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The man who got rich selling World of Warcraft accounts

The idea of selling online game accounts isn't anything new; folks have been selling access to their high-level MMO characters for years. Most just don't have time to play anymore, and want to part with their account while earning a return on the time they invested. Rarely is selling accounts a means of consistent income.

But no one told Shane Jeffery that.

Jeffery is a professional seller of World of Warcraft accounts. He buys them for a low price. He sells them for a higher price. He knows the ins and outs of the game, has a good sense for how much accounts are worth based on playtime or items earned, and then wheels and deals.

He didn't use to make most of his money selling WoW accounts. In fact, he was a programmer at one time, and the World of Warcraft accounts market was just a side gig. Then his business, KHAccounts, took off to the tune of $475,000 in three years. Did you know it was possible to make that much money selling online game accounts? Because we certainly did not.

Now, there are some risks to Jeffery's enterprise that he has to be mindful about. The first — a rather big one — is that buying and selling accounts is technically a violation of World of Warcraft's terms of service. If Blizzard wanted to, it could likely come up with a way to sniff Jeffery's accounts out and ban them all. So far, Blizzard hasn't done that.

There's also the risk of WoW falling out of favor. What if the game becomes less popular someday, or even shuts down? At that point, Jeffery will either have to let the account selling business go or move on to a new game.

Fortunately for Jeffery, it doesn't look like WoW is going anywhere. And now that World of Warcraft Classic is out, the franchise is even more fresh in our minds. Perhaps that'll help Shane Jeffery's wallet, or maybe WoW Classic will pull everyone away from the main game; the one he earns his money from. Only time will tell.