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The downfall of Neopets.com - bad user support

Discussion in 'Virtual Pets Chat' started by cpvr, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    The downfall of Neopets.com - bad user support
    Neopets opened to the world in 1999, and it took the web by storm. It was one of the first major pet sites to ever "Get big" in terms of media attention, and users alike. Neopets strong-armed the world when it opened. A lot of people thought it was pretty similar to Pokemon and Gigapets, which could have probably inspired Adam/Donna to create Neopets in the beginning. @Jokie


    Word of Mouth powered Neopets in the beginning, if you look back a lot of websites were writing about Neopets and talking about it, which brought in a lot of new users and kept the community strong. Neopets still is one of the finest pet games on the web, its features can't be touched by anyone. But, Subeta, Marapets and Powerpets have a lot of features which can put them on the same level of Neopets, in terms of being entertaining to users.



    One thing that crosses my mind is the fact that a lot of users are frozen

    A quick google search for "Neopets frozen" returns the following results on Google:
    About 528,000 results (0.36 seconds)

    Now a search for "frozen on Neopets, help" returns the following results:
    About 405,000 results (0.43 seconds)

    If users weren't having issues with getting frozen for no reason, for insignificant broken rules, or because someone accessed their account without permission, these results wouldn't be as high as they are today.


    One one of the beloved Neopets fan forums, TDN forums, a user asks "How do you contact Neopets".
    http://www.tdnforums.com/index.php?/...ntact-neopets/

    Could it be because Neopets' support system isn't as good as other sites? Of course, that's a given considering how big the site is, and how many staff members they have. However, its still a wake up call when you see how many users are actually frozen. Also, take note how many accounts they have. Do you think after a user gets frozen, they run and make a new account because they want to play as well? Share your thoughts.


    This is true because sometimes emails are filtered and staff members aren't aware of the ticket, so submit another one right and provide more data? How many users here have been frozen for no reason and eventually came back? We'd love to hear.

    A long-time Neopets user states that “sometimes they can get their accounts back” but for many, this may never be an option.

    On one forum, a user asked: "there was a supposedly nice neopets staff member that could help me get my account back if I neomailed him/her personally. Any Details?" to which another replied: "i dunno if thats even possible with 'TNT'." This shows that some feel that TNT are becoming lax or even rude when responding to frozen user help requests.

    Neopets strives to be one of the best "Virtual pet communities" on the web today. However, if you browse their Neoboards you don't really see a lot of quality content being posted their members. That's because a lot of their members are young; teens and kids even though they also have some adults that play as well.


    The stats do not lie and plus Alexa is reporting that Neopets' traffic is going down... Oh, I wonder why, users get frozen for no reason sometimes. Thus, the traffic & users online numbers start to decline.

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/neopets.com
    See the dip in Neopets' stats though? A few years ago, there would be at least 30k to 50k members online and sometimes lag would be a bitch on the site.



    And based on stats Neopets traffic will continue to go down according to the traffic stats. There's only way now, up or go down more.
    [​IMG]
    Neopets used to average 5 million visits/day - but guess what?
    http://www.quantcast.com/neopets.com

    Now they're at 1 million/vists/day

    Of course, Alexa and Quantcast both report "Traffic declines" for Neopets, and as you can see, their numbers haven't been the same in a long time. Who's to blame though? The fact that Technology is changing and more people are looking into other games to play? That could be true as well, Neopets probably got boring for some people and they grew up.
    This information can also be seen when searching Google Trends which states that Google searches for Neopets are now at five percent of what they were in 2005, at its peak.
    http://www.google.com.au/trends/explore#q=Neopets

    Flash games and features
    Neopets has the most flash games that any pet site has ever seen. You could tell they were more focused on driving new features and keeping users busy in the past. How many flash games do they have now? Over 150 right? They also have a lot of sponsored games that keep users busy as well. For some Neopets users, these games can be the only true reason they play.

