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IcePets.Com is up for Sale


judda
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Hey All,

First and foremost, I want to say thank you for the last 5 years! Your continued support and friendship has meant a lot to me. Unfortunately, I come to you today to inform you that IcePets.Com is now going up for sale.

Although the website is up for sale, the team is continuing to add new Items and run events. The only thing on pause will be any new features and the progress of our alpha website. All I.C.E. purchases will continue to go back into the site as it always has been, but we understand if the site for sale gives you reason to pause in purchasing. Our goal is to continue to give you a fun place to play as well as events to keep you busy. You have given us many great years, and we hope with a new owner IcePets can give you many more as well.

Why is it up for sale?

Since purchasing IcePets.Com in 2014, the amount of time that I am able to devote to IcePets has dropped to the point that it is no longer fair to the most important part of the site. You, the users.

I (and the rest of the team) have put countless hours into IcePets and definitely do not want to see it fail. That is why I'm looking to sell IcePets to find a new owner who has the passion that I once had and drive the layout updates past the finish line.

What Are the Layout Updates?

The original code for IcePets was written back in 2009 back when PHP was a much different language. There was no "composer" to install third-party libraries into your code, or anything. It was also coded with a bunch of back doors by the original developer. Because of this, the goal was to give the whole site a fresh coat of paint. The problem was to do this, we needed to change how the pages were built. They moved from being dynamically created in a PHP script (as a string) and being emitted with "echo", to use a full templating engine (twig) to handle them. In the meanwhile, we also improved some of the functionality (i.e. galleries were made nicer, and quick stock now works with every location instead of just your shop). These changes are all available here: icepets.dev. The majority of this is complete, including the biggest thing which were the items, just a few kinks need to be worked through, and enhancements made.

So although this was branded as layout updates, after going through the first round, I quickly realized that it was going to be bigger than I had anticipated.

What you get:

  • A highly motivated and flexible team to work with
  • Ownership of all of the art assets
    • Pets - 17 Species with up to 37 different colours
    • Trophies - 600 different
    • Items - 4,500
    • World Maps
    • Avatars - 770

Features:

  • Adoptable pets
  • Forums
  • Messaging
  • Multiple Flash games (most rebuilt using Construct 3)
  • Weekly Raffle
  • Trivia
  • Trophies
  • User Profiles
  • Wishlists (layout updates)
  • NPC + User Shops
  • Trades
  • Quick Stock (way better version in the layout updates)

Technology Stack:

The technology stack is currently in flux between the live site, and the layout updates. All of the code is stored on Gitlab for the purposes of source control.


Live Site:

  • PHP 5.6
  • Mysql Database
  • jQuery
  • VueJS
  • Must use Apache

Support Site:

  • Laravel 5.2
  • VueJS
  • PHP 7.1
  • Slack Integration

Staff Site:

  • Laravel 6.2
  • PHP 7.3
  • VueJS
  • Slack Integration

Slack Bot:

  • Laravel 6.2
  • PHP 7.3

Discord Bot:

  • Laravel 5.6
  • PHP 7.1

API Site:

  • Laravel 6.2
  • PHP 7.3

Job Site:

  • Laravel 6.2
  • PHP 7.3

Layout Updates (in the main repository):

  • PHP 7.3
  • VueJS
  • Twig Templating Engine
  • MySql
  • Must use Apache

HTML 5 Games:

  • Built with Construct 3

Please Note: The API and Job Sites could be merged into one application, this was originally split up so that we could scale up the API infrastructure if needed without running the risk of having scheduled jobs run multiple times. There are tools out there now (i.e. Laravel Vapor) which would automatically handle this for you instead of having it split out this way.

Additional:
I recently purchased a 6-month subscription for Laravel Shift (Shift CI Plan) which allows for the automatic dependency upgrade of any number of Laravel applications, as long as they are currently on running Laravel 6.0 or above. As long as I have that subscription active, if you do not have any issues with me having access to the code, I am more than willing to have it set up as one of my projects to automatically receive the upgrades (PRs will be submitted from time to time). Also, if you upgrade the other applications to Laravel 6.0, I can enable it for those repositories too.

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As someone who has managed games on and off for almost 20 years, I have to say that one of the hardest things to do as a Owner is realize when it's time to throw in the towel. No matter the reason, it only seems fair to yourself and your players to provide them the chance of having the best experience they can have. Whether it be under your helm or another's. 

IcePets was one of the games I "held over" after a recent audit of still-active games. The plan was to take a closer look around the game and get a feel for what the modern audience wanted. You're also using some of the technologies I'm learning for a more modern game (Construct and Vue). 

Think I'll definitely take a closer look now.

Do you have a ballpark number you're looking for, or are you just fielding offers? 

You can PM me in case you do not want to share that information publicly. 

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3 hours ago, judda said:

@Mobotropolis I have a number in mind however, at this point I am not sharing it with anyone in order to not muddy the waters.

Estimate the number of hours from your life invested into the project to your magic number, it's not something to be ashamed of or to hold high the opinions of outside critics looking in from their own muddy water.

Best wishes to you, and to another 5 good years of IcePets.

