Thursday, 30 July 2009

Taking the Mickey - what qualifications are needed?

Here's an email conversation between one of the banned players and one of the Zynga drones (I can't call him CEO/Founder because you'd think he'd have a little more sway with his own company... wouldn't you?)

Banned Player
July 9 at 9:58pm
Hi Mark,

I read your blog on banned players with more than a little hope. I was banned from the game as well as Zynga forums for admitting that I attack until I get a kill stat or until the opponent is 'zombied'.

I consider this ban unfair, not to mention slanderous in the fact that I don't consider myself to have been abusive and the reason given when I try to log on is:
You've been banned.
Reason: Violation of the Terms of Service - Harassing Other Users/Harassing CommentsBanned until: Permanent.

I have emailed Chris Hinton as you advised in your blog and have not yet had a response - either way.
I would go through the normal channels of asking for this ban to be lifted but as I am banned from Zynga forums it seems that I cannot log on to Zynga to request a review of this decision.

I did spend money on Elders Points for that game and frankly I'm quite angry that I am labelled as 'harassing other users' just for saying that I attack more than 3 times in a 'fighting game'.

I have not asked for this ban to be lifted before now as I was hoping that someone on the Moderators team would actually come to their senses and lift all the bans imposed for speaking our minds. This email, therefore, is my penultimate resort. I do hope you can help.

Kind regards

Mark J Pincus
July 10 at 5:24pm
Hi Player,

Please check out our Customer Support portal, at, and register an account - it's quick and easy.

Then, click the Ask a Question button at the top of the page, and enter your request there. CS will research your account, and respond.

Only CS has the ability to research and reactivate an account.


Banned Player
July 10 at 9:27pm
Hi Mark,

Been there, done that...Incorrect username/password combination or the account has been disabled.

Now, if I make a new account, I am liable to be re-banned because I am trying to 'circumnavigate' the system and will be shut down again...I didn't do anything to be banned for before and as I said, you are my only chance of getting through to Zynga as Chris Hinton still hasn't bothered to reply.

I'll try to make a new account and hope that I don't get the 'circumnavigation' ban.

Fingers crossed...

Banned Player
July 14 at 10:10pm
Hi again Mark.

I couldn't get onto the support site as my account had been disabled. I made another one and asked my question again. I have a reply which will be deemed as resolved if I do not answer within 120 hours - very generous - until you realise that the new account has been disabled and therefore I cannot log in to dispute the reply.

Here is the reply I got. I am not happy. As you can see, the original question was asked on 7th April... not exactly your 72 hours promise is it?

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.
We will assume your issue has been resolved if we do not hear from you within 120 hours.Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
To access or update your question from our support site, click here, do not click Reply from your Inbox.

SubjectAppealing Ban on Vampire WarsDiscussion ThreadResponse (Zynga Support Staff) 07/14/2009 11:41 AM

Hello Player,

Thanks for contacting the Zynga Terms of Service Team.Per your request, we have reviewed the ban on your account. After reviewing your account activity again, it was determined that you were in violation of our Terms of Service. Therefore, your account is permanently banned, and will not be reactivated for any reason.

Thank you,Zynga Terms of Service TeamCustomer (Entered by Zynga Customer Support) 07/13/2009 08:12 AMCustomer calling in to appeal the ban on their Vampire Wars account.

They say they have been banned for abuse and harassment. The customer says they do not take part in that kind of behavior and would like the ban removed.

Response (Zynga Support Staff) 04/24/2009 06:03 PMDear Zynga Games Player,

Thank you for contacting us with your problem in the past We apologize for not responding to you earlier and understand if you have been frustrated by not hearing from us. We are working hard to fix some issues that have caused our response time to be so late, and believe we will be timelier in responding to your concerns in the future. If the issue you wrote us previously has not been settled or you are still experiencing problems with game play or a billing issue, please contact us by clicking on this link by pointing your browser to the Zynga Home page at and clicking on the word “Support” at the top of the page. We are very sorry that we could not respond faster to your issue and hope that you will continue to support Zynga Games.Thank you for your support and patience.

The Customer Service Team at ZyngaGo for more about Zynga Games!Customer (Player)
04/08/2009 07:12 AM

This is the third time I've asked about this and I still have had no reply,despite your 'promise' that I would receive a response within the nextworking day. I'm assuming then that you're on permanent holiday? You certainly would be if you worked for me.

From: Player
Sent: 07 April 2009 09:12

Subject: Vampire Wars submitted question
Your Question has been Submitted
Question Reference # 090407-000100 You should receive a response by email from our support department within the next business day.

If you need to add information to or cancel your question, you can do so byupdating it through the questions subarea of the 'My Stuff' section of thissite. Added by UpdateMy FB id=1279837386Question Reference #090408-004105
Product Level 1: VampiresCategory Level 1: Rules/PoliciesCategory Level 2: Terms of ServiceCategory Level 3: Appeal Account BanDate Created: 04/08/2009 07:12 AM
Last Updated: 07/14/2009 11:41 AM
Status: Waiting
Profile or iPhone #1279837386

Mark J Pincus
July 15 at 5:32pm

Hi,The CS account you created when you initially submitted your ticket is not the same as your game account. Are you saying that your CS account has been banned? What happens when you try to access Support?


Banned Player
July 15 at 7:58pm
Thanks for replying Mark, I appreciate the time you're putting into this.

