1. Recruiting post: https://www.whatifsports.com/forums/Posts.aspx?topicID=497195&TopicsTimeframe=180
I'd encourage you to keep using this one because it gets people thinking about joining the world rather than hunting for a particular kind of team. You can find the post either by putting the link above in the browser's URL box or by scrolling through all the posts.
It's probably a good idea to create a new one just by copying the first post in that thread and pasting into a new post. Then you won't have all the old comments on it that are obviously from previous seasons.
2. Preferred Referrals List. Go to the bottom of the post for this. Please note that I have been sharing "preferred referrals" with Hobbs for many seasons, as I was doing the recruiting there, too. This list has been getting my recruiting updates for both worlds for many seasons now.
3. If you have questions not answered below, email me at email@example.com
A few seasons back, "we cracked the code" on recruiting, and generally have been filling for the next season during the current season and starting a few hours after rollover. This guide will give you the details of how to do it, but generally, there are 3 rules:
1. Start early
2. Watch what most worlds do, and do the exact opposite of that
3. See 1 and 2, and make sure you're following them
"Start early" means start polling the world members about their intent to return or depart by about Game 100, and follow the timeline recommended below at least roughly.
"Watch what most worlds do, and do the exact opposite of that" is pretty obvious now (it could change over time). Most worlds:
1. Start recruiting during rollover (so start at Game 100)
2. Post very generic recruiting ads without detailed team descriptions or anything about what sets the world apart (so write detailed team descriptions and info about the world - we already have a page set up that does that, link is in the detailed instructions below)
3. If they bother sending sm's, they're totally untargeted and rarely do anything other than just spray out random invitations (so send personalized sm's)
4. Try to bribe people to join (so make it selective and by invitation only for people to join)
5. Act like they're desperate, which they are (so act like it's an honor to be invited to join Major Leauges)
That's the basic philosophy. Here's the detailed timeline of instructions
Phase 1 - Determine Who's Leaving (Around Game 100 to About Game 130)
During this stage all you need to do is learn who is planning to return and who is planning to depart.
CRITICAL: You have to keep asking people until you get a declaration. Be nice about it, but don't let up.
Game 100: Post in the World Chat: Recruiting: 1st call - who's returning, who's departing for next season?
Game 110: Post in the World Chat: Recruiting 2nd call - who's returning, who's departing for next season?
Game 120: Post in the World Chat: Recruiting 3rd call - I've heard from x owners so far, with Y returning and Z departing. Still have to hear from a,b,c,d, and e (name the owners by username)
Game 125: tc the owners who haven't responded and just ask if they're returning or not.
Usually this sequence gets me an answer from everyone. Never had any pushback whatsoever in this world from this sequence.
Phase 2 - Gather Referrals (Game 110-Game 125)
The #1 tactic that has produced most of our owners in recent years is personal referrals from existing owners. Here's the sequence:
Game 110: Post in the World Chat: "As you all know, referrals from you are our best source of new owners. Could you please tc me and let me know the names of 1 or 2 HBD'ers from your other worlds you think would be good owners here? I'll sm them, let them know you referred them, and just invite them to take a look at our recruiting post (add the link to the post). No hard selling, just an invitation to take a look."
Game 115: tc the exact same message to each owner individually. All you have to do is write it out one time (in the first tc), copy it, and then just paste in the rest of the tc's.
You want to keep asking until you get about 8 or 10 new referrals each year.
Phase 3 - Update the Recruiting Post With New Available Teams (About Game 125)
Here's the thread: https://www.whatifsports.com/forums/Posts.aspx?topicID=497195
You can keep using that one, or just copy the first post and start a new one if you don't want all the other posts attached to it.
Just replace the team descriptions there with the new available teams for the following season.
TIP: once you've updated the post, you can bump it up to the top of the list of posts just by adding a short post to the bottom. Most people just do that by adding a post that says "Bump". Remember the rule about doing the opposite of everyone else? Don't post "Bump" and leave it there. Post something, but then delete the post. The thread still stays at the top of the list.
Phase 4 - Start Inviting People To Look At the Post (Game 125)
There are 3 sources of potential owners you can target that are a lot more likely to read and answer your sm's (and join) than the general population of HBD'ers:
1. The list of referrals you just got from the other Major Leagues owners (obviously)
2. The "Preferred Referrals List" of HBDers who have been referred in previous years and didn't join for whatever reason, but have consistently requested to stay on the list
3. Your one cold source: good owners who are in worlds having trouble filling at the time you start recruiting (there are always a bunch of these)
Your New referrals list
Here's the sitemail you send them:
"Hi, <name>, <name of referrer> from Major Leagues referred you for membership. I know you're probably not looking for another team now, but just in case, here's a link to the description:
link to the recruiting post on the classifieds threads
"Major Leagues is a world with very high caliber of play, and it always starts right after rollover because we get almost all our new owners by referral.
