33 ref (No listed price on spreadsheet)
    I sell clean Deus specs for 3.66 ref
    I sell Genuine Deus specs for 7 ref
    I don't care what the spreasheet says because I move them just fine.

    You guys need to accept that if the guy is manipulating the spreadsheet for his own benefit, that's your fault for following it. BUT, if he abuses that power, people will stop trusting his spreadsheet. Also, with all the giveaways he is doing it goes to show you that he is not here to "cheat you out of 5 or 10 keys". He is giving that away EVERY week at the least. So stop bashing on a long standing resourceful tool. If you don't like it, stick to your guns and sell / buy for the prices you feel are right. And if someone offers you a "the spreadsheet says otherwise" you can simply respond, "I have no problem selling for this price. If you dont like it, thanks for your time and I will find someone else". If they are just trying to use sales tactics on you to manipulate the price they will either give in to your demand or go try swindeling someone else.

    And also, why aren't you guys flaming all the people offering 1/2 the price of the item for "quick selling services" stating "those are my prices". They seem to get no "investigation" into their price manipulations. They are the ones driving prices down, not the spreadsheet owner. They take an item which is easily selling for 1 key, offer 1.66 ref on it and resell for 2 ref. So.. Go create a hate group about them please, not a guy who charges nothing, gives a free service to everyone, HAS TO PAY for HOSTING (you guys say he has no expenses) and is GIVING away items for FREE to active users of his tool.
  18. Fiskie

    Fiskie tf2bazaar founder Partner Community

    How do you fall for his BS? Why are you still supporting someone who has been caught red handed and had ADMITTED to lying about things after changing his story once or twice?

    It's hosted by Blogspot which, surprise, is owned by Google. Google has never made people pay for webhosting with Blogspot, they support the maintenance of the hosting with what is left after your cut from ad revenue. Hell, they even tell you to put ads on your blog when you start an account there. Furthermore, Google is a powerhouse of servers and money so regardless of how many hits the sheet gets it still generates profit from ad impressions for both Google and the owner and it won't leave a dent in the budget.

    If you actually bothered to read my post beforehand, you would know that if he even had to pay for it to begin with the amount of money he'd receive from swimming in ad revenue would still be a huge surplus. I can't wait until he gets his well-deserved SR mark.
  19. Fiskie

    Fiskie tf2bazaar founder Partner Community

    To prove my point entirely, here's a follow up since the edit timer ran out. Here's TF2Bazaar's Adsense revenue for this month and last. £55 is well enough to fund rental of a dedicated server should the site need to expand, and that isn't even the case because we're still small enough to run on shared hosting which we've already funded for next year at this point.


    Furthermore, we only have two ads, one at the bottom of the page and one on the side which fades away if the user's resolution is too small (thanks, Brad Pitt). Spreadsheet on the other hand has ads all over the place, a total of six.
    DataStorm likes this.
  20. AcesGamer

    AcesGamer User

    I'd estimate it at way over that amount. Probably well over 15 000 - 20 000. Having only 1 ad generates my website a little under 100$ per month, which I'd total to about 1000$ per year. Also consider that my website is low traffic in comparison to the spreadsheet. Do x 6 for that website, without including the fact that the ads are placed in a way that makes them easily click-able, which generates a significantly higher amount of money.
    Sjru and D4t Ch33z3 like this.
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