Compete with friends in football predictions, prove your insight and celebrate every victory. No betting, just fun! .NET Division Manager Dzmitry Matveyeu from Godel Wroclaw developed a brand-new application Nostrascore.com for football prediction games and launched it before EURO 2024. It has become popular in the shortest time. We sat down with Dzmitry to learn how it works, why he decided to create a prediction platform without gambling and how he is planning to develop the application after EURO is over.

How did you get the idea to create such an application?

The European Football Championship took place in 2021. Godel was running a game where you could place a free bet on the winner by filling out a Microsoft form. I found out about this late and didn’t have time to participate, but I heard discussions among my colleagues in the office: it was unclear who voted and how, what stage of the tournament was, who could win – there was no visibility. During lunch, I remembered that almost ten years ago I was developing a website where you could place bets without money. It worked on the principle of a bookmaker’s office, but only for fun.

When I was at school, my friends and I took money for lunch to the bookmaker’s office – fortunately, my hobby quickly ended. I like football, I like going to the stadium – I wanted to come up with a tool that would help predict the match. My first app in 2014 was very simple: you went in, placed a bet, and collected points. Nobody, including me, used it. As a result, after a year I turned it off and forgot about it.

This time I thought the idea could be improved a little and made a website where you can organize a tournament in two clicks – it would be interesting for the participants and stress-free for the organizer. An event manager doesn’t have to be a super expert in football – he or she just needs to go to the website, select the necessary settings and that’s it – the tournament is created, colleagues are playing, everything is visible. I only found a couple of similar apps, but they were all different from what I had in mind. I started working on the site – it was slow, my family and I were just moving to Poland, and I wrote several lines of code a day. I worked on it for a whole year, just doing the back-end part, and only then started working on the UI. I didn’t have a team; I wrote every letter of the code myself.

What is the principle of the application? How does it work?

On Nostrascore.com you can create your own tournament, or you can join a public tournament. All you need to do is guess the score; for this, there is a “Make a prediction” button. I don’t call it a bet because I differentiate between bookmakers and predictions without any monetary investment. The participant makes a prediction: if you guess right, well done, some are lucky, others are not. When we played with friends, a tournament in the English Premier League was won by a person who doesn’t watch football at all, doesn’t understand anything, he just pressed the buttons and remained the winner.

You say that you differentiate between bookmakers and your application. If the excitement of money plays a big role in bookmakers, then what motivates participants in your app?

Nostrascore.com is not a gambling platform. There are no bets, wagers, or financial risks associated with our predictions. It’s all about the love for football and the excitement of predicting match outcomes. In my application, the game is just for fun. There is a warning on the website that participation is free. If someone offers to pay for participation, it is better not to deal with it. I know that playing in casinos and bookmakers affects the lives of many people, so it is better to avoid them. If you want to make predictions, you can play on Nostrascore.com – experience the same excitement, but completely safe for your pocket. A person will see that making successful bets is not as easy as it might seem at first glance and will not risk betting money on it in bookmakers. Sometimes we think “What’s wrong with this, I’ll make a bet, if I lose, I’ll win back right away.” This is a dangerous path.

You mentioned that there were already apps before you developed yours. Can you highlight the advantages of Notascore? What works differently about it?

In other applications, points are awarded differently – their number depends on the accuracy of the bet. For an accurate score – five points, for an inaccurate score, but a guessed winner – three points. My scoring system is based on bookmaker odds, on the probability of a particular event occurring. The more unrealistic event a person guesses, for example, that Scotland will beat Germany 5-0, the more points he gets. But at the same time, there is a higher risk of not getting anything at all, because points are awarded only for the guessed number of goals scored. Even those who can join the tournament a little later have a chance to catch up with those who have been playing for a long time, and at the same time guess the exact score.

Did you have to learn anything new to develop an application?

I didn’t have to study the back end as I’m a .NET developer. Now I’m a division manager and hardly do any programming at work. The problem was with the UI – I decided to use something new, and at the same time learn something for myself. At first, I wanted to work on Vue.js, but then I chose Microsoft Blazor – Godel has several projects that use this technology. I had to figure everything out from scratch, but for a .NET developer, it’s not difficult.

After the release of the first version of the application, my friends and I started testing it and made a tournament for the last season of the English league. Everything worked fine and was quite interesting – I received feedback, added something, and updated it. Then in the fall, Microsoft released .NET 8, and I rewrote the entire site from scratch because there were interesting changes that I was really looking forward to. I kept the logic, but the approaches had to be rewritten. In January I released a new version – the UI was the template. The application is deployed on Google Cloud, I have not worked with it before. Challenges that I had never encountered before turned into interesting experiences.

All this time, only me and my friends – five or six people – visited the site. This was convenient because at any time something could be broken, changed, or redeployed. There was no need to be afraid that there would be dissatisfied users. I really wanted to release the finished version in time for EURO 2024. I ordered a design from a freelancer and then started attaching it to the site. I really don’t like the UI, I really hate it – I’m such a tough backender, so I spent a long time trying to get this design to work. I thought that it would be possible to show the site at Godel – what if they don’t want to play, and suddenly they will say that it is more convenient to use Microsoft Forms? However, I made a demo, the Godel team liked it, and I shared the link with the colleagues – they started registering.

What will happen to the application when EURO ends? Will it live on?

I think that now there is such a hype going on with EURO 2024! Even those who are not interested in football are starting to bet. After EURO I expect a lot of people will leave the site, but this will not affect the enjoyment I get from developing the application. You can create other tournaments on the site, including national championships – we’ll see what the requests are. I don’t make wishes, because making a wish means that you will be upset later if something goes wrong. I think it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on what users need. After the EURO, I plan to launch a poll and ask users if they liked the application, what should be added, and how they would like to use it after the EURO. I will communicate with the audience.

The site is not limited to EURO, it can be customized for different championships. I wrote the code so that in the future I could add basketball, tennis, and other sports.

Are you planning to develop the application technically or is it a completed project?

A colleague recommended me to put a “Buy me a coffee” button on the site (laughs) and make it possible to make monetary donations to the developer. The project is already being monetized: participation of up to ten people is free; if there are more participants, you need to pay. Now I already have six purchases.

I like that people connect and use the application. I don’t have a marketing budget, but I have posted about my project on various platforms, including Reddit, and have already received over 650 registrations from different countries.

The other day, a Polish online store launched its promotion on Notascore.com. Everyone who registers on their website with the same e-mail can go to my application, place predictions and win prizes from this store. For this promotion, it was necessary to add certain functionality and translate the site into Polish. In theory, any brands and companies can launch their promotions on Notascore.

In the future, it will be possible to choose a scoring system. There are lots of ideas and unfortunately little time. So far this is only a website, but the idea of making a mobile application has arisen.

What about the team? Are you going to hire anyone for development in the future?

I work on Nostrascore.com for fun. A team is a completely different responsibility. By myself, I can work in a free mode – work on a project for several months in a row, and then take a break. This won’t work with colleagues. I like the domain, the stack that I use is a hobby, I relax, and I have fun. I don’t see any point in changing anything for now.