@Scale with Steve

I am excited that Steven Chiang, a veteran of the video game industry who is strongly regarded for building high-quality games and scaling development teams and operations worldwide, has joined zynga.

Steve brings a unique combination of start-up entrepreneurship with @scale game management to his role as president of our game studios.

Steve helped invent the console gaming business and his deep expertise will
allow us to double down and deliver on the promise of social gaming.

A little about Steve.

Steve has 17 years of game experience, of which he spent the last 15 at Electronic Arts. At EA, he was most recently the senior vice president and group general manager for EA SPORTS where he oversaw the Madden NFL series, one of the all-time bestselling video game franchises in North America.

Under his tenure, EA SPORTS developed many of its most popular and highest
rated sports titles including NCAA Football, FIFA Soccer, NHL and NBA Live,
titles millions of people play daily.  In the online space, Steve worked
with the teams to re-launch EASPORTS.com  and create Tiger Woods PGA TOUR
Online.

Steve was a co-founder of Tiburon Entertainment which was acquired by EA in
1998. Steve tells us his family is addicted to FarmVille so he has extra
pressure to deliver great new gaming experiences. When will we see farmer’s markets steve?

zynga’s haiti relief efforts

the zynga team went into action as soon as we learned of the devastation in Haiti.

Here is the update on our efforts and where you can participate:

1.       FarmVille: New White non withering Corn for Haiti, 100% proceeds go to Haiti  

2.       Zynga Poker: Support Haiti 2$ chip package. 100% proceeds go to Haiti

3.       Mafia Wars: Limited edition Haitian Relief Drum available, 100% proceeds go to Haiti

4.       Caféworld: Button linking to Zynga.org

5.       Zynga.com – Donate Here Button live on top of the site

6.       Zynga.org – Announcing Zynga’s Haiti Relief Fund and Donate Here Button

7.      World Food Program (WFP) – Special Zynga Donation Page:
https://www.wfp.org/donate/zynga

Relaunching Offers

Starting today, we are bringing back offers around our games to provide our users who don’t have access to online payment methods the ability to make in-game purchases while having a compelling game experience. The offers are from eight companies — Netflix, Discover Card, Blockbuster, HSBC Direct, Gamefly, Book of the Month Club, SnapFish and The New York Times – all of which have high Better Business Bureau ratings.

We have set up a team that is dedicated to checking the quality of any offer we display. This group reviews each offer and applies a strict set of standards for content and user experience before it can be displayed. We also have technology in place that will regularly check offers to verify that only Zynga reviewed offers are displayed. For more on our standards, visit http://www.zynga.com/contact/advertisingGuidelines.php .  

Over time, we will phase in more companies as they meet our new standards.

Offers represent a valuable channel for advertisers, users and developers. They enable advertisers to sponsor a user’s game session or item purchase in return for their attention, affiliation or purchase. For some users, this enables a purchase they could not have otherwise made or justified. For developers like us it represents incremental revenue to fund our games.

In addition, you will be seeing new brand engagement ads tested in our games. PetVille will test ads from Visa, Sprint, xBox, Timberland, MTV, TV Land, CW and HTC. This type of brand engagement will allow users to gain currency in a fast and easy way.

Looking forward, we hope to partner with the industry to develop standards and policies for advertising around social games and virtual goods to ensure that our users have meaningful game experiences from companies they can trust.

What’s your wishlist for zynga games in 2010?

Happy new year to all zynga gamers.

We would love to hear what’s your top wishes for zynga games in 2010.

We know you want better reliability and availability of our games. We are actively working on this.

We know you want easier access to our customer support and faster response to your questions. We now have over 300 people working in cs and are developing our in house capabilities too.

What new features you would like in our games?

What new games would you like to play with friends?

What’s your ultimate fantasy game?

How often do you play our games? How many of your friends play with you?

We would love to hear from you.

