Shawn Fanning’s New Company


Shawn Fanning has raised seed money for a social network for online gaming called Rupture, reports Heather Green of BusinessWeek (scroll down to third story). Fanning, creator of Napster, had most recently tried to make friends with the music industry through his startup Snocap. Rupture sounds a little more fun.

Green reports Rupture’s first focus will be World of Warcraft, where Fanning is an avid player:

Rupture taps into the game to automatically pull together character names, profiles, and resources, and publish them on a personalized site. Rupture will also pull together stats to create individual and guild rankings and provide a place for guilds to organize their playing. As Rupture tracks each member’s playing over time, these personalized profiles evolve. And players will be able to chat in groups or with other individuals and download other addons and game demos.

Rupture, whose investors include Ron Conway and Joi Ito, will be ad-supported.

Update: GigaOM resident gaming expert Wagner James Au says “If I’m reading it right, his service might run afoul of Warcraft’s terms of use:

2 C. You agree that you will not (i) modify or cause to be modified any files that are a part of a World of Warcraft installation; (ii) create or use cheats, “mods”, and/or hacks, or any other third-party software designed to modify the World of Warcraft experience; (iii) use any third-party software that intercepts, “mines”, or otherwise collects information from or through World of Warcraft;

Update 2: TechCrunch reports a Rupture spokesperson says the product will comply with WoW’s terms of use. We’ll let you know if we get any more specific information than that.



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There is already an MMORPG social network community website going that is open to the public called Guild Cafe. It doesn’t tie into games like warcraft yet (though when they opened they said they eventually will do all games), but they have decent MMORPG community building apps that go beyond just Warcraft.

I use it frequently:


Rob: there are already so many sites out there who datamine through 3rd party software, this is completely legit by Blizzards Custom UI. What they do not want is datamining directly from their servers.

The great thing about Shawn’s website, is that there’ll be budget behind it, unlike the start ups- however, Curse Gaming may cause some competition

Rob Tsai

The question is whether Vivendi/Blizzard is willing to cede control of this social networking aspect of their gameplay to a third party like Rupture.

One cautionary example in the world of Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming was Everquest’s banning of the purchase and sale of virtual items on Ebay.


The Terms of Service by World of Warcraft won’t be an issue with this project. The data contribution will most likely take place through a third party addon which is legal by the TOS, and mined up to their website or through user submissions.

There are many ways to produce the content he will need to build the site without the worry of Blizzard.


I know a few guys that play wow with him, he’s evidently been working on this program for a long while now, but I was under the impression that it hadn’t gone very far.

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