OMGPOP Employees Party Like It’s 2012 After Getting Laid Off

OMGPOP,Zynga, New York Startup, Dan Porter

We’ve chronicled the rise and fall of OMGPOP, the creators of Draw Something. Before their huge hit with Draw Something, they had produced dozens of mobile games that didn’t hit it big. Draw Something hit the app store though, lives changed, and quickly.

Draw Something shot up to the top of the app charts. They amassed over 240 million users who were playing all the time. In just about a month’s time, they went from “another game studio” in New York City, to being acquired by–at the time–social gaming powerhouse Zynga back in March of 2012. Zynga didn’t disclose the financial details of the transaction but word on the street was that the deal was between $180 and $200 million. Around the same time this year, Zynga reported taking a $95 million dollar write down on the OMGPOP deal.

Porter, who had worked on events at Pimlico in Baltimore and had strong ties to Charm City, named all of OMGPOP’s conference rooms after characters from the HBO hit series, The Wire. That, coupled with Porter’s WYSIWYG attitude quickly earned him the respect of many tech journalists.

After OMGPOP was acquired by Zynga, Porter became the head of New York operations for the company. According to the announcement back in March of 2012, OMGPOP was to be Zynga’s top mobile unit. However, as Business Insider reported on Tuesday, things didn’t quite turn out that way.

According to Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell, Monday afternoon around 2pm the dreaded “all hands meeting” was called at the NY office of Zynga. These meetings had become common practice in New York, and as the employees filed into the room, they grabbed beers, “Sensory-numbing beverages were now essential for these gatherings.” Shontell wrote.


The resident HR employee at Zynga’s New York office told the employees the news. The New York office was being shut down. Employees quickly filled out paperwork to get there severance packages and then it was party time.

Business Insider reports that hoodies, t-shirts and anything with a Zynga logo were quickly destroyed, however morale stayed positive. Desks were cleaned out, trophies from Zynga meetings were left behind.

“There were no hard facts or figures. No real explanation. Just typical corporate BS,” one former employee who was in attendance tells Business Insider. “Everyone was just like, ‘Yep.’ Not surprised at all. It was like the weight had been lifted off our shoulders, that a decision had finally been made.”

“Most layoffs are sad. You imagine big corporate settings where security is there to lead people out of the office so they don’t make a scene. This was the opposite,” says the former employee. “Music was being played loudly, and people were ripping up Zynga hoodies and T-shirts. Anything that was Zynga was completely left there. The sentiment felt positive.”

The OMGPOP team was never really integrated into Zynga. Right around the same time of the purchase, Zynga had gone public and their stock started falling immediately. Shortly after that it was reported that Zynga would no longer have the stranglehold on social games on the Facebook platform, meaning that the company would need to rely on other money making avenues.

You would think that with Zynga’s focus coming off of the “ville” franchises, a mobile team like OMGPOP would be put to work full steam ahead. Employees told Shontell that really wasn’t the case at all. Earlier this year OMGPOP released a refresh of Draw Something as Draw Something 2. Right before Dan Porter’s exit from the company in April, Ashton Kutcher had actually tweeted how much he liked the new version of Draw Something. Kutcher had gotten an advance copy of the game.

Porter has already moved onto another startup and continues with his Just a few months before Porter’s exit, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus was named the 4th worst CEO.

Check out all of our OMGPOP coverage here.



A Tribute To My Personal Favorite New York CEO, Dan Porter, Wire Style

Dan Porter, OMGPOP,Zynga,New York, New York Startup,The WireDan Porter, the CEO of OMGPOP became Zynga’s New York chief when the popular social games company acquired the New York based company that created “Draw Something”.

Sure one of the main reasons I like Dan Porter so much is that he named every conference and meeting space in OMGPOP’s headquarters after characters from the hit HBO drama “The Wire”.  Being from South Baltimore and having extrad a few times during the run of “The Wire” I naturally loved the idea of meeting rooms named after such influential characters as Avon Barksdale, Marlo Stansfield and Proposition Joe.

What came apparent though, as Zynga set sail with OMGPOP on board was that Porter was like the Stansfield character. Porter told it like it was, probably causing a major level of discomfort for Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.

Porter drew fire when Quartz, a business news website quoted him as saying that Zynga copies other publishers games.

Porter is leaving his post as vice president and general manager of Zynga’s New York operations. It’s unclear whether or not he is staying with the company.  He is leaving his post as Draw Something 2 is preparing for release.

