Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shut out of Webkinz World

My daughter has been an enthusiastic Webkinz World inhabitant for about three weeks. She received a Webkinz dog at a party, and after entering the dog's code into the website, proceeded to explore the site, set up the dog's identity and room, played some of the casual games, and -- to my alarm -- figured out very quickly how to shop for virtual clothes and other accessories.

Just before Christmas, however, Webkinz World began experiencing problems. She could log onto the site, but couldn't get into her room. This impacted her shopping and care-related activities ("feeding" the pet, petting him, etc.) but she was at least able to continue playing the games.

Webkinz world logonFor Christmas she received some real-world Webkinz goods, and entered the codes into the site for virtual world equivalents or alternatives (for instance, entering the code for a Webkinz mousepad granted her a virtual framed print) but was still frustrated by being shut out of the room. I tried searching the support pages and switching browsers, but there was no help there. I assumed that the rush of Christmas-related Webkinz purchases had slowed down the site.

Then, today there was an even bigger problem. She couldn't log on at all, and was presented with the messages shown in the inset image. She seemed to take it in stride, but I can imagine there is probably a core group of Webkinz users who are driven frantic by the loss of access to their virtual pet.

I've seen this before in other virtual worlds and online communities that aren't able to scale during peak periods, or to handle a sudden inrush of new users. For instance, regular visitors to Second Life are accustomed to outages caused by too many people entering the same virtual space at once, or the inability to logon during peak times (see my earlier blog entry about this entitled Second Life's temporary population ceiling). However, at least Linden Lab (Second Life's parent company) is relatively open about technical issues and usage data, and has a pretty deep support section on the Second Life website. Webkinz World's support pages are nearly useless -- they're written for children who need to get started with the site, and avoid specifics relating to the nature of site problems or troubleshooting advice.

In summary, I think Webkinz World is a great concept, but the scaling and support issues definitely need work.


51 comments:

  1. Check out the disclaimer on the back of the tag: "Ganz reserves the right to modify and/or discontinue the website www.webkinz.com, or access thereto, at any time without notice." What a scam! My kids have been frustrated since Christmas. Seems selling all those webkinz did not translate into server upgrades....

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  2. i was on last night it said the same thing when i tried to discover what the problem was on the help page it said webkinz was doing daily maintenence and would be back on at 2:oo am est but i was on the computer till 4:00 am in the morning and it still said the same thing!

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  3. Spitting Angry Kitty12/28/2007 9:20 PM

    It seems pretty rotten of the Ganz company to sell overpriced stuffed toys (not to mention the charms, body sprays and trading cards!) with the WebKinz world tie-in as the big selling point, and then NOT have sufficient server capacity to make it a fun, non-frustrating experience for all its old and new customers. It's sure soured me on future WebKinz purchases for my daughter, and I'm definitely more tempted to check out some of the new competitive sites. Shame on you WebKinz!

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  4. Can not get into pets room and not seeing ay default items in dock. If Webkinz advertises and sells a service, then they need to provide that service. They need someone on the phone answering there customers questions instead of just letting frustrastion build. I think a class action lawsuit is needed here to show Webkinz that they need to treat their customers better. Hit them where it hurts in their wallets/pocket books.

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  5. Thanks for all the feedback -- while it's pretty terrible that Ganz still hasn't completely fixed the problems, it's reassuring to see that we're not alone. The more voices raised in protest about this on the Web, the better.

    Also, I have an update in a new blog entry entitled Webkinz World problem continues. I'll try to keep updates coming on my blog, so be sure to check back ...

    Thanks,

    Ian

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  6. I am so glad I'm not alone. I've been thinking my laptop was the problem. My best friend and her kids got me a Lil'kinz Chihuahua for Christmas (I have a real teacup chi) and they were so excited that they could add me as a friend to their list. However, after registering that night, the only thing I am able to do is play games in the arcade, attend the academy, and get a job. I have yet to gain access to my room nor the kinzchat, tournaments, etc. I get a slightly different response though than just freezing up. Within 5 seconds of attempting to access these areas, I get an "Oops!" message stating that they can't connect to Webkinz World at this time. Try logging on later to have fun and play games. You will now be logged out. (paraphrased, but you get the idea) I also tried looking for a contact person to report my issues (before I realized it wasn't just me), but there is nothing posted. The FAQ's and Customer Service regarding tech support is VERY vague or generic. They provide no help at all. I'm hoping when school starts again in a couple days, it might lessen the load and I might actually get to check out my room. It's a shame I've got thousands of Kinzcash and can't spend it on anything fun.

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  7. These server crashes have also cause items to disppear from my child's account. I encourage everyone to call Ganz directly and lodge their complaint. www.ganz.com. If they don't get this stuff fixed soon, I can see a class action suit mentioned by another writer being the appropriate course of action.

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  8. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS GANZ WHY???

