Recently I’ve been spotting some very strange things going on several auctions as of late that have been nagging at me. There’s been a recent influx of people with empty accounts or completely walled off access that have come out of nowhere the past couple of months and have started appearing in auctions with high bids. Other than the fact that many of them just outright walk away from bids, getting paid by these kinds of people is setting yourself up for some real pain.
If you think I might just be whiny about being outbid, these auction bids have been going for anywhere from 300% to 500% of normal commissions/auctions from the artist. Just take a look:
Something really stands out when you can see the pricing double from $500 to $1000 for a single character thigh-up image. You’ll see this ‘Sharingan696’ person elsewhere too, there was a tofu93 auction for a single character slot that he purchased for $800, this was for a virgin killer sweater piece. I’ve personally bought one before myself, for $120 last year. The price hike is insane, even with tofu’s raised prices a character slot like that commissioning him would be only about $200, there’s a bid of 400% here. The cost of a commission like that from Atryl is $300, a price increase of 500%. Perhaps I should be happy for the artist, like these types of comments show:
But there’s something really not quite right about this. First of all, this isn’t industry artwork, these drawings are licensed so as to be non-commercial for the commissioner, it’s not the quality of veteran industry artists and they certainly don’t have to live up to the same standards and service that industry artists do. It’s not a fair comparison. What makes matters worse is that industry artists charge less than this for similar pieces (like a single character illustration). As an example, damie_m who has made artwork for CD Projekt Red, SEGA and Wizards of the Coast charges $150-200 for a painted figure of a character, and $300-$1000 for full scenes with multiple characters, complex environments and exceptional skill. Here’s an example of what you can get for half the price of that auction:
Second, they bid on two auctions with a combined price of $2325 at the same time, and they’ve been buying out lots of auctions like crazy on the commishes site. This is an unsustainable burn of money at a rate of about $5000-$10,000 a month. If they spent a whole quarter of their income on these commissions, they would need to make $240,000 to $480,000 a year. It’s not very believable.
Third, Sharingan696 has only been seen since February this year, that’s a very short time to burn huge amounts of money on commissions, it’s suspicious.
Fourth, they don’t show up anywhere except on commishes and PSN, they don’t have an online presence typically associated with trusted commissioners.
The number one rule to avoid scams is as follows “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is”. You can follow the possibilities on how they’re able to have such an abnormally high spending spree:
- They actually make half a million dollars a year (statistically severely unlikely)
- They have come into a great amount of money via inheritance or lottery wins (unlikely, but I have seen it happen)
- The money they’re spending is their own, but they are going to reverse payments.
- The money that they are spending isn’t their own, and they are using carding and fraud to put payments in that may eventually be reversed by the owner of the money.
The worst thing that these artists could possibly do now is take the money and then spend it, because there is a high risk of a 4 figure chargeback hitting artists and sending them into the red. If it’s carding then the money might sit around for ages before the owner of the card reverses payments, remember that there is anywherre from 120-540 days allowed for people to make a chargeback on credit card payments.
On a side note, it’s a bit unsettling to be bidding up against someone who has 0 views on their profile and an empty account, as they don’t have anything to lose by just walking off after you make the bid. They clearly don’t care about being blacklisted by an artist and may just be trying to ‘bump’ prices up, as I’ve seen numerous low level accounts and scummy furaffinity users do. It’s not a fair fight and it’s better to just wait for an auction with real people in it.