    Neopets also has a lot of merchandise that's out that people buy as well. See this thread: Neopets merchandise ever bought some


    Fan sites and cheating communities
    Fan sites seem to have been keeping the Neopets' community alive for some time now. Some of their major fansites are as followed:
    http://www.thedailyneopets.com
    http://www.pinkpt.com
    http://www.jellyneo.com
    http://www.neocodex.us
    http://www.sunnyneo.com
    There are also some “Old Neopets” fansites which are dedicated to the people who preferred the old version of Neopets whether it was the layout or the pets and wish to continue playing this version.

    Of course, cheating communities aren't the same as fan sites, but they still keep users playing.

    Cookie grabbers have also ran rampant on Neopets over the years. @Keith

    http://www.neocodex.us/forum/topic/91925-cookie-grabbers-again/

    But neopets is feature rich
    Neopets is with a doubt the game that has one of the most features online. They have so many things to do that users can keep coming back for more. Whether you do quests, or play games, Neopets has something for you to do. And, with their New Battle dome underworks, they're trying to upgrade old features that kept a lot of users playing before. This is a good thing, right?


    So, I stand by statement when I say this: Did Viacom change Neopets for the better or worse?
    Some people say that the takeover by Viacom is one of the worst things to happen to Neopets as they brought with them the ‘need’ for commercialism and profit. Much of the time the ways that they profit are reasonable such as items for site use or merchandise but this may also be stretching The Neopets Staff too thin to be able to devote much time to the more important user support.
    Sure this need for profit comes from the fact that Viacom needs to pay not only TNT for their work but also to grow their corporation and most likely to also pay other, nameless people in the line such as legal staff and even cleaners for the building where TNT works. Even with this, many users of any petsite do not like people trying to profit.


    A lot of pet site owners have been focused on "Targeting Neopets" for new users, you can see the campaigns that Subeta and Marapets have used below:
    Bored with Neopets - which was ran by Marapets.

    There was also a site that was started by a Subeta fan that compares Neopets and Subeta, but I can't find the link to it.

    Thanks to @nonight for help with this article.

    With that being said, what are some things you think caused the downfall of Neopets? How do you feel that there's less players online now than there was before?

    Do you still see yourself playing Neopets as much as you used to?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  2. Joy

    Joy Member VPL Member

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    I think that if a site can do what Neopets can, in terms of advertising, then yeah. The problem is, this includes a tremendous amount of cash. Neopets seems to be so successful because they don't rely on advertising on the internet, they go right out into the offline world. Toys, games, magazines and books, cards, and TV ads... ect. could probably help Subeta or Aywas push forward to beating Neopets even further.

    This is just... a little thought I had.​
     
  3. Anjwalker

    Anjwalker Banned Banned

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Yes, its quite possible, but I doubt its worth it finiacially.

    The money you'd have to spend on advertising campaigns would kill most companies or individuals.
     
  4. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Well, guess what? Viacom doesn't scare me - who cares if they have the money and resources - we have the man power as well. This is the internet - why be scared of them?
     
  5. Lauren

    Lauren Mrs. Bouncer VPL Member

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    It's not that we're scared of them, it's that financially, they're a major corporation, and many small business owners just can not afford to do even a fraction of what they put into advertising alone. Their budget for one TV commercial is probably more than a small business spends in a year or two, total.

    I have nothing but nasty, angry thoughts for Viacom, believe it or not. I remember when they first bought out Neopets - there was a total public outcry on the boards. People were pissed. Then came NeoCash, or whatever it's called. When I quit Neopets years ago, I thought this was the worst decision any site could make, ever. Now I kind of see the benefit of it, but frankly, Neopets caters to a younger audience, and most of them (including me, at that age) didn't see any benefit from it.

    Haha did that even make any sense? I hope so lol.

    I am a firm believer in pumping out continuous, unique content to your site. I think so far, Aywas and Subeta have done the best job at this. I haven't played Subeta in years, but I do remember them being unique. However, I do play Aywas, and frequently the owner, Slash, will upload a new, cool item that does something nobody thought it would do. Plus there's the whole idea of being able to draw your own custom, which is pretty freaking cool, if you ask me. Other sites may be able to emulate that idea, but I don't think anybody will ever truly be able to top Aywas in that particular aspect.

