This is the first in a series of posts where I want to share my experiences with building, launching and growing a my side project: dpadd - a social network and journal for gamers. I'm also trying to post more "brain dumps" of thoughts straight from me head. Let me know what you think of it.
Last monday (March 11th) I launched the private beta of dpadd. While it's hardly the first large-ish project I've launched, it is the first that's solely my own which makes it incredibly exciting and terrifying at the same time. dpadd was born for two primary reasons. First, I wanted something to hack on. I'd recently stepped into the world of rails development and was eager to find a project that I knew would hold my interest and challenge me for the considerable future. I'm the type of person that always needs to be making something and this time I wanted to tackle something larger. The second reason for making dpadd was that the site has really existed as a 'low tech' product for a while. I've been keeping track of the games I play and the ones I want to play in a spreadsheet for about 6-7 years now. Anyone in the tech/startup world is probably familiar with the concept of 'scratching your own itch'. dpadd is a textbook case.
I had planned out my launch day to a certain extent so, on the morning of, I hopped out of bed around 6am, slammed a red bull and dove head first into my day 1 distribution plan. My plan was pretty simple, post about dpadd on a number of sites, networks and forums. First off I wrote up a quick blog post, focusing on the key benefits that the site provides gamers right our of the gate. Next I did a ShowHN, submitted /r/startups and a quick dribble post. I also submitted the site to BetaList (and paid the $20 or what ever so that they would approve it right away). Lastly, I wrote up a detailed post on the giantbomb forums (I use giantbomb's api for game data). The response there was great, lots of feedback and quality sign ups that are still giving me a lot of support, love those guys. I posted a few other places as well.
The most traffic came from Betalist and Giantbomb however visitors from Giantbomb converted into sign ups better than any other source. They also turned into the most engaged users, posting more updates that users from any other source. Reddit and ShowHN generated very little traffic... I was surprised.
All and all I'd call it a pretty successful launch day. I had a great time connecting with users and feeding their feedback. Next week I'll talk more about gathering and addressing feedback.