What Awesome Shenanigans Did Star City Pull Off? :)

Following is an unedited screen capture from a well-known (in online marketing and measurement circles, anyway) service called COMPETE. Patrick Chapin* pointed it out to me and (last week) I passed it along to some of our overlords such as Steve Sadin and Mister Orange [guy] with the same question I am, asking you:

Now some of you might not quite grok what is going on in this screen capture, so I will put it another way; that is, “edited”:

(I greyed out last month on account of the data is not mature yet, so it would be worthless to talk about.)

This is a measurement of unique visitors to the beloved Star City Games site; NOT how often existing users use it, nor how much they “like it”, nor how long they sit there watching SCGLive videos of the charming Joey Pasco… It attempts to measure the actual, individual, humans… (and hopefully, ultimately paying customers of either Magic: The Gathering singles, Premium memberships, or like Squirrel-backed sleeves).

mise squirrel amiright?

Something happened.

Or, probably (and more likely), the clever marketing machine that is Star City Games proactively did something to dramatically reverse the declining course of their number of visitors.

“J-Curve” or “hockey stick” changes in performance don’t happen all by themselves. In theory we can attribute some amount of performance seasonally (there are many online retailers that do 50% of their sales, or more, in November and December). But we don’t see that here, and if we equate visitors and buyers (which we honestly can’t), the numbers are going the wrong way, anyway. These kinds of sharp and sustained directional improvements typically result from internal, that is organizationally-driven, process changes. For example, here is a directional Analytics screen shot of the day-by-day traffic of this here website, up to these past few days:

What internal process change did FiveWithFlores make in the last few days?

That something Star City did occurred / was done in January of 2011 that added (or perhaps encouraged the return of) literally tens of thousands of unique visitors to their our user base, and catapulted them Millionaire Playboy Pete Hoefling into an amazingly positive direction.

So… What do you think that was?


A couple of possibly useful observations:

My first [let’s be honest] second gut reaction was to credit SCGLive. However this different COMPETE shot seems to indicate that 1) the timing is off, and 2) the magnitude of SCGLive unique users cannot wholly account for the improvements (check the y-axis).

Certainly SCGLive is a super sticky service that keeps people on Star City there, and engaged (not to mention happy)… But at least according to COMPETE’s numbers, not enough new, different people to account for the hockey stick, and subsequent re-up. Anyway, I would guess that SCGLive aficionados cross over quite a bit with Star City’s “regular” user base… It’s not like if you took 10,000 from mommy and 5,000 from kiddo you would have 15,0000 uniques.


Like the title asks: What awesome shenanigans did Stat City pull off?


* Yes, yes, we have our suspicions already 🙂

** Please leave a comment via the old or brand spanking new methods, please.

facebook comments:


#1 wobblesthegoose on 09.21.11 at 12:01 pm

Yeah, this analysis is pretty questionable. Not to diminish some of the excellent content SCG has been putting out over the past year, but seasonal effects are usually a huge factor in these kind of changes. And because you are only looking at a one year time span, those can be kind of hard to see. What isn’t hard to see is that Magic sites with basically static content experienced a similar trend as SCG:

For example, Gatherer:

Has Gatherer made any internal changes that would cause this precipitous rise? Of course not, gatherer hasn’t changed.

So too with magiccards.info: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/magiccards.info/

Even mtgsalvation, which doesn’t have a high stakes tourniment series or “premium content”, experienced the bump: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/mtgsalvation.com/

In fact, Star City Games even dipped below MTG Salvation over the past year. Considering that’s a site that basically doesn’t even have a PR machine, it’s pretty embarrassing.

These are the other “big boys” when it comes to Magic search results. All of them have seen the same rise in page views. It’s either just seasonal (There are few tourniments in December and it’s basically the wasteland between set releases), or there has just been a general increase in people seeking online Magic content.

Get better comps next time.

#2 MTGBattlefield on 09.21.11 at 1:53 pm

What Awesome Shenanigans Did Star City Pull Off? :)…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#3 Reply to Flores and SCG Growth (for those who can’t see it) | Mixed kNuts on 09.21.11 at 2:13 pm

[…] Flores posed a question on his blog. I replied on his blog, but some people couldn’t see it at the time, so I cross-posted the reply here. […]

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