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Soapbox: About the Industry

13 New FAQs

by Sandy Antunes
April 10, 2002  
RPGnet and Skotos would like to announce that RPGnet is a wholly owned part of Skotos, and has been for five months now. We really, really would like to. However, we haven't gotten around to doing that. Doing a formal press release takes time! In lieu of that, though, we'll just update the FAQ.
1. Does Sandy Still Own RPGnet?
No, but then, Sandy never owned RPGnet. First his wife owned it, and due to time issues let him guide it as he wished. Now it's owned by Skotos (which is a corporation, and to whom Sandy is not married to), and they let him guide it as he wishes. Except that Allan is in the picture. Allan is also not married to Sandy. Allan is new FAQ item #3, and also #6.
2. So Who Does Operate RPGnet?
Allan does (see #6, below). Sandy is in some sort of vague delusional/patriarchal position wherein, lacking any authority, he still makes suggestions about future direction and plans. Sandy always used to do this, however, prior to the Skotos acquisition there was only his wife, and she didn't listen much. Now, Allan (#6, below) listens, and then we still don't do Sandy's suggestions because we don't have time (#11, below).
3. Ah, So Allan Is Skotos?
No, actually, Allan is with Wizard's Attic.
4. So Wizard's Attic owns RPGnet?
No. Actually, the connections are pretty tenuous in some ways.
5. I'm confused!
Yes, understandably, you are.
6. So Who Is Allan?
Allan is Allan Sugarbaker, formerly of Gamers.com and also progenitor of OgreCave.com. He's taken up the operations of RPGnet and handles most of the daily stuff-- in fact, everything except columns. Allan is so good at this that, if he did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him. He's also been rebuilding our underlying volunteer operations crew.
7. So what is Skotos's role, again?
They own RPGnet. All the profits that flow from this free site are theirs to keep. In return, they pay the monthly bills and also fund software development. We're hoping to add revenue-generating features (like paid ads, stores, etc) to offset costs. We'd also like to add merchandise (t-shirts, etc), and other fun stuff. The goal is not for RPGnet to be profitable, but for RPGnet to offset its own costs while enabling Secret Plan #13.
8. Why Was RPGnet sold?
Many reasons. i) Emma and Sandy wanted to. ii) Sandy moved to full time status on his PhD and couldn't keep up. iii) We had legal bills from 2000 to cover. iv) We wanted RPGnet to grow, and that required corporate backing. v) We found an independent (i.e. not game company or store) buyer. vi) We'd promised a 5-year mission, and lasted for all 5. Time for new blood. vii) Emma got cash, but Sandy still gets to Soapbox-- score!!
9. Will Skotos's ownership change RPGnet's independent status?
It hasn't in five months, so, no, not likely.
10. Will RPGnet continue as a separate entity, or merge into the Skotos site?
We've been separate for 5 months, and will remain so.
11. Will... oh, heck, all of these are the same.
The past four months show that RPGnet will continue in its fiesty, independent tradition. Skotos has Skotos business to handle, and that takes all their time and staff. RPGnet is, to a large degree, a marketing and development cost for them. It's only retaining our independence and our volunteer focus (both of which go hand-in-hand) that an operation like RPGnet is feasible in such a low-margin industry as the gaming hobby.
12. What Does the Future Hold?
Since we operate under a glass door policy (i.e. all direction and decision is generally visible to anyone who bothers), most of this has already been stated in the forums and soapboxes. We'd like to offer premium content (on top of the free content), or create an RPGnet club. Virtual events are likely. RPGnet-only access to Skotos gaming stuff is likely. Basically, the same sort of growth we've always wanted to do, but lacked time for (see #10, above, or see #13, below).
13. What is the Secret Plan?
We don't have time to do the stuff we say we want to do, why do you think we have time for secret plans? Secret plans are, therefore, scheduled on our agenda for late 2004, with a projected 2 year development time plus extra leeway for the expected creation of the secret police. We promised the Bitter Guy all of New Zealand if he agreed. If you don't get this joke, go back and re-read every column ever published by anyone on RPGnet. (That won't clarify things, but it's good reading!)
14. Is this serious?
Actually, yes. We just don't take things that seriously.
15. Disclosures
Sandy and Emma received equity in Skotos as part of the sale of RPGnet to them. So cynics can see this as "they are tools of the corporate machine", idealists can see this as "this means they have a vested interest in keeping RPGnet cool!", and pragmatists can see this as "wouldn't a lottery ticket be more valuable than equity in an internet-based company". :)

