FanDuel (by HubDub) is launched exclusively thru TechCrunch UK, which is, of course, upbeat on its future. Heres a more critical take.

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HubDub is a huge success in term of Internet popularity (pageviews, time spent on the site, etc.). However, HubDub has no business model, other than trying to get bought up by some bigger fish. Which is why Nigel Eccles and his smart team have devised a social fantasy sport game, FanDuel. Its business model (allowed under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006) is simple: you pay to play. &#8211-&gt- $$$

The problem with FanDuel&#8216-s simple business model (selling social gaming services over the Internet) is that, unlike HubDub (which is free to play), there won&#8217-t be free publicity generated on the Web &#8212-other than the TechCrunch UK post. Just because you have a business model does not mean that you have a marketing strategy.

The best marketing strategy you can have on the Internet is a dual one:

  1. Give away content, software, or means for people to connect with each other
  2. Sell something else (to the same people or to other people).

Since FanDuel won&#8217-t be free, it won&#8217-t generate any buzz on the Web. [UPDATE: See Nigel Eccles’s comment, just below.]

Nigel Eccles is proud of the fact that his team crafted FanDuel in a matter of weeks. But have they thought long enough about marketing strategy?


The FanDuel press release:


New Fantasy Sports Game Lets You Play Today, Win Today

There are at least 20 million of us playing fantasy sports every year and yet in recent years it has seen very little innovation. For many, one of the major problems with fantasy sports is the huge time-commitment involved &#8211- when you play fantasy, you have to play for the whole season – no breaks, no holidays, no excuses. However, in this era of Facebook and Twitter, people want instant gratification.

This issue is tackled head on by, a new fantasy sports game which launches today. lets us play and win in a day instead of waiting the whole season. Players can draft a new team at any time, and pitch it head-to-head against an opponent – a friend, or another FanDuel player – for real money. The player whose team has the most fantasy points at the end of the day’s games wins the cash prize. It’s purely fantasy baseball right now, but the fantasy football game will launch with the start of the football season.

Clever integration with sites like Facebook means that picking opponents is slick, as is bragging about your wins. This is a first for the fantasy sports industry which has been dominated by the big players such as Yahoo, CBS and ESPN for too long.

The game is a competitive draft rather than salary cap – making it much more challenging. However unlike traditional competitive draft both players don’t have to draft at the same time. The way it works is one player drafts their first pick and a back-up for each position. They then order their draft and submit their roster. When they are matched with another user (a friend or another FanDuel user) the system works through each player’s draft in priority order. You get an email telling you and your opponent’s final roster and then you can watch the live stats on both fantasy teams update in real-time as the games progress.

Online social gaming is already well developed but the daily fantasy sports market is quite new. Nigel Eccles, CEO of the company behind FanDuel, admits, “After playing Mafia Wars and other social games on Facebook, going back to playing traditional fantasy sports on CBS felt like going back in time. We felt we could build something faster, more social and exciting.”

Thanks to the fantasy sports carve out of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Act [Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006], is perfectly legal to play in the US – something that the team behind FanDuel have been very careful to adhere to. FanDuel offers free and paid entry games with users able to enter $5, $10 and $25 competitions.

6 thoughts on “FanDuel (by HubDub) is launched exclusively thru TechCrunch UK, which is, of course, upbeat on its future. Heres a more critical take.

  1. Nigel Eccles said:

    Very perceptive Chris. Our focus on this launch is to get a product out that people want to pay to play. You can play Fanduel for free but we haven’t fully optimized that bit yet. As they say, coming soon…

    BTW I would hate for the idea to spread that Fanduel only took a couple of weeks to build. We’ve been sweating over it since March!

  2. Chris F. Masse said:

    HubDub gets it right in the first branch of the dual marketing strategy, while FanDuel gets it right in the second branch.

    Could HubDub have done the two things right?

  3. Niall O'Connor said:

    A quick rush, to try and attempt to actually make some money perhaps?

    FanDuel is quite simply a terrible name; but, then again, HubDub ….

  4. Chris F. Masse said:

    “make some money”


    You make money with clients by attracting prospects, first. You attract prospects either with ads (costly) or with buzz (free publicity). I don’t see FanDuel taking any of these routes. How are they going to publicize their website?

    HubDub was a bad name, at first, but then it has established itself because of the quarter million users enjoying it. I’d say HubDub is now a good brand.

  5. Niall O'Connor said:

    I said; “to try and attempt.” Note the word “attempt.”

  6. David Pennock said:

    Congrats to Nigel. Great idea. A refreshing change from typical lack of innovation in gambling.

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