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Facebook Mafiosi Go To the Mattresses vs. Zynga 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the concrete-galoshes dept.
sympleko writes "Zynga has the lion's share of traffic in Facebook applications, and Mafia Wars is one of their most popular social games. Collapsing under the weight of over 26 million users, Zynga has been scrambling to thwart hard-core gamers who reverse-engineer URLs or script the game to optimize their enjoyment. Many of the workarounds have annoyed users who were accustomed to various game features, and even worse, the hastily-deployed changes have resulted in many players losing access to the game, in-game prizes, or statistics. Fed up with a software company seemingly bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product, a number of tagged players have organized a boycott of all Zynga games. The first 24-hour boycott on Sunday 12/13 resulted in an 11% decline in Daily Active Users, and an emergency thread on Zynga's forums (from which most of the flames were deleted). The current boycott, extending Wednesday through Sunday is being supported by a 428K strong Facebook group. At issue is the social contract between software companies and their devoted user base, as well as the nefarious tactics Zynga has used to raise cash."
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Facebook Mafiosi Go To the Mattresses vs. Zynga

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  • by seebs (15766) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:19AM (#30469398) Homepage

    When you've got the CEO bragging about how sleazy they've been, I think that's enough to explain the boycotts.

    Me? Never played any of them, don't plan to. Company's evil, and the wisest thing to do would be for everyone to stay away until they disintegrate.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:44AM (#30469588) Homepage
    No. Going to the matresses is an old mafia term when one Family would get into a fight with another family or was worried about the possibility of a fight. The term comes because when it occurred important people or people who they didn't want to get hurt would find an apartment far away and they'd rent it and sleep on matresses with not much other than their bodyguards. I don't know if this is actually a genuine term, but it is quite old. It is used in the original Godfather. So whether or not it is a real term, it makes sense given that we are talking about a Facebook game that revolves around a glorified fantasy version of the Mafia.
  • by TxRv (1662461) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:57AM (#30469680)

    To make FB usable for its original purpose you have to block and hide metric f*cktonnes of spam from friends who wanted to find out what Harry Potter character they are or who think some picture of an egg (with free spam subscription!) is a nice gift to send a friend. Add to that the significant loss of privacy that comes with actually posting anything; I'd cancel my account right away if FB weren't the only way I can keep up with some of my friends and family.

  • by tjcrowley (1702258) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:01AM (#30469716)
    I used to work for Mark Pincus at his "failed" social networking site, Tribe.net. It didn't fail, he ran it into the ground because it wasn't making the money he wanted - meaning it wasn't providing him with three mansions and two private aircraft the way Zynga has. It's kind of interesting though, Mark was starting Zynga exactly when Tribe.net users asked us to start a subscription program to raise money to buy needed hardware for the site. Surprise - we made $30,000 the first month, and any time I asked for money for new database servers or to pay contractors, they claimed there was no money. It's pretty obvious to me where the money went. This is NOTHING. This story has been picked up by large media and is only going to get bigger - I was interviewed last week by Details Magazine about what a scumbag Mark is. Sadly you can't read that until March - but that's justr a measure of how fucked this company is. Up until this scandal, they were claiming Zynga would IPO in a month or two. That talk has all vanished. THESE are the types of scumbags that need to be ridden out of Silicon Valley on a rail.
  • Re:I'm sorry, what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Handover Phist (932667) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:12AM (#30469802) Homepage

    So they're trying to get the unethical types to stop playing a game where you play a gangster? Brilliant! It's like trying to get fishermen to stop using radar, or NASA engineers to stop playing with rockets even after they get home.

  • by Mr Pleco (1160587) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:34AM (#30469938)

    I remember hearing about tribe.net, it was hilarious to see the video on techcrunch with the interview where they mentioned that Pincus started two other internet startups, only mentioned tribe.net by name and didn't mention the tragic end of that company. Let's not even get into how EVERY SINGLE GAME that zynga has made is a rip-off of another previously successful game. They've not got a single original title to their name. God bless techcrunch for blowing this company wide open.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:10AM (#30470210)

    I don't know if this is actually a genuine term, but it is quite old. It is used in the original Godfather. So whether or not it is a real term, it makes sense given that we are talking about a Facebook game that revolves around a glorified fantasy version of the Mafia.

    Seems like I've heard the phrase wrong all of my life, and some Googling seems to confirm what you are saying.

    I bow to your superior knowledge.

  • No longer a player (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sobrique (543255) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:56AM (#30470832) Homepage
    As of the latest stunt, I've stopped playing MW. The problem for me, is that ... well, you have the CEO bragging about how nefarious they've been. That raised alarm bells. But ... mostly I just detest the quantity of noise they seem intent on generating. I mean, for a facebook integrated game, I know full well that most of my friends list already know I play mafia wars. They either already play themselves, or they don't give a toss about what the spam is. If they play themselves, then ... one notification a day is really all that's necessary. OK, maybe two. But ... certainly they don't need a 'feed' page filled with mafia wars spam.
    And that's why I've stopped, removed the account, and blocked everything. Simply because I no longer believe that Zynga have any ethics to them whatsoever. 'Secret Stash' was the final straw - previous 'spams' have been 'giving free stuff' and as such optional. I did spam a couple a day, but no more. When they've changed a gameplay mechanic to stop working _unless_ you spam a friend, and they click on the link you send... too much.
    But that was enough to make me realise that the game is actually not all that interesting anyway - it has very little depth, and is just about 'acquisition of more stuff'. And frankly, Progress Quest is better at it.
  • by louisadkins (963165) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:45AM (#30471142)
    If they are serious enough to boycott for a day, they might well be serious enough to drop it completely. If nothing else, they show that some (in this case, at least 11%) of the user base would likely jump ship for a different app that could meet the community standards/requirements.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @08:17AM (#30472074)

    Going to the mat is also a legitimate phrase, and does indeed have the meaning you bring up, It just isn't applicable in this case.

  • by nauseum_dot (1291664) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @09:15AM (#30472396)
    The actual history of "going to the mattresses" comes from the Joey Gallo and the war between him and the Profaci family. The term appeared in the headlines in the early 60's in the headlines in New York newspapers.

    Info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Gallo#Gallo-Profaci_war [wikipedia.org]
    http://tomfolsom.com/blog/ [tomfolsom.com]

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