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Regarding the Sale of IGEFollow

#52 Apr 30 2007 at 8:53 AM Rating: Good
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To me, all of this IGE stuff, including this part, is much ado about nothing.


This is where perception trumps reality, you guys took a beating on slashdot and the "IGE is in bed with Allak" rumors have clung to your reputation like a gerbil on Richard Gere.

Note the lack of buzz surrounding the divestiture of IGE from Affinity Media Corp yet the RMT/IGE/Allak links remain.

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#53 Apr 30 2007 at 9:03 AM Rating: Default
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I want to hear the McQuaid story. PM's people.

I do remember listening to a SOE podcast where they briefly trashed allakhazam over a comment he made at some convention, back story on that would be fun as well.
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#54 Apr 30 2007 at 9:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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Please don't take this off track. If you want to ask about that type of stuff, make a post in the asylum and I can answer there. I want this to stay on the right topic.
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#55 Apr 30 2007 at 9:58 AM Rating: Good
Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
Please don't take this off track. If you want to ask about that type of stuff, make a post in the asylum and I can answer there. I want this to stay on the right topic.


Okay, done.
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#56 Apr 30 2007 at 12:20 PM Rating: Decent
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One of the reason it was easy to assume Allakhazam had become corporate sibling, and fated to become actual partner to IGE was the lack of timely and precise info. I followed every official post that I could find, but it was only yesterday I see the name of the buyer for Allakhazm as "Affinity Media".

It was simply easier to believe the mysterious, (then) unnamed corporate "parent" company bought up a (probably) low profit entity like Allkhazam out of some perceived synergy with its known profit center, IGE, than to believe a company wants the Allakhazam site to dump money into its operation without expecting something extra back. In absence of contradictory info (or any info, really), it was most logical to assume the buyer intended to use Allakhazam to further its existing business and add value to its primary profit center.

I'm glad to see Allakhazam today is still without IGE advertisement or any apparent involvement with IGE. But, what was the business plan and objective in owning both IGE and Allakhazam continues to be a vexing mystery.

* * *

Why would a company sell a high-revenue, profitable business center like IGE? Call me cynical, but it's unlikely the board of directors had a collective attack of the conscience. Legal liability and tax shenanigans are the only things come to mind, but I don't know enough about those to speculate. ._.

* * *

I don't know how to track down more info on "Affinity Media" or "Affinity Media, Inc." if it is not the " Affinity Media International Corp." with the SEC filings. Anyone has suggestions?






Edited, Apr 30th 2007 2:22pm by IfritnoItazura
#57 Apr 30 2007 at 12:53 PM Rating: Good
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IfritnoItazura wrote:
Why would a company sell a high-revenue, profitable business center like IGE?
Presumably because it wasn't proving profitable. I've no judge for this aside from a previously linked blog calling IGE a "money pit" but I doubt the selling off of IGE by Affinity was for ethical reasons.
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#58 Apr 30 2007 at 1:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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First off we were not a low profit business when they bought us. We were quite profitable. We were never purchased to combine with IGE. We were purchased to combine with Thottbot and Ogaming. Thottbot and Ogaming were popular sites that were losing money. We were a popular site that was making money. They wanted to integrate our business model. Also, the combination of Allakhazam and Thottbot into a single entity under the Zam umbrella gives Affinity Media one of the top 100 most visited sites in all the internet, and a clear stranglehold on the MMO market. I pretty much explained this in one of the first couple of posts I made after the sale. I agree it has dragged out far longer than I ever anticipated and many things are still not done, but that's really out of my control.

As for why they sold IGE, I am not privy to their thought processes. I doubt it has anything to do with any moral judgement about what IGE did. I'm sure it is just a pure business decision. Whatever they were paid was likely considered to be a better deal than whatever they would have made by keeping the business. I know when I sold my business I calculated the best and worst case income from the business over time, factored in that income from running a business is taxed as normal income, but income from the sale of a business is taxed at a capital gains rate, calculated the potential income of the money that would come instantly from the sale and came to a number where I felt there was more of a risk in keeping the company than selling it. When they got above that number I agreed to sell. I imagine Affinity did much the same thing.
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#59 Apr 30 2007 at 3:12 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm with Alla on this one..it was definitely a business decision to get rid of IGE.

I don't know what's been going on in WoW or other games in the past year, but SE has been kicking the proverbial asses of RMT in FFXI. They've deleted a ton of farmers, crafters, and botters...way more than ever before. Plus they've been keeping up on it too. The lack of gil on certain sites makes most of us laugh. And I would bet that this is directly related to why IGE isn't the cash cow it once was.
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#60 Apr 30 2007 at 3:49 PM Rating: Good
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Thanks for replying, Jeffrey. I really appreciate the chance for further clarification on the nature of Allakhazam and its place in its parent's corporate structure.

Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
First off we were not a low profit business when they bought us. We were quite profitable.

I didn't mean any offense; I just thought the revenue of IGE would be a lot higher than Allakhazam, and likely the net profit as well. (Plus, Allakhazam on its own apparently was not able to afford substantial infrastructure upgrade to meet traffic demand comfortably, which led me to believe the profit was on the "low" side.)

Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
We were never purchased to combine with IGE. We were purchased to combine with Thottbot and Ogaming. Thottbot and Ogaming were popular sites that were losing money. We were a popular site that was making money. They wanted to integrate our business model. Also, the combination of Allakhazam and Thottbot into a single entity under the Zam umbrella gives Affinity Media one of the top 100 most visited sites in all the internet, and a clear stranglehold on the MMO market.

This makes business sense, and I wished I had caught this explanation at the time. ^_^;

I still harbor doubts, however, due to the seemingly secretive nature of Affinity Media.

- The company doesn't seem to have a web site.
- At this time, Allakhazam's "about" page doesn't have any reference to Affinity Media.
- In fact, the page doesn't even contain direct mention of the ZAM network--though the staff's e-mail addresses are clearly @zam.com.
- At this time, Ogaming's about page doesn't mention ZAM or Affinity Media.
- www.zam.com itself barely mentions its parent with a terse "Copyright © 2007 Affinity Media, Inc." The site barely qualifies as as a portal--it doesn't seem to want visitors.

This company apparently doesn't want attention--and it is in a business to draw attention (revenue by advertisement, and by subscription from visitors)--an apparent contradiction. Makes me wonder if it has something to hide.


* * *

There is a substantial info gap regarding the company that is "Affinity Media, Inc.". Can you tell me which city it is headquartered at, and which state/country is it incorporated at?

If someone has experience researching companies can chime in, that'd be great. (I'm definitely no business investigator nor journalist ...)
#61 Apr 30 2007 at 4:36 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just curious as to why it took until the sale of IGE to bring out the name of the Parent company to us, when so long ago it could have made a huge difference of the opinion to many people here? I understand you had been under contract for one thing or another in the beginning, but it's been over a year now? While it may have been stated that Allakhazam was not a part of IGE, it was only by your word, with no way to verify. And as we all know, not everything said on the net is pure truth all the time. Look at me, for example. I'm just a middle aged man sitting in my parents basement playing MMO's all day.
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#62 Apr 30 2007 at 5:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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It's business 101. A private corporation in transition that is still acquiring other businesses and organizing its structure does not want publicity. You don't want people following your moves and critiquing them. You want to be able to experiment and make mistakes without scrutiny. You want to be able to hire and fire people until you get management you are happy with. You don't want your rivals to get into bidding wars with you on pieces you might want to acquire. Once you have developed the model you like and have all the pieces in place, then you hire a PR firm and make a huge announcement and try to draw attention to yourself. Even then you only do that if it benefits you or if you are looking at going public some day. At some point Affinity will likely get to that stage, but it is not there yet.

Keep in mind that Allakhazam.com is just a small part of this company. We had to announce the purchase mainly because when we started to integrate ogaming it would have become pretty obvious. Frankly, the smart thing to do would have been to hide it completely until Affinity was ready to make whatever announcement they were going to make. Sure some rumors would have cropped up, but it likely would have been kept largely quiet. Instead, we made as complete an announcement as we could and tried to answer questions as best as we could. Look where that got us. I admit the whole process has made me far more cynical. I've tried to give the best information I could under the circumstances right from the start and instead of being believed, people have taken the word of an anonymous story posted on an outdated site and then assumed the worst. You all should be glad I didn't just take my money and retire (which I could certainly afford to do) and leave this site to just rot with the new ownership. Instead, I've stayed around and fought for everything we can get to make it better. Believe me it is not easy for someone who has been working for himself for years to re-enter the typical corporate enviroment.

Really, why do you care who owns us? Is the site being run the way you like it? If so, enjoy it. If not, give constructive criticism or just leave. Ask yourself this. Do you know who owns any of the other sites you use? Who owns Tentonhammer? What do you know about them? Who owns Curse Gaming? Do you know for sure? Who owns your local hoagie shop you get lunch at? Here's a test for you. Go to of all of your favorite sites and try to discover who actually owns them. Except for those that are publically held, you won't be able to. They are private businesses and have all the right in the world to keep their ownership ties secret.
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#63 Apr 30 2007 at 6:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
Really, why do you care who owns us?

It may surprise you, but I think the users who were vocally critical of the sale to a mystery company which owned IGE are people who cared deeply about Allakhazam and its place amongst MMO players. At least, I was one.

Now, I mostly seek independent, collaborating evidence that IGE and Allazhazam are no longer associated business wise. I very much would like to proclaim, "I was wrong," but don't want to jump to conlusions (again? lol).

Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
We had to announce the purchase mainly because when we started to integrate ogaming it would have become pretty obvious. Frankly, the smart thing to do would have been to hide it completely until Affinity was ready to make whatever announcement they were going to make. Sure some rumors would have cropped up, but it likely would have been kept largely quiet. Instead, we made as complete an announcement as we could and tried to answer questions as best as we could. Look where that got us. I admit the whole process has made me far more cynical.


I don't want to get too deep into this, but honestly, was there a way to become a corporate sibling to IGE without angering at least some of the users/members? Was it realistic to expect the reputation of the site to NOT suffer substantially?

There is obvious synergy possible between MMO community sites and IGE, and common sense says the then new owner(s) of Allakhazam certainly had the leverage and the right to explore and implement collaboration between the two entities.

It hurts not to be believed, but for the outsiders, the logical--the money bet--was on collusion, not on some mysterious corporate barrier between profit centers which prevents a potentially better bottom line.

Time has proven the prediction of collaboration between Allakhazam and IGE to be wrong, of course. Yet, if Affinity Media buys another IGE type company, I'd bet again on collusion--it really is the rational choice, IMO.

Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
Is the site being run the way you like it? If so, enjoy it. If not, give constructive criticism or just leave.

Am I or other doubters being asked to leave? =/ You have every right, of course, to ask (and enforce) this.

Edited, Apr 30th 2007 8:13pm by IfritnoItazura
#64 Apr 30 2007 at 6:18 PM Rating: Excellent
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To me the most interesting part of this saga is the fact that IGE is no longer as profitable. That seems like a ray of hope that MMO companies (even the much beleagued SE who's game economy was so completely monopolized by RMT activity) might be able to eventually fix the problem.

I also appreciate your candor in this matter throughout Alla. It takes some sand to be so forthright about your private bussiness. Kudos for that.
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#65 Apr 30 2007 at 7:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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IfritnoItazura wrote:

Am I or other doubters being asked to leave? =/ You have every right, of course, to ask (and enforce) this.


Nope. But maybe give us a little slack next time would be nice. Not that there will be a next time.
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#66 Apr 30 2007 at 10:09 PM Rating: Good
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Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
It's business 101. A private corporation in transition that is still acquiring other businesses and organizing its structure does not want publicity....You don't want your rivals to get into bidding wars with you on pieces you might want to acquire....

Yup yup. Possibly one of the most famous examples being Walt Disney World. Walt used a bunch of dummy corporations to buy up the "worthless" swamp land he wanted. Once word finally got out who was buying, the surrounding land that remained gained a significantly higher price tag overnight.

So...if Alla is like Disney World...it leaves one to wonder which admin is Mickey Mouse?
#67 May 01 2007 at 10:58 AM Rating: Good
Question: Does Brock Pierce own Affinity Media?

ref: http://www.f13.net/?itemid=555
#68 May 01 2007 at 1:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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Greenray wrote:
Allakhazam Defender of Justice wrote:
It's business 101. A private corporation in transition that is still acquiring other businesses and organizing its structure does not want publicity....You don't want your rivals to get into bidding wars with you on pieces you might want to acquire....

Yup yup. Possibly one of the most famous examples being Walt Disney World. Walt used a bunch of dummy corporations to buy up the "worthless" swamp land he wanted. Once word finally got out who was buying, the surrounding land that remained gained a significantly higher price tag overnight.

So...if Alla is like Disney World...it leaves one to wonder which admin is Mickey Mouse?


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#69 May 01 2007 at 5:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yes Brock is one of the owners of Affinity. Don't ask me what percentage he owns, because I have no idea.
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#70 May 02 2007 at 1:40 AM Rating: Default
Good job Allah, Smiley: thumbsup


You've effectively made everyone who ******* at you earlier look like a complete ****.
#71 May 02 2007 at 2:08 AM Rating: Good
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King Rimesume wrote:
You've effectively made everyone who ******* at you earlier look like a complete ****.


No, because when we "************* at him we had been left in the dark for a year and no one was telling us anything. Since none of us, to my knowledge, had evolved psychic abilities, we had no idea what was going to happen.

I'm glad that IGE is gone and the site is being updated (although it's still painfully slow), but I stand by my initial ******** about being left in the dark. Had Allakhazam packed and leaved after turning the key over to IGE then he would've effectively made everyone who ******* at him earlier look like they were right.

Had Allakhazam told us everything from the beginning to the end, including the sale of IGE (someone had to dig that up too), then we would've looked like twats with extra moron on the side.

I know it's usually best to keep people in the dark until things are settled, but you must also be prepared to face the speculations caused by it. Getting on your soap box afterwards and proclaiming the speculators twats is easy.
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#72 May 02 2007 at 3:31 AM Rating: Good
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Yes Brock is one of the owners of Affinity. Don't ask me what percentage he owns, because I have no idea.


