Because of the three-day mourning period all entertainment sites in China were asked to shut down from Monday until Wednesday. Gary woke us up with a phone call very early on Monday morning to inform us about the new rules (Tudou was probably among the first sites to be notified), and I called the Spill Group Asia technical and marketing people to discuss what to do. We did not receive a notice yet, and were therefore not sure if our sites game.com.cn and xiaoyouxi.com would also have to follow it. I checked the internet (it was around 1 AM on Monday) and noticed that none of our gaming competitors had adjusted their sites yet. I also could not find any information about the ban online yet, so I put it on Twitter to see if other people had more information. Incidentally I broke the news on Twitter by writing about it (see for example this article) and Scobleizer picked it up right away after Fuzheado retweeted my message to him. Then things went fast and within minutes I had 30 new followers on Twitter.
Tudou was already working on a new temporary site, but I was still not sure what to do. If you shut down your site, but the competition does not do it you might lose a lot of regular players. Spill Group still had not received an official notice, and therefore we decided to wait a few hours to see what would happen. The next morning at 10 AM none of the flash game sites in China had changed anything yet, but most of the video sites had implemented the changes already (except for QQ video). From a business point of view it’s not easy to make a decision to close down your site temporarily, but at that moment I decided that it was not appropriate to keep the site up when the whole of China is mourning and especially not when you are specifically asked to close it down. So even though the competition kept their sites online we put a specially created memorial page online.
The competition was probably looking at us, because not much later they also took their sites offline. Traffic wise Spill Group Asia’s sites game.com.cn and xiaoyouxi.com are no. 2 in China among all flash games sites with about 20 million unique IP’s per month (4399.com is no. 1), but it was nice to see that they are looking at us to decide what to do. But not just that, they probably liked our design and copied it to their server. First 4399.com and later also 7k7k.com. It seems our designers did an excellent job! Strange enough shortly after that our stats went up a lot. We had no clue why, we had gotten a lot of traffic during the day from search engines and sites like hao123.com, but it was quite steady until our competitors copied our site. And then we realized what happened: they not only copied the design, but also our site measurement code that was embedded in the site. Thanks for giving us some insightful information on your traffic compared to ours, dear competitors!
After the others copied our design we decided to redesign our mourning page and add the possibility for people to leave a comment. Right now we get one new comment every 2 seconds! Of course it did not take long for 7k7k.com to also add the comment function, but 4399.com still only has the static page. I don’t mind them copying everything we do, it’s always better to be a leader than a follower. And in this way our message and wishes for the victims will be spread out even further.