The original Draw Something caught on like wild fire. The game, which allows two players to play in a head to head win lose or draw style competition, was the game of the month right up until the sale to Zynga. It’s popularity faded as hits like SongPop started picking up steam.

The exact amount that Zynga paid for OMGPOP was never reported. What was reported, was the fact that Zynga had to write down $95 million dollars on the OMGPOP deal.

Even with all that in mind, Porter is credited with helping to move Zynga from the Facebook dependent social gaming space to the mobile screen. Reports surfaced on Monday morning that Zynga was about to unveil online gambling games in the UK as well.

While Zynga’s focus isn’t clear to anyone at the moment, we are confident that Porter’s is. So Dan closes your eyes, and breathe easy, your next big thing is right around the corner.

See why Dan Porter earned that bump like a mother fucker, here.


Indianapolis Public Startup Angie’s List Sees Stock Drop 16%

Publicly traded tech startups haven’t been doing very well lately. Groupon, and Zynga have both dropped more than 70% since their initial public offerings earlier this year. The world has been watching the public story of Facebook as well. The largest social network in the world debuted at $38 dollars a share and has since dropped 46%. Right now is a tricky time for tech startups turned public companies.

For Angie’s list, the story hasn’t been much better. Except for the fact that Angie’s list debuted much lower than Groupon, Zynga or Facebook, they’ve still seen a steady decline since going public. Tuesday, Angie’s list stock closed at $11.17, which was below their IPO price of $13. The 16% drop on Tuesday was the single biggest decline for the Indianapolis based startup since they debuted on the stock market 9 months ago.

Angie’s list is a marketplace for people to vet and find service workers. Carpenters, babysitters, plumbers and more can be found on the site. The Angie’s list community is filled with reviews from every service sector possible. Companies can’t pay to be on the list it’s all referral/review based and there are no anonymous accounts.

Angie’s list also incorporates discounts of up to 70% off from the service providers found on the site. The company was founded in 1995 by Angie Hicks and William Oesterle and has remained in Indianapolis since then.

Angie’s List reported a loss of $37 million on revenues of $68 million during the first half of 2012.

Source: Yahoo

Zynga Sues Kobojo Over The Use Of “Ville” In Their Social Games

A French developer has created an egyption based social game where you need to make egyption pyramid cities. The game is called PyramidVille and it plays on the classic model of Zynga’s Farmville, Cityville, Frontierville and other Ville style games.

Zynga has now sued the French developer over the use of the word Ville. The suit, which was filed in a San Francisco court, is asking a judge to ban Kobojo from using the word “Ville” in the US release of the game.

Zynga’s attorney Dennis Wilson said Kobojo’s use of Ville was a  “willful violation of Zynga’s trademark by a competitor seeking to exploit Zynga’s hard-earned reputation in the social gaming space.”  With the game’s focus building an Egyptian city, we can see where the confusion may come in to play.

According to this report Zynga tried to work this out with Kobojo but they willfully ignored the social game studios requests. Kobojo has already released a mobile version of PyramidVille.

Zynga build a franchise around their Facebook integrated social games. Their first game, Farmville, became a blockbuster hit. CityVille followed soon after that.

Zynga has also made a presence in the social mobile space after purchasing “Words With Friends” they’ve also got a version of Hangman played with friends. Their first mobile game, Zynga Poker is also a big hit.

Their most notable mobile news was the nearly $200 million dollar purchase of New York based game studio OMGPOP. Zynga acquired OMGPOP after their hit game Draw Something was able to knock Words With Friends out of the top spot in the mobile games arena.

The staff of OMGPOP was absorbed into Zynga and Dan Porter, the CEO of OMGPOP became Zynga’s Vice President of their New York operation which to date only includes the Draw Something title. We ran a feature story on Dan Porter and his unique use of HBO hit series “The Wire” characters as the names of OMGPOPs conference rooms.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Chicago Startup: Chippewa Five Supplying Beer Pong Tables To Facebook And More

Zynga and Facebook have more in common than just social online gaming. A Chicago Startup called Chippewa Five has helped both Zynga and Facebook get back into physical gaming, at least in their offices.

Chippewa Five or C5 for short, makes professional grade, furniture style beer pong tables. Wait, beer pong? Yes beer pong. Their tables are high quality wood finished tables with a secret skeet shot capability and dining grade table legs. Just look at the picture.