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What do you think?

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All Soapboxes

  • See What Sticks by Sandy Antunes, 06jan06
  • Simple Gifts for Pre-Gamers by Sandy Antunes, 09dec05
  • Col vs Blog by Sandy Antunes, 04nov05
  • Running a First RPG for Kids by Sandy Antunes, 07oct05
  • Making It Pay by Sandy Antunes, 02sep05
  • The Hazards of Non-Combat Gaming by Sandy Antunes, 05aug05
  • Just-in-Time Pre-order Hell by Sandy Antunes, 01jul05
  • Cassandra's Industry Report by Sandy Antunes, 03jun05
  • Fiction or Non-Fiction by Sandy Antunes, 05may05
  • I am not a Storyteller by Sandy Antunes, 08apr05
  • A Better Job by Sandy Antunes, 01apr05
  • Advice For Working Writers by Sandy Antunes, 04mar05
  • Startup Fever by Sandy Antunes, 04feb05
  • Why Blogging is Lame by Sandy Antunes, 07jan05
  • Being a Pro Writer by Sandy Antunes, 10dec04
  • Viral Marketing Invitational by Sandy Antunes, 05nov04
  • The 24 Hour RPG Challenge by Sandy Antunes, 08oct04
  • A Decade of Distilled Advice by Sandy Antunes, 03sep04
  • Go Ahead, Hit Me! by Sandy Antunes, 06aug04
  • Promoting Yourself by Sandy Antunes, 09jul04
  • 10 Hurdles to Selling Your Game by Sandy Antunes, 11jun04
  • Let's Team Up! by Sandy Antunes, 07may04
  • Beyond Role and Pla(t)y(pus) by Sandy Antunes, 08apr04
  • Slow Improv and the Post-Kilgallon by Sandy Antunes, 05mar04
  • Paradox Redux by Sandy Antunes, 06feb04
  • Mad Scientists and the Kilgallon Paradox by Sandy Antunes, 09jan04
  • It's Not Your World, It's Mine by Sandy Antunes, 05dec03
  • Murphy's Law for Adventure Writers by Sandy Antunes, 07nov03
  • Eigentesting by Sandy Antunes, 09oct03
  • Atomic by Sandy Antunes, 05sep03
  • Is Writing a Commodity? by Sandy Antunes, 06aug03
  • Designing Amidst the Tides of Gaming History by Sandy Antunes, 08jul03
  • Buy This Book by Sandy Antunes, 05jun03
  • Hobbies by Sandy Antunes, 08may03
  • The Websites That Wouldn't Die by Sandy Antunes, 10apr03
  • The Path to Atrocities by Sandy Antunes, 06mar03
  • Cattle Mutilation: The Game Design by Sandy Antunes, 06feb03
  • Gaming With Children by Sandy Antunes, 09jan03
  • How To Be An Industry Poser, Part 1 by Sandy Antunes, 05dec02
  • all i game with, i learned from kids books by Sandy Antunes, 19nov02
  • TCG: The Total Cost of Gaming by Sandy Antunes, 10oct02
  • Game Publishing & The Law by Sandy Antunes, 06sep02
  • Standing on the Shoulders of Giants by Sandy Antunes, 01aug02
  • Buying Time by Sandy Antunes, 04jul02
  • April 10, 2002 13 New FAQs
  • March 1, 2002 Give Me A Closet
  • January 2, 2002 Let's Go Shopping?!?
  • December 13, 2001 Conflict, Ethics, Winning, and Money
  • November 13, 2001 Secret RPGnet Operations Document Leaked!
  • October 16, 2001 Leadership and D&D
  • September 4, 2001 Leading Industry Site Reports Secret: Sex Sells!
  • August 7, 2001 Any, Anyone Can Be an Internet Success-- Why Aren't You?
