Sorry, but I think you are contradicting yourself when you say it’s a smart move but immediately say in the next sentence you are going to pare down your leagues. I would imagine there are a lot of people that will be reducing or flat out leaving the Ottoneu platform due to the large rake increase. Not sure how less revenue is a smart move.
I understand the need for you to sustain the site. I’m assuming you know that a lot of people who play in the basic, non-payout leagues, such as myself, will be leaving, and you are willing to accept those losses. Some say another $10 per year is no big deal, and that’s essentially true. However, I’ve already been questioning myself for paying $9.99 annually, when Yahoo is free and offers a much better user experience than Ottoneu. I got in originally because I love Fangraphs, and I kept reading about Ottoneu there, which gave it some allure. I also wanted to try something different, and the Classic 4x4 league sounded like a nice challenge. The keeper aspect kept me coming back. But doubling the fee is too much for me. $20 may not seem like all that much, but it does have value, and it’s more value than I can justify paying for something I can get somewhere else for free. So, it’ll be so long and good luck to you, Ottoneu. It’s been fun!
With all due respect, Ottoneu will never be “the best fantasy sports experience” until every place in the standings matters. Finishing third should be better than finishing fourth. Finishing fifth should be better than finishing sixth. Finishing ninth should be more rewarding than finishing tenth, and nothing should be worse than finishing dead last. Finishing dead last should suck. Until such a mechanism is incorporated as an option into the game structure (as opposed to forcing leagues to attempt haphazard self-implementation via arb coupons and the like), the problems with rampant tanking and Dog Days of August disengagement will continue leading to high rates of turnover and competitors balking at increasing fees. Short-sighted calls for an even more top-heavy reward structure are woefully misguided and off the mark. Give every competitor a reason to care every day of the competition with the otherwise great format in place and virtually any admistrative fee will be worth it.
Franchise tags or coupons are two options.
Could a reward incentive be added to the $20 leagues? Ex. First place gets $20 and next year free. 2nd place gets next year free. Or 50% off next year.
Our $100 league has long had a renewal date of 10 Days After The World Series Ends. This is so any new owner for the following season can be involved in the arbitration process, which is an important planning period and has a lot to do with the following year but nothing to do with the past season. IMO that should be the default–something like renewals are due on 11/20 and arb starts on 11/21. In the event a team is going to turn over owners it makes little sense to give the exiting owner the arb period.
Pretty clear from all the feedback that people don’t like a price increase. Which can be expected. From my perspective, price changes are normal part of business and as Niv says allows them to run a sustainable business. Unfortunately, what this will do is put all of the Ottoneu platform at risk of shutdown. The number of leagues that will dissolve at year end will be high. The number of teams willing to buy in to rebuild will decline. Have you considered a) charging more to the winning teams to cover the cost of the operations? b) charging less to players with multiple teams? I ask becuase I’ll tell you that I took on three new teams this year. One in an existing league were I took over a crappy team. No way I’m staying in that league if 40% of the money goes to manage the site. The other two are new leagues so may be more willing to stick around since they are largely where I want them to be. Would be great if you can address my suggestions above as they seem to allow for more sustainability to the platform.
@Leif so a few things here. It really isn’t an inaccurate opinion. Has he altered some visual aspects of the experience? Sure. Spent a ton of time redesigning logos, the site itself, etc. Fine, it looks better than it did before. I don’t honestly care what the site looks like. He could have it like Scoresheet and half the information look like it was created in Notepad. I’m talking functional, actual changes that have been requested repeatedly by users for several years that simply haven’t seen the light of day (again AUCTION AND MOBILE).
Also, if you want to actually experience the Ottoneu community then join the Slack group and stop doing whatever it is you are doing on here.
Lastly it is incredible that the only response from Niv so far still didn’t address the functional improvements that have been talked about/asked. Niv - your hardcore users have no issue paying $10 extra or whatever else, the issue is making 100% increases or cutting payouts while at the same time offering zero in the form of a roadmap for where the site is headed. If it had been presented to the incredibly niche group of players on that you needing X dollars for Y purpose, or simply “guys, I’m going broke doing this” you don’t think a group of people that actively talk about baseball here or your dreaded Slack would have been fine with you making changes? You don’t think if you had presented it by simply saying "work is being done for a better (actual?) mobile experience with notifications, or that you were almost finished overhauling the auction software, people would have accepted it and moved on?
I have been reading everyone’s posts here, but I didn’t want to respond too often and derail a good, important conversation. I appreciate the support and I understand the skepticism.
I’ll focus this post on the concerns raised about tying a roadmap or milestones to the price change. I take major issue with the notion that the platform hasn’t already undergone major improvements, especially in terms of mobile and the auction draft.
- Head-to-head and playoffs were added this offseason. This constitutes “a real feature enhancement”, certainly.
- The auction backend was completely rewritten in 2016 and has been improved iteratively since then. There are still issues, but auction drafts are getting better and smoother every season. It is hard to write site updates about those changes because they are pretty technical, but I believe a lot of you have noticed that auction drafts have been less and less buggy.
- There have been improvements to the mobile experience. Going through the Wishlist sub-forum you can see a variety of mobile-focused changes that have been made, lineup page improvements and live page improvements being the two most obvious ones. I’ve also mentioned search page improvements, and the recent player page changes. These interface improvements have not made the mobile experience perfect but have made the experience significantly better than where it was in 2015.
If there are other concerns that haven’t been addressed, please please please create a topic in the Wishlist forum, or upvote an existing Wishlist topic. It is the absolute best way for me to see the ways you want Ottoneu to improve.
