Can't say I didn't see this coming...
Sometimes I feel like some kind of mean parent whenever I read these threads, but I have to re-instate: People- get angry all you want, but remember one thing: GANZ is a corporation and all they care about is MAKING MONEY. PERIOD.
They don't care if you spend your last dollar on one of their products or use it to feed your family, but they would prefer they get your money.
Any time you get upset at whatever happens in WW
or the eStore.... keep this in mind: WHATEVER GANZ DOES, THEY DO TO SUIT THEMSELVES, NOT YOU. They throw random users a bone now and then to keep them coming back, because even though this site was initially intended for kids, they use the same principles for gambling addiction to keep you coming back to spend more money. Well look at it: Prize wheels (gambling), bingo games (gambling), dice games (gambling), gem hunt + star challenge + fairy forest + balloon darts (gambling), scratch tickets (gambling).... you get the picture. Teaching kids to gamble and "hope they win (but probably won't)", and hooking adults into the need for quick gratification by providing small meaningless venues for this to happen. You remember those junky carnival games in the mall parking lots when you were a kid? There were dozens of these huge teddy bears around the balloon dart board, but it seems you could spend hundreds of dollars and never win one... why not? Are you just unlucky? Are there no large teddy prizes behind there at all? Are you just hitting the wrong targets? GANZ works on this same principle.
Also one more thing: YOU DON'T EVER "BUY
" ANYTHING FROM THE eSTORE... YOU ONLY PAY TO RENT
IT. Because as soon as the website is down you have absolutely nothing in hand to show for your money, therefore you are only renting these pixels as long as the company is operative. They have created all this imaginary merchandise and people are paying for it like fools. GANZ are masters of marketing and business hype.
So what can you do? Resist the urge to run to the checkout counter or credit card payment screen whenever you see something new on the Kinzville Newz section. Make sure it's something you REALLY can justify doling out your hard-earned cash for, rather than sending GANZ's kids to private schools in their own cars with their own condos... because that's what it works out to.
My family has allowed our so-called "Deluxe" memberships to lapse. We received tons of notifications from GANZ to renew but we decided that we are just getting more chances at winning nothing in these additional Deluxe activities and getting pixels that we can't use when the website goes down for maintenance (which is often). So we are paying for more chances at more disappointment... who needs this? We want fun.
The writing is on the wall... on every Webkinz tag it clearly states, "GANZ reserves the right to discontinue the website at any time without prior notice."
This translates to, "When we have made all our money we will simply shut the door and walk away from the site, no questions asked."
When I see decisions like this Deluxe Membership thing, I wonder if they're just not trying to create a situation where users get angry, their net revenue goes down, and they justify themselves by saying, "Well, the site is no longer profitable, see you all later."
Sorry for the rant- but it's worth opening your eyes and seeing this company and website for what it's worth.