Dearest AoZ Members.

It is my unpleasant task, to inform everyone, that the AoZ Social Network is temporarily closed.

WHAT HAPPENED?

If you were a regular visitor to AoZ, you probably saw an increasing number of errors, issues, and general slowness of the site. The AoZ community has had these types of issues, since day 1. The entire network has needed rebuilding and optimizing properly since it launched.

With the ongoing, daily increase in new Members coming in, the software was finally dying. And there was not much we could do about it, as it stood. We need to put it to rest – temporarily. So we can rebuild it.

Then, the time we currently spend running around trying to fix shit and put band-aids on shit, deal with problem Members etc – can then be put to better use, rebuilding the site properly. We will then, move the new Social Network, probably onto Zooskool – which was always the original plan.

And, the next version, when it’s ready, will be a LOT better, more functional, easier to use, with better features, than it is right now.

 

WHAT ABOUT ALL OUR STUFF?

DON’T panic. We have backups of all your stuff – profiles, galleries, uploads, messages, friends etc. All of this will be imported into the new Social Network, once it is built. So don’t worry, we won’t lose your stuff. It’s just sleeping.

DO please keep in mind, that building a Social Network, properly, is no small job. Not with all the innovative new features we have planned. I anticipate it will take us between 4 to 6 months before it’s ready to relaunch.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE STORE?

During this time, we of course need to keep the cashflow going, to support all this development. So, as soon as possible, we hope to have a basic shop website up on ArtOfZoo.com, and it’s back to business as usual, on the movies side. Simple shop to start with – a new and improved shop, shortly after.

Anyone in the middle of purchases – don’t worry everything is business as usual. Email is still available. Movies are still available. Custom Movies are still available, and we are already working on a few of those as we speak.

Putting the AoZ Network to sleep, and having a simple shop, will simplify things considerably, speed up the site, improve our search engine rankings. We will also finally have time, to add a ton of our older movies, that many of you are constantly chasing for. Not ALL of them – but a lot. All of this will also improve our cashflow, and the speed with which we can hire developers, and rebuild the new social network (and other planned sites).

The existing AoZ social network, is also QUITE expensive to run – we are spending approx. 3 to 4000 dollars each month, keeping it running. Putting up a simple shop will save us 90% of those costs, which will also be helpful. That money, can go towards developers etc, to improve our sites and add others.

So, there are actually quite a few silver linings, to all this. When the Universe hands you lemons you simply make lemonade. Or, throw the lemons at assholes’ heads for shits and giggles. Which, is what we will be doing.

 

WHERE WILL WE ALL GO NOW?

Well, that is up to you Folks.

It’s not the first time we’ve needed to close down our community. Zooskools versions 1, 2 and 3 – BeastMatch, Gaia Gold etc. We close down. Rebuild. Reopen. And Members start coming back. Some old, some new.

However. THIS time, what we plan to do, is put up a simple forum, on a different domain, as a temporary community for existing Members. Forums are fucking easy to run, 4% of the work of running a social network. We have Mods ready to go run that Forum. We may accept others. That will give you somewhere to congregate, stay in touch with all your friends here, and etc.

Once that is up and running – we will do what we can, to implement some kinda chat. It will be way, WAY easier to find a decent chat that DOESN’T run on WordPress, than trying to find one that DOES. Because, as you already see – there are really none that fit the bill. Our previous chat, was about the only option left available, and it’s a piece of shit. It was also an expensive piece of shit, and we can then put that money, toward a better, more functional chat for you all. As quickly as possible.

I will put links/info about the Forum, and the new Chat, on the new shop site, and in the newsletter (see below, about the newsletter) as things progress.

 

TEMPORARY VIPOLE AOZ MEMBERS PUBLIC CHAT GROUP

As a TEMPORARY measure, we have set up a Group Chat, for all our regular chatters, on Vipole.

You can download Vipole here: https://www.vipole.com/en/download

It’s free software, easy to use, AND it’s encrypted, so it’s actually safer than our existing site chat. It also has working Cam Chat.

  1. Download and install it
  2. Set up a Vipole account, if you don’t already have one. It’s easy – I suggest using your existing AoZ Membername, so people know who you are
  3. Search for the one of the following Mods on Vipole:
    • xnotbellax
    • k9evangelist
    • thewoolfbrother
    • wolfnyx_phoenix Julius_K9
    • beastyman
  4. Search and contact one of the above Mods, and they will invite you into one of the Vipole Gaia Groups. We have a bunch already in different languages.
  5. Vipole, has some basic profile information areas – age, gender, About Me (details) etc. I’d fill that in a bit, so others know who you are
  6. Get back to chatting. Be sure, to tell all your friends if you want them to join, too.

