Do the Wall Street Shuffle…

Time to get back on our pony and ride, it seems…suddenly we have a fresh rash of censorship, with Forums Mods in an uncharacteristic panic to suppress any and all criticism, and most specifically any speculation concerning malfeasance on Mojo/Rivet’s part.

In that vein, we are very curious – and looking into – the sudden decision (supposedly on the site’s part) to dump their long-time product sponsors and go private label…which not only cost them the sponsor funding, but necessitated paying someone (though we hope they didn’t pay them MUCH – the job was atrocious) to design the art and text copy and put it online : in what appears to be a dreadful hurry, which tends to refute their contention that this was THEIR decision and in the works for some time now.
As Nestle/Purina in particular was a close partner and allied with 20th Century Fox, another significant corporate sponsor (whose status vis a vis FooPets we will also be checking out), the abruptness of the change is no less mystifying than making it at all, unless Rivet has plans to put a FooPet product line on the RL market.

The casual suggestion in a CF Forum thread (now locked – unlike one of ours, that was flat-out deleted, pays to be in favor, we suppose, lol) that someone in (at the time) FooMojo may have – to put it delicately – misappropriated funds, thereby accounting for the budget shortfall despite vast reserves, was met with near hysteria : which tells us that there is probably a rich nut of information under that thar squirrel…and we are off to do some serious digging. Feel free to grab a shovel and pitch in – we suspect this one will grow VERY deep before we get to the bottom of it.

(for anyone interested in more site-specific details, we invite you to click the link to the Foospaper, One Swell Foop, right.)

sites of interest…
Photobucket (gee…wonder what THEIR salaries are?)
Photobucket (don’t miss the comment section)
Photobucket (doesn’t look like cashflow is a problem to ME…except here at the site that made it all possible…)

…and the REALLY interesting factoid…they got the lion’s share of their funding at roughly the same time that the pay-to-play FooPets conversion was announced as vital because the company was so badly in debt…

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Troubled Waters (without a bridge)

Prior to learning of FooSpyGlass’ interview with Jesse Janasov (or someone speaking in his name), my original intent for this “comeback” post was to assemble a timeline of the changes made to the FooPets site since its “creation” from Go-Pokey 12/22/08, and (among other things) try to pin down just how far back they really had been planning the pay-to-play-only conversion, as opposed to when they deigned to inform us, the membership. As I read over the interview, however, I see many things that will color the information in the timeline, so I feel a bit of – er – translation might be useful first.

Right out of the gate, Mr. Janasov/Rivet engages in what would be charitably called “creative spin” … Ron Hornbaker was considerably more than “an ex-vet(erinarian) with a dream” – he was, and is, someone with quite a bit of experience with internet startups and ventures, as well as acquiring capital from investors, and has a sound working knowledge of how internet sites operate and what can be gained from them, by fair means or foul – hardly the babe in the digital woods he is painted by Janasov (Scott, by the way, now appears in Rivet’s FooPet spinoff app on FaceBook, Pet Tales, thinly disguised as “Zack”). The “building a house” reference is pure nonsense, for this and other reasons – there was no dearth of online experience and expertise involved in the genesis of Go-Pokey/FooPets, just a shortage of honesty and a regrettable tendency to use prefab components instead of custom-building their own…an economy measure for which we as members are still paying.

He continues with another misleading statement – that as the FooPets audience grew, it was necessary to change the site (and distress the original, lucrative, adult clientele) to accomodate the younger players beginning to join. I find that quite intriguing, as I have looked into a great many VA sites, ALL of whose audience composition has changed over time in one direction or the other, and NONE of whom found that sort of draconian modification required – first, because people tend to join a site because they like it as it is, and second, because they didn’t see any reason to insult and/or discommode their existing membership to indulge new joins. Presumably these other sites are going on the theory that if someone joins a site, they wanted to, for reason(s) connected to the way it was at that point, and have little or no trouble adapting to its existing mode of play. I know of no VA site that does not have a mixed audience.

