The Owners of Scrabble Are None Too Happy With The Success of Facebook's Scrabulous

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Post: The Owners of Scrabble Are None Too Happy With The Success of Facebook's Scrabulous / 16.01.2008

The Owners of Scrabble Are None Too Happy With The Success of Facebook's Scrabulous

With 260,000 players on weekdays and about double that number on weekends, the Facebook version of Scrabble--called Scrabulous, is a huge success. Unfortunately, Scrabble's owners, Hasbro and Mattel aren't seeing a dime of it.

In legal circles that's called copyright infringement.

The application was developed in Calcutta, India, by software developers Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla and launched at the end of June. They have a website version, as well as a Facebook portal. The Facebook portal allows users of the social networking site to play with their friends and others in the network.

The software developers say they placed their version of Scrabble on Facebook after approaching Hasbro (which owns the rights to the game in the US and Canada) and received no response.

Isn't that kind of like knocking on the door of a house, and, if the owners don't answer you walk in and make yourself at home?

According to Brand Republic, initially the pair said that they were targeting just a few thousand users, but within weeks the Scrabulous application had 20,000 users and was growing fast and making the pair around $20,000 a month.

The folks at Mashable explain the game this way:

For anyone that loves to play Scrabble, this application lets you do it your way. There are options to play with other users that aren’t even online. This way, you can let your Scrabble game go on forever. Well, maybe not forever, but at least you can play when you want to play.

Once you’ve added Scrabulous, you can choose to host a game, start a game with a friend, see who’s online now, find a friend that’s currently playing, or join a table.

Now Hasbro has responded jointly with Mattel, which owns the rights to the board game internationally, and asked the applications be pulled.

The addictive quality of the game is explained by the folks at LifeClever:

"I have a confession. The reason why you’ve heard barely a peep from me isn't because I’ve been Tasered by zealous cops or abducted by aliens. Truth is, I've been fiendishly playing Scrabble Scrabulous on Facebook. I swear, it's like a Krispy Kreme donut with sprinkles of crack on top.

"After its integration with Facebook, Scrabulous is now delightful, convenient, and sticky. It's a great example of how to take a classic standalone product and turn it into an online service that connects emotionally and deeply with people.

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