The Final Statement by ClanBase
ClanBase is no more, we are sorry.
For those unfamiliar with the name: ClanBase once was a cool site to visit if you were an online gamer. With cups and ladders hosted for games such as the Quake, Unreal Tournament, Counter-Strike and Call of Duty series, a teenager really had quite some options for multiplayer entertainment. Heck, we even had LAN finals for our renowned EuroCups.
Those days are far behind us and as it stands today, the company that owns the ClanBase site - GGL - is unable to cover the costs required to run the website. Moreover, lately the owners of the site do not wish to cooperate with the voluntary crew, keeping everybody in the dark and thus showing complete disrespect to people who spend many hours a day trying to make our tournaments a success.
The website has now been offline for more than three weeks due to an unpaid bill. No action is being taken by the owner to get the website back online. Having no vision for the future, we - the ClanBase Crew - have lost our last hopes about ClanBase ever coming back online, and unfortunately we announce the end of a great era.
The history and the truth as the ClanBase Crew sees it
A US-based company called Global Gaming League (Professional Interactive Entertainment, Inc.) noticed the success of the site and bought it from the original owners in December of 2004. They had financial backing for server hosting and our tournaments. Things were going well until in 2007 CB suffered its first heart attack when GGL couldn’t deliver the prize money they put up for the EuroCup. This can be marked as the start of our downfall.
The CB Crew has always been made up of volunteers with the majority being just teenagers. There was no possibility for us to come up with the money on our own that was promised, yet we were always the ones getting blamed. After all, it was our cup season and our name. It is no surprise that after this blow there was no way for us to host another season with the promise of any kind of prize until the debt was settled with the previous winners.
To this day, GGL owes around €24,000 in prize money which will never be settled. The other sites who were in the same gaming business of course had no problems hosting their tournaments however they wanted. ClanBase, however, lost a great deal of its reputation along with some top teams who never got their winnings.
As time went by the site also started to decay. After the takeover we had paid developers who tried to put the code in shape. There were some noteworthy developments such as the seasonal and invitational ladders, but after the first test run we couldn’t get the necessary changes implemented - because GGL stopped paying the developers.
Money. The source of all evil.
GGL started moving the servers between hosts (RackSpace, Amazon, GreenQloud) to save costs, and to avoid further missed payments. This appeared in the news a few times when providers came out with how they were lied to. We also lost the ability to upload files anything other than demos. Fortunately, a Crew member had the means to help out.
Funding continued to dry up. After the first wave of cuts where we lost the two developers and a head admin, things cooled down for a while. Recently, a general system administrator was cut off which got interesting at one point when CB suffered a denial of service attack to which the host (GreenQloud) responded with moving the servers to a different IP address. However, the domain name had to be updated as well to point to the new address. Since our sysadmin was not getting paid, he refused to perform this, essentially holding the site hostage for a while.
So how do we get money? The site had ads for a while which obviously was not enough. We may have been naive thinking that upping the quality of the site would be a good move, which was promised more times we bother to count. GGL thought otherwise. In fact, many of the cool features our gamers would have loved to see on the website were never implemented - because “CBv2” was supposedly just around the corner.
Their first bold move was trying to get adult banners on CB - a website that was home for thousands of teenagers. The Crew was shocked and appalled by this. Fortunately, we managed to get our voice through (by threatening to go on strike) - but we also lost several valuable crew members who had enough of the poor conditions and bad decisionmaking.
Next to adult material, gambling can also be a good source of income. The Poker and Betting ladders were introduced. It is doubtful that much money was ever made of this, at least nobody said otherwise. The only thing certain is that these projects never got off the ground.
A poor attempt was also made to gather money in the form of offering VIP membership. Nobody took this very seriously and as expected, nobody bothered to opt in after a while. The only benefit to having VIP was the ability to get rid of some of the ads. Perhaps a regular donation system would’ve been more useful.
By the end of August 2013, yet another problem surfaced: the money ran out for the hosting. This is when CB started to go down every month when the time came to pay for the next 30 days.
Of course we tried contacting GGL through our manager who was in charge of handling communications. As you may have guessed by now, he also failed to receive his payment for a while and a company owing money to you, and who knows how many others, is not in a hurry to get back to you.
The ClanBase management tried to directly contact the GGL founder and president Ted Owen (since everyone else left), with very little success. Whenever we got a response it usually consisted of no more than a few words.
The last we heard from him, he stated that “GGL will move on without ClanBase, and besides, why did the Crew never put any money in it?”
Mr. Owen, the Crew put time in it. A lot of time... for free. Every day. And to clarify, nobody has ever reached out to us to ask for any kind of financial aid. Not that we would’ve ever agreed to anything if the money had to go through GGL as that would’ve resulted in the money never reaching its intended destination.
Ultimately, we understand that our users would have expected us to come out with the truth sooner. It has taken us three weeks to make a public statement - but the only reason it took so long is that we were trying to not lose the hope and to reach out to mr. Owen. Unfortunately, our last request (or offer) to him - to release the ClanBase site to the crew for us to be able to continue running it on our own, without the GGL - was not welcomed.
It is thus our sad duty to inform you that ClanBase is gone. We would like to sincerely thank over a thousand admins working on the website over the past 15 years of ClanBase’s existence. And an even bigger thanks goes out to all the players who supported us over the years and who did not lose faith no matter what.
This writing has not come easily because ClanBase has been a big part of our lives, and we definitely did not want to see it end like this.