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|Headquarters||Los Angeles, United States|
Number of employees
Allakhazam's Magical Realm, part of the ZAM Network, is a website providing forums, a wikibase and lookup services for several online RPGs, including Aion, Dark Age of Camelot, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Free Realms, Lord of the Rings Online, RIFT, Runes of Magic, Star Wars Galaxies, Warhammer Online, and World of Warcraft.
As of December 7, 2008 it has over 1.4 million registered usernames and over 10 million posts between the forums and individual pages for each item in every game covered on the site.
The site's primary purpose is to enable registered users to search a range of databases relating to specific MMORPGs. These contain details of Quests, NPCs and in-game items, as well as interactive maps and advice on game-play. As the site developed a significant user-base, the interactive nature of the discussion allowed users to post comments on the various database items, thus ensuring the content and advice to gamers was current.
In addition to these databases, registered users can also download content to enable offline review of their current game characters, game patches and other gaming resources.
In recent years, the discussion forums have become an increasingly important feature of the site, with specific forums dedicated to each of the supported games, and more generalist areas such as Technical Support and Out of Topic discussions (for non-game related discussion).
Allakhazam.com was started in 1999 by Jeffrey Moyer as a simple guide to the game EverQuest on a free web hosting service. It quickly became known by the EverQuest player base for its extensive quest descriptions. Mr. Moyer then teamed up with programmer Andy Sharp, acquired the url allakhazam.com, and the site was expanded into a database format covering quests, items, mobs and other aspects of the game. By the year 2000, Allakhazam was the most popular site on the internet covering Everquest and was getting over 10 million page views a month. Many consider Allakhazam to be the innovator of the gaming database format that is now followed by a number of other networks.
In late 2000, the internet experienced a vast reduction of advertising revenue that has been referred to as the Dot-com bubble. Most gaming sites, including Allakhazam, lost the majority of their revenue. Many popular gaming sites went out of business soon thereafter and have not been seen since. Allakhazam weathered this storm by establishing a premium membership service where users paid for certain advanced searches and other features designed to make their game play easier. At its peak, the Allakhazam premium service had over 45,000 subscribers, making it one of the more successful services of its kind ever.
The success of EverQuest inspired other publishers to release their own online role playing games. As new games were released, Allakhazam added sites for them. Each Allakhazam site was popular with the gaming communities of the individual games. The release of Final Fantasy XI, however, was of particular note. Because publisher Square Enix did not launch its own official forums for the game, the Allakhazam FFXI forums became the main forums for that game. This led to a significant expansion of the entire Allakhazam forum system.
The launch of World of Warcraft in 2004 marked another significant milestone. Allakhazam launched an extensive database for the game that currently accounts for approximately 90% of their traffic. Allakhazam is regularly referred to as a reference for WoW information, and is particularly known for its quest descriptions and auction house information.
In November 2005, co-owners Moyer and Sharp sold their ownership stake in Allakhazam to IGE. The amount of the sale has been said to be between 7 and 10 million dollars. Affinity Media spun out of IGE and then created the ZAM Network to consolidate Allakhazam with Thottbot into the Internet's largest MMO Gaming information network. Later ZAM also acquired Wowhead. Allakhazam, Thottbot and Wowhead are all ranked within the top 1,000 sites according to Alexa, and the combined traffic of these sites likely puts the ZAM Network as one of the internet's top 100 sites in terms of total traffic. Indeed, the ZAM Media Kit claims a total of over 700 million page views a month. Both Moyer and Sharp continued to work for the new corporation, and in 2008, Mr. Moyer was named as the president of the entire ZAM network.
On September 26, 2009 Moyer announced he was leaving at the end of the month, "Yes it is true. Illia [Sharp] got fired a month ago and I am leaving Allakhazam at the end of this month. So sorry to see it end this way."
Unique site features
Premium vs regular registration
In order to access content and participate in the community, users must register an account. This is at no cost, all content is free to access. However some search features are restricted to Premium Users, who pay a subscription fee (currently ranging from $2.50 to $3.33 per month depending on the duration of subscription).
In addition, premium users can include a user image (or 'avatar') to their posts, use graphical emoticons or 'smilies' in the Forums, and access advanced search and support features.
On attaining 10,000 individual posts, a custom title is awarded by the Administrators; usually sarcastically based upon that user's posting style. This is in contrast to most other forums, where either a custom title can be set initially, or doesn't exist in the first place. As of September 22, 2008, fifty-six users have custom titles.
While the site's forums and comments are watched by the site's administrators, a degree of control similar to, but more extensive than, Slashdot's is granted to a portion of the users by way of the karma system. In essence, posts can be rated up (increasing the poster's karma) or down (decreasing it) to manipulate whether or not the post meets the current filter criteria. Resulting posts that are "pushed under the filter (sub-default)" are invisible under the default settings on the forums. Unlike Slashdot's karma system, however, only a flat number is assigned to the posts and comments, rather than both a number and a type of rating.
According to a statement on the site's home page, on February 21, 2008 the Allakhazam site became a victim of a denial-of-service attack in an attempt to block users from accessing the site. This recurred on March 3, 2008 as the site became inaccessible to users, forcing the site's owners to change their service provider. Normal service was restored on March 5, 2008, but another denial-of-service attack took down the site again on March 11, 2008. New hardware was added to compensate for this continual attack, and the site has not experienced any major downtimes since then.