I work to make the site better - I want it to be better on mobile, I want to add a ton of features that have been asked for on the wishlist, I want to make the auction draft infinitely scalable and smooth. I guess in my mind it was implicit that I’d continue to make the same kinds of improvements I have been making, with hopefully additional revenue so I can afford to continue working on Ottoneu full time and maybe add a second developer to make some of the improvements faster. The price change is being made in order to make the business sustainable for the long-term, because currently it is not sustainable for the long-term
We have do not know how much the price change will affect our bottom line in 2019. Being specific about changes that are only possible with additional revenue without knowing how much revenue we will have in 2019 simply does not make sense to me. I do not want to promise anything that we then can not deliver on due to financial constraints. Once we have a picture of what our 2019 revenue looks like, you can expect some specific updates about our planned improvements going forward, similar to how we announced Head-to-Head in the 2017-18 offseason.
I consider myself lucky that enough users are passionate enough about Ottoneu for a conversation like this thread to occur, and I do not take for granted that people are willing to spend their hard-earned money and increasingly limited time playing Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball. Thank you for your continued support and passion.
I very much appreciate Niv being up front about these price increases and giving everyone a long lead time to comment on it. That alone speaks to his respect for the Ottoneu user base – what other site would announce something like that six months in advance and then welcome the debate?
I also think there is some well-earned trust given the increasing pace of site upgrades – I don’t doubt that improvements will continue apace, if not quicker, after the price increase.
Given how many hours I spend obsessing over my ON team, $20 a year vs. $10 a year for the basic league seems like it still pencils out to what I’d call a very good deal. But I do think that extra cash comes more easily to some than to others, so I encourage Niv to keep thinking about ways to keep the barrier as low as possible, especially for the non-prize level.
I also wonder if there are other ways to increase value, such as offering a free or cheaper Ottoneu entry if one is also a Fangraphs member. It seems like building support for both FG and ON at the same time would be a win-win. Just a thought.
I have been playing fantasy baseball since it first started, both payout and non-payout leagues. I am in six leagues this year(having cut back some). This is my first year with Ottoneu and joined due to seeing positive comments on the internet. Obviously you people have not played for long; this is the worse site I have ever been on and they are raising the cost? Unbelievable. Payouts aren’t even that good. They do not have staff that can even update starting pitchers! I will never play on this site again.
I don’t think the opposition to a price increase is universal. I’m curious to see the information the most annoyed posters are working with. Seems like Niv has provided pretty good evidence that there have been substantial upgrades based on community input. I, for one, appreciate the consistency and thoughtfulness that Niv applies when considering changes (including the price change, which has been done transparently and with lots of lead time). Ottoneu is catering to a specific population that was not getting needs met by other league hosting sites. It’s certainly not meant to be everything to everyone, and I think Niv has done an impressive job growing/improving the site while remaining true to the values of the community.
I also offer a more positive anecdote regarding the price change: this conversation has actually created momentum for my $10 league to jump to the $50 level. While some leagues may fold, there may be other leagues that become more invested. I hesitate to believe blanket statements without some sort of data backing the claims.
That said, we would greatly prefer a third place prize at the $50 level, whether that be through a reallocation of the current price money or a bump up to $60 to fund a third place prize.
Thanks again to Niv for all of his hard work and transparency.
for 2018 $50 leagues, will 3rd place offer a payout?
i thought when i signed up they did,
but checking the league rules now,
it says only 1st and 2nd place get money (as this post says).
wondering because i adopted a strategy back in april to climb my way up into the top 3 to at least make my money back,
and i’m curious if this strategy is still viable,
especially if the top two teams keep outpacing everyone.
(also, clearly count me among the owners who would prefer a 3rd place payout.
the fewer reasons to stay invested in the chase, the more teams will turn to tanking,
and turn to it earlier and earlier in the season.)
The prizes for a $49.99 league this season (2018) are $300/$100/$50
Judging from the comments thus far - it seems like main concern is the $50 league payout tiers. Niv, your responses have been insightful and it appears you are open to considering change to that particular level.
Can you tell us what your thoughts are going forward with the changes? Is it going to change to $60 with same payout? Something else?
I’m mostly interested on knowing the final decision on this so I can start working on ensuring I have owners for next season as early as possible.
Thanks for your hard work and responses to the future changes Niv.
Any potential changes from the original announcement haven’t been nailed down yet, but I’m working on the answers to the primary questions raised in this thread, namely about third place prizes and tying the keeper deadline to the team renewal deadline. I understand that it is important to have full information in order to plan for 2019 and beyond, and I want to make sure every team owner has ample time to sort through their options. So, I plan on having an update very soon.
After considering the feedback regarding the keeper deadline as the global renewal deadline, we are going to stick with the January 31 deadline for both. Adding another date to the calendar adds complexity, and tying the keeper and renewal deadlines in football has worked well. The build up to the keeper deadline gets conversation going and decisions made about renewal earlier, and the penalty-free cuts feature is available as a last resort for commissioners to wield as they see fit.
This offseason there will be more feedback gathered about the date of the keeper / renewal deadline and potentially moving it back to February 15 in 2020. I do not want to introduce another moving part this offseason, but the feedback around the date resonated and it should be explored further.
There are important changes to the prize tiers as well. We are redistributing the prize pool in the $50 tier to ensure a third place prize. We are also introducing a $75 tier with a larger prize pool.
1st place - $200
2nd place - $100
3rd place - $50
1st place - $400
2nd place - $150
3rd place - $75
Once renewals are re-activated, commissioners will be able to select between the $20, $50, $75, $100, and $250 tiers.
Thank you for your continued support and passion and all of the great feedback in this thread.
2018 Baseball Prizes Megathread
You should probably move this to the top of the post, so when people click the link they don’t have to scroll to the bottom to see what the actual change is. This model you proposed at the end is the reason I will be continuing my $50 leagues and even consider a $75 one.
I’ll add a link to the update to the banner at the top of the page. Thanks for this feedback.