Games Marketing/Business

It’s Your Turn…Oh Wait…

I have a free account on, which is a great site to play games like Chess and Jamble (a Scrabble-like game) among others. Basically, you can play against real people without requiring them to be there in real time. You make a move and an email will be sent to your opponent if he/she does not move within a few minutes. It’s a great way to keep up with people, too. You can send messages to your friends, startup new games, or just talk about whatever. There are tournaments and multiple variations on games. I don’t play against many people, so I almost never hit the free account’s move limit, but you can pay a membership fee to get more benefits.

I always suspected that IYT was a small team. I knew it couldn’t be some large corporation, but I always wondered if it was just a few people working out of an apartment or something. It didn’t seem like an overly complex website, either, so it didn’t seem to require much more than maintenance. The site never betrayed any information. There was never an about page, never any info on the people behind it, etc.

Then disaster struck.

Friday August 19, 2005

We have experienced a major disk crash, and our backup is also unusable.

While we are trying to retrieve what’s left on the disk, the prognosis does not look good. We will be down for a few days at least, and this may be as long as 2 weeks. If it takes that long, your membership will be extended by a similar time.

It’s still down as of this writing. More updates were posted periodically, but the best ones weren’t the cold/professional “We’re working on this issue as fast as we can. Thank you for your patience”. The best updates were along the lines of:

When these things happen, some of you email us and ask us why aren’t we smarter or why don’t we work harder. We understand that this is a huge inconvenience for you, that you paid for this product, and any abuse we receive is well-deserved. Please understand that we do not do this intentionally. Given a choice, we would prefer not to have to go through this. We experienced what was almost a “perfect storm” of events that destroyed both our main disk and our backup file (which are on completely separate RAID disk units) at the same time.

We are working as hard as we can to get the site back online as quickly as possible. Please check here for more updates (I will try to post updates several times a day, but please understand that we are spending most of our time trying to fix the system).

“…any abuse we receive is well-deserved.” When was the last time your game company admitted to a fault and said, “Yes, we were bone-headed, and nothing we can say will make up for that”? They even opened up a blog to let people not only know what was happening but also let them comment about it!

In the first couple of entries, comments were VERY negative; however, very supportive fans arrived in force. A number of people expressed anger over a number of a issues over the years (and some very personal attacks were made as well), but most of the people informed the company that they will be patient and will renew membership.

Wow. You can’t buy that kind of loyalty. Something goes wrong, and the team of IYT are honest and open about it. No hiding or trying to be “professional”. Some people get turned off by the company, but most people stand by it. IYT may have had a huge disaster, but they did the right thing by being open about it. It’s actions like this that result in the real fans standing up and coming to the rescue. That’s passion.