All your Scrabbles are belong to us

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Another head shaker from the land of old media:

If you're on Facebook, there's a good chance that you've come across Scrabulous, which is a Facebook module that allows you effectively to play Scrabble with other Facebook users. According to the Motley Fool, Scrabulous has upwards of 600,000 users a day. This popularity has unfortunately attracted the attention of Mattel and Hasbro, who own the rights to Scrabble. Their response? Cease and desist, of course.

What should happen? The two guys (count em: one...two) who created this insanely popular version of the game should be rewarded, licensed, franchised, and lauded for doing what the dinosaurs who own Scrabble haven't: produce a high-quality, online version.

What will happen? Scrabulous will probably get retired, and there will be tens of thousands of new, brand-hostile customers.

But it's less about avoiding hostility and more about understanding that "in an edgeconomy, people sharing/hacking/using/etc your goods can actually create massive amounts of value for you." That's from Umair Haque, writing about something else entirely and yet the exact same thing. Company after company walks down this path, and it seems like, to a person, all of the stiffs in charge make the wrong decision. Maybe this will go down differently, given that all the public clamor, from individuals to techonomics blogs, weighs in on the side of "opportunity." But somehow, I doubt it.

That's all.


The search for good online Scrabble puts me in mind of a bunch of nerds--er, intellectual types, myself included--looking for the latest underground dance club site. Only without the cool outfits and headbanging music.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on January 18, 2008 8:47 PM.

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