New Feature: Tweaked E-mail Notifications

October 17th, 2012 by No Comments

Hey ma! Look What We Did The Other Night!

When you create a baby pool on, you will automatically get automated e-mail notifications about your baby pool, and so will any participants in your pool. This has been a part of the website since day 1. We don’t mean this as spam, we just want users to be able to get some kind of notification when there is activity in their pool.

The default setting of these notifications were set to send all pool administrators and pool users an email if there was a new prediction or a new message in any pool they use.  You could also turn these notification on and off at any time under the “My Info” link after you login.

However, it quickly came to our attention that some people couldn’t find this setting (my fault for putting that setting under such a vague title – UI designers make mistakes too!) and if they were participants in a pool with a lot of predictions they were getting flooded with e-mails they didn’t want. We planned to tweak these e-mails to reduce the amount of notifications everyone received, but as of Monday, we still hadn’t gotten to it.

Well, Monday evening The Bower Power hit us. Katie Bower of started her baby pool, we offered up a little prize money, and within a few hours we realized we had a bit of a problem on our hands. Baby Bower #2 pool had over 60 predictions in just a few hours. [As I'm editing this post to go live, it's pushing 300!] Apparently the combination of a super popular blog and a little prize equaled a lot of sudden traffic on our site.

We expected a fair amount of traffic but never expected the surge that came immediately after Katie’s blog post went up. Needless to say, Daniel and I went to work around 9:00 Monday night to try and tweak the e-mail notifications and hopefully avoid flooding inboxes with unwanted e-mails. Daniel immediately halted outgoing notifications and instead queued them while we worked

We decided to combine all the individual notifications into one daily notification e-mail that would summarize all the activity in a user’s pools. So, instead of getting tons of separate e-mails, the most you would receive is 1 e-mail per day, if there was activity to announce.

Here is the way the previous notifications looked: old email notifications old email notifications

Unless the user turned off notifications, they would get one of these e-mails for every message or prediction in any of their pools. Too many e-mails were going out and I’m sure quite a few people out there were a little frustrated. (In our defense, if anyone actually read the details at the bottom of the email, it did tell you how to turn off the notifications.)

Anyway, so by about midnight Monday night we had a new e-mail notification system in place. We think this will make everyone much happier. From now on, if there is activity in any of your pools you will get no more than 1 email per day with a summary of all activity. You can still cut off these notifications if you prefer (login to your account and click “My Info”)

Here is a sample of the new email activity notifications:

WhatsInMyBelly NEW email notifications

WhatsInMyBelly NEW email notifications

So, for now, we think we have a better e-mail notification system but I’m sure we will have to make plenty more changes in the future.

The Trouble with Popular Friends

Ok, so calling the Bowers “friends” is a bit of a stretch… and by “stretch” I mean they probably read that and now consider me a stalker. I don’t personally know them, but like many of their readers, I consider them friends, particularly after what has happened in the past 24 hours. As I stated before, Katie started her baby pool on the website Monday night and mentioned it on her blog. Today, as people continued to make guesses for Katie and Jeremy’s baby, their traffic combined with a few other sources of traffic, and started to slow down. At one point on Tuesday morning, it wasn’t loading at all. Luckily, Daniel made some changes and had things running smoothly again within an hour.

Monday night was a late night, and Tuesday kept us on our toes, but we’re thrilled with the response everyone has had to The Bowers Baby pool. We can’t wait to see photos of the baby, and see who comes out the winner in the largest pool we’ve ever hosted.

Thank You, Thank You

A sincere thank you to ALL our website users. Thank you for using the website and thank you for being patient while we continue to improve how it works. And, of course, a huge thank you to Katie, Jeremy, Will and Baby Bower #2!!

As you all know, this website is completely free for anyone in the world to use. We’ve spent a ton of time building it and tweaking it, and hope to make it even better. However, if we can’t successfully build up enough traffic to attract a few sponsors and advertisers, eventually this little side project will have to give way to “real” work. As someone who has been a freelance web designer for over 10 years, I’d love nothing more than to work full time on this website and other self-initiated projects. (Don’t get me wrong, I love client work, and I’m eternally grateful for every bit of work I’ve ever received  but after 10 years of bringing other peoples’ ideas to life, I’ve really enjoyed making my own idea into a reality for once.) We’re still a LONG ways from making that a reality, but what we saw yesterday does give me some hope that maybe something could come of this little project.

Thank you all for keeping my little dream a reality … at least a bit longer.

[And one more note: If you have any feedback at all - positive or negative - please e-mail me at or just leave a comment on this or any blog post. I read all comments and appreciate all feedback. We want to make this website the best it can be.]

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