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Old 01-09-2009, 11:04 PM   #1
Kavi
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Advertising Woes

Hey all. They call me Kavi (of course), and I happen to be one of the primary staffers on a new MUSH called Elan Vital.

By new, I mean really very new. January first being the "official" opening date new (though we've had RP on the grid since early December), and as I'm sure you all know, one of the biggest hurtles anybody with a new game has to cross is just finding players. EV is not my first stab at starting some version of roleplay somewhere, and I have never, ever been able to overcome this particular deathtrap. So this time, I'm prepared to go for some new options I maybe haven't tried yet... or might cost me a little more.

Now, I have really a very tight budget for this project. Free advertising that works is always best, but I'm fully aware that such a think is nigh impossible to find. So if any of you have an affordable pay-per-advert site in mind that might do the trick, please, suggest away! I'll listen to pretty much anything at this point.

It's a sci-fi/fantasy MUSH, in case that helps. I dunno if it's relevant at all, but I can see how it could be in some situations.

I've found it to be a vicious cycle--players want games with lots of players, but you can't get a lot of players without, well, players. It's an issue I'm not quite sure how to fix. The players we do have are active, the RP-quality is high, and we've got the logs to prove it... but I think the sheer numbers on our wholist are scaring newbies off.

So. Ideas? Recommendations? Suggestions? How have some of you advertised your MU*s, and found players? Thank you very much for any help you can give--I'd really, really hate to see this place go down.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:35 PM   #2
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Re: Advertising Woes

It is a vicious cycle. All I can recommend is that you find some great RPers whose talents you are familiar with and pitch your game to them. Get them excited by what makes you unique. Hopefully word of mouth will take over from there.

I think a lot of games fall into the trap of trying to attract more people at the expense of quality RP, literally opting for warm bodies regardless of who and what (ie, if you're an RP MUD, attracting players only interested in H&S isn't a good thing). Sometimes you have to settle down with the idea of a small pbase and very minimal incremental growth as you establish and build a reputation that will attract more. That's where having a very deep, multi-faceted world (no one-trick ponies) helps because it allows for diversity and longevity while you try to build a pbase.

Good luck!

Jason
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:05 AM   #3
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Re: Advertising Woes

Welcome, Kavi!

I've sent you a PM with some suggestions, so check your box.

One thing I forgot to ad was make sure that you have a list of what you feel is the strongest points of your mud. Those are your talking points!
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:31 AM   #4
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Re: Advertising Woes

At MudBytes MUD Code Repository we offer free banner rotations for any MUD! Just setup a login, add your game to our list, and submit a banner (250x80px) and it'll automatically be added to our rotation in the header! Of course, whether or not it works is entirely up to you. Higher quality proffessional looking banners get clicked a lot more than stretched/skewed ugly looking ones .
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:10 AM   #5
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Re: Advertising Woes

You could also try listing your site at MudGamers.

Listing is free and you just need to register on the site then fill out the submission form.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:24 AM   #6
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Re: Advertising Woes

Project wonderful is one place as is plug me. Also be prepared for it to take time. I set ads all over for a mud that is well established and it was probably a month or so before i got new players, althought old ones who had stopped playing started showing up almost immediately.
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:54 PM   #7
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Re: Advertising Woes

Kavi,

I can't say I had the ultimate banner to attract new players, but
I did have a decent one. I paid for months on mudconnect, and
recieved a free month on topmudsites, I am afraid that I got very
few if any players from it. It was a waste of money in my opinion.
I have had the best results from players writing reviews on the
game and word of mouth. Course you can't do reviews on topmudsites
but you can on mudconnect and mudgamers. I would recommend
that route, now the hard part comes in getting players to want to do
reviews. Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2009, 05:05 PM   #8
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Re: Advertising Woes

*bump for more useful advice*
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:25 PM   #9
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Re: Advertising Woes

Quote:
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*bump for more useful advice*
Joining Brody's bump.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:23 AM   #10
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Re: Advertising Woes

The keys things IMO are as follows:

1. Know your target audience.
2. Know how to locate your target audience.
3. Go to your market, they will not come to you, unless your WOW.
4. Select strategies that appeal to your market.
5. Understand that your market might not be MUTE savvy, so have extensive help files, web helps, tutorials and a web client that connected directly to your game.


Most Mu* devs seems to to be people who make games that they themselves would like to play, that manta has been said to pretty much every new dev at some point. While it is great to be making the game you want to play, often no thought is given to WHO is going to play it other then you and how to reach them. So, they end up with a great game and have no business plan on how to market the game to other people. Ultimately that's the key issue here for you, is formulating a business plan to develop the player side of your game.


Think out of the box, the internet is a massive place and you will, if you look hard, find many opportunities to market your game directly to the people who would most likely play it. Thinking of your game theme, where do people who are interested in your theme hang out on the web, do directly to them and tell them about your game, offer intensives to get people to try the game, nothing like the chance of 50 bucks to get people motivated to try the game.