    -Lauren
     
  6. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    This is the internet - word of mouth is more powerful than a stupid TV commercial - why? Neopets doesn't treat its users right - and if people dig deeper and research what's going on, they'll find the information - fact is, we have youtube, Twitter and Facebook now and plus, there's a ton of ways to drive more people to our games - how? Well, you in order to beat them, you need to have the vision "My game is better than Neopets", and isn't that the truth.

    Ya, I don't anything nice to say about them either - they banned my account years ago, for no reason. I worked hard on my account, and that's how they repay me, ban a user that plays the game by the rules? It's not fair.

    Fact is, innovation speaks, and money talks - if you feel that Neopets/Viacom isn't doing the right things - then what are we doing? We're not doing anything about just because they're backed by a ton of resources - doesn't mean, we can't do the same thing - surely, innovation speaks right? I'm a firm believer in - our games - and our staff members treat the users the right way, like the users are diamonds - if it wasn't for the users supporting Neopets in the beginning - writing blogs, getting news on other sites, then truly, Neopets wouldn't be as big it is today.

    And also, Neopets has a ton of features - so the only way to truly take them on - would be to bust out a ton of content, to combat, the Neopets staff members - and truly, if you feel that your pet site is better, then what are you doing? Get their users - why?

    If they like the game, they're going to write about it, and tell their friends = word of mouth = internet marketing = BAM
     
  7. Lauren

    Lauren Mrs. Bouncer VPL Member

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    The problem is, like I said, Neopets has a much younger target demographic than most petsites out there today. For example, take Aywas. Their users, if they're treated poorly by the staff, they're going to blog about it and tell people and basically use word of mouth to get the word out. However, if a Neopets user, who is say, 12 or 13, is treated poorly by the staff (which, more than likely, they will be), what are they going to do? I'm sure most 12 y/o's don't know about any virtual pet communities, and even if they do, they wouldn't be old enough, and probably half wouldn't be mature enough anyways, to join.
    Also, are most 8-12 y/o's really going to research a website before they join? Probably not, at least I know I didn't.

    On a personal note, I also have nothing nice to say about Neopets, or their staff. I was also banned, because I received "fake" money from someone who had duplicated a bunch of neopoints and sent them out to people. I was 13 I believe, and I cried like a baby for like 3 days, haha.
     
  8. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Well, the kids are the one - playing, but are they telling their friends? I know I wouldn't. Why? Get big on neopets fast, and they see it, watch your account get banned. Seriously, I believe in faith - and really, you have to look into the bigger picture "what made Neopets so successful to begin with?"

    It's content to tell you the truth - and plus, when you're new, and your features are good, then anything is possible.
     
  9. Rein

    Rein New Member VPL Member

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    This thread had me oddly pumped. Had to take a quick chill pill before I started rapping on my keyboard.

    It is possible to beat Neopets. It just takes a huge amount of tactics, business experience, money, creativity, and sense of community.
    It wouldn't be hard to beat them in the last two to be honest...

    As for the sites listed, I think Subeta and Aywas have the biggest chance. I've seen Subeta and I know what Keith can do - in fact, he was everything I listed in my first paragraph from what I can tell. I've also been intrigued by Aywas and their obvious creativity and mass of pets and designs. I only have to look at their homepage to see that.

    My first idea was to say I'd like to see a combination of the owners, each with their own skill in the pet site industry, coming together. I'm sure ideas from each site could easily surpass Neopets. This isn't going to happen, I know, but my point is that Neopets has been surpassed, just not in total.

    I personally have no interest in beating Neopets with my site. I know my limitations and I know to set doable goals. It'd be nice, don't get me wrong, but I'm not that big of a dreamer.

    However, like I said before. I will surpass Neopets in my own way. In both community (namely Roleplaying, I hope) and with my battle system. It's my goal to have the best battle system in the pet site community. That is my niche. I'm a true gamer at heart, and I plan to put every ounce of my passion into making the best pet site battle system possible.

    Even if Neopets tried to take me on, I'd still design something better than them. Neopets is past it's prime, it's time for them to step down and the newer and better sites to step up.

    Hmm... I hope I didn't just make a complete fool of myself. I'm going against my better judgement and posting this anyways because I said I'd post.
     