Best wishes to you and your friends and family for 2010 from the zynga family!

farmville players raise $700k with sweet seeds for haiti

last week we mailed checks for around $550k to fatem.org and fonkoze.org. we were proud to see so many of our farmville players participate in this program which has raised over $700k to date.

following is more info on the programs zynga and farmville players are supporting.  this was prepared and executed by my amazing sister, laura hartman, who is a professor of business ethics at depaul university in chicago and has also been acting director of zynga's non profit efforts.

Where our contribution will go and how it will be used
With
a population of just over ten million people, Haiti is the poorest
nation in the Western Hemisphere and the 7th poorest in the world.
Fifty-four percent of its people live on less than one dollar a day;
80% live on less than two dollars. Zynga's mission of connecting the
world through games is enhanced by our opportunity to support the
health and education of these children and their families.

Since
unemployment in Haiti is so high (estimated at 30-50%), micro-loans
such as those provided by one of our recipient organizations, Fonkoze, become critical to survival.

The above photos were taken by Professor Laura Hartman, Zynga's
Director of Social Strategy, during her recent visit in Haiti to our
recipient organizations. The women are borrowers who will benefit from
FarmVille farmers' and Zynga's contributions through a goat, a chicken
or a small loan; and, their children will have a more financially
stable family.

Most Haitians do not have adequate housing, nor proper sanitary
conditions. Migration to the major cities has compounded the urban
housing problem. Natural disasters, including cyclones, floods,
droughts, and earthquakes, have had serious effects on the housing
situation, as well. The photos below were taken during Prof. Hartman's
visit to these Fonkoze borrowers, as well.

FarmVille farmers'
and Zynga's contributions will assist the children and their families
be more effectively prepared for the housing challenges they face.

Less than half the country's school-age children attend primary school.
On the other hand, it takes only 5 years of schooling to become
reasonably literate; that is, to be able to read and understand basic
instructions and thereby become more effective within society. With the
help of FarmVille Farmers' and Zynga's contributions, Haiti can begin
to wipe out illiteracy. Below are photographs of some of the schools
supported by FATEM, one of Zynga's recipient organizations.

Additional Information about the Sweet Seeds for Change: Haiti Campaign
FATEM is a non-profit organization based in Mirebalais, Haiti, and
originally organized to bring information technology to the people in
the region, thus helping with the economic advancement of the area.
More recently, however, FATEM recognized the need for a sustainable
means by which to support the general education of Haitian children and
to ensure that these children have the necessary meals that will permit
their young bodies and brains to learn and grow.

FONKOZE, based in Port-au-Prince, is an alternative bank for the poor.
It is Haiti's largest micro-finance institution and is committed to the
economic and social improvement of the people and communities of Haiti
and to the reduction of poverty in the country.

Ensuring zynga’s user experience – removing all cpa offers

michael arrington posted yesterday on mobile
offerings still being shown in our
new game fishville.  I want to explain why this
occurred and how we are taking more aggressive steps to ensure this
never happens again.

zynga has not been able to
control the ad content as it is managed by the offer companies that we work with. 

with regards to yesterday's incident, the offer provider, doubleding, told us this was the result of their failure to remove an optimization queue which was still showing these ads to 10% of pageviews. i want to be clear that zynga had no control over the pages being shown and never filtered them from michael or anyone's view.

we recognize it
is our responsibility to ensure that offers which generate a bad user
experience are not shown with any of our games.

therefore, we
are removing all CPA offers across zynga games until we can control
their
inclusion and presentation ourselves.  This will be effective by end of
day today.  this move is worth it for the
long-term user experience and value to our partners like facebook and
myspace.  

yesterday’s
mobile offer issue was particularly painful as we had helped fund doubleding earlier this year in the hopes of cleaning up the space and raising the bar on
user experience.  we intend to influence them and others to improve
their ad content and be long-term
focused for the success of the social gaming and social networking
industries.

as I
said in my post last monday, my mission is to build
zynga
into a sustainable consumer service with enduring value to our users. 
we will continue to do whatever it takes to earn our users trust and
respect for the long-term.