Other websites, former affiliates, and the lucky ones to leave, have also added their comments as well. In a message on the forum for Planet Crap, a member of gamepig had this comment to say:
We were hosted on the GameFan network for a few months, arriving (and leaving) shortly after Something Awful. Pretty much the same experience as Lowtax, although much larger numbers were involved for him :) We stole away in the night after being presented with a "new and improved" contract that basically involved stripping out even the potential for payment on banner ads. Fortunately, we'd had most of the important files mirrored on our own machines, and hadn't given control over the DNS - which I've heard has been a big problem for other sites.
Other comments are coming to light, with accusations by other former affiliates that Express.com were actually "cooking the books" when it came to actual ad revenue numbers, as not one, but two ex-affiliates was quoted as saying that their ad numbers were significantly higher as soon as they moved, and yet, express has refused their right to provide access to their server logs.
And though the story of express, and GameFan Online continues to get more sordid every hour, it may be only a small part of the iceberg. IGN stock which opened at $11.00 a share earlier this year, hit a high of $20 the opening day, has since plummeted to under $2.00 per share. UGO has pulled their IPO four times already because of low stock prices. The heady days of glory, even if they were just a few months ago, are now over for the big hosting companies, and on the eve of real inexpensive high bandwidth on the horizon, where a lot more sites will be able to afford hosting their sites by themselves, the sound of investors leaving the game hosting industry will be very loud, and very publicly.
The events unfolding at express are just another symptom of what is already happening. To quote a email, and with my apologies before hand to the author involved, most of the big sites were run according to this formula:
1) Get private funding or issue more stock
2) Offer to pay sites more than you are making in ads in the hopes that you will somehow figure out how to make money down the road
3) Run through your millions in funding in a few months
4) Start not paying sites or delaying payments to try and stay in business
5) Try, and fail to get additional funding
6) Stop paying sites
7) Give sites 24 hour remove their site
As much as it pains me to admit this, but this has turned out to be highly accurate. From first hand knowledge, and judging from previous complaints on other hosting sites, episodes like the one just recently with express will be the norm. My own personal experiences aside, the reality is the internet world is changing, and the game hosting companies, and the sites that are hosted, have to change with it. In a era with mergers, and very large companies now involved, the days of many sites have fallen, as the game internet world keeps getting smaller and smaller. Just the though of this simple fact makes me sadder, as in this present world, the chances of survival are slim at best, but the future holds less hope.