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
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 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.
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". :)