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  9. This site is very disturbing to children. You've dragged them in with your virtual world and have left them very disappointed. My child has been without her site now for two days. Should this be a fair practice by such a large company has ganz. I don't think so, people with these problems should not be left out in the dark. I think that the everyone should be refunded if the problems can not be fixed within a reasonable amount of time. Its not fair to our children.

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  10. I have to agree with all of the comments that I have just read. We have two accounts and we have not been able to access either account for over a week now. We can log on to the site, but we can't access anything! I can't even access the FAQ or technical assistance. The problems for us are getting worse not better as their statement indicates that they are fixing things. And there is nothing worse than not being able to ask the questions I want to ask instead we are limited to the questions webkinz wants us to ask. I would get great pleasure in seeing a class action suit brought against Webkinz

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  11. You are all lucky. My 7 year old daughter received 2 of these webkinz rip offs at Christmas and we have yet to be able to create a user account. Anyone else having the same problem? I will definitly sign up for a class action lawsuit! This is terrible!

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  12. I agree. My daughter logged onto the site only to see that all the firniture and all the stuff she paid with a lot of webkins bucks, - ALL gone!!! and nobody to talk to at the customer service. I agree that it is not a business making such ENOURMOUS profits should be set up. I am for legal action, too!.

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  13. Webkinz World is one of the best virtual games todays but the game was experiencing some problems into their log in. Hope they can resolve this issue

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  14. I was wondering if anyone had the problem of not being able to bring up the sight at all? When my daughter tries, the screen flashes blue for a second then turns white and then nothing. We have invested quite a bit of money in this. I contacted Ganz directly, but nothing. Any ideas?

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  15. my child is a webkinz member but she has a webkinz thats best pal is retired were can we get in contact to the webkinz aminestrater

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  16. Yes my child is having the same issue. We cannot grt the website to pull up at all.

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  17. We just figured out how to get the site to come up. Before, we were just getting a blank white screen. Now, we can get the main page to come up, but when we log in and press "play" nothing happens. Nothing. Just more frustration for my daughter, and myself, who didn't like the idea of a Webkinz to begin with.

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  18. I've been having the same problem for over a week. Can't pull the Webkinz site up at all. Has anything been said about this problem or why?

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  19. Thanks to the person who said to use another browser. I tried Netscape and was finally able to see the homepage instead of a blank screen. Unfortunately it kept saying I needed to download Adobe Flashplayer, even though I did it several times. I did notice the new link, which I was able to load on Internet Explorer: http://www.webkinz.com/us_en/

    Hopefully everyone will be able to log in using this link. Good luck!

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  20. Go to this site and it should help. I was finally able to log in today.

    http://www.worldofwebkinz.net/?p=52

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  21. Thanks for the address. I can finally get back in. But now I can't play any two player games when I go to the tournament link. Does anyone have any suggestions or know how to fix it?

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  22. I too can't seem to get into any 2 player games in the tournament area ,this problem has been going on for 2 weeks and I haven't found any info on how to correct it.

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  23. Call the President and CEO Howard Ganz @ 905-851-6661 and voice your complaint. Also, call 866 932-5469 ext 2673 to reach tech support directly. I hope this helps!!!!

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  24. I may just call too. Thanks for the numbers.

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  25. We just logged in to my son's account and everything- from 20 rooms- is gone. Stripped Down to the wallpaper and floor and in several rooms even that is gone!! Even is someone had my son's password- you can only mail out 3 things at a time to someone on your list! We are talking about 200 plus items, from exclusive beds (he has 20 webkins) to the food and clothes. Who steals raisins!! Has this happened to anyone else and was there any satisfaction??? Help.

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  26. If everything in your account disappeared like that then I would contact Ganz as soon as possible and let them know of the problem. They should be able to shed some light on your problem.

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  27. Every day i go on webkinz and recently if i click the log in button thing the a white screen comes up?? HELP ME SOMEONE!!

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  28. My page says they are working on the site and it will be done 2 am EST.... that have been on for a week. No Webkinz for Christmas this year...too many disappointed faces too often.

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  29. What's up with their continual "be done at 2pm" message - they should come clean and just let us know when it will be back up and running so I don't have to console my son each day - maybe it's 2pm January 15, 2011?!

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  30. One of my 3 daughters cannot access the clubhouse and support is worthless, so I called the help desk from Ganz and was told that it is still in the testing phase and not everyone can get access. My oldest will be very unhappy. At least I got through to Webkinz by phone. I will keep trying and if not succesful I will looking to join any class action. I googled this and 'webkinz' and found this page.

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  31. For the past month i have not been able to do anything on webkinz...whenever i log in it comes up "please wait..." then logs me out. I have tried everything but nothing works. Please someone help me...webkinz is for my grandchildren, not for me.

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  32. My daughter is having trouble accessing the W shop. She cannot buy food for her pet and as a result it is "dying". As you can imagine this is very upsetting to her! I can't get any real people support!! Where are the phone numbers!! Their trouble-shooting page is a joke. Ganz should treat their customers with respect and fairness! I am disappointed. Good luck out there.

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  33. Unable to log in to webkinz from home coputer. We can log on everywhere else. Can anyone make sense of this madness?

