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Comedian/celebrity site revamp gets needed flexibility, accessibility, and convenience

When celebrity Chris Rock’s managers wanted to replace his old, Flash-based website, they turned to SuperStar Media to create a new, Drupal-based ChrisRock.com. The new site, which could better accommodate such crucial content as concert videos, was further strengthened by its deployment on Acquia Dev Cloud, a Drupal-optimized platform with multiple staging environments.

“The original ChrisRock.com site was Flash-intensive, making it difficult to manage or extend, and inaccessible to nearly all users of smart phones and other mobile devices” recalls Chris Bloom, Drupal Team Leader at SuperStar Media, an interactive media agency whose clients include Sony Music, Neil Diamond, the Dave Matthews Band, and Bette Midler. The site’s move to Drupal was obvious, as the company had made it their preferred platform years before.

"The site is more reliable and robust — growing it based on Chris Rock’s needs is a snap."
- Chris Bloom, Drupal Team Leader at SuperStar Media

How they did it

Choosing Drupal was only the first step, as SuperStar Media wanted help with server management and configuration. So toward the end of 2010, the company turned to Acquia for Drupal-centered answers, tools, and support — including its then-new Dev Cloud platform.

“We had looked at other providers in the past, but had always supported our own servers,” says Joey Groh, Co-Owner and Drupal Project Manager for SuperStar Media. “Acquia’s services and support put a ‘business face’ on Drupal, reducing its complexity and making it easier to use and to scale. That led us to Acquia for managed support.”

“By providing pre-configured servers, Dev Cloud lets us stop having to do these tasks for ourselves,” says Bloom. “We’re not a hardware or hosting company. Time we would have to spend dealing with hosting or configuration means less time for designing, building, and developing sites. Acquia takes care of the hardware and configuration — and because Acquia is a Drupal shop, the Dev Cloud servers are optimized for supporting Drupal.”

Dev Cloud made working through Acquia an option for a site that has ChrisRock.com’s scope. “Previously, you couldn’t get professional-level hosting for a simple Drupal site of this size, even though it gets a lot of hits — it wasn’t worth the hosting company’s time,” says Groh. “Dev Cloud has changed all that. It’s affordable and accommodates a customer like ChrisRock.com.”

Using Dev Cloud’s “self-service” drop-and-drag workflow features, SuperStar Media was able to create the new site in the development environment, migrate it to the staging and testing environment, and then push the approved site to the live production environment, within a matter of months — all easily done by SuperStar Media staff.

The results

According to Groh, the difference was immediately evident. “Compared with how clunky the previous site was to work with, the Drupal site can be updated very quickly. Changes and content can be moved over in ten to twenty seconds.”
Unlike the previous Flash-based site, the new one is accessible to mobile users. “We’re getting a lot of hits from Android, iPhone and iPad users,” reports Bloom.

“Dev Cloud also lets us use Acquia Network services in our site, like faceted search, in-depth performance monitoring, and spam blocking,” notes Bloom.
“Working with Acquia gives us the peace of mind knowing that they are behind the Drupal site in a way unchallenged by other providers,” says Bloom.

Groh agrees. “Thanks to Acquia and Dev Cloud, ChrisRock.com went from ‘everything is a problem, it’s all Flash, and almost no mobile users,’ to a CMS that’s robust, flexible, and lets us add in whatever Chris [Rock] wants virtually instantly,” says Groh. “We’re looking to use Acquia’s Dev Cloud to launch sites for other clients.”

When we first took over the account, [Rock’s] friend list was at a few hundred thousand. By keeping it up to date with fresh content... we were able to grow to over 1.2 million within a few months.
Joey Groh
Co-Owner and Drupal Project Manager, SuperStar Media

Company Information

„SuperStar Media, Inc.
„Drupal-based web design and development
Entertainment market
Six full-time employees, plus six to twelve freelancers
„Drupal user since 2006
„Acquia customer since 2011

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