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Building Chess.com: Part 13 - Growing Up Today!

  • erik
  • on 1/13/09, 4:48 PM.

It's been a while since I last wrote about "Building Chess.com", and I thought today would be a good day to post :)

As most of you know, we (Jay and I) first started working on Chess.com in 2005. We had the vision and we thought we had the know-how. Turns out we had a little of each :D and have learned a lot along the way. (You can read more about all of the ups and downs of Chess.com here: http://www.chess.com/news_/search.html?keyword=building) It was very experimental in the beginning - new technologies (ajax and "web 2.0"), new ideas (social networking and online communities), new jobs (quitting stable jobs!), new everything. And, as was customary, we threw the "BETA" tag onto our logo to let people know "Hey, we're experimenting here, so use at your own risk!".

Today we removed the BETA :)

Want to know why?

First off, we're huge. Seriously. I don't mean to say this in a boasting way, but the fact is we get more people visiting Chess.com than any other chess website. Why do so many people come? Well, the "Chess.com" name of course. And the fact that we are #1 in Google/Yahoo for "chess". But the biggest reason we are huge is that a lot of people who check out Chess.com decide to make it their chess home. As the top chess site in the world, we think we're earned our way out of "BETA".

Secondly, we're fun. We have more features than 10 other websites put together. In fact, if I had to do it over I would have half as many :D But almost anyone who enjoys chess on any level can find what they want on Chess.com. From playing (7 different ways to play), to learning (8+ ways to learn), to reading, surveys, quizzes, trophies, forums... there is just so much to do. And frankly, it's fun! People spend a lot of time on Chess.com - I know I do! So, because we offer SOOO much and we think Chess.com is SOOOO fun, we think we're ready to leave BETA.

Thirdly, we're stable. The prospects of Chess.com were very uncertain at the beginning. We quit our jobs, poured in our life savings, told our wives to cross their fingers... and now after 1 year of offering memberships, we're now pretty sure we're going to make it. We can all breathe a little easier knowing that we can buy food and diapers for the kids! More importantly, we're more confident than ever that Chess.com is worth every penny of membership value (and probably 5x that). And because we're such a good value, we think we deserve more than BETA status.

Fourthly, we're excited. Yes, we've done a LOT in the last 3 years. But there is so much more to do! Our TOP TOP TOP priority for 2009 is making Live Chess better. Iwon't go into details here, but basically we're throwing a bunch of resources into Live Chess and are actually going to re-build the whole thing using everything that we have learned to date so that we can fix all of the performance issues that plague some players (notably people with slow connections and who are usingInternet Explorer - which is a lot of you!!). My bet is that Live Chess will be a crown jewel of Chess.com by mid-2009. In addition to Live Chess, we have so manymore things on the to-do list! Some are: your many suggestions, ladder play, professional videos, more professional articles, live event coverage, etc. So even though we have a lot more to do on Chess.com, we're way past BETA!

Finally, you're awesome. Yes, you. The Chess.com community. You are incredible! You have been so supportive in encouraging us, so helpful in your feedback, so giving of your time, so wonderful in spreading the word, so friendly in creating the largest online chess community, so... awesome. We don't think you're a BETA community anymore!

This is a new era for Chess.com! I'm so excited. We're no longer a dream or an experiment - we're real. I feel like today is the day that Pinocchio was transformed from being made of wood into a real boy :) We still have a lot more growing up to do and we'll never stop getting better, but today we're celebrating!

Thanks again to everyone for their support!

- Erik and the Chess.com Team

(To read more on "Building Chess.com" go here: http://www.chess.com/news_/search.html?keyword=building)

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Comments


  • 6 years ago

    boyerbcb77

    I have not been a member long but, I love this site.  I used to go to Yahoo and play chess.  There was so much garbage involved with that site I did not like it.  This site I do not have to worry about getting junk mail from members or the vulgar language the other site had.  If I wanted I know I could let my kids on this site and not have to worry.  You guys have me hooked and I have not went back to Yahoo since I first visted your site.  There are so many different tools to use.  That is what I want, I want to learn more.  Thank you. 