"As always, if you don't want to get these updates from us, let me know and I'll take you off the list. Otherwise, I'll keep you on our Preferred Referrals List for future seasons."
Preferred Referrals List
Pretty much the same email. These are just the people who have been referred before but have neither joined nor asked to be taken off the list.
Here's the sitemail:
Subject: <Preferred Referrals List> Major Leagues
"Hi, <name>, <your name> from Major Leagues here. You're getting this update because you're on our Preferred Referrals List. Someone in Major Leagues referred you for membership at some point, and you haven't told us you want to get off the list.
"Anyway, Major Leagues will have X openings for the coming season...check out the team descriptions at:
Link to recruiting post
"And as always, let me know if you don't want to get these updates anymore and I'll take you off the list."
The one cold source
Even after a lot of mergers, there still seem to be a lot of worlds that have trouble filling. There are always some good owners in those worlds who aren't aware that there's an alternative to waiting forever for a world to start. We've been pretty successful landing some of these owners by contacting them via sm. Here's how:
A: Go to Franchise Center, then at bottom left of that page, click Join A World, then in the upper right, View Private Worlds and View World Details. That gives you a summary of the worlds that have rolled recently and how many openings they have.
B. Click on the one with the most openings. From there just click on each owner to see which ones you want to sm. I usually picked out guys who had a .500+ overall record, at least 5 seasons played, and preferably 1 WS win.
C. Now go to sitemail and click on contacts. Use the add users box on the right to add the owner's you've picked out to your list. I usually did these in batches of 10, although a couple of times I added up to 20 owners.
D. The sm you send is very similar to the previous 2
"Hi, I know you're probably not looking for another world to join, but just in case you are, please check out Major Leagues.
"We normally recruit by referral only, but occasionally invite owners with exceptional records to consider membership. You've put up a great record, so maybe you should get to know Major Leagues.
"Why? We always start immediately after rollover. No waiting. Very high level of play. Just about everything you want in your HBD experience. Check out the world and the available teams at:
link to page on the classified forum
"And as always, if you don't want to get these updates, let me know and I'll take you off the list."
E. In subsequent recruiting cycles, you just put these people on your Preferred Referrals List and send them the sitemail for that group above.
Phase 5 - Rollover
If you follow the process above, you'll either have replacements in place or have commitments to have replacements in place for all your known openings. Invariably, there will be a couple of owners who told you they're returning who will not have re-upped during the 3-day space between the end of the last season and the rollover to the new season.
That hasn't been a bog problem for Major Leagues, but it could happen. Here's the recommendation.
A. Before the old season ends, get with the commish and set the policy on how long you will wait for someone in advance. I'd recommend 1 day (in other words, you will only wait for an owner who had committed to return for 1day after rollover...then you replace them).
B. Publicize the policy in the WC at least once before the season ends and at least once...maybe more...during the 3-day waiting period before rollover.
C. Stay in touch with your Preferred Referrals List even after you've filled all the known openings. Let them know there might be more openings at rollover and poll them about t heir interest. Usually you'll have a handful of people who will have expressed some interest and say something to the effect of, "Yeah, let me know if you have something at rollover." The point is, keep working your system and you'll always have available replacements.
Phase 6 - Misc Tips and Reminders
1. When you don't know exactly what to do, remember the first 2 rules all the way at the top: start early and do the opposite of what other worlds are doing.
2. When you have commitments from people to take available teams, it's a good idea to stay in touch with them via sitemail. I usually sent something every other day telling them where the playoffs stood and when rollover was projected to happen.
3. Everything feeds into your Preferred Referrals List. Once you send a sm to someone, whether they were a referral or whether you contacted them cold, from then on they're on the Preferred Referrals List until they join the world or asked to be taken off.
4. Preferred Referrals List record-keeping. By far the simplest way to keep up with this is your sitemails contact list. Consider this to be your Preferred Referrals List. Just add new referrals and cold contacts, and remove people from teh list when they jin the world or ask to be taken off.
Here's the Preferred Referrals List as of May 2017:
1988la11 (that's a small "L" after the last 8)