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Dubious “Civony” Game Uses Costume Photo

by Matthew on Friday, May 1st, 2009

This is an interesting story. Recently, ads for an online game called “Civony” have been popping up like mad across all gaming websites and tech blogs. The ad features the beautiful woman shown above and encourages you to sign up and “save your queen.”

What’s funny about this is that the model in the photo is actually for our Adult Forest Fairy Costume. LOL! Adult Forest Fairy Costume
All they did was flip it horizontally and increase the hue a bit. Same picture!

It turns out, despite the advertising, that there’s actually no queen to rescue in the game at all.

After you join, they tell you in their FAQ:
How do I get my queen?
There is no queen in this game, the ad you saw is for marketing purposes and seems to be highly effective by the number of times this question has come up.

Wow! How funny. They’ve been totally busted by several gaming bloggers (Jeff Haines & Kevin Sung)

Kevin Sung sums it up quite well:

“Upon clicking the ad, you’re directed to sign up for an account. Then, you can start building your kingdom, slowly. But don’t worry. If you get bored, you can chat. It only costs $0.30 per line. Better cut down on those ‘LOLs.’ As for the banners and landing page? All lies. Horrible, horrible lies. There are no wenches. There is no queen.”

According to Sung, another legal issue here is that Civony totally copies the look and font of Civilization, a legitimate game, and also uses images from Age of Kings.

Heh, somewhere, out there, a lawyer is laughing at all the money he’s about to make over this. Here at Costume Craze, we’re just shaking our heads at the oddness of it all.



32 Responses to “Dubious “Civony” Game Uses Costume Photo”

  1. GOTHIC princess Says:

    They changed the name. Now its Evony, not Civony.

  2. Video Game Marketing Bait, Switch, Clickthroughs & Boobies! | Set On Stun | Marketing Video Games Online Says:

    [...] the fairy girl.  (Update: This was pointed out that they actually stole the raw image from the Costume Craze company… D’oh).  One of the odd parts about this ad is that as gamers, we’re [...]

  3. Everything That’s Wrong with the Internet in One Videogame’s Banner Ad Campaign | Tech-monkey.info Blogs Says:

    [...] next picture used a stolen catalog photo to emphasize the game’s ample… opportunities for [...]

  4. Wingless Says:

    Please tell me you’re pursuing legal action. This whole entire game reeks of plagiarism on every level. Speaking as someone who knows his fellow gamers, we’d love to see them taken down from multiple fronts.

  5. Everything Wrong with the Internet in One Gaming Banner Ad Campaign | Pop News Daily Says:

    [...] next picture used a stolen catalog photo to emphasize the game’s ample… opportunities for [...]

  6. nitram_cero Says:

    Hahahahahaha, I didn’t believe you at first (on that last image), until I SAW THIS (a new version):

    http://i25.tinypic.com/2uggn6h.png

    Cheers
    -Martín

  7. June Says:

    I strongly recommend pursuing legal action. At the very least, a simple cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer. This is extremely important in protecting you for future copyright infringement claims. Copyright holders must defend their copyrights, or risk forfeiting future copyright claims.

  8. Internet Marketing, a case study at Under The Bridge Says:

    [...] not particularly objectionable we’d say, unless it’s your image they appropriated. But this was a bit too subliminal it seems, the followup [...]

  9. Web Advertising Hits Rock Bottom | hellokinsella Says:

    [...] madness continues here and here. Share and [...]

  10. Evony ads with a side of WTF Says:

    [...] people thought that girl looked familiar, and after a little digging, it was revealed the image was stolen from Costume Craze, a website specializing in, well, [...]

  11. Evony cleavage ads. Says:

    [...] back for more anyway, right? According to the blog post that stated that the queen is a lie (Dubious “Civony” Game Uses Costume Photo), their FAQ actually addresses the question of saving the non-existent queen. __________________ [...]

  12. How Not to Advertise on the Internet | PHP Hosts Says:

    [...] (if this lady looks familiar, there’s a reason.) [...]

  13. Chris Says:

    doesnt it look like they have used play.coms banner as well where nitram_cero has linked

  14. Bree Says:

    Unfortunately, from what I’ve read, this company is based in China. The company is run by the same people who run WoWmine, a gold-farming site for World of Warcraft and other games who have a reputation of taking your money and not delivering the goods. I don’t think the copyright laws would apply, but it is certainly worth looking into.

  15. Who is the Evony blonde? - ScoobyNet Says:

    [...] it was thought that she was a CGI, or a stolen image from the web. Evony, when the were still named Civony had a bad name for such antics. She is real though. She’s a Canadian model from Toronto called Natalie Gauvreau. The following [...]

