I Love This App, But…

Written by bloggermark

As many of you know, the founders of this site are in no way affiliated with the company that produces WWF. We are just grassroots enthusiasts like you. While some of us regard WWF as the best application for the iPhone, we are perplexed by its lack of stability over the past few weeks. Games are routinely interrupted by systems issues, and frustration spills over, sometimes to our mailbox.

We’re seeing the following types of emails on a regular basis now:

I am having lots of problems with the new words with friends app since I downloaded the most current upgrade.  I have tried many things to improve performance with no avail.  I removed the app and then reloaded it but I still cant play.  Today, when I have been trying to play, it wont load.  I play more word then it says “sending” but its like it freezes cause it just stays like that.  Im starting to get irritated cause I love this game. –Mary

For whatever reason, the growth of WWF is straining its server technology. With a game that must be selling like hotcakes right now, one would think a significant chunk of revenue would be immediately invested into scaling the infrastructure. I have expressed these concerns with the good people over at NewToy, Inc, and they assure me that they’re doing everything possible to keep pace with the traffic increase.

On one hand, NewToy is a tiny upstart that would not have the infrastructure of a social networking giant or a search engine. With so many people using its platform for games and chats, their servers are getting bombarded, and I can appreciate that challenge. On the other hand, the NewToy founders are no strangers to mass market game success. They should have seen this coming and built something that could scale out more flexibly and rapidly.

So, what now? I have some ideas, which may or may not be feasible:

  1. Jack up the price another dollar to fund an overhaul of the server and database architecture (take out a loan or sell shares if needed to provide immediate capital). This will do two things: a) slow the growth in traffic since price will push down demand, and b) bring in increased revenue per user to fund the improvements. Return the price to equilibrium after the system is stable.
  2. Strike a partnership with an established Internet titan (Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, etc.) and have them manage the Internet traffic. Find some way to share revenues.
  3. Turn off the chat features for now. Let the games continue; after all, that’s what we really came for. Use the down time to address the capacity issues. Most users will understand.

Lastly, we should all realize that changes aren’t made on a dime at this scale. Whatever NewToy does, it will take time (weeks, if not months) to implement. I’m determined to be patient, because I still find that playing this game is well worth the occasional pain of system glitches. Moreover, I want NewToy to succeed. They had the vision, drive, and ingenuity to make WWF available to us, and I think they’ve got much more to offer. But they should realize that in consumer markets, loyalty has its limits.

What do you think?

Categories: Uncategorized

21 Responses to “I Love This App, But…”

  1. judy berry says:

    Words With Friends is a great game, but I wonder if you know that a 32 second ad pops up after EVERY word I make? This is most annoying and I would now NEVER patronize any of these ads…..please!!!! Can’t you do something about it??

  2. Danielle says:

    No. I was using the free app fine. Decided to download the .99 app and now won’t load. Tried reloading the free version and that doesn’t work either…

    • deb says:

      Same problems here, but mine never updates, just kicks me back to my home page

      • Lynn says:

        I’ve had the same issue since last night when it prompted an upgrade. I’ve tried uninstalling, reinstalling, and rebooting, but it continues to kick me back to my homepage. If anyone has another suggestion PLEASE let me know. I contacted the game, but it is still too soon to hear back.

    • Rick says:

      Same thing is happening to me deb.

      I’ve noticed if I click on a game before it boots me while it’s doing the spinning update thing, I can sometimes get in and make a play.
      Not always.

      It must be an issue with Zynga. I have a brand new Iphone 4s. Wouldn’t expect it to act up already.

  3. Kathy says:

    Why is it that every time I play a user name with multiple numbers(overseas) player they play one word and leave you hanging for 11 days or more. Thus happens with every player overseas. There should be a way to resign!!! This keeps me from

  4. I have one game that has not been played since
    April 26, 2011, but it says played 14 days ago. How about taking care of this problem. I have written about this problem with people no playing and have had no success with getting the problem solved or not even a reply

  5. Sue says:

    PHONE: Freezes… crashes and burns! AAAK!!

    I HAVE REINSTALLED the app. I reinstalled it from the NEW UPDATE, of course.

    Reinstalling it did not work!!

    AND… not only does the app make my phone freeze and crash when I try to use it… I have now UNINSTALLED it all together and the problems with the phone freezing have remained.. even when I am using OTHER programs… like the web browser, making a phone call, etc!!

    This app has RUINED MY PHONE!

    I have now made an appointment with the Apple Store to have my phone looked at… as I think this app somehow corrupted my software on the phone.

    I am also going to be posting WARNINGS (already have begun), on all the forums I can find warning people about this app. It is DANGEROUS.