  • 6 years ago

    Dozy

    Fabulous, Erik.  I think Pinocchio really has come to life.  For many of us you've created a very comfortable home away from home.  Congratulations and very sincerely, thanks.

  • 6 years ago

    notbook

    we grow all the time.

  • 6 years ago

    Ray_Brooks

    Way to go erik, Jay and gang!

    I'm very happy to hear that Live chess performance issues will be addressed, finishing the job (pending improvements Laughing).

  • 6 years ago

    orionBR

    Congratz team! Thanks for the wonderful Chess site!!!

  • 6 years ago

    RB65240

    well now that you are no longer betta, memberships are due; you will have my upgrade soon.

    With the extra funds rolling in, you will need to have a survey for paying members and Basic members, to learn which enhancements the customer wants most for their dollar, for the next update / release of chess,com.  In fact you may as well call this release 1.0.  Perhaps members can vote on where their maintenance dollars are going to be directed. 

    1. the number 1 enhancement for the site should be to accept Requests for Product improvements, that all members can review (bug fixes, enhancements)

    2. periodically open a period of time for members to vote on the which enhancements are their 1,2 and 3rd priority.

    that way your product will stay on top, by giving the customer an opportunity to contribute to product evolution

  • 6 years ago

    kelleytr

    I'm a new member to this site but I love it so far. To comment on the beta vs non beta, I think that every web site goes through changes. You will never have a time when chess.com is "complete". People will always be giving feedback and encouraging new and challenging additions to the web site. So yea, there is no point in putting "beta" on it any more. Congrats! -Tristan

  • 6 years ago

    Maradonna

    Well done to everyone involved, this sites a great success story.

  • 6 years ago

    davidetal

    Eric etal - allow me to add my thanks and congratulations, to what I consider the best website on the Net, and not just because I love chess.

    It is, to my mind, the leading example of Web 3.0: a phenomenally rich web experience in the context of a extraordinary virtual community. Facebook (eg) offers the latter; youtube(eg) offers the first; chess.com offers both.

    Now that you are officially out of beta, chess.com is at the leading edge, no longer the bleeding edge, of the future of the Net. Hoowah! 

  • 6 years ago

    leonelcm

    Congratulations, this is a huge step, thanx for offering this site to chess fans...

  • 6 years ago

    valgaston

    I am so glad my grandkids can have diapers now.

  • 6 years ago

    StephenHenry

    Excellent work ........... a worldwide success by the looks of it... cheers

  • 6 years ago

    oxydizer

    I just finished reading all 13 parts to the Chess.com saga, What an amazing story. I'm really happy to be part of this community.  I started playing chess at Yahoo and got really discontent with all the players that would leave, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A GAME.  I thought to myself, "What kind of crap is this"  Then came my lucky day, I saw a post somewhere ( I wish I could remember who made the post now) That mentioned Chess.com, So I clicked on it and was amazed with what I saw.  I registered right away and have been here ever sense.

    I have learned so much here and have improved my game tremendously, I have a long way to go, but now I know where to look for the answers.  A big thank you to Erik and the staff here at Chess.com !!

  • 6 years ago

    tribbz

    Thanks man

  • 6 years ago

    infinitum

    Thank You so much for all the hardwork! The site is magnificent!Laughing

  • 6 years ago

    Nimzoblanca

    Great job! What America is all about!!

  • 6 years ago

    Talin-huu

    This site is amazing. Thank you.

  • 6 years ago

    BritKnight

    You know what I did today guys?! I started clearing out the clutter on my hard drive that I had installed to play chess on FICS. Iv'e found my home now and I aint goin back. You say we are awesome. Well I say you guys rock! Here's to a great year!

  • 6 years ago

    robustyoungsoul

    Best site ever. Worth every penny.

  • 6 years ago

    cosmin

    Good job guys, keep it up =D

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