Since MoP dropped, I've been trying to obtain some of the game's rarest minipets, particularly the TCG pets, and so I've been interacting with people who tend to have these things.
To do this, I made alts on a number of high-pop servers, and then I went to the Auction House and tried to contact anyone who was selling a pet I wanted, to see if I could either get them to trade it for other pets or sell it for my gold on my server. I'd also try to talk to anyone I spotted in the trade district with a pet I wanted following them around.
A number of the people I talked to to try to get trades turned out to be female gamers who got the pets as "gifts." Apparently, men they've never met bought loot cards on e-bay for between $50 and $200 to give to them. Other players I've discussed this with seemed to believe these "gifts" were transactional in nature; exchanges for nude photos or dirty skype. And I got the impression that some of the recipients of these gifts were quite young and possibly underaged, and the givers are adult men.
I discussed this with other players I know, and they mentioned that this was similar to the recent trends of girls running streams of their webcams on Twitch TV and soliciting cash donations, gold, mounts and pets from their "fans."
Even if nothing is asked in return, these kinds of gifts seem really creepy to me. I guess I was sort of aware there was a gross underside of MMO gaming, but this is exceedingly yucky.
On the other hand, players who get these pets without interacting with the economy are more likely to trade them for below value.
What do you guys think about this?