  10. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Well, it has me pumped too - its all about internet marketing - your community speaks for you - and this our Neopets grew so fast - and quite frankly, if their users did it, we can to. I've noticed something though, why aren't pet site owners using Youtube to their advantage?

    Like something I'd recommend:
    The fact is - our community is larger than Viacom/Neopets as a whole - and quite frankly, I believe in word of mouth - so, why aren't pet sites focusing on Youtube marketing?

    Ask your users to make a great video - and use the description box for the referral

    The main problem is - if you look into Neopets success - they grew from word of mouth, so where does this leave us?
     
  11. Keith

    Keith Member VPL Member

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Innovation costs money.

    Features, they cost money. Art? That costs money. Programmers? Well, for one that can build innovation that will scale with hundreds of thousands of users, that's pretty expensive. No one with that level of expertise is going to work for volunteer, or for a IOU.

    Advertising? That costs money. Word of mouth will get you so far, but properties like WebKinz, Club Penguin, they didn't pop up with word of mouth. They had million dollar ad campaigns, fueled by companies worth millions of dollars. Behind that, they had high paid engineers who likely have expertise in dealing with scaling to the milisecond.

    I don't want to rain on any parade, and I do think that at some point some site will beat Neopets. I think that there will be continued evolution in features and on forums like this we collectively make ourselves better.
     
  12. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Well, don't you believe in faith, Keith? You have a great product going on over there - and I truly believe if there's anyone in this game capable of doing something - game changing - and Keith, I stand by statement. Subeta is a great product - and quite frankly, right now, you guys are running things - in terms of the most users online, and community growth.

    I believe in Subeta - what I want to see is - get your users out there spreading the word. Launch some major contests, spend some money.

    You have to spend big, to grow big.

    And I wouldn't have brought this topic up, if I didn't feel that our games - now, are better than Neopets - in terms of friendly staff - and keeping the users happy, isn't that what we all want here?

    I truly believe - in order to take them on, spend some money, who cares if they have more man power? We do too, launch some contests - and get your users out there writing blog posts "Screw Viacom, Neopets, Join subeta.net", of course this is very targeting - and guess what?

    If you call the Neopets users out on this one - they'll talk about your site - its how Marapets grew. - but the fact remains if Mara's art was better, don't you think the Neopets users would love the game?
     
  13. Anjwalker

    Anjwalker Banned Banned

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Yes... Though I'd love to beat NeoPets, I'm personally not in a position to do so... I don't have thousand for advertising, nor a working site, and though the Lunalia Forums are getting 20-30 guest hits a day, my site isn't one of the talked about in developement sites.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  14. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Nobody is in the position to do it - but we're a community, correct? :)
    That's what we're here for - discussing this issue.. How can we beat Neopets? It's simple, learn their tactics... You guys played Neopets, right? You know what you liked about that place - so, why don't we talk about the issue some more - and share in-site?

    I'm pretty sure - if we reach out to a lot of the Neopets cheating forums, fansites, and other neopets-related sites, I'm sure they'll agree with us.
     
  15. Anjwalker

    Anjwalker Banned Banned

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    I guess you could do it, but it would require the one thing petsites seem to never like, working together.
     
  16. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Well, I'm pretty sure that this is an issue that we all need to work together on, right everyone?
     
  17. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    It's offical.

    We're taking this the Neopets fan community - permission has granted:
    TDN = one of the largest neopets fan forums on the net. I think we can do this everyone. I'll try my best in my man power, to spread the word about this issue.

    And I'm very sure in the potential in this - we can do something, we can spark some changes @Viacom if this spreads like rapid fire....


    TDN = ranks for #neopets on Google.
    I'm going to try to see if I can get ahold of Pinkpt has well, and see what we can do.
     
  18. Anjwalker

    Anjwalker Banned Banned

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Cool, though all I see that doing is anyone who posts here loosing there accounts on Neo.
     
  19. cpvr

    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    And why is that?
     
  20. Anjwalker

    Anjwalker Banned Banned

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    Re: Beat Neopets? Its possible

    Neo = I doubt they will like competition.
     

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