In all of our communication with you, our early customers, we've been emphasizing the importance of feedback. In your invitation, we explained that you were targeted as an initial user not just because we thought your contributions would be interesting and readable, but also because we hoped your feedback would be great. This underscores our fundamental product strategy: it's very hard to build exactly what you want if we don't build exactly what you ask for.
We launched the alpha version of this site with the minimum set of features we thought were necessary to test whether a platform like this would work for our audience. Now, a few weeks later, we feel pretty good about our basic assumptions, and we're ready to start adding features in-line with what you're asking for.
Let me give you a few recent examples of how we have used your feedback to improve Yardbarker:
6/8/06 Feedback from BuntCake: "woah, go to oakland's page and click on milton bradley's player page... I'm pretty sure that's not him."
While we knew there were some player photo mismatches, feedback like this helped us realize that if we wanted to be taken seriously, we had to fix these bugs right away. It took some late nights and negotiation with our data provider, but we fixed it quickly.
6/9/06 Feedback from GeneralZod: "when the main pages opens up should the default setting be to 'most recent' vs 'most popular'?"
We've done a lot of work tweaking the "most popular" sort so that it displays articles with the perfect balance of timeliness and popularity. When there are thousands of writers on Yardbarker we think this is going to be far more useful than "most recent." However, we also realize that until we get to that point, a lot of people just like seeing what's new. We're working on a happy medium solution to this problem now.
6/14/06 Feedback from Curtisology101: "Add Jason Bartlett to the Twins roster and start a file on him. He started on the damn roster last season so he should definitely have been on the site in the first place!"
We get our player data from a company that supposedly maintains up-to-date rosters, but many of you have pointed out holes in current rosters. You also want the ability to write about minor leaguers. Look for a solution soon.
6/16/06 Feedback from Daniel: "Maybe I am overlooking it....but I do not think I am. I think it would be a good feature to give everyone a private message box so if we so choose we can private message each other. That would be a great feature I think."
This feedback could not have come at a better time. We've heard similar things from other users and we've started to prioritize developing an internal inbox for private messages as well as updates about new content. This feedback from Daniel helped seal the deal -- we're working on this feature for the next version of the product.
6/17/06 Feedback from TheGURU: "I have written two articles.. one got a 10, one got an 8... and my average is 8.5 I'm no mathematician but... ;-)"
A couple people pointed out that our scoring system was buggy. It's being fixed.
Feedback is useful for bug fixes and for feature ideas. We think ultimately by listening, learning, and iterating, we'll have worked with you to create the perfect place to hang out online and talk about sports.
Keep the feedback coming, and let's hear your comments on this post!
The Yardbarker Team