Date Added: Jun 2010
Gold farming is a set of illicit practices for gathering and distributing virtual goods in online games for real money. Using anonymized data from a popular online game to construct networks of characters involved in gold farming, the authors examine the trade networks of gold farmers, their trading affiliates, and uninvolved characters at large. Their analysis of these complex networks' connectivity, assortativity, and attack tolerance demonstrate farmers exhibit distinctive behavioral signatures which are masked by brokering affiliates. Their findings are compared against a real world drug trafficking network and suggest similarities in both organizations' network structures reflect similar effects of secrecy, resilience, and efficiency.