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Zynga CEO Beefs up Security After Threats

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May 10, 2012
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Zynga CEO Beefs up Security After Threats

OK, some of you may be asking, who is Zynga? Well, they are one of the hottest social game developers in the world. Remember last December, when actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport because he wouldn’t turn off his cell phone? Reportedly he was playing one of the most popular Zynga games – Words with Friends. I know all about this web-based application that resembles Scrabble, since my wife is also addicted. And Zynga has other popular games you may have heard of: FarmVille, CityVille, and Zynga Poker, to name a few. Active monthly users total about 250 million! But the company has been in the news for other reasons, as this recent story indicates.

As expected, Zynga filed today to raise an additional $400 million in a secondary stock offering. One thing that caught my eye was a reference to founder and CEO Mark Pincus under the section of employee benefits:

“In addition, in 2011, due to specific threats relating to the personal security of Mr. Pincus and his family, we provided Mr. Pincus with certain security protection.”

Security Can be Expensive

Those threats must have been pretty serious, because according to a footnote, the company spent $1.169 million on security for Pincus:

“Includes payments made in connection with security provided to Mr. Pincus and his family in 2011. This amount reflects the cost to the Company for business and travel related security protection, as well as costs associated with the purchase, installation and maintenance of home security systems in the amount of $1,169,896, and legal and temporary housing costs incurred in connection with specific security threats. We believe these costs are appropriate business expenses.”

A Big Increase from Last Year

The company spent $69,587 on security for Pincus and his family in 2010. In previous filings, the company had noted that it paid for security services in 2010:

“In 2010, we paid for certain security services for Mr. Pincus. We believe these expenses are reasonable and appropriate, consistent with expenses covered by other companies for their chief executives and in the best interest of the company and its stockholders.”

Must be Something Serious

But at least from the tone of the additional disclosure and the massive increase in security spending, it would seem the threats were perceived as real and even more serious than they had been. In the filing today, the company goes on to say:

“The nature and extent of the security services provided to Mr. Pincus were based on the recommendations set forth in an independent third-party security study. The security services we provide are reviewed periodically to ensure that they provide appropriate levels of safety, security and accessibility for Mr. Pincus and safety and security for his family where appropriate. We believe that these security services are a necessary business-related expense and are not provided to Mr. Pincus with compensatory benefit or intent.”

It’s true that you can spend a remarkable amount on protecting your home, depending on the level of security you are looking for. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that only high-end homes had security systems: in the 1980’s, before the advent of discounted home alarm systems, the average residential alarm system cost over $1,000, and provided a lot less security than you can obtain today for only $99. Only about one in eight homes even had monitored home security then. Things have certainly changed – for the better: today systems cost less and do more. About one in four homes are protected, and that percentage is climbing.

People are still looking for the best way to protect their homes and families, and the best alarm systems use safer cellular monitoring, in addition to offering smarter interactive services. FrontPoint specializes in both, which is why we’re the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice. Unless you’re a high-profile CEO with security threats, or a Hollywood star with stalking problems, FrontPoint is probably just right for you. Checks us out and see why so many are choosing FrontPoint for their peace of mind.

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Comments
Alan
May 15, 2012 at 4:36 AM
Very, very interesting, now I have to check out Zynga more. I have heard of the company of course, but not really cared much until now. But I will be careful not to take any of their crack. Too many other addictions, have I. Good point about the inverse relationship between prices and quality over the decades. I think it is great... More security + needless life loss and property damage is being prevented (fire, CO, medical alert/panic pendant, etc)... all for far less! Also, I appreciate that you don't charge extra for all the life safety features (as many alarm companies do), as I think this allows more people to benefit from these critical services, which are at least as important as the security features for most people/situations, IMO.
Alan
May 15, 2012 at 4:36 AM
Very, very interesting, now I have to check out Zynga more. I have heard of the company of course, but not really cared much until now. But I will be careful not to take any of their crack. Too many other addictions, have I. Good point about the inverse relationship between prices and quality over the decades. I think it is great... More security + needless life loss and property damage is being prevented (fire, CO, medical alert/panic pendant, etc)... all for far less! Also, I appreciate that you don't charge extra for all the life safety features (as many alarm companies do), as I think this allows more people to benefit from these critical services, which are at least as important as the security features for most people/situations, IMO.
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