When I click the link on the email that was sent confirming the banned account I get this message:Permission DeniedYou do not have permission to access this document.

To be perfectly honest with you Mark, I object to the terminology used "Harassing Other Users/Harassing Comments"

As you may or may not remember, I had a little run-in with a Moderator and I believe that the Moderator then took it all a little too much to heart and decided that they could interpret the ToS in order to ban my account. I am not the only one banned in this particular manner and I know there are a number of angry people out there with axes to grind.

I would rather sort this out amicably - if you need to keep the ban on me for the Forums, I would agree to that but I enjoyed the game, the strategy and mentoring and I haven't found another game that catches my imagination in the same way.

I had worked hard from October last year to attain the level and my place on the Leaderboards and I did that through the game and the abilities given in the game. Not once did I swear, threaten or abuse on anyone's wall and neither did I email anyone for those purposes... Unfortunately, there are a lot that do use those methods of bullying and I understand why your company would want to stamp out those practices.

I once offered to help on the official forum when it was based on Facebook but I was told that there were no vacancies. I also spoke with Parizad and she commended me on my ideas and asked if I would continue to help in the same way that I had been doing. I agreed but said that I wouldn't do that under an 'official capacity'. How could I then have gone from helping the community in the forums to being 'public enemy #1' in such a short space of time and without any change on my part?

Thanks again for your time, Mark and sorry to have gone on so much.

Kind Regards

Banned Player
July 17 at 4:49pm
Hello Mark,

Well, I must say that your company certainly knows how to take the mickey.Please note: 'SOLVED' on a page where I am unable to access because I am 'BANNED' does not fool me and I doubt it will fool anyone else.There's a new Vampires game started on Facebook and I'll be promoting that with as much energy and gusto that I once promoted Vampire Wars.I'm working very hard on my new Blog, I'll keep you updated on its progress as soon as it's live.


We have not heard from you concerning your request for support in the 120 hours since we sent you a response. Consequently, we have changed the status of your question to SOLVED.
To access or update your question from our support site, click here, do not click Reply from your Inbox.
Question Reference #090710-003272Summary: Vampires GameProduct Level 1: VampiresProduct Level 2: FacebookCategory Level 1: Rules/PoliciesCategory Level 2: Privacy PolicyCategory Level 3: GeneralDate Created: 07/10/2009 02:12 PMLast Updated: 07/16/2009 01:30 AM
Status: Solved

Banned Player
Today at 1:40am
As promised... here's a little about my new Blog. Feel free to post your comments too...
I would like to see the other side of this story.
Feel free to use it and make comments.
I don't mind criticism, but please, no abuse or personal vendettas - the one common 'enemy' we have here seems to be Zynga.
Post your experiences and how you got reinstated, feel free to pass the link around too!

Mark J Pincus
Today at 8:04pm
Hi Player,

I'm very sorry. However, only CS has the ability to research and reactivate accounts. It sounds as though you've submitted several tickets, each of which CS replied to, but that your ban is permanent.


Banned Player
Today at 8:37pm
Hi Mark,

I've had no notification that my ban is permanent. I've been told that it's been elevated to 2nd tier and then nothing.I have had no reason given for the ban either and I would think that after the money I spent with your company, I could have at least have expected to know exactly what it is that I had done in the first place.

My opinion is that I was banned for voicing my questions on your forum and the moderators couldn't answer them so it was far easier to ban me (and not just me). If I was banned for any other reason then I really would appreciate knowing.If I am banned for 'harassment' then I really need to know exactly who I am supposed to have harassed.

If I am banned because of your Moderators getting a little uppity when they were given the ability to ban people from the forums and the game, then I think I'd like my account back.

MySpace users had a lot of interaction with Zynga on Forums but Facebook users didn't have any. Tempers got frayed because of this 'favouritism' which is why some people were seen to have gone too far. Facebbok users were blatantly ignored and your company needs to accept culpability for that.

Mark, I am being really patient here. I am being entirely open with you and have given you the address of my Blog. I am also writing to everyone else that was banned and will be getting their side of the story. I will also be posting the email from your moderator which flippantly disregarded my problem in acessing the game and said 'goodbye' when I threatened to leave.I will also be writing to all the companies that utilise Elders Points and pointing them towards my Blog. There is a lot of interest growing with regards to it and I'm sure that I'll have plenty of material to work with for a long time to come.

Hmmm... I think someone is making excuses for not wanting to go and ask his Moderators just what the hell is going on.


  1. Hi Erzebet,
    I have been playing VW since early April. I heard about you not long after I started playing. I think it's completely unfair that you were banned and how they are treating your subsequent inquiries. I have spent my money on favor points as well. In case Mark Pincus does swing by, I have decided that I won't be buying anymore favor points until you are reinstated. I hope this gets resolved. Let me know if you need any help, whether that be as an email sender or otherwise.

    Good luck. ~Hypnotica

  2. Hi Hypnotica

    That is much appreciated! Mark Pincus has been invited on a few occasions to visit this Blog and I really do hope that he does come and take a look. Also, I'd appreciate it if you coulf get as many people to become members because if we have more members then there is a greater chance that Zynga may just take notice of how upset their customers are....

  3. I posted a link to your blog in my FB status. I'll try to think of other ways to spread the word.