Also, you don't have to limit yourself to the internet, there are many ways to reach potential players who live in your own city, just by reaching out to clubs, schools, trade fairs, game shops, etc and none of these things have to cost you big money to achieve, a few letters or emails or the entrance fee to a convention where you hand out some cards or mini cds with your game on it. Of course how you go about it really depends on who your targets are and the more niche your game, the more effort it will take to achieve anything substantial.

If my game was complete and i was looking to gain some players, i would burn 1000 mini Cd's containing a preconfigured game client that connected to my game automatically, and use local game stores as a distribution method along with a promotion offering cash prizes etc, i would also make promo type posts on a selection of certain large game websites where my potential customers congregate and i would email a huge list of clubs based around my theme nforming them about the game and the promo's asking them to inform their members as to the existence of the game. This would be my approach over a 3 month period, and i would stop at any point through out where i felt that I could not deal with the number of new players connecting.

I would not bother with places like TMC, TMS, MB or any other mud related board, because i do not see the current mudders as my target audience, the only time i would post on those places would be to get beta testers, as experienced mice find the cheese quicker.

Hope you find some of this helpful.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:25 AM   #11
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Re: Advertising Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavi View Post
I've found it to be a vicious cycle--players want games with lots of players, but you can't get a lot of players without, well, players. It's an issue I'm not quite sure how to fix. The players we do have are active, the RP-quality is high, and we've got the logs to prove it... but I think the sheer numbers on our wholist are scaring newbies off.

So. Ideas? Recommendations? Suggestions? How have some of you advertised your MU*s, and found players? Thank you very much for any help you can give--I'd really, really hate to see this place go down.
I hope every person that has a MUD or is thinking of building one reads this thread.

Kavi, everyone really really hates to see their favorite MUD go down, yet there are over a 1000 closed MUDs since 2000, representing millions of hours of work.

It is sad every time I see one close and once again I will strongly recommend this thread: http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/mu...r-own-mud.html
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:51 AM   #12
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Re: Advertising Woes

I just went back and re-read that link Newworlds, and I'm confused. How does it address the topic at hand here? The topic, in case you glossed it over, is how to advertise a mud. Your link is some tips on how to build a mud, with a strong emphasis on how to be an effective administrator to your crew.

How does one advertise one's mud effectively? Not how does one create one, or run one. Assume one is already created, and now you want to get players.

Word of mouth works..but also college geek clubs are a vastly underappreciated resource. D&D hobbyists, creative writing groups, fans of interactive fiction, computer tech classmates. The ones who have been taught, or learned for themselves, appreciation of the written word. If you're in college, and have access to a main dorm gathering area of a large dorm, you could even hold a mini-seminar on what a MUD is. You could even turn it into a class project in sociology or public speaking, to see how a person can bend an entire group to his will or - in layman's terms, how to be influential and pursuasive.

I really think college is a huge undertapped market.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:52 AM   #13
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Re: Advertising Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
but also college geek clubs are a vastly underappreciated resource. D&D hobbyists, creative writing groups, fans of interactive fiction, computer tech classmates. The ones who have been taught, or learned for themselves, appreciation of the written word. If you're in college, and have access to a main dorm gathering area of a large dorm, you could even hold a mini-seminar on what a MUD is. You could even turn it into a class project in sociology or public speaking, to see how a person can bend an entire group to his will or - in layman's terms, how to be influential and pursuasive.

I really think college is a huge undertapped market.
Summing this up into once short sentence:
Cater for people who have never played a mud before.


BTW, great input into this thread, there are ideas in there that i had not considered, being a university student myself, i have had a lot of classmates peeking over my shoulder while i have been working on my game, or chatting to people on other games, who have asked a lot of questions about what i was doing, about the game, my ideas, etc, some get keen enough to login to my test server and test things out for themselves, which helps me with feedback from non mudders as to the things that work and don't work, i have just never thought about trying to convert them into new players.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:15 PM   #14
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Re: Advertising Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
I just went back and re-read that link Newworlds, and I'm confused. How does it address the topic at hand here? The topic, in case you glossed it over, is how to advertise a mud. Your link is some tips on how to build a mud, with a strong emphasis on how to be an effective administrator to your crew.
I understand your confusion and almost didn't post the excerpt and link, but decided to anyway to showcase the fallicy of creating a MUD without forthought to the many snafus that occur in MUD administration including the crossroads of advertising. I felt that it was a very important object lesson and valid for that reason, eventhough it doesn't directly address the question.

As for finding players. I agree that there is a huge untapped market for players who don't even know about MUDs. I'm still trying to remember the post Threshold made about the blackberry style machine that had millions of subscribers and was text only. I would love to work up a campaign with a few MUDs for that machine alone assuming we could agree on a proposal. Perhaps it was E-books? E-something. I can't remember.
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