Thank you for being straight forward with your answer.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, this does mean that Brock, the founder of IGE, still 'owns' Allakhazam through Affinity. As I doubt Brock (or anyone engaged in RMT business for that matter) has had a sudden attack of regret about the secondary market of RMT, it is probably safe to say that RMT related activities are not off the plate at all for the overall picture of Affinity Media.

It'll be interesting to see if there are any type of cross corporate agreements revealed in the near future between Yantis' and Brock's organizations.
#73 May 02 2007 at 5:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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Really, why do you care who owns us?


While I can not write as eloquently as I wish, IfritnoItazura touched lightly on one of the main reasons why there was such heart ache and questions:


Quote:
I think the users who were vocally critical of the sale to a mystery company which owned IGE are people who cared deeply about Allakhazam


We did, and still do. We care about the people who have worked so hard to make this site so great. We care about the standards that many other sites let go of, but this site held fast. We supported the ideal and still so. Disregarding the business view for one moment and looking at it from a members view, those who have also contributed to this sites profit and staying power, it was difficult to keep abreast and know what was going on with their favorite gaming community, more so when once a very active owner who joked and posted daily with us, withdrew for almost a year. I can understand the reasons why, but it did not make it easier for those of us who wished to stay and wait for more information in the hopes that there was indeed, no reason to leave.

We cared because your site set an ideal of honor in MMOs, one that most of us here cling to dearly.

Hell, I care so much about the damn people on this site that Im shelling out a small fortune in order to get together with many of them this summer. How many gaming sites out there can say they have such a tight knit group of people that they try and get together without the background of a gaming convention? ;)
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#74 May 02 2007 at 6:26 AM Rating: Good
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DSD wrote:
We cared because your site set an ideal of honor in MMOs, one that most of us here cling to dearly.
That's pretty much it.

I'm not looking to get into a "Beat up Alla" thing here but "Why would you care?" has to be a question you knew the answer to. A lot of people believe that RMT is detrimental to the health of MMORPGs. You said that you were against RMT. You said, during the big Yantis buy-outs, that Allakhazam.com wasn't for sale to the RMT interests. People often restated that point with pride. Some said that their main reason for supporting this site was because it was the holdout against RMT.

Then you sold Allakhazam.com to a group founded by the guy who owned and controlled the largest RMT enterprise out there. Regardless of the details and whether or not "RPG Holdings" existed and that crap, Allakhazam.com was sold to make Brock Pierce, the man behind IGE, the ultimate CEO of Allakhazam.com.

I'm not saying that now you love RMT. I'll happily admit that the site still goes after RMT spam and isn't plastered with IGE banners. But you honestly wondered why people cared?
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#75 May 02 2007 at 9:57 AM Rating: Default
Mazra wrote:
King Rimesume wrote:
You've effectively made everyone who ******* at you earlier look like a complete ****.


No, because when we "************* at him we had been left in the dark for a year and no one was telling us anything. Since none of us, to my knowledge, had evolved psychic abilities, we had no idea what was going to happen.



I was actually talking about the thread which he told us originally about the sale of this site. Assumptions suck. Smiley: frown

Edited, May 2nd 2007 10:58am by Rimesume
#76 May 02 2007 at 12:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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Really, why do you care who owns us?


DSD wrote:
We cared because your site set an ideal of honor in MMOs, one that most of us here cling to dearly.


Cherried for truth.

When I first came to this site in 2004, I can safely say that I didn't know jack shIt about gaming, nor did I have any real concept of the sense of 'community' that a game can foster.

I have a strong hatred for RMT and I've learned how to show proper respect for my fellow players, something that was cultivated out of what I picked up from these forums. It was through these forums (particularly the private server ones for XI) that I started to connect with other people on my server, and within the game as a whole, to stretch that out.

While I can't say that I'm going to something like Allanois, I do know a few people that I met thru these forums that would have no problems if I dropped on by to visit for a couple days to meet 'em. I belong to several different forums across the web, and this is one of the extreme few where I could say "Yeah, I'd meet people from here offline". This is also the only site online where I pay a yearly subscription to, and do so willingly...and the community and the ideals that this site has makes me want to continue doing so.

When the sale took place and alot of the details were kept secret and all of these "zomgz IGE ownz Alla!1" rumors were floating about, it bothered me somewhat when the site didn't immediately step forward to dispel everything. I understood it from a business standpoint, but as a loyal poster...it didn't make sense.

This sale is something I am extremely happy about, for it hopefully will dispel that "IGE owns Allakhazam" or whatever the naysayers are saying. The fact that we care who owns this site should show how much we ultimately care about it.
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