Online blind box: an IQ tax


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Wen / Muzi
Source: understand notes (ID: Dongdong_ note)
Players who are keen on drawing blind box figures often encounter these problems:
In order to extract the hidden dolls and collect all the dolls’ styles, I extracted a lot of dolls with duplicate styles, which were not only idle and piled up in drawers, but also “overstocked” a lot of funds. Some smart players began to sell dolls on social platforms and second-hand e-commerce platforms, asking only to withdraw funds in order to extract new models.
However, due to the large number of blind box dolls selling high imitations and Shanzhai on social platforms and second-hand e-commerce platforms, many buyers are afraid to sell them easily (they are worried about buying imitations). Therefore, many players who hope that the funds can be turned around as soon as possible are hopeless for resale. Blind players even know how to sell the idle note box for several months.
A large number of ordinary blind box dolls are idle on hand, the collection is worthless, and it is difficult to sell and collect funds in a short time. Undoubtedly, many blind box players have the most headache. Many players are looking forward to the emergence of a platform similar to the e-commerce of fashionable shoes, which can provide a “one-stop” service of blind box doll identification and recycling.
Unexpectedly, the wishes of the players have come true recently
“Recycling” as a way to capture users’ money
Several senior players in the circle told them to understand notes. Recently, several blind box apps appeared on the Internet. In addition to online extraction of blind box, it can also provide the service of direct recycling of the blind box doll. Once the player draws the blind box doll that he or she doesn’t like or repeats, the app operator can immediately recycle it, eliminating the complicated process of resale, delivery and so on.
This seems to be really “good news” for many blind box players.
“You know, I’ve got nearly 80 repeat versions of Birch’s Circus series.”
In order to raise funds and extract the “Q version of Harry Potter” blind box dolls just launched by bubble mart, Guangzhou player “Su Su” has been busy sorting out the surplus blind box dolls and preparing to release them to the second-hand e-commerce platform for sale one after another,.
But seeing that a large number of players on the second-hand e-commerce platform are selling old idle dolls, she realized that it is not easy to sell surplus models in the short term. Even if the new series of blind box dolls are selected, she also has to face the problems of repeated appearance of a large number of common styles and long resale cycle.
A few days ago, a blind box collector nearby recommended Susu two blind box apps, saying that the blind boxes can be extracted online, and the styles you don’t like can also be recycled online. She was so pleased that she downloaded all the “fresh” ones.
“At that time, you can choose a few small apps that you don’t like to recycle.” Su Su tells you to understand the notes. In addition to bubble mart’s blind box, there are some other brands of blind boxes for extraction, but the price is slightly higher.
In addition, the way of extracting blind boxes on app is similar to that of offline stores. After users register, they choose a series of blind boxes. Among the 12 boxes in a plate, they choose one box and pay for it. After all the 12 boxes in the plate are sold, the result will be issued to show what style the user has selected. At this time, the app will also give the user two options: delivery or immediate recycling.
“I tried to smoke several times, but the final style was still repeated, so I chose not to deliver the goods and recycle them immediately.” Su Su found that although the app can also be recycled online (there is no need for users to resell after receiving the goods), the price of recycling is quite low, and the recovery price of ordinary models is only 15 yuan. In other words, a blind box just turns around on the app, and the price difference reaches 40 or 50 yuan.
In fact, on the second-hand e-commerce platform, most of the dolls sell for more than 25 yuan, but in order to save some trouble, Su Su, who doesn’t want to pay for the freight, finally chose to recycle them online. Unwilling, she spent several rounds of blind box drawing, but did not get satisfactory styles (all chose online recycling). When she wanted to raise the present, she was silly, “the amount of money recovered online is shown in the app assets, but it can’t be withdrawn.”
At this time, she suddenly realized that the “money” that users get from online recycling can only be used for deduction in the process of extracting blind boxes. If users do not extract blind boxes, the “assets” generated by recycling cannot be withdrawn, that is to say, users are completely embedded in the app.
If you really catch up with a strong player, in order to continue to use the “funds”, you can only constantly recharge the app and extract new blind boxes. If you want to get the limited edition, you have to recharge it infinitely. But if you can’t get the limited edition in the app all the time
A senior player said in the communication that the business logic of this kind of blind box app is in the name of online extraction and recovery of blind boxes to trap users’ funds, and guide users to recharge and deduct fees in a cycle.
After discovering the routine, Su Su decided to stop and leave. In her opinion, this kind of pit can only sink deeper and deeper, there is no end at all.
However, those blind box apps seem to go far beyond that.
A new way to harvest “IQ tax”
“How can online blind box be open and transparent?”
After understanding the notes and sharing Su Su Su’s experience to a group of blind box players, it triggered a lot of hot discussions among group friends. Senior player “Nancy” questioned: this kind of blind box app extraction, recovery of blind box link is online, it is difficult for users to supervise the app to draw out the doll process, it is completely black box operation.
He thinks that users can only know the extraction result of the selected blind box through the pop-up notification of the app, but no one can guarantee that the actual extraction result is consistent with the pop-up notification content. Who knows if the blind box is really extracted and who is extracting it? Is it supervised by a third party? Is it physical extraction or program operation extraction? “You can pop up a message to the user at random, no matter whether you have extracted it or not. This process is virtual.”

