This is my first MMO (and I'm only two weeks into it at that). Who exactly is IGE and why is it that big of a deal?
Personally, my main concern with Ige is their business practices. Though I disapprove of gold-selling (mainly because it completely ruined FFXI, which is much more susceptible to such things than WoW), I feel that denouncing Ige just for that removes other reasons to dislike them.
I just did a google search for (sell gil FFXI) (used FFXI because again, it's more established and pronounced there), and looked at the search results. The first three sites that offered to sell accounts too had identical prices and the same account listed first on Unicorn. This suggests to me that those non-ige sites are just fronts for ige, whether by their intent, or the intent of the other site hosts. The sites I looked at were ige, virdaq, and mysupersales (posted for verification/clarification by people who know their way around hosting info etc. My check was quick and dirty). If these sites are seprate sites who are referring ige, not ige's fault. If they are in fact owned by ige, this suggests fradulent practices to cover up a monopoly.
I find Allakhazam's revalation of a buyout ttempt particularly interesting. Was this before or after they attempted to appear "sanctioned" by this site, by buying half (rough estimate) the ad space on your ad hoster?
So, having established ige's apparent policy of assimilating competition/advertising sources (pending verification), we have a better stance for referecing the selling practices themselves without relying on them solely to win the point.
As has been mentioned, many gil-sellers out there may or may not be directly employed by ige. However, ige acts as an enabler. Suppose gil-farming group X is completely on their own; they need to have a way of moving their gil, and in a market of many small groups, that means commpetition to get noticed. They probably cannot move that much gil, because any buyer will have to choose between them and the large number of people/sites/accounts like theirs.
Add in ige, a centralized site. To those who want to buy gil, ige becomes a go-to site, due to their size and advertising. Because of their ability to move gil, ige is willing and able to buy it from the farmers, allowing them to focus on harvesting, without worrying about how they'll profit from it. In this sense ige is indeed employing more gil-farmers than it may seem. This easy payoff allows gil-farming to flourish, causing the glut of gil-farmers currently seen on FFXI. This basically keeps regular players out of most of the profitable methods of making gil, forcing them to watch AH prices rise higher and higher, and face a difficult decision.
NOTE: I have used FFXI here because it is much more susceptible. WoW's binding of items, plus Diablo II-esque item system places less emphasis on having specific items (and those items that do have emphasis are usually BoP) and thus less emphasis on having the gold for those items. Instancing, and having profitable vendor trash, are also good steps against gil-selling. I do not believe we are completely immune, though.