  • July 3, 2001 Fine Print, Part U
  • June 5, 2001 Fine Print, Part I
  • May 8, 2001 Pushing Limits
  • May 4, 2001 RPGnet State of the Union special feature
  • April 6, 2001 The Other Magic: Niche Hobbies and Other Markets
  • May 9, 2000 Running a Business as an Old Style D&D Party
  • April 14, 2000 First to Market
  • March 20, 2000 Labor Pains
  • February 15, 2000 One Trick Pony
  • January 6, 2000 Creativity is Bad, Hard to Sell, and Great for Business
  • December 14, 1999 Oranges versus Bananas: Entertainment Costs
  • November 2, 1999 Why Editors Lie
  • October 5, 1999 How to publish a quality game, accept criticism gracefully, and lead a happy life: Pick Any Two
  • September 7, 1999 It Takes a Village (to publish an RPG)
  • August 3, 1999 All Gamer Money Isn't Equal
  • July 6, 1999 Tides of Cash Flow
  • June 1, 1999 Ad-itudes
  • May 4, 1999 Who, What, Give me a Guiness
  • April 6, 1999 The GAMA Trade Show '99
  • March 2, 1999 Roleplaying would have saved Millions
  • February 2, 1999 Games That Won't Suck
  • January 5, 1999 Dangerous Games
  • December 1, 1998 Making Gamers the Old Fashioned Way
  • November 3, 1998 The $1K Company
  • October 1, 1998 So You Want to Start Your Own Company...
  • September 1, 1998 Holy Grails and Marching Morons
  • August 4, 1998 Gamers Must Die!
  • July 7, 1998 Profit versus Prophet
  • June 2, 1998 Acquire! Acquire!
  • May 5, 1998 Power
  • April 21, 1998 The GAMA Trade Show Report, Part 2 (eventually)
  • April 7, 1998 Schroedinger Games, or, the GAMA Report
  • March 3, 1998 Culling the Herd
  • February 3, 1998 Horatio Hornblower's RPG Company
  • January 6, 1998 Double Feature (Us and Them/A Clash of Images)
  • December 2, 1997 "How to Scam Games for Free"
  • November 4, 1997 "Women in Gaming?"
  • October 2, 1997 "Fear of a Gaming Planet" (Welcome to the RPG ghetto?)
  • September 2, 1997 "Rush" (fame and adoration in lieu of pay)
  • August 2, 1997 "For the Money" (convention mating rituals)
  • July 2, 1997 "Good Deeds" (the dearth of evil game companies)
  • June 2, 1997 "Dirty Laundry" (copyright and slander on the net)
  • May 2, 1997 "Communications Breakdown" (company and player schisms)
  • April 2, 1997 "The Quick and the Dead" (dying companies versus new ideas)
  • March 2, 1997 "It's All in the Timing" (on hype and late deliveries, and on genres)
  • February 2, 1997 "Insiders and Outsiders" (who's who and who uses the web)
  • January 2, 1997 "Fits and Starts" (web presences, print runs, live roleplaying)
  • December 2, 1996 "Procastination Season is Over" (delays and new products)
  • November 1, 1996 "Best of Times, Worst of Times" (on rumors, survival, and larps)
  • October 1, 1996 "Post-Con fallout and not that many new games"
  • September 1, 1996 "Our launch, news from GenCon, demos, new LARPS"
  • Our reason for existence

    Other columns at RPGnet

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