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4.0B: By Playing Farmville, You Consent To Having The Privacy Of Everyone You Know Torn To Shreds

Entirely appropriate illustration from Toothpaste For Dinner

Farmville and other games by Zynga, LOLapps, and other big names in social gaming collect your personal information – and the personal information of everyone on your friends list – and then turn around and sells it to data enrichment firms.

Yeah, this can’t be bad at all!

The most expansive use of Facebook user information uncovered by the Journal involved RapLeaf. The San Francisco company compiles and sells profiles of individuals based in part on their online activities.

The Journal found that some LOLapps applications, as well as the Family Tree application, were transmitting users’ Facebook ID numbers to RapLeaf. RapLeaf then linked those ID numbers to dossiers it had previously assembled on those individuals, according to RapLeaf. RapLeaf then embedded that information in an Internet-tracking file known as a “cookie.”

RapLeaf says it strips out the user’s name when it embeds the information in the cookie and shares that information for ad targeting. However, The Wall Street Journal found that RapLeaf transmitted Facebook user IDs to a dozen other advertising and data firms, including Google Inc.’s Invite Media.

RapLeaf also transmitted the Facebook IDs it obtained to a dozen other firms, the Journal found.

RapLeaf said that transmission was unintentional. “We didn’t do it on purpose,” said Joel Jewitt, vice president of business development for RapLeaf.

Well, as long as they didn’t mean it!

Is it just me who yearns for those halcyon, innocent days of three years ago or so when the worst moral challenges we faced in the online sphere were gold farmers sending you badly spelled IMs?

Because now it appears the sleaze is making more money than the games they leech from.

(Hat tip: Popehat)

The Dramas, They Burn

Apparently 4Chan weighed in on the EALouse website, briefly deleting it and then replacing it with some dadaist commentary about blouses.

It was quickly replaced, of course. Silly kids, to *really* take down a website you use lawyers.

A Short Programming Note

To cut off the flood of emails, texts, IMs, and queries in the hall:

* Yes, I saw it.

* I have even less comment then Sanya does.

* Suffice to say that is a time in my life that has passed and I, and everyone else, have learned a great deal about game development in the interim.

* Everybody loves dirty laundry. I originally thought of just leaving this post up comment-locked, but then people would just comment in the next post down. So be aware that I really *do* have no comment, I’m not going to say which part was true, which part wasn’t, which parts make me angry with a white hot flame and which parts make me chuckle. So go nuts. I’ve moved on, and I hope Mr/Ms Louse does as well.

* Because the one lesson I *did* take away from my time at Mythic is that when it’s time to leave a job, you shouldn’t fester away in bitterness, you should leave.

OK, It’s Time To Destroy The Internet

The proper thing to type in the dialog is, in fact, "DIE DIE DIE I HATE YOU DIE DIE DIE"

So evil you’ll wonder why someone hasn’t already invented it:

CAPTCHAs that force you to type in ad slogans.

“Advertisers are looking for message comprehension,” Mr. Jacoby said. “And you know what they say, ‘If you write something down, you remember it.'”

Yes – this is, in fact, why we can’t have nice things.

Today’s Wacky Rumor: Microsoft In Talks To Acquire Linden Lab, Corner Vital “People Who Wear Cat Heads” Market

It all started, as most Second Life things do, with Woodbury University.

Specifically, with the dethroned Czarina of Woodbury, Jordan Bellino/”Tizzers Foxchase”, tweeting the following:

A little birdie told me that Microsoft may have silently offered to buy Linden Lab this week. #secondlife

At which point, the proper response is to shake your head and think “Oh, you kids!”

Then Tateru Nino weighed in. Ms. Nino, who recently was the Second Life reporter for Massively (but no longer no doubt to MASSIVE DRAMA or possibly a total lack of interest in Second Life drama amongst people looking for updates on the latest Free2Play title from Asia) posted the following on her blog:

People are talking about a rumour that Microsoft has made an offer on Linden Lab.

Funny as that might seem on the face of it, a small number of Linden Lab staff are today spreading the story that Linden Lab is now entertaining offers for sale, and that Microsoft has actually presented one.

For Microsoft’s part, I doubt that it could care less about Linden Lab, but might be willing to make an offer to stop certain competitors making that purchase.

As yet, there isn’t any confirmation from Linden Lab as to whether the information being given by its staff is correct.

Update: Linden Lab responded to my query, and has declined to proffer any confirmation or denial.

So, you know, given that Tateru Nino is actually something approaching a real reporter who asks people things, this could actually be happening, and we could have been told this first from someone whose chief claim to fame is stencilling “BAN PROK” in chalk on the walls of Linden Lab’s office. So, um, yeah. The only way this could get any weirder is if Derek Smart decides to toss in a bid. Which, you know, could still happen.

Update: ZDnet follows up on the Microsoft side (h/t Raevhen) with this nugget:

Microsoft isn’t commenting on the Linden Lab report, but I’ve been asking around and hear from my sources that Microsoft may have made overtures not only toward Linden Lab, but other social-gaming vendors lately. The word from my sources is the Softies are not simply talking partnerships; they’re talking outright purchase.

Well, then. Strange days.