    Why? Because my phone just crashes and freezes randomly now… and the ONLY WAY to get it back is to plug it into my laptop. This means that when I’m out in public… if it freezes… I am not able to use it (what if I needed it for an emergency?) until I get back home.

    I don’t know why Apple has allowed 3rd party developers to sell apps through their iTunes store that have not been thoroughly tested to make sure they will not damage the Apple phone. They should make them prove the app works and is bug/virus free.

    I mistakenly assumed that if it was avail through iTunes… that it was a “safe” download. Obviously this is wrong.

  6. waterbrother says:

    I love this game, but have just about had all that I can take of the absurdly slow response time. Please, please, please, New Toy, invest some money in upgrading your servers, or sell this app to someone who knows what they’re doing.

  7. Karen says:

    I downloaded the free version to try it and it has already crashed twice :-) I was unable to retrieve games in progress. New toy has been unresponsive to email and help requests. Shall I pay for the app and is that going to improve the slow update issues? Any suggestions for the slowness of moves loading? ( I have already deleted and reloaded the game and started over as a new user due to an entire account wipe out!)

  8. Jill says:

    I purchased this app. If I remove and go to re download will I have to purchase again? Thanks for the info!

  9. Jack says:

    3 of my games have me with 1 or 2 tiles left and I’m winning all games by 100+.. so it’s my turn but I have no where to put the tiles.. I mean it’s weird its never happened to me before this and now I have 3 games where I can’t find a single point with a letter or two left.. Anyone else have this error??

    Very frustrating..

    • David Holmes says:

      Not necessarily an error. Pass and let your opponent move. After a few succesive passes, the game should declare a winner.

  10. Mike says:

    For those that have had the startup issues with the app, just delete it and reinstall it from the app store. Its a hassle, but it will get your app working again.

    As for New Toy; all crashes, bugs, and glitches aside, just some common [bleeped] courtesy would be awesome. How can you leave your customers hanging out to dry? I’ve been in my business for 9 years, and thats the first day of any customer service class. Its something your parents should of taught you back when you were 5 years old.

    BTW, I do know this site isn’t New Toy…I just had to throw my two cents in. lol.

  11. David Holmes says:

    Messages can be left at the Facebook site.

    Yes, it’s Management 101: A failure to be open and candid leads to the unhappy customer assuming the worst, such as the assumption they are simply not competent, have something to hide or just don’t care.

    While I think that none of those are true, the longer they fail to be open and transparent, the more folks will reach those conclusions.

  12. Mywordis says:

    I could be a LOT more sympathetic (as you are) if I had heard ONE WORD of an explanation and plan from the company in response to the MANY customers that have expressed their frustrations.

    They have complaints all over the place, including their site, their help desk site, Facebook and the app store’s reviews, and they have said NOTHING except a few words on the help desk site (old posts) that say they were working on some problems. They don’t even respond to the tickets customers have filed recently!

    Like David, I think they would do themselves a huge favor by coming clean with the customers, like me, that are really fed up! I have really enjoyed this game, but I am not willing to continue to be frustrated, trying repeatedly, to get the game to load. I am becoming a “former fan,” and I’m not alone! I can’t even contact my opponents to let them know why I’ve just disappeared. (Maybe they should set up a page on their site to allow people to leave messages for those opponents, so they’d know?)

    Ironically, some of their more recent posts are bragging about their newest game release. As it stands now, it will be a VERY long time before I buy anything from them again. The whole thing is S.A.D…. isn’t it?

  13. SpringfieldDogWhisperer says:

    Yea, the slow and seemingly buggy play lately has been a real issue. I like the app, and the people I’ve met through playing, but Newtoy does need to address this for both the short and long term viability of the app.

    • David Holmes says:

      Both the Facebook page and comments on the Apple App site detail numerous problems that shouldn’t be happening and need to be, but haven’t been, fixed.
      Putting the details of the issues (some of which are minor, but most of which are serious) to one side, the developers need to answer the following, in public, and here, on Facebook and on their website:
      1. Are they still accepting money from new players, in spite of the serious level of problems?
      2. What’s the list of problems they’ve identified?
      3. What’s the technical reason(s) for the problems?
      4. Specifically, what are the resources (personnel, new equipment, cash, etc.) being devoted to solving the problems?
      5. What’s the timeline for solutions being in place?
      6. What’s Plan B if those solutions are not in place on schedule?
      Right now the most serious issue is NOT the specific glitches and bugs; it’s transparency and recovering the goodwill and support of the game’s users.

  14. sewgirly says:

    I haven’t been able to play in days, but, apparently, my opponents have. I’m sure they are wondering why I have not taken my turn. I can’t wait to have this corrected.

  15. Tracey says:

    Agree with lots of what you say, but turning off chat – no way! One of my favorite parts of the game is interacting with fellow players.

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