As we learn in our interview with co-founder Daniel Manriquez both Facebook and Zynga have a C5 beer pong table in their offices. It’s not the least bit crazy we’ve actually seen a good dozen or so incubators, and startup offices that have the beer pong tables you can get at Spencers in offices. That’s the “boot strap” version.

Manriquez along with co-founder Joseph Mollo learned that they could take a favorite college past time for themselves and many from their generation and make an actual business out of it. After selling a few tables via easy, and a flash sale on (the Facebook table) they’ve decided to make a real go out of high end beer pong.

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European Startup Beats Out Electronic Arts On Facebook

While we admit we are skeptical on the fact that calls themselves a startup, they do so to that end we will as well. Outside of them being a startup though, this little known game development studio in London has overtaken Electronic Arts in terms of daily app users for their Facebook games.

Admittedly, they aren’t anywhere near eclipsing Facebook giant Zynga but they have their sites set on Zynga. According to this report from the Chicago Tribune,’s game Bubble Witch Saga has more daily active players than Zynga’s smash hit Farmville. Impressive.  But not quite the 65 million daily users Zynga has across all of their titles.’s most recent launch, a game called Candy Crush Saga, has already crossed the half a million daily users threshold. That game just debuted last week.

“Our ultimate ambition is to be the leader in our segment of games for the casual social player, mainly female, social and mobile,”’s Chief Executive and co-founder Riccardo Zacconi said in an interview with Reuters. He continued, “Our target is to reach Zynga.”

Across Facebook and other channels reports that they have 2.5 billion games played per month. Although they started out before Facebook gaming became popular a lot of their game plays comes from Facebook. Zynga has been reportedly looking at options outside of Facebook and says they are looking at other places to host their casual games as well. lacks in the mobile world and plans to change that this year by introducing their most popular titles to iOS and Android. That’s a space where EA and Zynga have already been successful.

source: ChicagoTribune

OMGPOP: Last Leap Of Faith Brought A Home Run

Although the financial details were off limits during Zynga’s conference call announcing the purchase of OMGPOP, the details were later revealed in a SEC filing which is a requirement for public companies like Zynga.  As allthingsd and TechCrunch reported Zynga bought 100% of the outstanding stock of OMGPOP for $180 million dollars.

It’s been well documented, and it seems as if CEO Dan Porter has no bones about admitting it, before Draw Something, the future at OMGPOP was uncertain.  They had received $16 million in funding over the previous four years, however as Betabeat reports their last round of funding before Draw Something was more of a hail mary round.

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Zynga Officially Announces Purchase Of OMGPOP, Won’t Disclose Financials

Zynga held a conference call earlier today where they formally announced their purchase of OMGPOP the creators of the hit game “Draw Something”. Zynga’s head of mobile David Ko conducted the call from OMGPOP’s New York headquarters.

During the call Zynga announced that they are at 240 million monthly active users (MAU), and still have their sites on one billion monthly active users. Ko said that their mission at Zynga was to continue connecting people through games.

If for some reason you’ve been living under a rock and you’re not sure what OMGPOP or “Draw Something” is, it’s a Pictionary style game that you can play on your phone against your Facebook friends or completely random strangers. You take turns drawing one of three possible pictures, based on difficulty. Easy pictures like a leg or an arm will earn you one coin for drawing and guessing correctly. Tougher pictures like running or bacon will yield you two points. The most difficult category is often proper nouns like Lil Wayne or Lady GaGa for those you get three points.

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Fast Follow The Game Zynga Likes To Play?

The buzz of Zynga and their business model of social gaming online has undoubtedly had a major impact on bringing a fun new way to socially interact with our friends online. There are several other social game companies out there that have help build social gaming into what it is today. Mark Pincus, chief executive of social gaming company Zynga has recently been interviewed by Venture Beats and has turned up some interesting insight on how the follow fast game works in the social gaming industry. I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are several games made by different companies that look almost the same and some could argue that they are the same and that one of the companies copied another company’s games. While this would seem true to many, there is more to the story as Mark Pincus explains in an interview Venture Beats today. Some companies Playdom, NimbleBit and Buffalo Studios have all come forward claiming that Zynga has played the follow fast game with their games and the it doesn’t seem that the follow fast game is going to lose steam anytime soon. To understand the point of view of Zynga, you’ll want to read the memo from Mark Pincus to his fellow team mates.


Via Venture Beats & Business Insider