Good news, everyone! Always wanted to help ZU out in your own, special way, but could never figure out just how to do it? We’re here with the answer. You see, Zelda Universe has been entered in American Express’s Shine A Light contest – a contest that highlights small businesses (like ZU). The prize is a whopping $100,000 in marketing rupees. I mean dollars.

We can all close our eyes and imagine what wonderful things could happen if Zelda Universe had $100,000 to push towards marketing. Women would swoon over us, men would become jealous and enraged, and Nintendo would actually pay attention when we ask for review copies of Phantom Hourglass. The world would become topsy-turvey indeed – so we need everyone who’s anyone in the Zelda Universe community (heck, the Zelda community) to vote for ZU in this contest. ZU needs at least fifty votes to be formally nominated, and one can only assume that the more votes the merrier. With Zelda Universe’s vibrant community, fifty votes should be no problem – so let’s blast by the other entries and bring ZU to the top.

We can do it – with the internet, we cannot fail. By your powers combined, ZU shall have a marketing budget!

View and vote for Zelda Universe >>

(By the way, votes only go up until September 13th, and you must be registered with Shine A Light to vote – don’t worry, it’s free. So please vote by September 13th!)

  • Go ZU!

  • Woo, vote to victory!

  • PimPSlaP

    Darn! My computer keeps on freezing when I try to register. D-8

  • none

    you know it would probably be best to actually let a real business win this. you guys dont sell anything. dont employ people. and play very little if any impact on the economy.

    you should let a company that deserves it and could use it win. that is their job. this is your hobby.

    • *agrees*

    • Jarsh

      Zelda > Other stuff

      I voted, now I feel special.

    • Jarsh

      Zelda > Other stuff

      I voted, now I feel special.

  • um…is ZU even a bussiness? It's a fan-site and maybe classifiable as an organization. Now on the other hand, if you had employees that got paid regularly to review and support the Zelda gaming franchise, then you could be a bussiness of sorts.

    • ZU is a registered US corporation (Linkorporated, LLC). We make money and have business expenses, even if we provide a free service and our staff consists of volunteers. Although you might not imagine it, this is *my* job and my current livelihood.

      There is nothing that defines a "real" business – one could argue that small businesses as a whole don't affect the economy greatly, but that's what Amex's contest is all about – making a big deal out of small business.

      Just because we don't sell anything, and just because our staff consists of volunteers, doesn't mean we're not a business.

  • Hell, I would love to get paid… but it's not like that's going to happen. 🙂

  • none

    every single person alive can register as a business and get an EIN number even without a business or even a plan of a business.

    but zu is a fan site. it does make some ad income. and im sure it has expenses such as hosting and fees for forum usage with vbulliten.

    but a content and community driven website should not qualify for this really and entering is not really right.

    • I agree with you. I feel as if ZU wants the money to just review the game a few days before releases and pay for its site expenses. IGN and other bussiness based gaming sites already do this beautifully or decently, and they have paid employees who make a living writing passoinate and timely articles about games. ZU doesn't need to cash in too, especially when actual small or large businesses in this terrible economy deserve it more and do not have a personal fan-base already willingly donating to them daily.

      ZU is already succsessful own it's own, why does it need $100,000 more than an actual suffering hard working business with employees who need regular pay?

      I smell greed without a need! 😉

      • Business Shrub

        I strongly disagree!
        The problem is that people like Jack Thompson and other bad people are attacking games, they are trying to make games illegal 🙁 And do the legislators know the difference between say a RTS and a FPS, well probably not because people like J.T. are stupid! With attacks like this marketing dollars is exactly what the gaming community needs! I used to like Fox News, I thought they were the good guys (I never actually watched Fox News), that's before I heard about the Mass Effect Fox News scandal (google it will ya), I hate you Fox News!

        How do you counteract the vicious attacks against gaming in main stream media? You need a marketing budget!

        Barack Obama is supposed the be the guy who reaches over the aisle about important questions, does he do anything to stop the witch hunt against games? No of course not, he's too popular to risk his image among the stupid people who vote for him (anti game f-tards)!

