Workplace communication platform Slack says it will be deactivating a public channel dedicated to giving away $1,000 per day to anyone that can guess that day’s selected vocabulary word, citing company policies. The game, called The Word of the Day Is, was started by Gabriel Whaley last week as an experiment. It used a Slack bot to monitor entries, which were any one-word messages entered into the public channel. Winners were then sent the money via Venmo.
Whaley, the founder and CEO of a New York City-based creative agency called MSCHF Internet Studios, told The Verge at the time that he was “just trying to keep the internet a fun place and an escape.” In quick order, the game gained popularity and write-ups from major news organizations and even a sponsorship for one of its daily games from Chipotle, which is a prior MSCHF client it appears.
Apparently, that type of fun is not allowed on Slack. “We’re writing to let you know that the Slack workspace associated with the Word of the Day website will be permanently suspended in 124 hours,” the company told Whaley in a note today. “While we love the creativity behind your project, Slack is a tool intended for use by businesses and organizations not as a platform for consumer games (even when they expand our vocabulary!). Because the Word of the Day project violates several of Slack’s policies we’re unable to allow it to continue on our platform.”
Slack says its acceptable use policy dictates that the product be used only for businesses and organizations and that it cannot be used as a platform for commercial means or contests. The company says it also has limits around workspace memberships due to online scams, and that the Word of the Day group was violating those policies by allowing anyone to join via its website and using the platform to give out cash rewards. It’s ironic considering Slack itself, as well as co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield’s prior startup mega-success Flickr, started out as a video game, from which the chat platform was pulled out and turned into a business of its own.
Members of the Slack channel have not taken kindly to the news, with open chaos erupting in the main channel, now renamed “#the_void.” Whaley has also opened a Teespring account that’s selling T-shirts with Slack’s tagline, “Slack: Where the Work Happens,” emblazoned over the company’s logo engulfed in flames.