Greetings from the more-or-less newfangled, semi up-and-running Gamesville!
In April 2020, Gamesville was acquired and is being slowly rebirthed by Golden Hearts Gaming, a new digital games and tech company run by a bunch of frazzled, grizzled veterans of online media, games and tech, including Steve Kane, who co-founded Gamesville and was its CEO, waaaaaayyy back when there was no sentient life on Earth and the internet was just a puddle of hot, smelly, bubbling ooze that was a popular place for dinosaurs to do their private business. (Hmm. Not much has really changed, eh?)
The Golden Hearts team plans to add new and exciting games and features to Gamesville, as well as bring back classics and favorites. Please stay tuned and join our list for updates. And please say hi to us at firstname.lastname@example.org - send memories of Gamevsille and ideas for what we should do with the site and bring back (or not.) You can also chat with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (see the links above).
A Brief History of Gamesville
Perhaps the very first Internet site devoted to casual social games with prizes, Gamesville launched in April 1996 as The Bingo Zone, a free, massively multiplayer, real time, synchronous bingo game with real cash prizes, that worked on all then-available operating systems and browsers (yes, including the text-only browser, Lynx!)
Located at bingozone.com, and supported by sponsors and the then-nascent web advertising economy, the site immediately became hugely popular. And then only got bigger and bigger...
In addition, Gamesville was a visionary, innovative developer of technology and advertising products and services, while also pioneering novel, best practices in consumer privacy and business model transparency. It was the very first site ever, anywhere, to offer a multi-threaded, massively multiplayer real time game on the Internet.
A pioneer in the field of what Seth Godin famously christened “permission-based marketing,” it was also one of the very first sites to engage consumers sufficiently to get them to register with their real names and addresses, and so be able to offer advertisers and sponsors highly specific, accurate, targeted advertising both in real time (on screen at the site) and offline (through email and direct regular mail.)
Gamesville also invented and very successfully offered the young online marketing world the E-mercial™, the first of its kind, highly inventive, effective and entertaining full-screen interstitial web ad.
Adored by players and advertisers alike, in 1998, The Wall Street Journal named Gamesville “stickiest site on the web” (meaning, longest session durations and user retention metrics.) In that review, Gamesville bested its nearest competitor, eBay, by a huge margin.
The site changed hands a few times and was owned by different companies over the years. But it always remained dedicated to offering the best games and fun and offbeat activities on the web, and to celebrating its huge community of awesome players and visitors from around the world.
Way back when, Gamesville publicly pledged:
So many sites promise to change the world, to make it a better place. But we make no such vow. We commit only to killing as much of your time as possible.
Nothing has changed.
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Initially, The Bingo Zone was the only game offered, but when the site added additional games just a few months later, it also debuted the brand that would make it world famous, Gamesville, with its legendary slogan, Wasting Your Time Since 1996.
In 1997, Gamesville was awarded Best Time Suck On The Web at the very first ever Webby Awards. And was featured in the ground breaking book documenting the first wave of Internet startups, StrikingItRich.com, by noted business journalist, Jaclyn Easton.
Also immensely popular was Gamesville’s email newsletter, The Gamesville Times™, which every month delivered “News You Can’t Use.” Fans also gobbled up colorful Gamesville merch, the various hats, t-shirts, bumper stickers, playing card decks, and such, all of which proudly displayed Gamesville logos and graphics and slogans such as “Kill time. Not people.” and “Stop playing with yourself. Start playing with others.”