Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

G2A is, and has always been, a black market for software. They list Windows 10 for $27 [0], McAfee for $4 [1], among many other things [2]. They sponsor professional esports teams to add legitimacy to their brand [3].

[0]: https://www.g2a.com/microsoft-windows-10-pro-microsoft-key-g...

[1]: https://www.g2a.com/mcafee-antivirus-pc-1-device-1-year-mcaf...

[2]: https://www.g2a.com/category/software-c5

[3]: https://navi.gg/en/read/text/232-navi-prolongs-the-partnersh... (Note the logos on the uniforms)

Why do you say it's a black market? Reselling of license keys is legal within the EU. Granted the hundreds of keys mentioned in the article were originally stolen, therefore illegal to sell but it seems they're taking steps to combat those, including honoring the 10x agreement with the developers.

Having quickly googled it, I've seen much criticism about their sale of grey market keys (keys sold cheaper to specific markets being sold to other markets) but those are legal. Many of the other criticisms are because some users are selling stolen keys, which puts g2a at the same level as Amazon or Ebay.

The stolen key system (legit keys bought with stolen CCs) has been how G2A keeps their prices low.

I don't think this has been a mystery to G2A and they've been at it for years / not been responsive to developers who have contacted them about it ...

How is that different than someone selling products on eBay or Amazon that were purchased with stolen cards?

It's not, but that doesn't make it legal.

It also doesn't make G2A "A black market for software".

G2A is fundamentally a consumer empowering type of market/organization, businesses who sell keys do not want their completely legitimately purchased keys resold, and if you don't think they are going to stoop to painting the people who enable that as horrible monsters, you have ignored the entire history of markets and PR.

G2A has a standing offer to pay devs 10x what any fraudulently obtained keys cost them, and they are making good on that offer here, the fact they are still being treated like some kind of mafia-esque organization in these comments says a lot about the power of PR.

Remember when the RIAA was coming out about the evils of used CDs and was asking congress to make their resale illegal?

We are at that point right now with digital goods, with the majority of people cheering on this blatantly anti-consumer bullshit and painting those that enable fighting it as scumbags

That standing offer is no longer a standing offer now that they've proven that they are re-selling stolen keys.

Now they simply (and appropriately) offer to repay proven fraudulent keys and chargeback fees.

G2A doesn't get much good press because many people empathize with indy games devs, and prior to this finding G2A loudly and broadly claimed that there were not stolen keys being sold through their storefront.

Do you think Ebay is free of stolen goods and illegal credit card transactions? G2A works exactly like Ebay does, and I don't see much hand wringing about how we need to shut down the scum at Ebay, for the children.

So you think because sometimes ebay listings are stolen goods that G2A selling stolen goods is fine, gotcha. Seriously what is your point here.

Its not fine, but its also completely impossible for G2A and ebay to fully avoid, because both are marketplaces.

What matters is how they address it, and that is being completely ignored in these comments in favor of vague moralizing about the evils of consumer choice.

Here's a tangentially related def con about the strange economics of that whole scam. Basically, everyone in the chain apart from the cardholder benefits.


Does it have to be different?

It doesnt, but we dont see front page posts on HN saying "Stolen goods sold on ebay".

IMO this should be a congratulatory post "G2A owns up to their mistakes and follows through on their word" ...

Let's see if G2A does... they've profited from not doing so for a long time. They knew, they didn't care and they sold other people's work for their own profit. They earned plenty of skepticism and this wasn't a one off mistake, it was exactly how they chose to do business for a long time...

Let's see if eBay does... they've profited from not doing so for a long time. They knew, they didn't care and they sold other people's work for their own profit. They earned plenty of skepticism and this wasn't a one off mistake, it was exactly how they chose to do business for a long time...

If the majority of goods on ebay were stolen then you would absolutely see that post.

If you're going to claim with a straight face that the majority of goods on g2a are stolen, which is what you're implying, you're going to have to provide sources.

Are the majority stolen on G2A?

When I went to Poland earlier in the year, I even saw they sponsor a massive Arena: https://g2aarena.pl/

Last time I bought a very cheap Windows 9? (circa $35) it was simply an OEM edition that required you to call MS and tell them you are registering new hardware. It obviously implied you could not reuse the key for new hardware.

But that was a genuine key.

PS: I just checked the listing you gave and yes - that is an OEM version where they clearly describe that you would need to personally register your copy over phone and that you can only use it for one PC.

It seems like you are at least partially wrong about them being generally a scam.

dunno about the others but 27$ Win10 is OEM license that is locked to a single machine. Seems legit.

The link I attached is to a normal license, not an OEM one, which goes for even cheaper: https://www.g2a.com/microsoft-windows-10-oem-home-microsoft-...

That's actually way too high a price for a windows 10 OEM licence. You can get entirely legitimate ones on eBay for <7€.

The reason they are so cheap is that EU laws protect the consumer right to resell things they purchase, and EU feels very strongly that this extends to software licenses. Most pre-built computers come with a bundled OEM Windows, which any EU resident can legally sell. Since a lot of computers bought by businesses, schools, hospitals, etc also contain Win 10 Home licenses, which are promptly replaced by whatever OS the site actually uses, and then immediately sold to someone reselling them, there is a healthy marketplace that has pushed license prices very low.

Yes exactly. The computer 'recyclers' take the parts out of EoL computers if viable and take the key off. Considering the demand for Windows keys is pretty low, and tens if not hundreds of millions of laptops/desktops go EoL each year, it's basically a virtually worthless commodity now the EU lets you transfer licenses from a PC.

That explains the cheap "consumer" (eg. home/pro) versions, but how does it explain the "rare" ones (eg. enterprise/LTSC) selling for $8 as well?

I'd speculate that the market for people who want or need an enterprise license but are willing to mess with grey market risks is actually pretty small?

Considering that enterprise is better than other editions in every way[1], there's no reason why anyone would not get enterprise, especially since it's around the same price.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_10_editions#Comparison...

We're talking about your average Windows user, here.

Well I don't see any of those on G2A.

OEM licenses are tied to the hardware that they were originally sold with and cannot be transferred. These licenses would not pass an audit.

The person you’re responding to is saying that such licenses are not legal in the EU.

Not in EU they are not, because doing that is not legal.

Do you have a reference for that? Does Microsoft continue to sell OEM licenses in the EU?

They do, but you are legally allowed to sell them on. Yes, the licence forbids that, but it's not enforceable and is meaningless. Courts have decided many times that software licences are like any other asset and yes, you can sell them on.

There's a full summary of the legal situation(in Polish, but I'm sure google translate will manage), with legal documents supporting it(it's actually been going on in early forms since 2000, but it's the ruling from 2012 that has cemented your right as a consumer to sell on software, regardless of whether the manufacturer allows it or not)


IANAL, but if the license is illegal, it wouldn't mean that it's illegal to sell a product under such a license.

It would just mean that enforcing all terms of that license would be impossible.

Nothing prevents you from writing an illegal contract, even enforce it a bit. Laws needs to be enforced to have an effect.

Heard of eBay? VS2k19 for $5, Windows Server 2k19 for $5.

Black market, hah.

Yeah I mean I've been buying all of my Windows 10 keys of ebay for years, they always work fine.

Also keep in mind that in EU re-selling software is completely legal and that's where most of these keys come from(dismantled PCs, post-lease laptops etc). I bought a 100-user licence for Microsoft SQL Server 2016 for like $1000 because the company that used to own it went into liquidation and the assets were being sold off.

Yup. I grab all my Office keys from eBay too. Guess I'll look at G2A as well.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact