A while ago, the internet was turned upside down after tons of disgruntled users started to call Zynga’s successful Facebook game FarmVille “Scamville” because there were a few offers users could complete to get in-game currency, but just to find out that they had to pay for all sorts of unwanted ringtones, updates and so on (from the companies where they had completed the offers). Although all those offers let their users know that they’ll have to pay in the future for some services, it was that tiny little text hidden in a corner that nobody reads and that’s why these offers were called “scam”. So Zynga took all of them offline and everybody is happy now, right?
Well… wrong! According to latest reports, a bunch of gamers are preparing to sue Zynga and apparently Facebook because of these scams: it is unclear at the moment how many gamers we are talking about since the report over at Walletpop is not very clear and the only person named is Rebecca Swift of Santa Cruz, but the same website says that more than “100,000 people fell victim to these offers, losing more than $5 million”.
Facebook has tried to cut out any possible connections between them and the scam saying that the ads provided no benefits for Facebook and were third-party ads provided by Zynga – which is correct, in my opinion.
Zynga, on the other hand, refused to say anything about this lawsuit but said to Walletpop: “Our mission is to provide users with the best possible experience. We deeply regret any difficulty this may have caused users and to make sure we continue to offer the best user experience, we took all offers down.”
I will try to find out more details on this lawsuit and post them here. But until then, what do you think? Can such a lawsuit harm Zynga in any way? Let’s not forget that they weren’t directly responsible for the “scams” and could play the “we didn’t know either” part. So: is Zynga guilty or not?