I wanted to add this here as I added it to general chat, but think Webmaster and Co could stand to see it as well. Please note that while all businesses are different, most websites all share one thing in common and that is the effect UX (User Experience) has on their userbase. For those who are unfamiliar with the topic, a quick explanation of User Experience is that its about how much friction there is between a user and them doing what they want/need to do. In the case of gambling, gaming, news sites, and other academic resources this is a very important thing to capitalize on as you need enough friction for the user to want the improved experience (where you make your money) and for them to gain enough value/understand what it's like to be a paying customer.
User Experience is often confused with UI (User Interface). This is typically referencing the actual face of the website. The literal design implementation and how the site "looks". Please do not get the two confused, you can have an excellent UX without what 95% of people would say is a good UI. CC has good UX in some ways, poor in others.
Now to the main point:
"Invites to other players for freemium (is) the single biggest/easiest improvement to the site. If freemiums can invite other players in the game to a match, way easier, more simple and reduces friction to playing with friends"
(which is a HUGE motivator for how communities grow).
Why do you think other multiplayer titles like fortnight grew so quickly? Its because people can play with their friends. Heck, I'd be gone if it weren't for all the people I met. I played for a long time before I could steal my parent's credit cards to pay for premium and I almost left due to invites not being able to play with my friends on free accounts. I would have not come back 3 years later. Someone I met on the site gifted me premium, that's the first thing that kept me here. Sadly, I didn't get premium until well after my friends had tried the site and left because of how "tedious" it was to play on a team together.
"In the UX world, that is what people pay thousands of dollars (literally) to have their website changed so that it is friendly to users. A user-friendly site has much higher retention and sale rate. Products of lower quality can sell for higher prices when things look and feel good"
I think this speaks for itself we see it all the time, people buy a brand. This also works for websites, people will pay for things they feel are smooth. The user experience for a starting user is not smooth and the most often asked question I see is "How can I play with my friends? Can you leave so my friend can join? They weren't fast enough". I've even seen someone with 4 games filled, trying to get all people to leave so they can play with their friend. That person db and never came back. There is no guarantee they would have stayed, but we certainly know they didn't and for many people it only takes one reason. If its more work than it's worth: "I'm out". And it doesn't take much to cause that.
"The same is certainly true for CC, the more friction you put on users, the less likely they are to stay. That's why features like 1 week of free premium etc, work so well on many sites. Sure you just gave away free value for a week, but getting to understand the full experience instead of some clunky free substitute is important. For example, we allow freemiums to play many game types that's a premium feature but what we do is limit their games. That is a GREAT example of how to allow full experience but limit the player"
Letting users know what premium is like is important. We already effectively do that with game limitations. We don't do it well with speed games, and we don't do it well with how users will get to play with their friends. When I spoke of balance before, this is where that comes in. If inviting friends inside your own site is truly a premium feature, we should still find a way for the freemium to experience
the premium feature. This could even be only allowing invites of up to 3 players, or only allowing invites to your team etc.
Please note I am NOT saying the answer is to give 1 week of premium to every new account. I'm highlighting why many places choose to do so over a freemium experience. Generally its because there is no substitute for the real thing they offer so its best to offer it in full, or not at all. Giving users a chance to try it achieves this balance.
No one is trying to dissuade people from becoming premium. The opposite. As the main users we see how our friends, families and other randoms get upset and leave due to limited features or not even knowing what using a feature they want, would be like.
I'll close with this to reiterate HOW effective small UX changes can be. I did a job for one company where they gave me 40 hours to improve their site. The first 30 was a tech upgrade to move it to a different framework (it was a super small web app). Another 4 hours were checkups, meetings and some design changes I proposed. I implemented 3 changes across 6 hours and provided and a-b-c version of the new page. When all was said and done, literally changing the shape and color of a button, and changing the highlighting/colors/background of some text inputs, the site started making 2-3x more leads a week to this day. They spent 40 hours of time and recouped that money in 2 weeks based on the increase. I'm not saying that adding invites to freemium gets you there. But I'm stressing the importance of minor changes.