Help Fix Neopets! sign now

I am sending this letter to Neopets. Please read before you judge. I would like people to sign this not to force Neopets to do anything, but to show how many people support this view. I'm guessing you probably do support this view (a good percentage of Neopets users/ex-users do). Please sign, and show Neopets what you want done, not in small letters and petition, but with the support of MORE than just your friends. Spell-Check might help too :)

Dear Neopets Staff,

I am writing this letter to encompass the views of many of your users and former users. Hopefully, it will be noticed, possibly not. Regardless, I think it's worth it. To start off, I'd like to make sure you guys know this isn't some person writing their opinion of the site out of the millions on the site. Thousands of Neopets users feel this way. Why is this important? To explain this, I have to work from a corporate standpoint. Neopets has become less of a game and more of a company. In a company like yours, the aim is to sign up as many users as possible. In this way, more merchandise can be sold, adding to the profit of the business. But, because of the points I am about to make, and working from the logic I have just outlined, you are not just losing users, but money. I will now list my reasons why users are quitting Neopets.

Even though some of the user base on the site is adult, most of it is 7-14 year olds, looking for a fun activity. To the parents, it is appealing because it's safe, helps kids learn how to operate a PC, and teaches kids about math. Also, the parents are at the same level as the kids if and when they create an account, so that each can learn from the other. Because of the large number of children on the site, Neopets has tried to keep itself safe, but in the wrong places.

First I will talk about too much safety. In some places on Neopets, the site goes past safety to paranoia. Users are frozen often, some for the right reasons, but many for the wrong. Scammers are often reported and frozen, but so are innocent users suspected of doing something wrong. People can be frozen because another user accuses them of doing something because of a personal issue. Overall, this is inevitable, but I believe a good 30\% of the people frozen on the site are frozen for no reason or a made-up one. This needs to be lower, not eliminated, but lower. There is no way to 'fix' this, as people will always blame, lie, and make mistakes, but it can certainly be lower by looking into complaints more deeply.

Now I will talk about too LITTLE safety. In other parts of the site, protection from adult topics and other inapproprite material is almost non-existent. The chat boards are the main problem. To show how bad this is, I have counted up totals of different types of inappropriate comments on a Neopets chat board, Other Worlds. Though this is only one board at one particular time, I was on Neopets for around 2 years, and this is about what I saw all that time.

"I want a girlfriend/Boyfriend" posts: 9


"Are you hot?/Rate My" posts: 2

"______ is stupid/mean": 2

Also, on an unrelated note, all the other posts on the board (no exaggeration) had nothing to do with "Other Worlds", even going so far as to ask who eats Raisin Bran. I have been talking with other people via AIM and they have been saying they HATE these kind of posts. Most said they have quit or are going to quit because of the bad nature of the chat rooms.

Why are there so little monitors? The welcome page says monitors are on 24/7! What, the two of them? If there were more, I'm guessing you should make sure your "monitors" aren't dozing off and playing games in their cubicles Dilbert-style. Many of the users have to report people rather than the monitors doing their jobs and deleting the boards. The user's job is not to police, but they are forced to, to make sure their board isn't invaded by perverts and teenagers looking for internet dating partners. With all the money you guys are making in endorsements, merchandise, and advertising, I'm wondering why these boards still exist. Hiring more monitors would definitely be a good thing.

Overcommercialization is the #1 problem with your site. Neopets used to be a community where one or two ads and a sponsor game now and then would support the site. Now, overpriced Neopets merchandise is everywhere. Almost ALL the people I talk to agree that the quest for money by you guys tops the quest for a good site. It didn't used to be this way. I'd estimate (from the people I've interviewed) 60\% of the people that quit did so because you took your focus away from the site and toward the merchandise.

Now, let's look at this through an example. Consider the case of "Pokemon", used often by disgruntled ex-Neopets users. Pokemon was a huge hit as soon as the game came out on Game Boys. Suddenly, merchandise, TV shows, games, everything came out. It was hard to find anything a kid would use without a Pokemon logo on it. It was everywhere. The problem was, Nintendo started shifting the focus away from the GB games onto the trading card game, and then it started to decline. Now, Pokemon cards are worth nothing. In your scenario, I'd say the site is the GB game, and the cards are your merchandise. Your user-base will get sick of late news, boring games, and non-existent updates and leave, eventually. Your company might then fail, without the users that support it. The PEOPLE make your site, not you. Without them, your site would be just another one of the unvisited trillions on the web. You make the merchandise, but without a good site, no-one cares. Though it doesn't look like people are leaving, it will get to that critical point, and it'll go downhill from there.

Money. Though it's a problem for you guys, it's a problem to your users, also. The "economy" is pretty bad. The people who get money get it from games, rather than another person, and then they get rich and spend it in the Hidden Tower. None of the money actually hits more than one account. The games that are put up are boring and often repetitive. A Monsters Inc game was remade into another sponsor game, with only the logos changed. Users have to play the same game 3 times everyday! Now, if they have to do that to earn any money, why should they stay on the site? I'm sure you can't say the pets, most of them are simply just an add-on. The main goal of the average user is NP.

OVERALL, the main problem with the site is too few updates, too little focus on the users, and too much focus on CASH. This is why people are leaving. Though the loss of users is at a trickle now, it will accelerate soon. Neopets users have created many small, 300 person petitions, which can be ignored, but just 'for fun' I am going to start a larger, more encompassing 'petition'. It is not to force you to do anything, just showing how many people support this view. I don't expect many people to sign it, but hopefully I'll get over 500. Anyway, please take these views into consideration.

Thank you,

Lance Johnson, Former Neopets User

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