He continues with the assertion that, like most startups, FooPets was not showing a profit. Hm. Most VA sites aren’t operated to make a killing, granted, but i have yet to find any with as vast a need for capital as this one. What, exactly, costs so much? Not the coding, certainly, it’s mostly adapted (hence its problems), nor its net-access facilities – and while we have a TON of A’s, they can’t ALL be collecting a full living wage from the site…can they?
All along, we have begged management to level with us – not only about what they are doing for (or, more accurately, TO) us on the site, but about its/their needs…if these colossal (over 10 million in investment capital, PLUS all our contributions to date) expenses are legitimate, it would seem in their best interests to open their books and ask our help – I for one would give it gladly (well, I would have up to about 6 months ago…), as I have on every other site I’m involved in, when they had a financial crisis of some sort, and, knowing their membership cared about the future of the site as much as they did, were honest with us about their needs.

Janasov then moves on to so-called financial realities. Supposedly FooPets is “bleeding cash” – where, how, and why unspecified – and initimates that its present butchered state was merciful, as the preferred option was to shut it down. (makes you wonder why they bought out FooMojo in the first place, if it was in such sad shape…) He upholds the claim that FooPets’ primary audience is children, and ignores the fact that independently published demographics for the site still do not bear that out, despite Rivet’s strenuous and no doubt costly efforts to woo this new, unplanned-for in the original site design, and generally impecunious audience – which we only have now because management actively sought it, rather than courting the intended target market of adults. FooPets is NOT a children’s site – by most under-12’s standards, it is too slow and complicated to hold their interest. Retrofitting it to be “safe” will not solve this fundamental problem. And sticking the spinoff Pet Tales, a site that IS better-paced and -designed for youngsters, on FaceBook where they can (or at least should) not go, then claiming that THIS one is for the ADULTS, verges on the laughable. One can only assume that a FB app is cheaper than an indie like FooPets. Odd, though – there are dozens if not hundreds of stand-alone VA gaming sites out there, made for (and in many cases, BY) children, that do quite nicely – some of which have been running longer than Go-Pokey and FooPets combined. They’re free, too.

So. We have the “expensive” original app, which now has to be paid for in advance to be used by new members or old, supposedly intended for children – and a free, simplified app suitable for youngsters being offered to adults with incomes. Anybody else see something strange here?
I see no real justification made for what has been done to FooPets – and none of it speaks to the basic issue… why any site that wishes to succeed (and that may well be the key phrase right there) would attempt to dictate to its membership what they ought to be or want, or even try to remake them in its chosen image, rather than the reverse.
Last I heard, members played the game … the game was not supposed to play them.

IT’S MY PARTY, AND I’LL TRY IF I WANT TO…

(…YOU WOULD TRY,  TOO,  IF  – WHEN  –  IT HAPPENED TO FOO.)

ALL RIGHT, PEOPLE, THE CLOCK IS RUNNING, AND WE HAVE A DEFINITE CUTOFF NOW – NOON CA TIME ON TUESDAY 4/26.

TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO CANNOT – OR WILL NOT – GET CLUBFOO BY THEN, TO GET OVER HERE AND JOIN THE GROUP SHARE-TO-CARE LOGON PROGRAM.  WE WILL NOT CHOOSE TO GIVE UP ON OUR PETS, AND WE WILL NOT CAVE IN TO THE EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL MANIFEST IN THEIR SICKENING NEW EMAIL NOTICES.

SCROLL DOWN TO THE POST “ROCK THE ‘BOAT”, BELOW,  READ IT, MAKE A NOTE OF THE LOGIN INFO, AND FRIEND THE THREE ACCOUNTS LISTED THERE ASAP. WE WILL BE TRANSFERRING ALL MEMBER LINKS TO THE PAGE(S) MONDAY, SO THAT IF THEY DECIDE TO GET CLEVER, THE PROFILES CAN ACCESSED BY MEANS OTHER THAN THE FRIENDS TAB…AND IF NEED BE WE WILL PULL CACHED PAGES OF ALL FRIENDED ACCOUNTS AND POST THE PET LINKS INDIVIDUALLY TAGGED BY MEMBER NAME.