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  34. when i am trying to log in right now i get a white screen that says "Internet explorer cannot display the webpage". It's also saying that in the Customer service and Help pages. I haven't been able to go on for three days. Someone HELP!!!!

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  35. When WebKinz added the date of birth on the different pages to place complaints etc., expecially the stuck items, I can not access the site to report stuck items and I have not been able to get anyware trying other sites for complaints. I can't access the Customer service site How do we get them to listen, I have new animals to add but will not until I get my problems resolved

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  36. Site is down and says will be up shortly. Has been down at least 4 days now. My granddaughter is worried that her webkinz will starve or die. Hard to tell little ones that they are just on vacation with nice people who will feed them. Anyone kniow why it is down so long this time?

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  37. Well I found another blog that said to Refresh and it came back up but again today it is down for maintenance most of the morning. Getting crappy lately. At least we did get on this morning and feed Spots and tell our little webkinz we love them.

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  38. they r closed like all the time its just rubbish.they never let u go in to the site because they r always down for maintainence.

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  39. by da way people who cant play 2 player games i had this prob too but u can only play 2 player games if ur webkinz phone is on a colour. i hope this might help ppl!

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  40. awwwww im sorry about christmas being cancelled man! tht must have been awful!!!

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  41. it can be annoying when it crashes and it drives me real mad too! when i read these comments i felt scared tht my dear little webkinz might be hacked against! im scared 'man! and i feel really sorry to everyones webkinz who have had probs! by the way i have noticed tht im typing alot o comments as u can see above. thts because WEBKINZ IS DOWN FOR MAINTAINENCE PLEASE BE PATIENT. ahhhhhhhh im gonna rip my head off! oops i meant hair there! well i suppose ripping my head off would be better...

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  42. I have accessed at least 5 sites to complain about the unfair practices on the webkinz site.They won't let my niece complete Quizzys Corner so she can" graduate" from webkinz school.They also promise tokens for pet of the month adoptions and their birthdays.They do not deliver the goods.They have blocked her from logging in and left her on a green screen so long the computer tells her to abort the script or the computer will be damaged. Things have gone" missing".She's an ill child and I indulge her any way I can-pets,cards ect. They seem to take exception to that. And oh yes I am the one and the same Grace Jane Dostou who Chase is examining them for fraud. Kudos to the person who found the numbers because Webkinz self run complaint site is nothing but a smoke screen. Thanks for letting me vent.Grace Jane Dostou P.S. I'll let you know if they throw me out of Webkinz World.

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  43. I can't believe this has happened. I have been holding my five year old for almost an hour crying because everything in some of her rooms has disappeared. Is there anyway to get it all back....when i think of her and all the hours she send playing and answering questions to get this stuff...........it really upsets me that she is crying and so disappointed.

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  44. I agree with all of you I have a 8 year old son who did chores to earn the money himself, to buy a webkins. I thought if he worked for his new pet he would appriciate it more. he did, he took care of it, even his 16 year old brother had fun playing the games to earn the webkinz cash to buy food and supplies. I, his mom checked all the time just to make sure he was doing what he needed. now everything in his room is gone except the sad looking little pet who is starving, and I cant even access the store to buy a meal for him whith the money that is still in his account. how sad is this for all are children and even parents that have to watch this happen to their pet.is there something we can do. if any of you know, feel free to let the rest of us in on it.

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  45. well mine just says The site is currently down for maintenance. It will be back up soon.


    no ideia wats wrong with it please help me

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  46. Oh and i am new on this website my name is niocle
    nice to be hear :)

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  47. If you think this is bad try living outside the US.... they are down at strange hours and we can't access the site from about 7 a.m. to noon at the best of times. Either it won't let us log on or we get the "can't connect right now so you'll be logged out" message. Their customer support/FAQ/technical support pages are useless except for some basic first time user questions. My boys have over 10 pets between them and most of the time we can't even access the site. Neopets costs nothing to join and while it's geared for older children at least it works 24/7. If Ganz wasn't willing to pay for a proper server and tech support from all the profits they've made from these products they should just say so. Each toy should come with a huge disclaimer that "you may or may not be able to use the website" associated with the sale of this pet. While they are just cyberpets to Ganz they need to realize how their target audience really feels about them and what lessons they are "learning" from this kind of mishandling by adults who should know better.

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  48. Well, I'm back again. This time it's Doud the Dog. For all of you who have children, you know about kinz chat. I this game you must switch from room to room and color to color to find this dog. They ARE TO LAZY OR STUPID to be able to handle this, so they shut my nieces phone off-NO PHONE NO FRIENDS NO GAMES!!!I spent $45.00 for a DELUX account and this is the service I get? The DELUXE account is a ripoff -a bunch of junk!!!Now they won't even log her on. This is GOING TO STOP!!! I will let you know how I make4 out. Grace Jane Dostou.

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  49. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your
    article seem to be running off the screen in Ie.
    I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you
    know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon. Kudos

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