The same chat rules will apply, in that Group, as the current site chat. So, please play nice, or you will be removed.

 

BLOG POSTS? LIBRARY?

OK so. We already have a lot of Blog posts up on the site. We have a bunch still to publish. Again, none of this will be lost.

THE LIBRARY / STORY BLOG POSTS

As quickly as possible – we’ve been planning to do this for a while also – we will move the Library, to its own site/domain. Lucien put a LOT of work into that Library, and I’m not overly convinced many Members even see it there. It deserves its own site, so that is what we shall do.

As for Blog Posts. Some of these posts are stories. And so, they will be moved over to the Library / Story side, according to Lucien’s wishes. I will do what I can to persuade him, to take as many as possible. Some, he feels, are not quite up to scratch. And Lucien is quite a perfectionist and quite picky about what he publishes 😉 But, I will do what I can.

Stories he DOESN’T want to take – well, I will do what I can, to find a home for EVERY story blog post on the network – both published and unpublished.

MOVIE-BASED BLOG POSTS

Well, those are easy. I will just move those onto the new Movie Store site. That will help with our ranking, and be read, by people interested in movies. So, no foreseeable problems there.

COMMUNITY-BASED BLOG POSTS

Those posts Gang, will have to wait to go onto the new Community site. Or, if you have backups, by all means, take a copy, and you can stick them onto the temporary forum for now – and we’ll move them onto the new Community Site when it launches. So, no major problems there either.

 

STAYING INFORMED OF THE LATEST NEWS

Now. I don’t know how many times I have to tell u Folks, to PLEASE register for the newsletter. I send out newsletters, rarely. And it is a VERY important way, for us to stay in contact with our Members, such as in the event of a site going offline. Many of you, still have not done this.

Which is why, to this day, I continue to get emails, from old Members of GG, even old ZOOSKOOL Members FFS – emailing to ask ‘err where is the new site?‘. Well, if you were ON the fucking NEWSLETTER, you would KNOW, and not sit there for 5, 10 years wondering what the fuck is going on. And NOT emailing us, individually, taking up our time telling you all individually, where the new site is.

In future – very sorry, any emails we get asking ‘err where is the new site‘, I’m just gonna delete. If you can’t be bothered to pay attention, then we can’t be bothered to pay attention to you. Sorry to be harsh about that, but we just don’t have time for it, anymore. Beyond that, do as you wish.

When we relaunch the Community Site – there is a lot of dead data in there. A lot of Member accounts that haven’t been used for years. ALL of those accounts are going straight in the bin, before we import them into the new site. That will save our server resources, by a considerable amount. With no Member account and no Newsletter subscription – you are basically out of the loop. That choice is yours – if that is what you want, then no problem.

If it’s NOT what you want – then I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU REGISTER FOR THE NEWSLETTER, VERY, VERY QUICKLY. You can find the newsletter registration here.

 

EVENTS ETC

All planned Events are still going ahead. So, if you have arranged to attend an event, please keep in contact with your Event Organizer, via whatever channels you have already organized with them.

THE WAY SHE GOES

I’m not entirely happy about all this of course. We put 5 years of hard work, often working 15+ hour days, 7 days a week, plus a shitload of money, keeping this network running. It’s a bit like having a child going into a coma. But, it’s a temporary coma, and none of this will be wasted.

We have been shut down, about 8 times in 20 years. This time, it seems, our site is closing itself down. That will be 9 times. And I don’t expect it will be the last. We are used to this by now. Most likely, many of you are too. It’s the Way She Goes. And probably always will be. But, as you should know by now, we don’t give up that easy. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

So. Don’t be upset or despondent about all this. It’s a minor sidestep, and one with a lot of positives.

Thanks to All, for your involvement and support up to now. Particular thanks, to all our Patrons, who have been dutifully (often) paying ALL the bills, for ALL our Members, for 20 years. So, 3 cheers for those good People. Let’s hope we can continue to rely on you Folx, coz the future of our work and our network, continues to rely on you. Your assistance is appreciated, as always.

Thanks for reading – and as always, see you on the other side 🙂

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