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An interesting tidbit about Zynga

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An interesting tidbit about Zynga

Post by KittyJuan on Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:53 pm

Well, as you know, the GoPets Intellectual Property was sold to Zynga, the largest social game network on the web. I have had my doubts about this from the beginning. Let's set aside, for a moment, the fact that only the idea was sold (meaning anything that even remotely resembles GoPets could emerge - or nothing at all). Zynga designs games for social networks - the vast majority (if not all) their games are flash based. To me, this is enough to confirm that we will not be getting anything close to what GoPets used to.

But lets ignore that for a moment. What I really want to discuss are a series of articles over at technology news blog, Techcrunch. I am a regular reader of the site and was intrigued when I saw an article on there about Zynga (with the GoPets IP acquisition and all). It turned out to be an interesting read and several followup posts have come out of the whole debacle.

Essentially, Techcrunch founder Michael Arrington accused Zynga of stealing money from their customers through scammy offers. Remember those third-party offers that Erik put up on GoPets not too long before it shut down? You would do a survey or sign up for a service and then receive free gold shells. While no users were scammed on GoPets as far as I can remember, I can see how these offers could be scammy in nature. A user does a quiz and is asked to enter their cell number to receive the results and the advertiser "forgets" to mention that they are actually signing up for a subscription service which will cost them money every month. Zynga supposedly earns a good portion of their profit through scams like these.

Not to mention that these types of ads are against Facebook's terms of service.

But wait, it gets even more interesting. Zynga claimed to remove the ads after they were accused of the scams. Arrington confirmed this as he wasn't seeing any ads when accessing Zynga games. However, it turns out that Zynga had merely blocked his Facebook account from seeing the ads. Everyone else still saw them. To think that this company would engage in such levels of trickery is just astounding. What's worse is to think that this is the company that "bought" GoPets.

Now, all of this may mean nothing. Perhaps Zynga isn't that evil after all - we will see how the story develops. And I am glad these scams were brought into the light. Now, Zynga and other game companies will have to avoid making use of scams as a source of revenue and Facebook will (hopefully) be more keen on enforcing its rules. Facebook has already blocked Zynga's newest game (FishVille) due to advertising violations.

I can't help but wonder, however, if GoPets wouldn't have been better off in Erik's hands where it would be safe and, one day, maybe it could be reborn again.

If you are interested in the story see the following posts: (these are just the key ones - the first link contains a list of all of them)
Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell (oldest - original post)
Scamville: Zynga Says 1/3 Of Revenue Comes From Lead Gen And Other Offers
Zynga Takes Steps To Remove Scams From Games
Facebook To Increase Enforcement Of Anti-Scam Rule
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus: “I Did Every Horrible Thing In The Book Just To Get Revenues”
“Horrible Things” Slink Back Into Zynga
Zynga’s FishVille Sleeps With The Fishes For Ad Violations
Zynga To Remove All In Game Offers (latest)
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Re: An interesting tidbit about Zynga

Post by Asynjur on Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:46 pm

I didn't read the stories you posted yet, but do you know that Erik is working for Zynga? This article mangles his name, but I'm guessing that detail is correct, seems odd he'd decide who to sell GoPets to so quickly if he wasn't. So, personally, I wouldn't really think of Zynga and Erik as separate entities right now.

http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2009/10/zynga-acquires-gopets.html
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Re: An interesting tidbit about Zynga

Post by KittyJuan on Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:23 pm

Well, that's excellent news if this article is to be believed. That means that GoPets the company is now owned by Zynga. Maybe our pets will live on after all. Smile
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