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Interview with Hydrogen, owner of Neocodex.us, a neopets cheating community

Discussion in 'Interviews' started by cpvr, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. cpvr
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    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Well, I had the opportunity to interview, Hydrogen - who is the founder, and owner of a neopets community called Neocodex.us. This interview was done back in 2009, but I haven't add the chance to re-add it the forums, so here it is:

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    1: What is Neocodex?
    Neocodex is one of the premier Neopets sites on the Internet. It provides tools, guides, and many other resources for both legitimate and illegitimate Neopets players. We have many programs available which perform a lot of the tedious tasks on Neopets for you. We also just released our items database which uses distributed pricing schemes to calculate the most up to date prices. You can check out the item database out here and read the full feature list here.

    2: What made it successful?
    There were many qualities of our site which made it successful. One of the key elements to our success was that we focused on the content of our website and let it grow from there. We always took novel approaches to how we solved the problems we faced. This is a major part of the Neocodex culture. But, I think a major part of it was simply that we were unique and created our own style rather than copying someone else.

    3: How old is Neocodex?
    Neocodex opened for its first day on January 19, 2004. That would make it almost six years old.

    4: How many people work for you?
    I wouldn't classify them as employees but Neocodex staff is about three moderators, three content writers, and four programmers. We also have four administrators.

    5: How did you feel when Slopdog closed?(Slopdog was a former neopets cheating community)
    Judging by how much I care for my own site, I can understand how the the owners of Slopdog felt when they had to close the site. We didn't have much interaction with Slopdog but, putting myself in their shoes, I was upset when they closed.

    6: How do you feel about competition?
    Competition is necessary. It pushes everyone to do their best. Our competition is very skilled in what they do and have been in the scene for a few years now. The ball, then, is in our court to continue to release amazing products.

    7: How old were you when you created Neocodex?
    I was 17 years old.

    8: How do you appreciate your fans?
    Our main priority is to provide amazing tools and resources to our users. Other than our services, we run contests where members can win both cash and Neopets prizes.We're also playing with some ideas to partner with some online services to offer free access to their tools for all Neocodex members.

    9: How do you feel about Virtualpetlist.com?
    I've only recently discovered the site, actually. Seems like you have put a lot of hard work into it.

    10: Any kind words for us?
    Thank you for doing this interview :). You have some good strategies as far as site promotion goes. They are clearly working!



    11: Is what you do really illegal?
    It depends on who you ask. Neopets will tell you that using third party programs on their site is illegal and against their end user license agreement (EULA). However, EULAs are not the law. Otherwise, people could write their own laws. The fact of the matter is that we aren't doing anything on Neopets that you couldn't already do with your browser. There are some sites who scam accounts or create fake login pages. These actions would definitely be illegal as they usually involves some sort of phishing and always have malicious motives. However, creating and using programs which simply automate tasks is definitely not illegal from a US law point of view.

    12: What do you think of Neopets banning cheaters?
    Consider a Neopets account as a piece of data on their server. They can do whatever they want with this data. I see where they are coming from in banning cheaters but I think their approach could be better. I think Neopets would benefit greatly by opening itself up to third party developers. Instead of banning cheaters for using programs, I think Neopets should open up to the possibility of playing their game in different ways. If they did, you would start seeing applications on multiple platforms such as the iPhone and on Google's Android OS to name a few. I wont go into how beneficial proliferation of a brand is to an organization as I think its fairly clear.

    13: What are your future plans for Neocodex?
    We have a lot of cool ideas for the site. We are working to create a lot of the tools that we had written in Visual Basic in Python. We are also releasing many legitimate tools for the Neopets players who don't want to use programs. Lab Zaps, an application that lets you keep track of the trends in your zapping of your pet is one example though there are many more come!

    14: Can you tell us more about the items database?
    Sure! It's a novel approach to pricing items on Neopets, fully automated by users using our programs. Previous databases all use user input which causes prices to become stale and outdated over time. Our database brings the latest prices to users. We find that this allows the prices to be more accurate and better for the users. We also calculate the profit of an item so players can know which items are best to target when buying them on Neopets. Furthermore, a really cool feature is the ability to see an items price in the past. We have charts on most items describing the trend of an items price over time. You can check out the item database out here and read the full feature list here.

    15: What is one piece of advice you would give to others looking to start their own site?
    After almost six years of running Neocodex, the best advice I can give is to find a small niche and target it heavily. Become known for that niche and then start expanding into other areas slowly. In addition, make sure not to grow your site too fast or you will spread yourself too thin. Finally, try to be unique in what you do. Make your own style.


    Any other questions? Feel free to post them and I'll try my best to get them answered by Hydrogen!
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  2. cpvr
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    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    I'm thinking about doing a part 2 interview with Neocodex, does anyone have any questions they wish to ask? @Ajax @Azel @Cupcakes @sunandshadow
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013

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