Well, that was an interesting Friday !
For those who missed it (doesn’t seem like that was many people!), we ran a Twitter giveaway for free Steam codes for The Ship: Murder Party. It wasn’t a planned promotion, but after we received a Tweet in the morning asking about The Ship 2, we thought it would be good to give away some free Steam codes.
We figured there may be no more than 40 or 50 responses over the course of the promotion, so planned to reply to everyone individually with their keys. That lasted all of 20 minutes – until people flocked to our website in droves, each clicking one of the two buttons we created to tweet to our account. Very quickly it was obvious the promo was getting away from us, and although we’re happy giving away that volume of keys, we just weren’t technically prepared to manage the logistics of all the requests.
One the first things we did was update the original post to say the promo had closed, but due to the server issues, we couldn’t get into the admin section of the site for the better part of an hour! Even after this, users were served a cached version of the page, so the tweets continued for several hours to come!
And then it happened. The Internet broke our website. The hamster running our server finally gave up. To be fair, he had an easy life up until now – he barely had to get out of bed most days, so it’s understatement to say he was somewhat surprised at what Friday had to throw at him. As frantic as it was, he (and the rest of the office) were fairly bemused at just how crazy things were getting! It was a crazy day for us – certainly one we’re going to remember for a while!
Come Friday afternoon, we were looking at different ways of getting keys to everyone who tweeted us (which was around 1,000 within a short space on time) and it’s absolutely the case that we’ll get keys to everyone who responded to the promotion.
The first hurdle we had to overcome on this one is the fact that both Twitter users need to follow each other in order to send private messages, combined with the fact that there’s a limit on how many accounts you can follow meant that it wouldn’t be practical to follow / unfollow so many people. Don’t get me wrong, we were totally prepared to do it if I had to!
But instead we used a tool called Woobox which, among other things, allowed us to upload 6,000 Steam keys for people to claim privately via Facebook. Sidenote – Woobox has quite a few features, so we’ll likely use it to run future promotions as well, so keep an eye on our Facebook page!
We’d like to unreservedly apologise to any inconvenience caused to anyone during this time and we hope everyone understands how this occurred!
What we’re doing to fix this
- Upgrade our hosting. We upgraded our hosting package on Friday, so the website should handle higher traffic volumes now.
- Using Woobox. Woobox via Facebook is built for much higher volume giveaways like this.
- Facebook Promo Users. We will email everyone who claimed a key on Facebook with details on how to claim another key. This means some people will get two keys (we don’t know who claimed a duplicate or an original key), but also means everyone who participated gets a key. We’ll ensure this happens this week.
- Twitter Promo Users. We will announce a separate Facebook claim promo via Twitter only this week.
- Planning. We’ll ensure future campaigns are planned much better next time!
Hopefully, after this, everyone who tried to claim a key will get one. Again, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and hope you all enjoy playing The Ship: Murder Party!
– Blazing Griffin