2016 was the year the community was born, and what a year it has been.
The first members joined in May, but let's start at the very beginning, before the community was even live.
It all began in May 2014, when I had an interview with my new manager. I had just become part of the Customer Experience team in London, and he presented all of the teams ongoing and future projects. One of the projects was to launch an ideation platform similar to http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/. I thought this was great, as that was something I had thought about for a while, but having recently used the communities of Spotify, Skype and many others, I thought we should go for a full community platform rather than just focusing on the ideation. My boss was onboard pretty much from the moment I suggested a complete community platform, and I got the pleasure and honour of driving the project.
Initially we thought, or at least I did, that we could probably have the platform ready by Q3-Q4 of 2015 - I'm always very optimistic.
Everything from writing the business case to getting it approved by the board and negotiating with the supplier took longer than I had expected, and by the end of 2015 there was no Unibet community, but we were getting closer with the business case being approved and the negotiations with the supplier almost being over. Our goal was now to launch before the Euro starting the 10th of June, and preferably by early May.
February 2016 we had a project plan ready; we we're going to invite the first customers the 10th of May and would do a public launch on the 25th of May - if everything went smooth that is. It was a tight deadline, and not much should go wrong for us to miss the Euro deadline.
To my - and probably a lot of others - big surprise, everything went fairly smooth, and the community was officially born the 25th of May, when we invited a few select customers, who had expressed interest in the platform in a survey. @Valkyrie, @tehumardi1, @NMPfan, @ReCorpH, @JillianP and @Mynona were a few of the members who signed up in the first week, and we're extremely happy (and surprised) that you haven't gotten tired of us yet and left :)
A week later we did the public launch where we added a few links on the Unibet domain and sent out a lot of emails. We had around 300 signups during the first few days, and a lot of these great members are still active; @MoreTBC, @pirahn, @Hoovers and @jonny2192, just to name a few.
During the first 4-6 weeks we did a lot of promotions, and some of them were - in hindsight - way to big, in terms of the prize pool, considering the number of participants - you're welcome :D. We were also running a lot of promotions with no real requirements for quality contributions to the community. The promotions meant a lot of posts - pretty much every single member was posting - but the quality of the content was... well... shit. Naive as I am, I didn't expect so much abuse.
Well, we learned from this and started having much higher requirements for the promotions, which very quickly resulted in an improved quality of the posts. Just to make it clear; when I'm talking about quality, I don't mean the level of English.
The period after the Euro until the football season started was pretty quiet, but as soon as the ball was rolling in the European leagues and everyone was back from their summer holidays, the traffic increased.
The last couple of months have been great, and overall I'm very, very happy with community. I've been very surprised about the very positive atmosphere we had on the community from day one. I had my concerns with Unibet being a bookmaker and all, but we have barely had to intervene 10 times since the launch. So, a big thank you to all you awesome members who make the community so great - it's thanks to you that @Marco-Unibet, @Jeppe-Unibet and I really enjoy coming to work every day.
The community is far from perfect, but we're slowly but surely getting there. In January I should have a lot more time to work on technical improvements, so we can get all the annoying bugs fixed (the main one being the page jump when trying to write something on mobile). We'll make a few more changes to the way we do promotions, with the goal of only rewarding the members who actually contribute to the community, and rewarding them even more. We hope to see at least 30 community members at the UO in London in February.
I really tried to keep this short, but still kinda failed, and l feel I've left out so many things and want to write a blog post 3 times as long as this one. We better get to the important stuff:
Community Awards 2016
Until now the most prestigious badge you could get was the "Member of the Month", but this is about to change. We introduce to you, the Community Awards of 2016:
Member Of The Year 2016
The member who overall contributed the most the community.
Calmer Of Storms 2016
The most helpful member who's always at the ready with expert advice.
The Comedian 2016
The funniest member who often make you smile/laugh.
Blogger Of The Year 2016
The author of the best blog on the community
Expert Tipster Of The Year 2016
The member providing the community with the best and most profitable betting picks
Likes Champion 2016
The member with the most likes during 2016 (not in the survey).
We've nominated a few members for each award, but it's 100 % up to you who'll win.
Go to this survey http://customerexperience.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/fo
The winners will be announced the 30th, and there'll be some really nice prizes, especially to the Member of the Year :)
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