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CrowdChess.com: Famous Social Chess Website for Sale

crowdchess.com

Auction Ended: Relisted

$50,000

Bidding History: 1 bid
Started:
Tue, 03 Jun 2008 13:08:00 EST
Completed:
Tue, 10 Jun 2008 08:19:09 EST

Description

We’re selling CrowdChess.com, a unique social chess platform where thousands of people from across the globe can play together against each other or against a single opponent, creating the ultimate "wisdom of the crowds" battlefield, that pushes the boundaries of human intelligence. The winner of this auction will own the entire website.

 

First let’s cut right to the chase… why in the world are we selling, considering the major press we’ve been blessed with, and the potential?

First and foremost it’s not like we want to sell it. I, the founder, personally went thru launching the HoldMyRecord.com project last August with a sole purpose of raising start-up capital for CrowdChess, so you can be sure that I believe in this idea more than anybody, plus a month ago we organized a Grandmaster Gawain Jones vs. CrowdChess match (which BTW is still going on) and the game had a huge resonance and was covered by guys like The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, TechCrunch, CTV.ca and others, so we’re definitely NOT selling it because we want to… we simply feel like this is the best and most logical option at this point in time and here’s why:

In addition to running and growing CrowdChess, me and my team are also working on a few other web projects and a little more than two weeks ago we were fortunate enough (and I must add absolutely unexpectedly) to get a substantial amount of angel funding to further develop and grow one of the projects we are working on, and so that’s when we were faced with a dilemma, what to do with CrowdChess, continue to run it or give it in to the hands of somebody who will have more time for it, and so after a few weeks of some diligent thinking and carefully weighting all the options, we came to a conclusion that the best option was to sell, as it will give us the needed freedom and the necessary time to really work on and push our newly funded venture, while at the same time making sure that CrowdChess will continue to grow and progress in the hands of somebody who will be passionate about it and will have more time for it, as it does I believe, have a tremendous amount of potential!!

Though we absolutely love our “baby” (I’m literally holding back tears as I write this, I know, I know…) and have spent more than a year building something we’re very proud of, we want to pass CrowdChess to a new team with the necessary time and resources to take this platform to new heights of success and progress.

 

What is “under the hood” of CrowdChess?

CrowdChess is custom made (we do use a ready PEAR chess engine) all the back-end code, design, features, etc were thought out and build from scratch and as a result a great deal of time, thought, energy and resources were invested in to the site.

The site is built utilizing the latest technologies and using a combination of things such as PHP, MySQL, AJAX and others.

For the chess engine itself, we use a PEAR chess engine as previously mentioned, making sure that the system understands what is going on within the game and knows when the game is over, when new one should start, which move is illegal, when it’s checkmate, etc

The site uses a number of custom coded sophisticated algorithms to prevent the games from being rigged in whatever shape or form they might take, as well as for other things. I thought of giving a small example here, but then realized that this kind of info is proprietary and should not be available to everybody (for the most part because of bad guys that can read this too) so I will gladly explain everything to seriously interested potential buyers if they so desire.

Here are some key CrowdChess features:

  • Site in general
    • Custom coded
    • Beautiful Web 2.0-style custom graphics (and logo)
    • Custom 3D board and game pieces, custom 2D game pieces
    • Forum with two-tiered threading, comments, etc
    • Social network with profiles, blogs, RSS feeds, comments, archives, etc
    • Ability to upload/change avatars, update email, change password and user name, etc
    • RSS feeds for every game
    • Email verification
    • Invite friends page (with the ability to invite up to 10 friends at once)
    • Top 100 players page (stats)
    • Lawyer reviewed and approved Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
    • Custom coded, sophisticated algorithms that prevent gaming, spying, ensure random team selection, make a move decision in a 50/50 vote tie situation, etc
  • Play Room
    • Beautiful, well thought out and intuitive UI
    • Fully customizable play room experience with “drag and drop” functionality
    • Ability to save/reset layout
    • Ability to choose and play different games (GM vs. CrowdChess, 1 move / 10 min. game, 1 move / 1 day game, 1 on 1 games, etc) dynamically, without a page reload
    • Propose moves (including draw and resign)
    • Ability to cancel your move or vote within 90 seconds of making it
    • Vote and comment on already proposed moves
    • Chat with CrowdChess teammates
    • Think peacefully in distraction-free environment called the DeepThink mode
    • Toggle the board along with game pieces
    • Look at each moves individual history and progress
    • Real-time game statistics including the top vote getting move and top 5 vote getting moves percentage-wise, players who voted for what move information and stats, etc
  • Extensive administrator tools
    • Since the system runs on a MySQL server thru a phpMyAdmin control panel, administrative tasks such as editing, deleting, adding, changing or anything else related to CrowdChess’s settings and structure is a breeze, especially if you are at least somewhat familiar with the way databases function and work.
    • We also have administrative access which can be accessed thru the site itself at www.crowdchess.com/admin where you can do such things such as see all the user info (IP address, user name, email, team, registration date, their ID, etc), search for any user, see if their email was confirmed, ban/un-ban users, etc You can also change game settings and things such as game speed, time when games starts, etc thru this control panel.

