Really quickly, and I acknowledge this is a weird way to jumpstart my blog again and I’m going to go ahead and promise absolutely nothing, I wanted to write about this brand I’ve never heard of and was wholly uninterested in until I did this year’s Sniffapalooza Fall Ball and the brand was at Bergdorf Goodman.Read More
Some of my account details left in for credibility. This is on The Official Neopets Team Message Board (link obviously only works if you have an account.)
It makes me feel a little better, but they fired a ton of the content providers and writers. What was the issue with the old content providers that they had to issue lay-offs, and who are they getting to replace them? What exactly are these “new goals”?
If the above is difficult to read, I C&Ped the content:
To our Neopets Members and Community:
Unfortunately, a recent restructuring of our resources means a number of respected employees working on Neopets are no longer with the company. JumpStart appreciates each and every one of our employees, and it was a sad day to have to say goodbye to our friends. While it’s disheartening to see team members leaving the company, we are incredibly thankful for everything they have done to create Neopets.com and the passionate community that surrounds the site.
Moving forward, we want to make it absolutely and unequivocally clear that we are committed to Neopets! Neopets is NOT CLOSING in any way. To the contrary, we plan to produce new content, update the site, and dedicate valuable resources towards improving site functionality, including lag and site stability. In fact, the recent launch of Neopets Ghoul Catchers on the iTunes and Facebook platforms confirms our dedication to launching new and exciting content for existing and new Neopets users.
As we move forward and establish new goals for Neopets, we want the community to know that we are fully committed to the success of Neopets. We will work to support, improve and expand Neopets with our best resources and most creative minds. We thank you for your unwavering support of Neopets and we believe you will be as excited about the future as we are.
We wish all of the amazing former Neopets team members the very best life has to offer and we are grateful for their time at Jumpstart.
– David Lord, CEO of JumpStart
On Reddit this morning, I saw this:
Sierra Hunt, I think, is just an avid Neopets user, but apparently she contacted them through the JumpStart page, and this was the response she got. I can’t find the post on the JumpStart page, so I’m assuming it was deleted or she sent a direct message. Fingers crossed for a speedy statement.
The good news: Neopets is not gone forever.
The bad news: Neopets is probably gone forever anyway.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in my peer group who cares about this, but I’m going to write out a little timeline anyway because it cuts to what’s left of my childhood nostalgia.
Back in 1999, Adam Powell, a programmer and game designer, and Donna Williams, a web designer and graphic artist, started Neopets as a way to “keep university students entertained, and possibly make some cash from banner advertising.” (Source) It soon garnered more than 600,000 views per day, and those working on the site reached out to investors to help cover costs. I probably joined in 2001 when I was about 9 when they had become a serious gaming site, and had taken off a lot of the non-Neopets jokes and branding. It was, at that point, almost totally converted to a children-oriented site where swearwords were monitored and personal information couldn’t be shared, but there were still themes of dark humor (murder mystery complete with decapitation!) in some of the content put up, and some of the female characters of the site were perhaps more scantily-clad than on a regular kids’ site.
In 2004, the team developed a premium membership in place of banner ads and some virtual perks. I never personally took advantage of these because I was still school aged, but I did take advantage of the free trial once!
In 2005, Adam and Donna sold the site to Viacom for $160 million (Source), and by 2007, a lot of the site was completely redesigned. The site itself, the pets, the shops, the worlds, etc, and some of the changes were made to make customization of pets (namely clothing and backgrounds) feasible, which opened up the possibility of pay-to-play features that they launched later in the year. Neopets was promoted through Nickelodeon at that time with lots of different types of merch and gift cards and a minishow. Some people were disgusted that TNT (The Neopets Team, as they are collectively referred to as) had sold out, and along with their demographic aging on them, the site became less and less popular. Users who were still on it however were more or less accepting of the changes as the function and core of it was still the same. Myself included, though I started to use the site less frequently.
In 2014, Neopets was acquired by JumpStart (Source), and basically everyone hated that shift. Server lags, glitches, didn’t add anything new– and on March 6th, nearly all of the Neopets staff were laid-off for unknown reasons. (Source)
It doesn’t look good. I think I may have to say good bye to a huge chunk of my childhood, and it is not a nice feeling.