        "I smell greed without a need! ;)"
        Well, me too but ZU isn't greedy, no the anti gamers are greedy. Grand Theft auto got blamed for inspiring the triple murder of three Fayette, Alabama, police officers, and a 600 million$ lawsuit followed. One of the defendants was WalMart! Either WalMart stops selling games or I have to pay extra every time I buy a game there. Imagine a kid standing in line to buy TP back in the day, he's been saving up but then he can't afford it because WalMart had to increase their price to pay for the 600 million law suit, that some "greedy" person made.

        Do a little math: how many Wii:s can you buy with that 600 million if the greedy people trying to take advantage of the good gaming community can be prevented from stealing that money by expoiting the "legal" system? I gather a Wii costs $249 on, so you could "save" 2409638 happy Wii gamers with that kind of money! Imagine 2 and a half million happy kids, instead of one smirking evil lawyer!

        Oh, sorry I feel like a politician, and I hate those, but I had to say this. My condolence to the relatives of those police officers, who know how desperately I myself would act in a similar moment of grief. But Jack Thompson is just an evil smirking lawyer who's trying to get rich on other people's expense, and there are too many like that in America and also else where, but a lot in America I think because it seems so easy to sue anyone you want (I've never actually been outside Europe).

        ZU needs the money! Start voting! Did someone say something about a ZIP code? I don't have one, I'm not sure if I'm able to vote.

  • MrToaster

    Too bad I live in Canada so I don't have a zip code or live in any state, which means I can't register. Good luck anyways.

  • Cody

    Also, when Jason said that Nintendo would pay attention to us, he wasn't suggesting that we were going to bribe them with the money, he was saying that we would be successful and popular enough as a result of all that marketing (imagine the traffic of having a ZU ad up on places like IGN or Penny Arcade) that Nintendo would consider us a real contender, and we would be able to talk with them and schedule interviews with them and such.

  • Few points I would like to make, and I'll let it be known that I assume this is Jason's idea.

    – $100,000 Doesn't go to your pocket. It will be governed and distributed for your use for marketing, weather that be online or through TV or Print. So, no, you wont be paying your employee's. You could argue the increase in viewership would mean you could, but really it means jason starts to pocket a few thousand in ad revenue a month and get his own debt payed off from when he bought the site. After that, sure you may see some kick back, but even a couple a grand a month pulled in you wont really be seeing employee's get payed.

    – Current hosting can hardly survive the traffice ZW and ZU gets right now, with a lot of really random downtimes every day. So, with a massive kick in traffic from this, it would mean needing a much better, more expensive, server. And what happens when the funds run out for marketing and the hits slow back down to 10k or so? Now your stuck with a overpriced server you can't afford. There goes that extra 2k you were making.

    – Last but not least: ZU does not qualify, and the fact this is being pushed like this is an embarassment. It's not about letting other business's win: It's that ZU doesn't even count. If you guys had read the rules, you would of known this. Here they are, since you are too lazy to look them up:

    Eligible Businesses must meet the following requirements:
    -Private, independently-owned and operated busines —– Check, ZU does have a license and fits this. So far, so good.
    -Organized for profit and operates primarily in the U.S. —– Site is not organized for profit. In fact, isn't it listed as a non-profit organization? It runs of ad revenue and donations.
    -Has no more than 100 employees with revenues under $10 million —– Yes you meet this. Of course, were talking thousands, if that, not millions. Still that works.
    -Accept American Express Cards —- I do not know if paypal accepts them, but I highly doubt they are referring to donations. They are referring to the actual sale of a product: Hence the whole "must be organized for profit" thing.

    In short, ZU fails to meet 2/4, and failing to meet even one disqualifies you. Your not set up for "profit", legally, you have no employee's (volunteers are not employees. I Know this, as Zangaroa is also a legal business and technically only Dennis is the actual employee, for tax purposes), oh… and you don't accept american express because you don't actually sell anything. You're a fan site, regardless of any sort of business license you bought.

    So meh, I am not really upset, but I am more so embarassed to see this hit the front page. Do the research.

    • Alright, folks, let's clear some stuff up – just in case anyone gets the wrong idea about Nathan's post. In short, the above comment shows what can happen when a person know absolutely nothing about what defines a business entity.

    • Alright, folks, let's clear some stuff up – just in case anyone gets the wrong idea about Nathan's post. In short, the above comment shows what can happen when a person know absolutely nothing about what defines a business entity.

      In the real world, economic entities (or what you call "organizations") are divided into two groups: business entities and non-business entities.

