Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hasbro's Shut Down of Scrabulous = Not So Fabulous for PR

Hasbro forced the shut down of the "Scrabulous" Scrabble Facebook application in the U.S. and Canada. Its partner in crime, Mattel, which owns the rights to the game in other countries, is trying to do the same thing in India.

Hasbro's motivation seems to be protecting its own online version of the game (the game's launch has been delayed while the company works out bugs), but I can't know for sure because the company has no information about this development in its online press room. Worse than that, the links on its press room to information about games, toys, or the corporation are dead.

This lack of information in the obvious place -- Hasbro's press room -- is surprising considering the incredible backlash this development will cause among Scrabulous fans. I would have expected the company to be proactive with information, explaining why it couldn't reach a compromise with the Scrabulous creators -- or why it didn't want to. Of course there are business reasons for this development, and while the Facebook game's users probably don't really care about those reasons, reach out to them anyway and c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-e.

The online silence is surprising. I am truly curious about the business rationale.

That aside, do you think that forcing the shutdown of Scrabulous was a good PR move?

1 comment:

Kristina Summers said...

I think the move is hasty and not very well thought out. I think that rather than alienate Facebook users who love the application they really should have looked long and hard at how they could best compromise. That way they don't look like a giant money hungry corporation. I don't think I need to tell you how that image plays out to the consumers who buy the Hasbro/Mattel products for their children. Bad move.