April 20, 2006 12:01 PM | Simon Carless
So, I was reading my local alt.weekly paper for San Jose, the Metro Silicon Valley, after picking it up at the train station last night. As you can see, this latest issue has an interesting cover story on the San Jose mayoral elections, and various other restaurant and movie reviews, as always.
But then I turned to the contents page, and I was somewhat surprised to see, alongside an advert for the 'farm fresh' downtown San Jose Farmer's Market, and right next to a typical local paper ad for 'Smilesavers Dental', well - you probably can't see so well in the second picture, so let's zoom in further, and check out just who's advertising.
Yes, unbelievably, World Of Warcraft gold-sellers and power levellers (in this case, the Fremont-based Dr-Hu.com) have started advertising in local papers.
The company's site explains delightedly: "We've leveled over 3500 different WOW accounts since November, 2004. Over 99% of our customers come back for additional services. Let us serve you. You'll love what we can offer."
Now admittedly, you're likely to draw a geekier crowd with a Bay Area newspaper, but even so - it's truly bizarre to see, next to a 'ready for an extreme smile makeover?' ad and a clinical hypotherapy school advert, the text: "We use real players, not macro or bots that could harm your account", and, indeed: "Mention you saw this ad in Metro & receive 10% bonus 1st power leveling"!
Luckily, the Silicon Valley Metro has a special MetroPDF.com website, so anyone who's interested can check out the issue in question - it's in the front section (27mb PDF) of the latest April 19 - 25 issue, on Page 5.
We're happy to concede that Silicon Valley is one of the locales with a greatly clustered conglomeration of WoW nerds, so this probably makes some sense, but the newspaper doesn't even have a video game column. Now some PC game magazines have driven gold sellers and their ilk out, where are we going to see ads next? Billboards on Times Square for 'phat lewt'? Be prepared for anything.