      Business entities, by definition, are organizations designed to make profit. These are your sole proprietorship, your LLC's, your partnerships, your corporations, etc.

      Non-business entities are organizations that are NOT designed to make profit. Hospitals, churches, non-profit organizations. These, too, can be registered as non-business entities. However, they have no "owner" and no stock. They follow an entirely different system of money management.

      ZU falls under the first category; we're an LLC. If you're not sure what a Limited Liability Corporation, look it up on Wikipedia (it's basically a bunch of tax benefits). As such, that makes us an organization designed to make profit. Contrary to what Nathan would say, a profit-making organization does not have to sell something to make profit.

      ZU makes profit, albeit very slim profits, from its advertisements. We don't need to sell anything to make this profit, and right now that profit is going to pay off the initial cost of purchasing the site from its (very business-oriented) previous owner, Yusuf.

      There is nothing that defines what a profit-making entity must do to make its profit. Whether it's a restaurant, a store, a fan site – and as you can see, these are all just sub-classifications of business entities. For an example of an organization much like ZU, we can look at television networks: Businesses, for profit, that make much, if not all, of their income off of advertisements and partnerships with other corporations. You pay the cable company to provide you with the networks; never do you pay the networks. The networks run ads to make their money – and yes, they are businesses, even if they're not directly selling you their content.

      ZU avoids selling anything by runnings ads. If we did not run ads, we would have to sell access to our guides to maintain and operate the site, and cover all of our costs.

      As for qualifying, I'm almost insulted that you would think I wouldn't real the rules of qualification before entering. I've read the entire document, and I did so before I approved ZU's entry. Again, I did not enter ZU into the contest (it was actually my mother, haha – she was trying to do something nice for ZU), but I, as the business owner, have to approve of the entry before it goes live. I did, and I read the terms, and ZU does qualify.

      As I explained, we are a business that makes profit. How we make that profit is irrelevant (so long as it's legal, anyway). So, now we qualify for three out of the four conditions.

      As for the final condition – accepting Amex cards – donations actually do make us qualify for that. Yes, believe it or not, we accept Amex cards for donations; thus we accept Amex cards.

      Now, whether or not you perceive all businesses as evil and brooding is your own choice to make. However, I'd like to think that ZU is just a fan site being smart and, managing its money properly so that it can give back to the community in a greater way. I mean, I'd say we were evil if we actually did get rid of the ads and started to charge people money.

  • Cody

    Murasaki-Mary: this isn't a competition decided by who has the most votes. The winner is CHOSEN out of everyone who has 50+ by the judges. If the judges feel that ZU isn't a real site, they will cross out our name. If they don’t think that we are businesslike enough, they will reject it. No harm done.

    Do you know WHY ZU has to run entirely on volunteers? Why people who put in hours of effort aren't getting paid? Because we can't afford it. We barely bring in enough from ads to pay the server bills, and donations are about $50 every 3 months. If we got this marketing, we could make enough from ads and such to start paying people for things.

    IGN can make their own money so so can we? IGN is more than 200x larger in traffic than ZU. Do you know what we would need in order to be able to support ourselves like that and pay people to "make a living writing passionate and timely articles about games"? A marketing budget to expand.

    • Well thats not entirely true. I believe the contest picks 3 of however many qualifying businesses, then it's actually put up to a public vote. So voting, in the end, does decide the winner. The judges merely get to decide if your site will be one of the three up for voting.

    • Um, I already replied to this remark about how public voting is involved to decide the winner and some how my reply got deleted… I'll assume it was a glitch since I said nothing bad…

      Quoted from the contest:

      (2) Judging Phase,from September 14, 2009 through September 23, 2009 ("Judging Period"), during which Nominations that meet the eligibility criteria set forth below ("Eligible Nominations") will be evaluated based on the Judging Criteria by a panel of internal judges initially and then by three independent judges, resulting in a selection of three finalist Nominations.

      (3) Voting Phase, from September 24, 2009 through October 16, 2009 ("Voting Period"), during which registered users will be invited to vote on the three finalist Nominations by choosing the Nomination that best represents all three Judging Criteria. (2) Judging Phase,from September 14, 2009 through September 23, 2009 ("Judging Period"), during which Nominations that meet the eligibility criteria set forth below ("Eligible Nominations") will be evaluated based on the Judging Criteria by a panel of internal judges initially and then by three independent judges, resulting in a selection of three finalist Nominations.

