RockYou was a company that developed widgets for MySpace and implemented applications for various social networks and Facebook. Since 2014, it has engaged primarily in the purchases of rights to classic video games; it incorporates in-game ads and re-distributes the games.
|Type of business||Private|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Key people||Lisa Marino: CEO; Lance Tokuda and Jia Shen: co-founders|
|Services||Online Social Games|
|Current status||Out of Business|
Based in San Francisco, California, RockYou was founded in 2005 by Lance Tokuda and Jia Shen. The company's first product, a slide show service, was designed to work as an application widget. Later applications included various forms of voice mail, text and photo stylization, and games. As of December 2007 it was the most successful widget maker for the Facebook platform in terms of total installations.
In May, 2007, RockYou was one of the companies invited to participate in F8, the event at which Facebook announced an open platform allowing third parties to develop and operate their own software applications on the Facebook website. Applications made for Facebook include Super Wall, "Hug Me", Likeness, Vampires, Slideshows, Birthdays, MyGifts, and Emote, among others.
In December 2009, the company experienced a data breach resulting in the exposure of over 32 million user accounts. This resulted from storing user data in an unencrypted database (including user passwords in plain text instead of using a cryptographic hash) and not patching a ten-year-old SQL vulnerability. RockYou failed to provide a notification of the breach to users and miscommunicated the extent of the breach.
In October 2010, the company completed major layoffs. In November, 2010, the company's founder and CEO, Lance Tokuda, stepped down from his position as CEO. and was later replaced by Lisa Marino in April, 2011.
In 2010, RockYou announced the acquisitions of two game development studios, TirNua and Playdemic, as well as development agreements for two new games from John Romero's social game studio Loot Drop. Playdemic's first game, Gourmet Ranch, was nominated in February 2011 for a Mochi Award for Best Social Game. RockYou's investors include SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Partech International, and DCM.
In 2012, the company settled Federal Trade Commission charges. The settlement barred future deceptive claims by the company regarding privacy and data security, required it to implement and maintain a data security program, barred future violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, and required it to pay a $250,000 civil penalty to settle the COPPA charges.
On June 13, 2012, RockYou acquired Bingo developer Ryzing and relocated its headquarters to San Francisco, California. In August 2012, RockYou launched The Walking Dead Social Game based on AMC's hit series of the same name. In April 2014, RockYou purchased three Playdom social games from Disney: Gardens of Time, Words of Wonder, and City Girl, and announced it is licensing Army Attack, Crazy Penguin Wars, Millionaire City, and Zombie Lane from Digital Chocolate.
In 2015, RockYou purchased The Godfather: Five Families, Kingdoms of Camelot, Edgeworld, Glory of Rome, and Dragons of Atlantis from Kabam.
In 2016, RockYou acquired War of Nations from GREE.
In 2019, RockYou closed down its popular but money-losing PurePlay Poker Game without notice. Shortly after the RockYou corporate website went dark.
In February 2019, after several Facebook posts promoting "exciting news" and a plan to upgrade servers, RockYou announces the closure of The Godfather: Five Families. Players are given 5 days' notice.
In December 2009, The company experienced a data breach resulting in the exposure of over 32 million user accounts. The company used an unencrypted database to store user account data, including plaintext passwords (as opposed to password hashes) for its service, as well as passwords to connected accounts at partner sites (including Facebook, Myspace, and webmail services). RockYou would also e-mail the password unencrypted to the user during account recovery. They also did not allow using special characters in the password. The hackers used a 10-year-old SQL vulnerability to gain access to the database. The company took days to notify users after the incident, and initially incorrectly reported that the breach only affected older applications when it actually affected all RockYou users.
RockYou's most played game, Zoo World is a free social media application where users try to build the best zoo they can. Participants can build on various islands, decorate their zoo with kiosks, trees, and a large variety of animals. In addition, it has features such as breeding animals, collecting objects, and visiting friends' zoo islands. The act of leveling up is based on achievements of tasks. Also, users can earn wildlife points, a bonus reward that can be used to buy special items, like ultra rare animals, and rare decorative items. Wildlife points can be earned by breeding animals, completing levels and trophies, or bought via PayPal or credit card. Lastly, around each holiday there are events, new animals, and new items to add to the zoo.
In May 2011, RockYou announced that Zoo World 2, the sequel to the original Zoo World, would be available on Facebook on June 8, 2011.
Current social games
- Bingo Blingo
- RockYou Poker
- Zoo World Classic
- City Girl Life
- Words of Wonder
- Gardens of Time
- Kitchen Scramble
- Bakery Blitz
- Godfather: Five Families
- Glory of Rome
- Kingdoms of Camelot
- Dragons of Atlantis
- Brightwood Adventures
- Pioneer Adventures
- Gold Rush
- Lost Island
- Volcano Island
- New World
- Skull Island
- Rapid Poker
- Kahzuu Slots
- PurePlay Poker
- Solitare Arena
- Solitare 3 Arena
- Lucky Slots
- War of Nations
Past social applications and games
- "Rockyou.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "Mobile-gaming ad network RockYou secures $10M in financing - GamesBeat - Games - by Jeff Grubb". VentureBeat.
- Brad Stone (October 4, 2007). "In Facebook, Investing In a Theory". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Ellen Lee (September 3, 2007). "Widgets add flair to dress up Web sites". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Nik Cubrilovic. "RockYou Hack: From Bad To Worse". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Jason Kincaid. "RockYou Rocked By Layoffs As It Switches Focus To Social Games". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Jason Kincaid. "RockYou CEO Lance Tokuda Steps Down". TechCrunch. AOL.
- "Interview: New RockYou CEO Lisa Marino Talks Social Gaming, Advertising and Mobile". insidesocialgames.com.
- "TirNua acquisition". GamesIndustry.biz.
- Robin Wauters. "RockYou Buys UK-Based Social Gaming Startup Playdemic". TechCrunch. AOL.
- "RockYou signs deal with Doom creator John Romero's social game studio Loot Drop - GamesBeat - Games - by Dean Takahashi". VentureBeat.
- RockYou Agrees To Security Audits To End Breach Action Law360. 16 December 2011.
- "FTC Charges That Security Flaws in RockYou Game Site Exposed 32 Million Email Addresses and Passwords". FTC (Press release). 27 March 2012.
- Mike Rose. "Gamasutra - RockYou acquires Bingo developer Ryzing". gamasutra.com.
- Anthony Ha. "RockYou Acquires Social Games Developer Ryzing, Moves to San Francisco". TechCrunch. AOL.
- "The Walking Dead Social Game's open beta lurches onto Facebook". insidesocialgames.com.
- VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi, 4/18/14, RockYou Buys Three Playdom Games from Disney to Keep Them Running https://venturebeat.com/2014/04/18/rockyou-buys-three-playdom-games-from-disney-to-keep-them-running-for-players/
- Nik Cubrilovic. "RockYou Hack: From Bad To Worse". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Gamasutra, Christian Nutt 4/18/14, RockYou's New Strategy: Rescue Games That Other Publishers Don't Want http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/215827/RockYous_new_strategy_Rescue_games_that_other_publishers_dont_want.php