Paul LaFontaine covers social media and fansites in a recent podcast!
Social networking in Habbo, promotion of fansites and the current happenings at Sulake were just a few of the topics covered in a detailed and intriguing podcast between Paul LaFontaine (CEO of Sulake) and Jason Steele (“Leader” for Habbo fansites). The questions that were asked (and answered obviously) had been gathered from a variety of fansites and will hopefully help shed some light on any burning queries you have about Sulake incorporating social media into Habbo and/or issues regarding fansites.
A lot of users have been slightly surprised and intrigued in regards to Sulake’s sudden passion for using Twitter to socialise and collaborate with Habbo users more, thus leading them to question “why?” Well, Sulake have a desire to ensure that they have a strong relationship with their users by opening up more communication methods for them. They’re focused on communicating with their members so that they can gain more feedback and ideas as opposed to creating an invention without any prior research and hoping that the community will enjoy it – Paul summed up that point quite nicely actually. He said “The days where you invented stuff in a laboratory and hoped it would work are over.”
Social media tools will assist Sulake in their aim to gather more feedback and advice from its committed users. Let’s face it, as Paul LaFontaine said “Habbo/Sulake is social media – so we should use social media” and this is quite a fair point, so there is a lot of benefits arriving from social media which can be adapted into Habbo (which is what Sulake are doing currently).
Due to the recent removal of the “official fansite” status, some users have been slightly confused about what actually defines a “good fansite”. Although there is no straight-forward definition of a “good fansite” there are still some important qualities that they should have. Paul mainly focused on the aspects of “relationships” and “representation”. A fansite that manages to show a strong relationship among itself, Habbo users and Sulake will do well in terms of reputation and popularity. Representation is all about presenting a good image of Habbo/Sulake and ensuring that the fansite manages to maintain and uphold such a positive image of their own site as well.
Also, due to the “official fansite” status being withdrawn, the promotion system for fansites changed completely. Fansite events are no longer advertised in news articles, there is no page where staff have chosen “the best sites” and Sulake do not “favour one fansite other another”… so where exactly do fansites get promoted? Well, the current system at the moment is simply a webpage (constantly updated) which displays the list of all “dedicated” fansites which have been recognised as Sulake. Now, this system is still being developed and Paul stated that if the “fair system” fails to work then they will consider reverting back to this system:
“…bringing back the official fansite status. In this case, some fansites would be valued over others and it is an un-balanced system but Sulake would still be happy to do it. It’s done in business and there is nothing wrong with it.”
However, Paul did state that the promotion of fansites was still a “complicated issue”.
Another interesting topic that arose was in reference to fansites receiving VIP passes on Habbo so that they could get into important events. Paul was actually very supportive of this idea and felt that owners of a “site that is a good partner” should be entitled to a reward… almost like a “job well done” gift. Jason Steele is expected to comment further on potential free VIP for fansites, but worries have arose due to the fact that some fansites have more than 1 owner & it would be a huge annoyance for Sulake to give out VIP passes to many fansite owners. So it looks like we’ll have to wait for further development on that idea.
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