SPOnG was the first serious attempt to produce a comprehensive catalogue of the world of computer games. Conceived in 1996 and soft launched in 1998, the site is a repository of information on some 50,000 games on over 80 platforms.
More recently the site has developed into a lively community site, offering daily video games news, and a selection of editorial content including reviews, previews and interviews. The site runs competitions and polls, and has a lively forum where topics ranging from video games through culture, sport and politics are discussed in a forthright, but adult manner.
SPOnG required a fully relational database as the basis of the site, with the ability to enter data about video games, and form relationships from this data. The system had to present the data from the front end, and have an easy and flexible way of enabling site administrators to manage the data at the back end. The system needed data export routines, because SPOnG generates some of its revenue by syndicating its data.
The SPOnG guys had an innovative idea to help them sell advertising on the site - they created the "site takeover", which enables advertisers to theme the entire site with the branding of their product. They also required a more traditional campaign manager for banner advertising.
Additionally, SPOnG required way of interacting with their readership. They wanted a way of creating competitions, accepting the entries to these competitions and of selecting winners in a fair and unbiased way. And they wanted forums that were integrated into their site - so that users could comment on features and news stories.
SPOnG's list of requirements was long, and eleventeenth has worked with them for almost 10 years helping them to achieve their objectives as they evolve. Initially we created a content management system for them that later grew to become ContentDLM. We also created the asset management system that evolved to become AssetDLM. As their site grew in popularity we moved it from a ASP-based system to a Java system, and from an Access database to the Firebird open source enterprise SQL database.
Once the site started to accept advertising, we created an advertising server, and developed it as the requirements became more demanding. Later we implemented a forum system to enable the site's users to interact with one another. Further community features were added with a poll system to canvas user feedback, and a competiton management system with randomised winner selection.