“A third-party notary is needed to draw lottery tickets. It’s such a joke that some people believe it?” Nancy laughs that although the current probability of pulling out the bubble Mart hidden doll is about 0.69%, it is difficult for players to know the real probability, but at least offline blind box extraction will be revealed on the spot, which is still a certain degree of public reality.
Online, how to ensure that the app has extracted the blind box? And how to ensure that the app will tell the user truthfully when the hidden doll is drawn?
Nancy stressed that nowadays, the selling price of a hidden blind box doll is as high as thousands or even tens of thousands of yuan. Even if users are lucky enough to draw hidden money on the app, the operating agency behind it may “steal it”.
What makes them even more puzzled is that the operator does not have any cost input when extracting the hidden money dolls. After all, the cost is paid by the user in advance. Nancy believes that “maybe the blind box has been opened before the user pays for it.”
As for the “one-stop” service of online recycling, it is obvious that the players who have taken repeated dolls often feel that it is difficult to do so and are afraid of trouble, so that users can easily eat the middle price difference of tens of yuan. Although the price of ordinary dolls that have been drawn out on the second-hand e-commerce platform is much lower than the official price, it is not “cheap” to 10 yuan or more than 10 yuan.
“In fact, in addition to the hidden money doll is very valuable, save a complete set of dolls also has a certain collection value.” Nancy said that sometimes a is missing this one, B is missing that one, and C just has a duplicate doll, which is exactly the style that both a and B need, so players can replace each other. Even in online trading, the price is around 30 yuan when the price is high.
“Now it’s better. In order to save trouble, players choose to recycle the” duplicate money “extracted from the app at a low price online, so that institutions can sell and recycle them for profit. Finally, they can sell a large number of ordinary dolls on the second-hand e-commerce platform at a price of about 30 yuan. Isn’t this another profit?”
Nancy stressed that the extraction of blind boxes is a kind of fun in itself. Replacing or selling idle and repetitive models of blind box figures is also a valuable social way to meet more friends. As for this kind of blind box app, which claims to be able to solve the problem of player recycling in a “one-stop” mode and realize one click “cash”, it may just be reaping the “IQ tax” of users.
However, even these blind box apps with loopholes in the rules still have many blind box players, and there is no way to complain.
“Lottery” in disguise, difficult to safeguard rights
Through the search, understand notes, in Douban, post bar and other forums found some complaints blind box app harvest user intelligence tax posts. Most of the experiences of some posts are the same as the known blind box app’s routine of online blind box extraction and low price recycling. Under a complaint post with a large number of hits, more than 40 users even replied that they let similar app sets pass by.
Understanding notes contacted one of the users with a nickname of “Ziyun”, and the other said that in addition to the service of online recycling of ordinary dolls, the app used by the other side would constantly prompt users to use the online recycling function in the process of actually extracting blind boxes. “One day after I select the blind box and pay, the app will pop up a message to remind me that I have drawn out a painter Frida Molly, but the pop-up option in red shows that there is only one button recycling. If you don’t pay attention, it’s hard to find a faint gray delivery button next to the recycling item.”
Ziyun tells you to understand notes that this kind of blind box app is clearly a blind box doll to induce users to “sell cheaply”. She also found that other blind box products were on sale, such as bubble mart and other brand doll blind boxes. For example, you can spend 1.99 yuan to buy the lucky blind box of “phone charge”. She claims that she has the opportunity to draw 30 yuan (common to the three major operators), and the withdrawal rate is 1 / 40.
For other categories of 59 yuan blind box, “winning” products include Xiaomi power bank, 100 yuan Jingdong card, Huawei mate 40, iPhone 12 Pro Max and other high-value mobile phone products. It is said that the progress of lottery opening (the progress of users subscribing for blind box) has reached 65%, indicating that not a few users have participated. “It’s not so much a blind box app as a network lottery platform, and the prizes are online virtual and can be recycled.” Ziyun’s tone is full of disbelief and doubt.
After consulting the relevant legal circles, I understand the notes and understand that although some apps claim to be online sales blind boxes, they actually do a paid lottery, which can be regarded as a typical “disguised gambling” method, which is suspected of illegal behavior.
On the Internet, some netizens who have bought blind boxes in similar apps and have been induced to click recycling have complained to the 12315 hotline to protect their rights. So far, the result of netizens’ rights protection is not ideal: the customer service of related app only promised to cancel the recycling order of one of the blind box dolls. On the complaint platform of black cat, there are hundreds of complaints about similar blind box app, and the result is not optimistic.
Some netizens said that they had been “routine” for hundreds of yuan by the platform. In view of the high cost of rights protection, they should have spent money to buy an experience and lesson, which is really powerless to study. Just imagine, if every user let app “routine” a single, then hundreds of thousands, hundreds of thousands of users are obviously a large number. Perhaps what app operators are looking at from the beginning is not user stickiness, but “one hammer deal” to make money.
There are still many opinions on whether buying blind box dolls in physical stores is equal to paying “IQ tax”. However, the popularity of the concept of blind box has indeed led to a large number of routines and playing methods wandering in the gray area. Whether it is high imitation blind box doll or the so-called online extraction and recycling blind box app, all change ways to covet the silver in the pocket of small white users and even senior players, and make huge profits with various ideas.
As the old saying goes, “there’s never a winner on the gambling table” — trendy play is just entertainment, serious you lose.
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)