STAY IN TOUCH WITH THIS PAGE AND/OR ONE SWELL FOOP (google “fooscooper”)  FOR UPDATES AND SITE NEWS…AND IF THE INITIAL SHARED LOGON GETS TOO BUSY (let us know via Comments), WE WILL ADD ONE OR BOTH OF THE OTHERS, AND WORK OUT SOME KIND OF DISTRIBUTION AND/OR TIME-ON-SITE SCHEDULE.

THEY DO NOT GET TO WIN THIS ONE – NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT – AND THEY CAN STUFF THEIR BONDING WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE.

WE KNOW WE’RE STILL HERE – AND SO DO OUR PETS.

(NOTE – Danger, Will Robinson!, regarding the site crash, has been moved to drafts as unimportant at the moment)

ROCK THE ‘BOAT

The following profile has been ClubFoo’d, and is intended to provide a log-on for those caught outside the door to access their pets. Friend the three profiles, clickable below, NOW (we are accepting all requests, obviously), and then use the information below to log on after the cutoff to tend your animals. To the best of our knowledge, friends will still be able to reach each others’ pets,  in mobile if by no other means  – and,  just in case,  it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a click list of your pets’ play links off foo, to save having to mess about with caches later if they decide to get cute. We are making folders of all friended accounts pets’ links,  so they cannot be blocked away, and will post them on the profile there if need be – and have pasted a live-link list of all member links into the profile as well.

http://www.foopets.com/member/20803055  ( – link for friending)

Profile name : 4theGreaterGood
E-mail : fooey2youey@gmail.com
Password : safe4pets

NEW – IMPORTANT! LINK TO SHARE-TO-CARE GUIDE CLICKABLE AT RIGHT – PLEASE READ ASAP!
for some reason, newly-added friends are NOT showing up on the Friends Tab – i am manually adding new people to the alphabetical member link list on the profile page, and filing folders of their pet links, but i need everyone to check the list at 4theGreaterGood and MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON IT!

Plus, http://www.foopets.com/member/20665374  and  http://www.foopets.com/member/22269605  :  (backups if 4tGG gets too crowded – new visitors, please friend all three, we will send out FRs from the 4theGreaterGood list to those already on board, and will CF it and post logon info here if it’s needed.)

Remember, only one person can be logged on to an account at the same time – if you get a “busy signal”,  just try again in a little while.  When you are logged on, bear in mind that others need it as well,  and please be courteous…and remember to log out when you’re done, so we don’t call more official attention to this operation than we have to, by having the “member”  logging out and immediately back in from a different IP.

we will try to get more multiuse profiles up and available here if they are needed.  We know that you want to be able to visit your babies…but so will many others, we’re afraid.  If you don’t expect to be able to get CF’d any other way in the foreseeable,  please post a comment with your information,  and we will try to get you a sponsor.

Good luck,  God bless,  and DON’T GIVE UP.   

FooMojo has ducked out from under the very name  “Foo” – they are now officially “Rivet Games” ( http://rivetgames.com/  – once zero hour is behind us, we will start investigating this), though apparently the only place this is proclaimed onsite – other than by members – is in the TOS.  It is looking less and less like we will get any cooperation on pricing – so we have set this up as at least a temporary solution.

GIVE ME TWO STEPS…

(posted on page 229 of Announcement thread, and forwarded to those Admin who will listen (yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus…and while s/he has little power…they CAN get things to the proper ears.)

“Members, heed –
and Admin, PLEASE respond, even if  it’s just to tell me to kiss your…foot – okay?

WE HAVE A PROPOSAL THAT WILL AT LEAST LEAVE BOTH SIDES EQUALLY DISSATISFIED, IF NOT HAPPY (i.e…as fair as possible)

you have already demonstrated that you can augment and modify your ClubFoo packages at will…so…how about these :

1) a “bulk rate” for multi-profile members, with either a flat-rate discount or a sliding scale (rates drop with each additional profile added) for accounts added from the same IP and/or credit card, and

2) a budget package without foodollar benefits for children with cash-conscious parents and adults with limited incomes, at half or less of the basic rate.