      (3) Voting Phase, from September 24, 2009 through October 16, 2009 ("Voting Period"), during which registered users will be invited to vote on the three finalist Nominations by choosing the Nomination that best represents all three Judging Criteria.

      So in the end, it is public voting that decides the wiiner.

  • Lules

    Sadly, I cannot help you guys. It seems only US residents can register and vote. And people should stop bitching about ZU entering the contest. It seems some people dislike the hapiness of others.

  • none

    I agree with nathan. And I think the fact that this continues on is kinda sad.
    Lots of people here disagree with the idea because its not legit.

    you can say that yes zu may technically be a business. but its not really. and there are more far deserving companies out there that should get this. zu is a fan site. is not really an operating business. it provides no paid services to people and provides no work for people that is not already done by nintendo. nintendo releases guides and strategy guides that are of far higher quality.

    its nice that you guys made a community but its not a business no matter how you try to spell out technicalities.

    • Cody

      Think of television shows. The shows do not directly sell you anything, yet they make money because of the advertisements they show. What makes ZU different from that?

      It is a business, it is registered as a business, it does taxes like a business, and there is no way in which it is not a business. I'm sorry that you are inconvenienced by such "technicalities" as the facts. Maybe if you shout loudly at them in town hall meetings they will go away.

  • linksoer

    Youll be getting my vote!!

  • of course

    television shows have staff. they get paid. takes actors, directors, writers, and more. plus the shows are not the businesses. the businesses are the companies making these shows like Fox or ABC. So you are again using a bad example that makes no sense.

    Seems like you wont change your mind no matter what but you are wrong.
    Everybody on this website can go the official website and register for a business ein number and then go to pnc or 5/3 and get a business checking account. being classified as a business is not hard. but you cannot really say that zu is a business cause its not. its a website with ad revenue that provides people with a place to talk and read articles.

    • Blake

      Regardless of how easy it is to be classified as a business, the last time I checked being 'technically' a business, no matter how you make profit, is still being a business.

      You can't say ZU is 'technically a business' then say it isn't one, there's no logic in that at all.

    • Business Shrub

      What the *?
      ZU is not a business? I assume facebook and myspace and twitter are no businesses either. I admit ZU is smaller, but this competition was made for smaller businesses (like ZU). The web is business, get with the times! (Not with the NY times, horrible liberal news paper, havn't ever read it just imagining, not going to 😛 )

      And with the anti gaming lobby attacking all kinds of games – "kids shouldn't play all the time…", "…that mass murderer was inpired by doom, he said something about zombies (like there wasn't zombies in movies)…", "…The Horrible Sex Scenes in Mass Effect, uh huhuh," – Well, with stupid accusations like that we need a different voice out there, and that's why ZU should get the marketting money!

      Speaking about money, that's my five cents!

  • wow

    we all know that zu will not be doing a thing to promte games and say that they are not violent or the cause of violent crimes. so you can stop with all of that crap. its 100% irrelevant.

    i would love to be one of the other companies. ones that could actually use the money. they try to get help just t find out oh wait some gaming fan site which does nothing at all just got money we coudl have used. we could have thrived on. and we could have helped our family and community.

    zu does not need it. and is not a business. Nate perfectly explained it all

  • Me

    ZU is a BUSINESS!!!!!!! GET OVER IT!!!! Even if it business, then you should vote for it anyway, because if it isn’t, then the judges will just cross it off anyway(correct me if I’m wrong)!!

  • w2rockstar

    I'm off to save the world, err, I mean Zelda Universe. *Signs up and votes*

  • Business Shrub

    ZU needs the money, start voting already!

    I don't care about you who saying ZU aint business, 'cause when ZU get's the money it's gona BE in business wheather you like it or not! So do you want to contribute to Zelda Fansite History (ZFH) VOTE! Unfortunatelly I don't have a zip code, maybe I can't vote, if this is wrong I want someone to correct me.

    That's my five cents!
    Now let's make it a HUNDRED THOUSAND!

  • wow

    bunch of sick people here

    • Welcome to the internet.

      Damn, I still can't pull that off….

  • money?

    zu makes enough from the ads the shove all over the site. they used to make up to 4 grand a month. and they sold links for several hundred a year.