Sunday, 24 February 2008

Website Update

The website at www.mcmediaplayer.com has been updated to incorporate the new logo. There's still lots of work to do on the site but at least I've got one more job out of the way.

Some of you might be wondering why I'm worrying about things like the logo and site design when there are important jobs waiting to be done on the players themselves (both versions). It's a fair question which I'll pre-emptively answer now.

There's never a good time to stop working on the players, there are always people waiting for new features. For this reason the marketing side of things often gets left behind, which doesn't bother me too much because for me it's more about the quality of the player than how many people use it. Still, I do need lots of users to keep the whole project viable - the project would be in trouble if the player dropped off the public radar.

At the moment I'm in a dicey phase with the website due to the recent URL migration. The search engine rankings for the old pages at mediacollege.com are going to drop now that the player's not there any more, but the new URL doesn't yet have good rankings. For a time, the player is not going to feature in the top 10 Google results for relevant keyphrases. I need to do everything I can to keep the marketing on track and minimize the negative impact. Doing a bit of work on the look of the site should help.

In the past I've noticed up to a 10% increase in "stickability" (people staying at or returning a to website site) when the site has a decent logo. A good-looking, professional logo suggests credibility. I'll be interested to see if the percentage of click-throughs from the MC Media Player home page increases now. I'm hoping for a 1 - 2% increase which might not seem much but every little bit helps.

Still high on my to-do list is the next stage of revamping the site. I'll be trying for better organization and much more documentation. However the very next job is probably to get back to MC Altair and finish it off ready for v1.0. Then there's a few outstanding issues with MC Classic - I'd like to spend a bit of time on them. Most urgent though is my need for sleep and a short break from the project - I'm in danger of MC Burnout :(

MC Classic

I've changed the name of the MC Media Player "720x360 Edition" to MC Classic. This version of the player never really had a proper name because when it first came out it was the only version I had. Now, with MC Altair in the mix, I need a better way to separate and refer to each player.

"Classic" is a bit of a cliché I know, but it's practical and does describe where the player is at in its life cycle. It will probably be a better fit in the future when I finally retire this player in favour of a new version. In the meantime I hope it doesn't make the current player sound outdated. I don't think so.

MC Media Player Logo

The logo contest has been wrapped up - thanks to all involved. There were over 100 entries with many outstanding efforts. In the end we settled on a fairly simple, safe design that we think reflects the player well. It's also a versatile design - it works well at any size and on any colour.

I'll be updating the website with the new look ASAP.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Logo Contest

I'm currently running a contest to design a new logo for the MC Media Player. You can see the contest here: 99designs.com/contests/5394

Please feel free to offer your opinion on any of the entries. Of course you can enter as well - the prize money is $250 USD. The contest closes on about the 25th February (depending on your time zone) although it's possible I might close it early if entries dry up.

It's looking very promising and I'm sure we'll be able to select a nice-looking winner.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

MC Media Player

At the start of this year I moved the whole MC Media Player project to a new domain at www.mcmediaplayer.com. This was quite a gamble and I sure hope it pays off.

I officially started this project in 2006. It evolved from a video player I'd made a few years earlier for TATV (local community video for my home town). At the time there weren't really any decent Flash video players available that did what I needed, in particular a good playlist option. That's why I made my own.

I realised that I could make my player configurable so I could use it on other websites as well. From there it seemed like a good idea to make it public so anyone could use it. I expected to get a small amount of support but I was amazed to see it installed on hundreds of sites within the first few months. There are now many thousands of sites that use it and the whole thing has grown into a scary monster.

I recently started work on a new version of the player with the working title MC Altair. It's a functional but very basic player at the moment - I plan to develop it over the next couple of years into a replacement for the MC 720 version.

Partly to prevent myself feeling overwhelmed and partly to do the right thing by all of the player's users, I've decided to share the MC Altair source code with people who might like to help. I haven't done so yet because the code is still a mess but I'll get round to making it ready ASAP.

This project is hard work (especially for someone like me who isn't a professional programmer) but I do enjoy it and it's an important part of our overall internet strategy. I can't wait to get the new version tidied up and see where we can go with it. Stay tuned.