FooPets gets their income, and is able to convert with a great deal less fuss, stress, and negative publicity to a pay-to-play site – and the majority of members have at least SOME hope of not having to abandon their pets.

WHAT DO YOU SAY? do you want the site to survive – or not.”

We have been mulling this over – and it seems a near-certainty that Mojo HAS to convert to pay-for-play by the target date, or else. Whether it is a buyout, a hostile takeover attempt, pressure by investors, or simply a note coming due, there is SOME kind of a gun to their heads. (they COULD – like many other VA sites have – simply level with us and appeal to the membership to come through for them, but i imagine that they realize that at this point member confidence in their integrity is somewhat low…even if such were their style.)

By offering them a way to have quantity to compensate for “quality” – and thereby generate the necessary income without the draconian measures outlined in the original Announcement – we have a shot at saving ourselves AND the site.

(Update 4/11…had sent this in to The Powers, via Support – the only semi-direct avenue i could find – and received a response of sorts : a tad “form letter”,  but at least it’s a start … a dialog is a dialog.  fingers crossed!)

(Update X 2 – “DrJane”s little piece of smarmy nonsense is NOT considered a response, lol. still hammering at the gates…)

MURDER, SHE WROTE

Bad Cop Corie strikes again…the other shoe has dropped. Go look at Announcements…then make what preparations you can. We were warned that something hideous was in the wings – and here it is.

http://www.foopets.com/topics/show/2033484?forum_id=6&post_count=109

Any who can find it in their hearts – and budgets – to help the helpless…please post here.

Hey, Mister Postman…

We just reviewed our open letter in “Hey You…” : sadly (and prophetically), it would appear to need little or no revision to apply in the here and now. Onsite, in the ChitChat and ClubFoo forums, 67ImpalaGirl has done a truly amazing job of itemizing the damage done – and reasonable alternatives – that we would be hard-pressed to improve upon, and which we highly commend for you to copy and submit, with her kind permission…or you could simply include a link to her admirable Forum post (shown below), and perhaps one to this blog, as well, as its linkages may be educational for the addressees,  in whatever you choose to send to the various contact points we have unearthed.

67ImpalaGirl’s marvellous Open Letter to Foo

http://www.foopets.com/topics/show/2023463?forum_id=1&post_count=99

Here is where you go to blow the whistle…

FooMojo, Inc.
625 Second Street, Suite 104
San Francisco, CA 94107
contact@foomojo.com
650-366-6230

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company
Checkerboard Square
St. Louis, Missouri 63164
(314) 982-1000 : http://www.nestlepurina.com/

MERIAL Limited (Frontline)
3239 Satellite Boulevard
Building 500 30096
Duluth – Georgia
Tel: +1 678 638 3000 : http://us.merial.com/

Bayer AG (Advantage)
51368 Leverkusen, Germany
Phone: +49 214 30-1
http://www.animalhealth.bayerhealthcare.com/

Novartis (Capstar)
US Headquarters
1 South Ridgedale Avenue
East Hanover NJ
862-778-8300
Novartis Animal Health Customer Relations
1-800-332-2761
Novartis Pharmaceuticals
1-888-NOW-NOVA (1-888-669-6682)
Novartis Corporation
Communications Department
608 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10020

(if anyone knows of any other paying advertisers, especially in the pet care field, please let me know and i’ll get their info as well…
Sic ’em, people!)

HEARTBREAK HOTEL

…just when we thought they had done their worst, they found a way to add yet one more morsel of agony in pursuit of their vision of what the site should be – a transparent effort to cut the members off from their fosters, no doubt in anticipation of being able to soon harvest and delete them.

Unsurprisingly, THIS “improvement” went unheralded until it was a done deed…as the justification they offer is even flimsier than the rest.

We are in the process of composing an email, which we will post here, along with Mojo’s email address – and possibly those of all of their corporate sponsors as well – for you to copy/paste, augment as desired, and send.

HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF…

…it would appear that our original question – the one that inspired this blog – has at last been answered : the “why” behind the seemingly-senseless changes.
Even had Janasov not been heard to state elsewhere that the site was being completely made over for the “modern” market, the goal(s) have now become graphically clear.

