In partnership with a fantastic St. Louis ad agency, we built a YouTube-style site for Right Guard where contestants uploaded sports videos and photos which were then voted on by the community.
Although it may sound simple on the surface, this project required some serious technical elements under the hood. As part of the project we built a custom video-conversion engine that allowed contestants to submit a video in a wide variety of file formats, a content filtering and moderation tool set, as well as a queueing system to prevent the entire system from bogging down during upload and conversion steps.
1Don’t get caught off guard: Contestants created accounts and uploaded their “Never get caught off guard” moment in either video or photo format. We didn’t want anyone to have to deal with converting their own media to a specific format, so the system accepted a variety of file formats including avi, wmv, rm, mpg, mp4, mov, mp3, png, tiff and many more.
2Dirty mouths not allowed: Once the contestant’s file was uploaded, the system automatically reviewed their entry (including description and submission captions) for explicit language. Entries that included foul language where automatically kicked out of the contest for having dirty mouths!
3Get in line: After passing the ‘dirty-word filter’, each entry went into a queuing system for further processing. Because contest sites can become viral very fast, the queue allowed us to accept a large number of submissions all at once without causing the system to choke or crash. If the queue reached a certain size, the system would automatically scale by lighting up new media conversion engine instances and increasing the overall system processing power and disk space.
4Media conversion madness: This is where we made the magic happen... you give us an apple, and we’ll turn it into an orange! We’d tell you more about all the geeked out details involved in this step, but a good magician never shares his secret.
5Everything in moderation: Even though we built a sophisticated dirty word filter into the system, there are always sneaky ways to get something inappropriate past the first line of defense. As a result, we built a moderation tool set that allowed contest administrators to review, approve and/or deny entries prior to making them public to the world.
6Rock the vote!: Once contest entries were live, site visitors could vote, share and comment on their favorite entries. Community voting helped determine the contest winners who received prizes ranging from official NBA jerseys to a fully paid trip to the NBA All-Star game! Since community votes were so important, we put in a number of measures to help make sure that the visitors could rock the vote, but not stuff it.