In context: HQ Trivia, the game show app that lets people win real money, has been having a hard time of late. In addition to the company’s internal problems, there are reports of winners not receiving their payments. One individual, former Jeopardy! champ Alex Jacob, is still waiting for the $20,000 prize he won almost a month ago.
The free-to-play app, created by Vine co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, was a huge hit following its launch in 2017. But its popularity has since waned, with a 92 percent decline in the number of downloads compared to a year ago.
Kroll was found dead of drug overdose in December, and in April, TechCrunch reported that 20 of HQ Trivia’s 35 staff were petitioning for CEO Yusupov to be removed. When he found out, the co-founder fired two of the mutiny's leaders. The same month also saw popular host Scott Rogowsky pushed out.
While the board said it would bring in a new CEO, the search is continuing, and morale took another hit last week when 20 percent of company staff was laid off.
Adding to the problems are reports of winners not receiving their money. Professional poker player Jacob, who has won nearly $400,000 from his appearances on Jeopardy! won $20,000 on HQ Trivia and attempted to cash out on June 11. He still hasn’t been paid and believes the situation isn’t going to change.
Guys, I need your help. I won $20,000 on @hqtrivia on June 10 and still haven’t heard anything about payment. Sadly, I don’t think they’re going to pay.— Alex Jacob (@whoisalexjacob) July 8, 2019
Please RT to tell HQ they should honor their jackpots. If I’m wrong, I’ll happily delete this & give $100 to someone who RT’d! pic.twitter.com/FmpY6unK49
In a statement, HQ Trivia said: "Infrequently, we disqualify players for violating HQ's Terms of Service and Contest Rules. It may take some eligible winners up to 90 days to receive cash prizes, however 99% of players have been able to cash out within 48 hours of winning a game and we have paid out a total of $6,252,634.58 USD to winners since launch."
There are, however, plenty of other players who say they never received their prizes, which range from $2 to hundreds of dollars, despite waiting more than 90 days. Others claim the cash-out buttons stopped working, which may be due to the system incorrectly flagging them as cheaters.
They've had me "under review" and not paying out for almost a year although I've never done anything against the ToS. They didn't respond to several requests. It's only $43.56 but I'm glad their practices are finally in the spotlight.— Pete (@peteskiphoto) July 8, 2019
With HQ Trivia looking to gain more players, this is certainly something it needs to address. Nobody wants to play a quiz game when there’s a chance they won’t receive their winnings.