ONE: get all transactions under the control of, and exclusively favoring, the site. How – or if – they expect to actually make a profit under this system is another matter entirely…

TWO: Drive as many of the older “free” accounts off the site as possible. In this we devoutly hope they will not be allowed to succeed…

THREE: (and most ominous) To gather in as many “surplus” pets as possible (with the additional perk of being able to extinguish a large number of onsite pokeys), via a bounty on pets returned to the FooShelter  – newly candycoated as “just a division of the Adoption Center” – and by getting the majority of foster pets under the control of the new warm and fuzzy “Pet Sams” so that they can be quietly gathered up and tucked away in the FooShelter as well : following which will undoubtedly come a mass extinction that will make last year’s deletions look minor indeed, clearing the decks – and the server space – for more Disneyesque versions like the new Red Husky. (and to think Janasov supposedly came to FooMojo to get away from DisneyCorp…)

We are informed that “Good Cop” EAB1 has “answered” some questions about the changes announced by “Bad Cop” Corie…with the only hard information given either already known or easily deduced,  and no real data on the questions that we couldn’t readily figure out for ourselves. My, my – what a surprise.

But then, FooMojo had already discovered a much more effective way to “surprise” us.

~ Photobucket ~ Photobucket ~ Photobucket ~
(clicking any of these will take you to the source, where you can download or copy/paste them. an “Adult Member”, by the way, in my definition, is anyone capable of grasping basic concepts like the fact that getting half of what you paid for something when you sell it isn’t a fair exchange, that the changes beta and beyond are for the management, not the members…and that “DrJane” ain’t a real person.)

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN’

The following is a copy of the post i made on page 52 of the thread (now well over double that number) detailing the latest “improvements” to the site. If you haven’t seen Corie’s (the Bad Cop, as opposed to Good Cops EAB1 and DrJane/Ron) latest sermon from the mount, go look.

and weep.

or rage.

or both.

___________________________________________________________________

what a surprise…one more giant step on the road to CandyLand.

has it occurred to management that you have just killed all LL sale income, as there is no point in breeding an animal you cannot sell? presumably the next step then is elimination of breeding, as well. i really should have seen this coming when your solution to the falling stats due to the introduction of the Ultras was to freeze green stats regardless of medians – rendering the pets affected novelties useless for propagation.

from the players’ point of view, you have also destroyed the many hardworking member shelters, who cannot now place pets unless you plan to make them giftable, which i think unlikely – more probably, gifting is the next thing to get the ax.

what a neat way for all the irresponsible absentee breeders to get rid of, and rich off,  their endless unsold litters…and as far as conditions in the fooshelter go – those pets are in suspended animation, unless a kindhearted member chooses to visit them in Mobile – unfed, unwatered, uncared for in any way until by some lucky chance they are adopted. i remember when adopted pets from the fooshelter arrived well plastered with foopoo, until you changed the coding to exclude it from scenes. what happened to that wonderful concept of responsibility that the site was supposedly founded to further and encourage, especially in the young?

25% of the action on sales wasn’t enough? i personally had been anticipating a tax on pet sales, but once again, management has found a way to do something even more destructive to the future of the site.

this war of attrition against long-term members must cease. most of us are too stubborn and committed to our pets and/or our previous investment in the site to be driven away. your rationalizations for the changes are as usual flimsy at best…i am not a programmer by any means, and even i can see a dozen ways to solve the problems of scamming and harassment – and as no one is forced or obligated to pay an inflated price for a pet, there is no such thing as “profiteering”, at least on the members’ part. the fact that an item or pet does not sell either means the price is too high, or no one who is able to find it happens to want it – both temporary problems, and easily dealt with by the selling member. none of your justifications hold up under reasoned evaluation.

as i don’t think anyone at FooMojo is stupid, no one there believes this is going to increase site income or member satisfaction…therefore another motivation is at work, and i can envisage only one. if you want to shut the site down and start over, have the courage – and the courtesy – to say so.