Growing Pains and Unfiltered Chat
When you run a website with rapidly increasing traffic, one of your most important tasks is to make sure you stay ahead of the curve on site performance. You never really know when performance will become an issue, but if your site is growing fast it will become an issue sooner or later. When we launched our second season of fantasy baseball at fantasysportslive.com last spring, website performance became an issue due to a stack-up of issues that was tough to anticipate. The time to draft a team shot up, and overall the site was lagging way too much. So we jumped in and made some huge efficiency improvements to the code, cleaned up some database issues, and got the site performing well again. Now that season two of fantasy football has launched our traffic has shot through the roof causing some issues with site performance on Sundays. Traffic is up this year on fantasy football for a number of reasons. Our user base is up dramatically over what it was last year. Our search engine optimization improvements are driving thousands of new users to the site each week. A highly efficient ad campaign, and a ton of motivated affiliates is also driving record traffic to the site. I guess it is a good problem to have, but the timing is not so good. We were getting ready to roll out 50 player contests, and contest chat. Both will cause the load on the servers to increase a bunch, at a time when they are already getting taxed on Sundays. I decided to postpone the launch of these two new features until we can make some further big improvements to website performance. So we will be sticking with the ten player contests for the Blogger Fantasy Football Battle, and Sundays with Dr. Pauly for the near future. And that leads us to chat.
I have always wanted to add chat functionality to the contests. When I found out that it could be done relatively easy and inexpensively we jumped on it. We were going to launch a very basic unfiltered chat. Yes, you heard me right, unfiltered chat. I figured that our users are all 18+, our Ts&Cs were written with chat in mind, and this is America with free speech laws, right? As launch time for chat got closer, I started to get a bit concerned about the legal aspects of unfiltered chat. The major poker sites must filter chat for a reason. It is either for customer satisfaction, legal protection or both. I would hate to see FSL taken down over a chat issue, that's for sure. So what do you guys think? Is unfiltered chat too risky? Should we wait for a full featured version with filtering, chat disabling and blocking...? Fantasy Sports is all about smack talk, and unfiltered smack talk could get a bit out of hand me thinks.