Yahoo’s position as one of the largest fantasy sports sites in the world — not to mention one of the world’s most visited websites — does not appear to be shielding them from growing pains since the website’s launch of their highly anticipated daily fantasy sports product on July 8th.
Players are taking to the forums and Twitter to voice their frustration in light of glitches, playability concerns, a lack of features and lower-than-anticipated prize pools. Some are calling it a “mess.” One website is calling it an unannounced beta test.
What Has Went Wrong?
Some industry observers and DFS players predicted that the behemoth that is Yahoo would almost show signs of giving the FanDuels and DraftKings of the DFS world a run for their money. That does not appear to be the case (although its admittedly WAY too early to start digging the Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports grave).
Yahoo’s guaranteed MLB contests are primarily limited to $1,000 prize pools (there is also a $10,000 guaranteed running on Wednesday). Meanwhile, DraftKings and FanDuel each have seven guaranteed tournaments running today with prize pools over $35,000 and at least three $100,000 plus guaranteed tournaments. Yahoo Daily Fantasy is not even close to delivering these prize pools yet, although they did run a $50,000 guaranteed shortly after launch.
In addition to a relative disappointment about the size of prize pools, Yahoo Daily Fantasy participants are complaining about bugs and playability issues. Some of the more notable issues include a lack of export lineup button, inability to create usernames, lack of ownership % numbers and mass editing of lineups.
Some have also voiced concern about glitches on mobile devices, access to customer support, and the pay structure on guaranteed prize pool tournaments. The interface isn’t winning any fans, either, although it has already drawn complaints from FanDuel, who says it is too similar to their product.
There is also currently no sign-up bonus offered for Yahoo Daily Fantasy users who join for the first time (FanDuel offers a $200 bonus and DraftKings offers a $600 bonus on a first deposit). This shouldn’t concern players too much as they will likely extend the bonus to all players if and when they decide to start offering a bonus.
Yahoo Embracing Feedback
Despite the initial issues, Yahoo is embracing the feedback. A rep from Yahoo posted on Rotogrinders, “Just wanted to drop in again and thank all of you for your play and feedback. As representatives of the more experienced part of the daily fantasy spectrum, your opinions are definitely valued.”
FanDuel and DraftKings have established user-bases and big fans of their product. Taking any material portion of their market share is not going to happen overnight, even for someone as big as Yahoo. Killing momentum early, however, is a less than ideal way to start a product launch, especially when the first impression is not a good one.
Things are not all bad with the daily fantasy sports product, of course. They seem to have a fairly good integration of Daily Fantasy into the Yahoo Fantasy sports section, which should help convert players to the new product. Players have also noted that the games seem to be of good quality, perhaps an early indicator that less seasoned players have made their way over to the new games.
Despite the issues, the timing of the launch was likely not coincidental. Yahoo Daily Fantasy was launched on July 8th, just days before the MLB All Star break, the slowest time of the year for major sports (and daily fantasy sports) and a couple months before the start of the NFL season. It’s arguably one of the best times of the year to have players test out your product – before the heart of the daily fantasy sports season and before most of Yahoo’s fantasy sports customers really start paying attention.