Farmville, Mafia Wars Developer Admits to Scamming as Part of Business Model, Promises to Change

Nathan Grayson

Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars carry a rep for being diabolically addictive, but who knew they were just downright diabolical? Apparently, the productivity-whacking timewasters were birthed in a hive of scam and villainy . Straight from the horse’s mouth:

“I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, f***ing, now. Like I needed revenues now. I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away," said Zynga CEO Mark Pincus. "I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this zwinky toolbar which was like, I don’t know, I downloaded it once and couldn't get rid of it.”

Fortunately, Pincus recently vowed to turn his games into sleaze-free zones, which will involve removing offers that ask for players’ addresses, phone numbers, and things of the like.

“We have worked hard to police and remove bad offers. Nevertheless, we need to be more aggressive and have revised our service level agreements with these providers requiring them to filter and police offers prior to posting on their networks. We have also removed all mobile ads until we see any that offer clear user value,” Pincus said.

As a result, other Facebook/MySpace gaming companies -- like Offerpal -- have begun cleaning up their acts as well. This is especially surprising for Offerpal, who – before a recent CEO switcheroo – was vehemently denying its involvement in any backdoor dealings.

Honestly though, people, if you willingly gave your address and phone number away to a game called “Mafia Wars,” you only got what was coming to you. Just sayin'.

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