Aftermath Zone, commonly referred to as AMZ, is a virtual pet site. Founded by Ken P., it is now owned and operated by Darryl Thompson. Both, at the time of their ownership, were/are the sole programmers of AMZ. When the site fell, it had around 230,000 active members. This number was tabulated by counting the non-frozen accounts that had been logged into in the past six months. Additionally, AMZ might not have counted users who registered with the site and never logged into their account. Towards the end, there may have been an additional filter to ignore multiple/alternate accounts. AMZ's total account number was (almost) surely greater than 800,000, and likely to be close to, if not greater, than one million.
The site revolves around taking care of creatures called pets or characters. Like traditional pet sites, they must be fed and played with and, additionally, trained for battle in the arena. However, these characters can also date, marry, reproduce and go to school, features still fairly unique to AMZ. Unrelated to characters, AMZ offers an active forum, IRC, and the Online Artist where members can show off their artwork and writing, in addition to both text-based and flash games.
The site was, and still is, maintained by a small group of volunteer staff
AMZ was first founded in 2000 by Ken P. as a Neopets guild/fan site when he was 14-years-old. The majority of AMZ's first users were also Neopets users. Ken did all of the programming and original artwork. Within the first year or so, Neopets threatened to sue AMZ. They claimed that the site's inventory system was too similar to their own and there might have been some references to the entire concept of a pet site. Ken had already planned on changing the inventory system because of its similarities, however due to the subpoena, it became a much more urgent priority. Neopets was not the first pet site, and therefore has no claim or ownership of the concept, however, Ken dropped the Neopets references anyway, including the use of the term "pet" which was changed to character. This was reversed in June of 2011 by Darryl, however both terms are interchangeable today.
In the beginning of its life, AMZ had one pet - the Squall. These Squalls were unlike the Squalls of today. They went through stages as they leveled and eventually succumbed to an untimely death, acting much more like gadget-based pets than a traditional web-pet. Eventually, more characters were added and the dying shtick was abandoned for immortal creatures. Initially, AMZ was following the same path as all other pet sites; it had its version of communities and forums, its own arena, games and the other typical things that all other pet sites have. Ken, however, had much bigger plans.
In 2005 and 2006, AMZ suffered a number of database and server problems, in addition to personal problems amongst the staff. First, four members set off a vicious attack against a staff member. Ken decided to take down AMZ out of anger. He was deciding if he should shut down AMZ completely or bring it back as a donation-only site, however, the members were vocal enough to convince Ken to bring the site back and make it available for all.
A few months later the site was hacked by a former staff member who claimed that he wanted to test out a program that he had to see how well it worked. The program was not intended to cause any harm to the site, but rather just to hack into it and test AMZ's security. (That's more or less what happened.) Things did not go according to plan and the site crashed with the database completely wiped. Ken was not going to bring the site back, but once again, enough members convinced him to revive it and so he did after finding a backup on his mother's computer.
The site was online for a few months, but then crashed again, due to Ken not being able to pay the bills, however, it came back up a few months later. In 2005, the site went down once more. Users expected it to return as it had in the past and collected on one of the site's down forums to wait for its return. Months went by and the site was still down with Ken nowhere to be found. The site was essentially dead; however, Northpike kept it on life support.
AMZ was first attempted to be revived by nachdenki. Then BA tried. Both of them vanished. Nachdenki has resurfaced since and has signed up on the new AMZ. Bkerensa tried next. He ran into some personal complications and was unavailable for around half a year by which time Ace had already begun working on Aftermath Zone from scratch. For the first few months, the site was hosted from his own computer. During this time, it was a very plain directory index that linked to a forum, a profile editor, and a signature editor. After some time without any progress, Ace registered aftermathzone.net and began working on it more rigorously. A layout was thrown together using an old AMZ layout on archive.org, and connected all of the pages. At this time, people on the AMZ group on Facebook and MySpace (although the MySpace group never really took off and is unused) were alerted of the new website, and began joining the new AMZ. After much negotiating, Ace was finally able to get the official aftermathzone.com domain from Northpike. A few weeks later, a mass email was sent out to everyone from the second incarnation of the Down Forums to return.
The forums are now swimming with both old and new users. There are many new ideas, as well as old ones being re-implemented. Dating has already been re-released and there are also a few games, and several features new to this incarnation of AMZ, such as RSS News feeds, Acitius Wiki, new pets, games, Achievements, Cooking, and a totally redesigned forum. For a more complete list of features, explore the site!
As of July 23, 2010, no new users under the age of 13 are able to register for the site.
From mid-June 2011 thought July 1, 2011, AMZ went into a bit of a mid-life crisis changing its name from AMZ to onamz to AZOPets, and finally, after a user vote, changing its name to Acitius.