  16. Who is the Evony blonde? - Page 2 - ScoobyNet Says:

    [...] Posted by TurboKitty Initially it was thought that she was a CGI, or a stolen image from the web. Evony, when they were still named Civony had a bad name for such antics. She is real though. She’s a Canadian model from Toronto called Natalie Gauvreau. The following [...]

  17. Some of the evony Ads are not made by Evony Says:

    you guys should calm down, some of the evony Ads were not created by Evony. one example is the one with just breasts and a Bra. that was created making fun of the evony Ads that people call “scandalous”. and the Ads there are made by evony, shouldnt be called “Scandolus” or “Misleading” or anythingg else, its just marketing. and everyone says there is no queen in Evony, well there is. there is a Queen election for any player that wants to. the winning player will be considered (in game, on forms, and any other website that is owned or partenered with Evony) the Queen of Evony. no u dont have to save her (unless shes under attack and in your alliance)

  18. Dereck Says:

    I started a blog recently and got everything I could from Internet to make an article about the Evony scam (it’s more a mixture of every fact I found), so feel free to read the article (by clicking my name, I believe) if you need more facts.

  19. Oh Evony, not Ebony... Says:

    …”some of the evony Ads were not created by Evony.”…

    No $hit $herlock, they were ads created by other companies advertising other products that Evony stole -

    Scandolous Yes! Misleading – Indeed!

    I never got to play the Boobies!

  20. Dereck Says:

    I have to agree… Who in the world would have paid for these ads to show everywhere if it were to make fun of Evony? Personally, I would never market someone else’s website without gaining something in return.

  21. Gamers Rights Law » Evony - the lawsuit Says:

    [...] reader, you certainly realize there is a middle ground. There are many sites Gawker , GameSetWatch, CostumeCraze heroically supporting the blogger that is sued, and one or two, PixelsandPolicy that support the [...]

  22. The Uniblog · Crimes to Advertising: Evony Says:

    [...] moved onto this one, which is comedic as they stole it from another site.  It features a lady this time, begging f a big man to save her.  Woof.  But you haven’t [...]

  23. Mark Says:

    This game seems to have done various dubious, annoying and illegal things – but I do wish people would stop conflating that with it being a Civilization clone. There’s nothing wrong about that (legally or otherwise), so long as they haven’t copied things such as images. Ideas can’t be copyrighted. The are large numbers of games that borrow ideas from each other (e.g., clones of Doom and Quake). Civilization has also already had clones, such as FreeCiv, as well as commercial clones Civilization Call To Power. No one complains about those, and there are no legal issues.

    Indeed, Civilization itself borrowed from earlier games, most notably Empire – which in fact, was originally also called Civilization.

    Look and feel can be an issue, but it’s a grey area, and to be honest I don’t see anything unethical about it – I’d say it’s more unethical for companies to try to claim a monopoly over a look (the only issue should be trademark law, but I don’t see any cause for confusion with Evony).

  24. Ell Says:

    I’ve been following all this for a bit now, ever since the really brainlessly annoying ad campaign infested my browser like a horde of wasps sticking to jam.

    Just regarding Mark’s comment – I haven’t gone into Evony, I wouldn’t allow it onto my computer, but having read possibly every article out there on this by now, a number agree that Evony has ripped off both Age of Empires in style, and CivIV in execution, including sections of history info, word for word.

  25. Ofelia Says:

    They also totally copied the World of Warcraft terms & conditions, replaced with their own company name :D

  26. Tony Blews » Evony adverts getting worse Says:

    [...] scantily clad women, amongst other things, has gone a step further with its advertising. From stealing images from costume sites, through some really ropey CGI women, using a model who is a gamer, to outright norkage, it seems [...]

  27. ODO10-9 Says:

    Who says there were any copyrights attached to that picture. Just because it was in a catalogue does not mean it was protected under any copyright laws.

  28. Vir Says:

    @ODO10-9 That image is copyrighted. Everything you publish is automatically under copyright unless it’s so old that the copyright has expired, or that the maker has expressly allowed the work to be used freely.

  29. Michael Says:

    I certainly hope you’re doing more than just shaking your head and laughing. Someone is making money off of YOUR image and YOUR model, and not giving you credit or a cut of the proceeds? By not aggresively defending, you are effectively giving permission to these thieves. This is not my opinion, it’s a legal standard.

    The sad thing is, this actually sounds like a cool game, from what I’ve read about how the gameplay is. But I won’t touch it with a ten-foot mouse cable so long as it uses this uber-cheezy exploitative advertising model.

  30. Bruceongames Says:

    There is a really excellent and funny video parody on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNzaTePcs64

  31. martin Says:

    it aint just you they are copying content from they also use pictures from porn advertisements formore information see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFb9QKkNDU8

  32. Lisa Says:

    Come ON. You guys have GOT to do something about this. They’re copying pictures from more sources than just you guys, and you guys can stop their constant, endless spamming if you’d take legal action. It’s not even funny.

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