Quote from JaetchI did not read all the comments, nor the wall of texts that includes the comments and the OP, but I will say this in regards to the topic title.
I've played since day one. Launch date.
I've had eight friends banned because they botted. Six of them were my real life friends. One of them was a real baller and bought a second CE only to get that one banned as well. Another one bought another account to bot and remains undetected as of today. The others quit the game outright.
Bot at your own risk. It's an easy way to gain gold, but it really takes the enjoyment and purpose out of the game.
That's kinda funny cause I've had the exact opposite experience. I guess it just depends which bot people use and how often or maybe luck. Because I've had 5 friends that I know of bot. None of them were banned. Although only two of them did it for long periods of time. In fact one day I got sick of the fact that one of my friends was bragging how much money he made by cheating so I reported him thinking he'd at least get a warning but alas I was wrong. Blizzard didn't do a thing to him. He eventually quit the game about two months ago and made around $8000 from botting all in all. And yes I know 100% for a fact he made this much as I've seen it. He basically sold multiple items for $250 right when the RMAH came up and then sold billions of gold when gold selling became possible.
It pisses me off that even with me having reported this guy that Blizzard still didn't do anything. And it was so obvious he was botting too based on his amount of time played in game. So now my opinion is go ahead and bot. I was so against it and hated the idea of it, but now that I've seen Blizzard doesn't seem to care much I figure why not. Everyone else is doing it and making bank.