Edited by Claws
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1. Is it entirely financially self-sustaining?
I mean, does all the money from "I.C.E. purchases" pay for everything that the site needs or do you need to pay for some things from your own money?  If so, budget-wise, do you have an estimate on how much it would cost to run for at least a year less the money from "I.C.E. purchases" ?


2. Is it okay to "clean house"?
I mean, I have a group of friends that I have worked with for years that I have bonded and built trust who have the skills that the existing staff has such as artwork and moderation.  Would it be okay to fire all the existing staff and bring in all the people that I have known and trusted for years? or are there some kind of contract stipulations in place that I have to use the existing staff?


3. Also, for tax and liability purposes, how is the business legally structured?  Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC?

Edited by Pat
add question I forgot to ask
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6 hours ago, Mew said:

@judda

Hello! How much are you looking for exactly? Very interested.

As previously mentioned, I have a number in mind however, I am not sharing it in order to get offers.

2 hours ago, Pat said:

1. Is it entirely financially self-sustaining?
I mean, does all the money from "I.C.E. purchases" pay for everything that the site needs or do you need to pay for some things from your own money?  If so, budget-wise, do you have an estimate on how much it would cost to run for at least a year less the money from "I.C.E. purchases" ?


2. Is it okay to "clean house"?
I mean, I have a group of friends that I have worked with for years that I have bonded and built trust who have the skills that the existing staff has such as artwork and moderation.  Would it be okay to fire all the existing staff and bring in all the people that I have known and trusted for years? or are there some kind of contract stipulations in place that I have to use the existing staff?


3. Also, for tax and liability purposes, how is the business legally structured?  Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC?

1 - Gold Accounts and ICE Purchases should be able to help sustain it for it a bit however, may not be able to pay for a ton of art at the same time.  The budget for a year depends on your overall expenses.  I am a programmer, so all I needed to do was pay for hosting and art.

2 - I have no control over what the owner does however, I do believe that if you cleaned house, the community would not like you as a lot of the staff are long time members who love the site.  If I were the new owner, I would not do this.

3 - It is all held under my sole proprietorship.

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I no longer work with IcePets as of fairly recently, but I want to publicly say this:

The team working with IcePets is a group of some of the most dedicated, well-functioning, and knowledgeable people I have ever worked with on a project. There are people on this team who have been running the day-to-day operations of the IcePets website for multiple years and know how the game and community ticks. They are equally known by the community and they know how to keep the site going.

Whoever purchases IcePets obviously gains the ability to do what they want with the hiring and firing portion of the site, but as someone who worked with this team for over 4 years: if you fire them, you are doing yourself and the game a major disservice. It might also be a boon to mention that if you purchase this game, you can rest easy knowing you have an absolutely fantastic team of people who will back you up, as long as you are willing to listen and dedicate yourself to improving the site moving forward.

I obviously have no horse in this race any longer, but I will stand on my soapbox and yell awesome things about the current team to anyone who will listen, and figured it was a piece of information a potential buyer might like to know.

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@judda

Ahh, unfortunately without some form of idea of what you'd like for it, I don't really know what to offer. I've not really been in the market for this, so I have no idea what it would go for. If you're comfortable discussing some sort of general idea, I'd be more than happy to try to work out an agreement with you.

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In the interest of due diligence:

1. Are there any outstanding debts or unpaid invoices not yet due?

2. Are there any current legal issues ongoing with the site such as copyright claims, disgruntled worker lawsuits, etc.?

3. What does your systems documentation consist of?  I mean, are there diagrams (entity-relationship, data flow, etc), flowcharts (micro-level, macro-level, etc), code comments or is it just "self-documenting code"?

Also, just as an aside, would you be willing to help in communicating with the existing team and the site's community for a smooth and peaceful transition of the site's operations from the existing team to a brand new team?  I know, there are no guarantees that it would be smooth or peaceful, but would you be willing to talk with the existing staff and community to help make the transition smooth and peaceful as possible?

Edited by Justin
fix typo
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Do you own all of the rights to the artwork or are there conditions/restrictions?

Such as, could the images be printed on merchandise such as t-shirts, tote bags, etc. without paying a royalty, fee, or any other condition?

or if a particular image or set of images are deemed incompatible with an artist's vision of the site's future style and needs to be redrawn, could those 'incompatible' images be sold / licensed / donated to another site with a compatible style without paying a royalty, fee, or any other condition?

Edited by Justin
reworded a question
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I’m interested in this and do not understand why anyone would want to change the staff?? They know the site, you don’t, they know the community, you don’t, sure bring in a coder and hire a couple of artist but if the admin/mod/writing team is functioning by itself and doing an awesome job why change. 

 

Judda you you have my offer, just want to let you know if you were to sell to me the only thing I would bring on board would be programming and an artist or two :) 

 

i know now this is a hard decision to make but in the end it’s whats best for you and what’s best for the site who you sell to. 

 

Cheers Mate

Chaz

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If you don't own all the rights to the artwork or there are conditions/restrictions, it's okay. 

I'm just looking into how much leeway there is in site monetization, what content may need to be replaced for the future growth of the site, and factors to consider in estimating an offer.

Edited by Justin
wording
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@Justin thank you for the patience, we do own all of the art that was created for us.  Over the last little while we have been cleaning up lots of the historical artwork that is there.  I do not have numbers for how many need to be replaced off hand though.

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