UPDATE April 23, 2009: After getting the inappropriate comment on this article from Slide this morning, my wife and I have decided to quit the game. It’s over. Any links to our SuperPoke Pets sites are no longer active and should be considered dead. Why should we pay for that sort of attitude from a company? We’re voting with our wallets and the answer is “No thank you.”
I enjoy playing Slide.com’s SuperPoke Pets and I’ve raved about SuperPoke Pets and ranted about SuperPoke Pets. Today, I am enraged — not by the game I have come to love — but rather by the lack of an artful and loving Slide.com technical response to what should have been a simple problem to solve. This is the story of a false accusation — an unfair incarceration of character if you will — and its ultimate unraveling in the light of indisputable, human, facts.
SuperPoke Pets is a child’s game that many adults enjoy playing.
The object of the game is to build a habitat for your Pet by purchasing things in the pet store. You can spend real money on Gold items or you can spend “coins” — fake money that you earn by playing with your pet and your friends’ pets — to decorate your Pet’s living space.
SuperPoke Pets relies on lots of intensive database storage and retrieval for each player and, sometimes, thing go amiss and items you purchase go missing. The SuperPoke Pets technical forum is filled with lots of horror stories of mysteriously losing purchased items from habitats.
I’ve been playing SuperPoke Pets for two months now and I was recently burned by a Slide.com database meltdown when I lost over 1,500 of my hard-earned SuperPoke Pets friends. It took a lot of muscle, and a little yelling, to get that “database glitch” resolved and I thank Elin at Slide.com for helping restore my status in the game.
My wife also enjoys playing SuperPoke Pets, but she doesn’t play as much as I do — every coin she earns has value to her as a new player.
A couple of weeks ago or so, my wife “purchased” a “Star Pets” Plushies pack for 3,000 coins. You get 20 coins for every pet you play with, so you can imagine how long it can take to earn 3,000 coins if you’re the only one doing the playing.
My wife received acknowledgment from the SuperPoke Pets system that her “purchase” was successful and 3,000 real fake coins were debited from her account.
The Plushies Pack did not show up in her habitat inventory.
She wrote a note to Slide for help in either getting the Plushies delivered or in getting a refund of her 3,000 coins.
After answering a slew of questions about the missing purchase, my wife was told to wait.
Finally, today, she contacted Slide customer support again and was told she “gifted” a 3,000 coin Plushies Pack to another player she did not know.
My wife only exchanges “gifts” with me and nobody else. She told Slide.com that there had to be a mistake and she received this reply:
My wife has never been “friends” with that person Slide.com named and you can’t give a gift to someone if you haven’t each accepted a friendship invitation.
My wife told Slide.com there had to be a mistake and she asked for her 3,000 coins to be returned and here is Slide.com’s response:
There is definitely something fishy going on here over a measly 3,000 coins and that database exchange Michelle J. at Slide.com claims to have proof of taking place, never took place.
We know that exchange never took place — anyone can copy and paste a bunch of gibberish in an email message and call it “proof” even though nothing is proven — because my wife wrote to the woman Slide claims my wife gave her Plushies Pack to and that woman confirmed no such transaction took place.
So now what?
If what Michelle J. claims — that a transaction took place even though both parties deny it because they were never “friends” so the exchange could have never taken place in the first place — then my wife is a liar, but she is not, or the woman who “received” the Plushies was in on some scam that involved the forging/breaking into of my wife’s SuperPoke Pets account to “gift” the 3,000 coin Plushies Pack to the woman.
Those scenarios do not make sense and none of it passes the giggle test.
As Judge Judy says, “If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true.” None of what Michelle J. claims makes sense.
We need to keep in mind that Slide.com deleted 1,500 of my friends from their database with no interaction from me. We need to remember gold and coin purchases are missing from SuperPoke Pet habitats right now and in an ongoing, daily, basis as reported to Slide by end users in their online support forum. We need to recall the forgery scam of a few weeks ago when nefarious players were somehow copying expensive items in the SuperPoke Pets store and “trading” them with other, honest, unsuspecting players.
In each of those cases, Slide tried to slip in and do the right thing — but why are they now denying basic, human, decency in this new instance of thievery and deception — and why are Slide.com putting faith in a proven corrupted database setup over the incorruptible reputation of my beloved wife and this “other woman” that neither of us know or ever befriended on their service?
When we choose machines over people, we are beginning a dangerous slide into the ether of nothingness where fake coins become more valuable than the beating hearts of the players earning them. Honestly, 3,000 coins is nothing in the SuperPoke Pets world where 25,000 coin habitats are for sale.
Slide could have easily put this matter to rest by becoming the verifying third party between my wife and the other player by actually asking each side what happened instead of navel gazing into a corrupted database.
Instead of playing the kind negotiator, Slide.com chose to become a cruel accuser and, in that role, they strangely revealed the identity to us of the “other woman” in this mess who has now been unreasonably and unwittingly involved.
Slide should never have broken her privacy by giving us her identity. Slide should’ve erred on the side of caution and kept each side’s privacy intact and separate from the other just in case their database findings happened to be wrong.
Let us not forget one important nugget of information — Slide is a $550 million dollar company even in this rotten economy and, yet, they’ve done a very cheap thing:
Slide, the maker of applications for social networks, has raised another round of funding – $50 million from the private equity funds at Fidelity and T-Rowe Price, two major Wall Street investment houses. The firms have taken a 9 percent stake in the three-year-old, 64-employee Slide, valuing it at $550 million.
It’s yet another start-up valuation that takes one’s breath away. Investors are being sold on the idea of social networks as the new operating system and apps-makers like Slide as the next Intuit. Last year, Microsoft invested $240 million for a 1.6 percent share in Facebook, betting that the rapidly growing social network could mint the next Web platform. Now investors are trying to peg the next Adobe or Electronic Arts.
Max Levchin, Slide’s chief executive, trumpets the comparison to previous iterations of the technology cycle. “It’s impossible for social networks focused on scaling the network itself to build all the niche applications that bring people and keep people on these sites,” he said. Just as consumers bought Windows to play games, organize their taxes or create documents, application makers like Slide “add the bulk of perceived value to the consumers of these Web platforms,” Mr. Levchin said.
You would think Slide could afford to do the right thing and return 3,000 “fake money” coins to my wife and offer up an invaluable apology for doing the wrong thing.
We’ll let you know what happens.