Archive for the ‘ Distribution ’ Category

A Leaderboard

Add a highly visible leaderboard to TheMatchingGame.com.

Why Not?

Leaderboards can be very discouraging for new players, especially with something like The Matching Game where you can constantly earn more points (there’s no end to the game), so someone who is new may never be able to catch up to someone who has been playing longer. Also we’ve already experimented with a leaderboard a bit and it led to one person playing across multiple accounts so that he could take over the leaderboard. As with any game mechanics it can lead to undesirable behavior as people figure out how to game it.

Why?

A lot of people play The Matching Game because they consider themselves good matchmakers and enjoy putting their skills to the test. We want to celebrate the best matchmakers out there and a leaderboard is a great way to do that. Since you are competing against other great matchmakers you would get a lot of satisfaction out of being at the top of the leaderboard and may feel inclined to let other people know about your accomplishment, helping us to spread word about the site. At the very least it would encourage some of the best matchmakers to play more, allowing us to make more great matches for the people who are dating on the site.

How’s It Going?

It’s not, at least not yet. We’re still debating whether we want to build it in a more public way (it already exists, but is a little buried in the site and very hard to understand). We’re also considering game mechanics such as badges and levels, so we’re not sure if one of those would be better. Maybe we should do all of them, but we don’t want to make it too confusing. We’ll let you know if we decide one way or the other.

Meetups

Get out of the office and go to meetups to meet people and talk about our ideas and products.

Why Not?

I went to a lot of meetups a few years ago and eventually it ended up feeling like a waste of time. At the very least, the overall value from going to the meetups wasn’t substantial. You meet some interesting people and hear some interesting ideas, but we’re not trying to find investors or partners right now, so it’s a little hard to justify spending the time.

Why?

I think it comes down to simply getting out of the office and spreading the word about what we are doing. It may be only marginally valuable in the long run, but at the point we’re at right now, we need to be knocking on doors and letting people know that we exist. It’s also good to get out there and look for ways to contribute to and work with the entreprenurial community. There are a lot of people out there doing great work and there may be ways in which we can help each other out, even if it’s not through a formal partnership.

How’s It Going?

I went to my first meetup in about 4 years last night. It was called IdeaKick. I enjoyed it quite a bit and met some very interesting people, including an investor from TrueVentures, who was engaging and thoughtful. We’re not looking to raise money, but I would still appreciate getting to know the right investors given their knowledge on all of the challenges we’ll likely face as we build out this company.

I’ll be looking to attend more meetups that seem worthwhile, so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

The Google Apps Marketplace

Launch Insightster.com in to the Google Apps Marketplace today, on App Tuesday (a Tuesday at the beginning of each month when Google does a press release about a few apps as a way of getting the word out about new apps available in the marketplace).

Why Not?

We’re not big fans of deadlines, so preparing for launch on App Tuesday was not ideal. We’ve had to put everything else down and focus on getting Insightster to a level of reasonable professionalism in order to launch today. This also meant that we had to step outside of our ideal level of iteration + feedback and just crank on the site without the help of feedback. I think we would have preferred to have another month or two to handle the development of Insightster in a more iterative fashion while also being able to pay attention to TheMatchingGame.com which is crying out for some attention now.

The development effort required to make the app work with the marketplace and single sign-on through Google Apps was not exactly a walk in the park and it means that we now have to be conscious of multiple flows for user experiences such as inviting other people to your organization. Also, since not all users of the site will be on Google Apps it means we’re developing some features that only a subset of our users will benefit from.

Why?

One of the primary reasons we built Insightster was to test out the Google Apps Marketplace. Mavenlink works out of the Pivotal Labs office with us and they have had good success with the marketplace. We knew we wanted this product, but did not like the prospects of having to advertise in order to achieve distribution. Especially with a product that is built to help you manage ideas, we weren’t even sure how to advertise it effectively. With the marketplace we’re hoping that we may be able to distribute the product without marketing.

Also, some of the integrations we were able to develop, such as our GMail widget for liking/rating/commenting on ideas, are really useful and would not be possible with doing the integration in to the marketplace. It’s too bad that we can’t enable it for 100% of our users, but we’re hoping that the marketplace will provide enough of a distribution channel that most of our users will benefit from it.

How’s It Going?

We’ll let you know. We launched in to the marketplace this morning. You can see our listing in the marketplace here.

StumbleUpon Advertising

Test out advertising using StumbleUpon.com

Why Not?

Like all advertising it costs something. With StumbleUpon specifically I think we were a little worried about the casual nature of the traffic. It wouldn’t be surprising to see people on StumbleUpon just flipping through sites, paying attention to a few that were very engaging right from the start, but quickly moving on with little attention span.

Why?

Cost mostly. At $0.05 / visitor it is one of the cheaper advertising solutions we could find. I think that was pretty much the only reason we tried it.

How’s It Going?

Well our concerns were well founded. We tried it for CharityBirthday.com and the vast majority of people just clicked right on by. I think we spent $20 (400 visitors) in the Non-profit category and got one person to sign up. Not a very good ROI.

With TheMatchingGame.com however, we had a little more success. So much so, that we dropped all of the other advertising we were doing to focus on StumbleUpon’s Matchmaking category. Right off the bat we had a number of signups and have since been achieving roughly a $2 cost/acquisition. Unfortunately it looks like we might be running out of visitors in that particular category, which might be a significant issue with StumbleUpon. We haven’t spent that much on advertising yet, and we’re already running out of inventory. We are targeting 18-30 in the US only right now, so it’s possible that if we broadened our targeting we would get enough inventory to meet our budget. For a larger site with a significant advertising budget, though, this might mean you are very limited to the amount of traffic you can get from a specific category, and they won’t let you advertise in just any category (has to be relevant to the content of the site).

One added benefit of Stumble Upon ads is that they can turn in to free traffic if the site gets a thumbs up from enough people. It took us a little while before we started seeing this benefit, but now the majority of our traffic from StumbleUpon is free.

Overall it’s been a successful marketing experiment, giving us a good ROI for TheMatchingGame at least. I would recommend it for sites that have immediately engaging and casual content. It doesn’t seem to be very effective otherwise.

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