My pick-up games and all things basketball web site - InfiniteHoops.com - has been up for just over a week now and I thought I would give a quick report on it. In seven days time, I had signed up 55 unique logins or “players”, which I think is not too bad, but the majority of those people are guys I have played ball with in the past and the logins are the result of me harassing these guys to use the site to tell people if they are going to show up to hoops or not. There are about 10 people I would say are completely unknown to me so the “word of mouth” factor of growing the number of users is there, and I am curious how effective it will be over time. There are currently 2 teams or groups of ballers that I personally did not create, so that is great.
I realized this week based on studying the usage data that people are really hitting my site only the on the day of a game and I wanted to keep them coming back all the time like any good portal operator. So, I whipped up a news feature on the main and login pages where you can get basketball headlines and submit those you find interesting. I am letting anyone submit stories for now until somebody forces me to put in an approval mechanism. The TODO list includes adding comments to the news, adding RSS and investigating adding support for aggregators using CommentAPI. I am pushing new builds almost every night as I complete features (usually in a couple hours in the late evenings). Incidentally, I do expose an RSS feed on the messages associated with each “team“.
The performance from my state of the art web hosting, meaning my running a server with MSDE on a 1 proc 2.4 ghz machine with basically no ram, over cable modem (yes, a dynamic IP as well) has been better than I expected. The only downtime occured as a result of a really windy day today which knocked out power for a bit and actually dropped a large fir tree on my house. Fortunately, the damage to the “data center” seems minimal.
So on to week two of my little project, I am curious to see to hear if anyone has suggestions for growing your user base with $0 for advertising.