 

CrowdChess press coverage

CrowdChess was blessed at getting the attention of some of the biggest media outlets and blogs in the world. We were featured by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CTV.ca, TechCrunch (twice) and ReadWriteWeb to name a few.

CrowdChess was also fortunate enough to be chosen by the CNET Download.com editors to be listed on their site in the Webware > Games directory (link) as well as by Baixaki, one of the largest sites in Brazil (and in the world for that matter), which alone sent us more than 8,000 “downloads” since the middle of February (link). For a more comprehensive media and blog coverage list (but still not full), please visit the press page, located here: CrowdChess.com/Press

The best part is that we did not spend a penny, on any marketing or advertising efforts related to CrowdChess. Zero, Zilch, Nada. I believe this is a testament to how far you can go, without spending a marketing dime, if you have a good idea!

 

Future CrowdChess plans

In addition to everything else, the winning bidder will also get our Business Plan in a word doc. (and a PowerPoint presentation) that we were preparing for investors, containing our future plans, ideas and strategies for CrowdChess. The document contains some really great plans and ideas and we will gladly help the new owner realizing them and promise to make ourselves available post-sale should the new owner want our advice or consultation on anything CrowdChess related. One thing I want to say right now is that you will not be disappointed in the future vision we have for CrowdChess.

 

Business model

From the outset, our main goal was building a great service and community as well as creating something of lasting value (because I believe that money will be made anytime when you create value for your users and build a great service) and so because of this priority, we did not focus on making money (at least in the beginning…), however, we have some really cool and great ideas on how CrowdChess can be monetized and all of those ideas are underlined in the Business Plan I mentioned previously.

 

Growing market

The market for social games is growing very quickly and is very, very hot. With CrowdChess, possibly the greatest game ever invented becomes a fascinating social platform and as witnessed by CrowdChess’s success thus far, we believe this is a great, winning formula. In all, there are more than 1.1 billion chess players around the world with more than 300 million of them playing on-line and that number is obviously growing every day as internet is more and more available in different parts of the world, so the opportunities and potential are definitely there.

 

Traffic stats for May (no marketing efforts)

  • ~70,000+ visits
  • 1,050,000+ page views
  • 2,500,000+ hits
  • 780+ total unique referrers
  • Constant high quality traffic from guys like Baixaki.ig.com.br, CNET Download.com, Go2web20.net, etc
  • 1,700+ registered users
  • Highly targeted demographic
  • Google PageRank 4

What’s for sale (quick answer: everything)

  • 100% of the company's equity (we have no debt)
  • CrowdChess business plan we prepared for investors, with some great plans and ideas we have for the site
  • The entire website
    • Search engine optimized CSS/XHTML design that works in IE, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
    • All the back-end code
    • All graphics in Photoshop format
    • Database of users
    • Database of past and current games and everything else related to them
    • Domain names
    • Continuation of dedicated-virtual server (should you decide to continue hosting on our servers --Media Temple-- we will add one year of free hosting, a $600 value)
  • Post-sale walkthrough of back-end and code
  • Post-sale consulting for CrowdChess and marketing direction if new owner is interested
  • Continuation of all key partnerships
  • Access to all key contacts that are related to CrowdChess in one way or the other

 

The winner buys the website on an "as is" basis (returns not accepted due to nature of auction item). We will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition to you. Bank transfer preferred (PayPal not accepted). We’re happy to answer any questions by email or phone, contact us at crowdchess@gmail.com – we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Additional Revenue Details

Site was not monetized.

Additional Traffic Details

Traffic details are above.

Comments

  1. Noavatar
    Posted by:
    mfrezz ( new )
    Date:
    Tue, 03 Jun 2008 22:39:48 EST

    Could you please provide more color on player activity. How many games are played on a given day/week/month, and what percentage of the 1,700+ members are active each week? Any ideas on how to monetize this site? Thanks in advance for your response.

  2. Noavatar
    Posted by:
    stansoft ( | $50K )
    Date:
    Wed, 04 Jun 2008 07:24:39 EST

    @ mfrezz: Sure, we have 5 different games going on at all times (GM Gawain Jones vs. CrowdChess, 1 move per 10 min. game, 1 move per 30 min. game, 1 move per 3 hr. game and 1 move per 1 day game) so there's constant game play and action. We have also added the ability to play 1 on 1 games not long ago but some players complained that the interface for that was a little confusing and so we put the ability to play 1 on 1 games on hold while we draw up a new interface which BTW should be ready in the next few days! And just so everybody knows, we will NOT sell the site, unless the buyer will see that 1 on 1 games are working again!!
    As for the percentage of active users each week, it's kind of hard to pin-point an exact percentage but we did notice that a lot of players who signed up even since last year are coming back to the site and play on a regular basis. My guesstimate would be that it's definitely more than 50%...
    I can't give out some of the monetization and future plans we have for CrowdChess right here but please either send me an email at crowdchess@gmail.com or let me know yours and I will gladly share that info with you in private. Or you can also PM me!!
    Thanks for your interest!

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