OH Snap! Tweens Smack down on Neopets begins!

Apparently ever since the Viacom acquisition of Neopets in 2005, a series of pay-to-play services have been announced on the site effectively breaking the “always free” promise. Ever since, a group of disgruntled prepubescent Neopians have started to spam the site and bombard the company phone lines in a move similar to that of Digg. Based on the rants of a few members, the $8 a month charge is a frontal assault on the users piggy banks.CrunchGear will continue to closely monitor the event, and bring you up to date news on the hour.

Pissed Off 12 Year Old Girls Rebel

More info:

On July 3rd the face of Neopets was changed forever, it completely broke its promise that the site would always and forever remain free. What broke this promise? The new NC Mall, a new feature that greedily asks users to pay REAL money in exchange for Neocash, a fake currency use to buy fake VIRTUAL clothing items for their pets.

Again, this feature completely breaks the promise that the website will always and forever remain free. Where have they made that promise? Let us list a few pages:

  1. http://www.neopets.com/bleh.phtml
  2. The old Neopets Home Page
  3. http://www.neopets.com/newnt/index.phtml?section=editorial&week=12

The last link also states that forcing users to buy things with credit cards puts some users at a disadvantage. Some other things wrong with the Mall? To list a few:

  1. Users that are unable to pay for items do not have the chance to dress up their pets nearly as much.
  2. Viacom, Neopets parent company, makes MILLION in profit every financial Quarter, and Neopets makes enough money WITHOUT the Mall to run and expand the site.
  3. The Mall is ONLY there to make profit, and all o the items involved could EASILY be placed in normal Neopian shops to be purchased with Neopoints, the Neopets virtual currency.

And users also state the mall is only the spark that ignited the flame. Ever since the Viacom acquisition in 2005, several new money-driven features have arrived. Here is a list:

  1. Neopets Mobile – A cell-phone game that gives users who pay every month exclusive access to a Neopian world, Lutari Island and an easy way to get the coveted Lutari Neopet. Users who are unable to pay, live in the wrong country, or have the wrong cell phone carrier have no way to access the Island, even though it is listed on the Neopian World Map.
  2. Neopets Premium – A feature that allows those who pay $8 a month get exclusive access to many areas of the site, along with a premium portal. Again, those who are unable to pay have no way to get access to those features.
  3. Commercialism – A lack of user interaction in the decisions of the website has ensues since the Viacom acquisition. Before Viacom bought the site in 2005, users would often be able to vote for new pet redesigns and other features. Also, Neopets staff would often communicate about every glitch or problem in the site and help users. now that only happens if there is a major problem, and even some of those get ignored.

What are Neopets users doing about it?

  1. Calling the numbers (1-877-NEOPIAN) and (1-Ghostbusters!), both Neopets phone numbers, and expressing their opinions about the Website. The resulting bombardment forced neopets to supposedly temporarily end
    pull the plug on their phone lines.
  2. Changing their avatars to Bleh! and bombarding many areas of the site with their hate has led to censorship of many areas of the site, and wasted time for Neopets Staff.
  3. Getting the word of the rebellion into the media (As I am now!) gives Neopets and Viacom a bad name.
  4. Watching private staff member blogs and otherwise causing displeasure to Neopets employees is also helping.
  5. More drastic measures could be taken, but are not being taken now.

The root of the problem? Viacom.

http://www.neopets.com/~spazzmic_doom

Again. OH SNAP! And here’s a Neopets Guild’s information on how to rebel (also worth checking out: faqs & testamonials- they’re great):

Blocking the Commercialism.Here are a couple ways to block the NC Mall from your browser!

http://www.neopets.com/www.neopets.com/~eshik

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  1. July 9, 2007 at 5:45 am

    This is tragic. Neo Pets was great for teens and pre teens. There have been other companies who have pulled their message boards and feedback options. Cutting off communication with your customer and censoring/manipulating you internet community is bad business. I truly is shooting yourself in the foot. This is the only time Neo Pets will benefit off my experience for free. They have already proved themselves to be unprofessional.

  2. July 9, 2007 at 5:47 am

    This is tragic. Neo Pets was great for teens and pre teens. There have been other companies who have pulled their message boards and feedback options. Cutting off communication with your customer and censoring/manipulating you internet community is bad business. It truly is shooting yourself in the foot. This is the only time Neo Pets will benefit off my experience for free. They have already proved themselves to be unprofessional.

  3. July 17, 2007 at 3:23 am

    They’re selling out, and they’ll continue to do so.

  4. August 13, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    You are completely immature about the whole thing! Have any of you ever run a business?? I have several family members that do, and I know from experience that sometimes you HAVE to change your original plans or ideals (yes, and sometime break promises). Yes, it’s not always fair, but with large companies (or HUGE companies, like neopets) you have to do it. Put yourself in their shoes before you point fingers. One thing I do agree on with you though is cutting off customer communication IS very unprofessional

  5. August 14, 2007 at 3:26 am

    HUGE Sigh.

    Although I can be called “completely immature”, unfortunately, I am not completely immature about this particular subject.

    Why?

    Because, Michaela, I didn’t write the articles above. I was passing them along to folks who hadn’t heard anything about the change in the business plan for Neopets. If you click on that blue link below each segmented comment, you’ll find the original authors and their websites. Good luck.

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