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To Hell With 2010. Let's Look Forward!

Yeah, 2010 came and went. Frankly, it's just been my first full year out of the IT industry, as I've expanded my writing and hockey horizons. Neither was a particularly successful expansion. DailyGamesNews.com - where I started getting my daily news posting feet wet - died, and my time at DHGF was... mixed. Hockey, I wasn't able to move up yet, though I'm establishing a name for myself. Frankly, I'm not sure if 2010 was a year of transition or a year of stasis yet. As is my wont, I'm disinterested in finding out. Time spent wistfully looking back at the past is time spent not looking ahead to the future, or even the present.

I'm going to use this time to announce what I'm doing for 2011.

Long story short, I'm all but leaving Diehard GameFAN and starting my own site. The site will be named Insightful Gaming, and be located at http://www.insightfulgaming.com (nothing there yet).

When I say "starting my own site", I don't mean just a gaming "blog". Any idiot can have a blog. What I'm trying to do is bring up a site that has daily news posts, as well as features and the odd review (because time for those will be short). Basically, I want to compete - content wise - with the big guns, even if I'm using a lot of their stuff for sources, especially for stuff coming from overseas. I'm taking the work I did with Diehard GameFAN this past year - plentiful, high quality and well-read work, mind you - and putting it to my own site, with my own direction, multiplied by ten.

I have a few reasons for this.

1) Money. Frankly speaking, I'm tired of making money for other people. Between DHGF, DGN and the places I've done freelance work for, I have been writing material that makes money for other people. Not only that, but I've been writing GOOD material for people that are making money off of my work. I want more of that pie, and I think the way to get that is to control the source. I've seen DHGF's numnbers, and believe Widro when he says that they're close to breaking through and making the site very profitable (he makes money, but his overhead is obscene), but I also know that wrestling comes first.

2) My CV. In short, if I can't make this profitable enough to justify, I at least want to parlay it into something that will pay me a good wage.

3) Personal. I hate to say it, but there's a personal element to this. Just over a week ago, I said something in a comment that Lucard did not like. To be fair, I posted it at like 2AM on two hours of sleep, so the point I was trying to make did not get communicated well. Lucard blew a gasket, and after deleting my comment, told me, among other things, that I would never make it professionally with bullshit opinions like that, and that everyone hated me and the only reason I was on staff was because of his charity.

This isn't the backbreaker; Alex and I worked the issue out very quickly, and both admitted wrongdoing (me in not communicating my point well and posting on short sleep, him in letting his emotions get the better of him). But it was the last straw, because any time in the past I've said anything that wasn't 100% popular with either Alex or other staff members, it's been the same song and dance: we all hate you, but we keep you around anyway. Be thankful.

I'm tired of the song and dance. I'm tired of having to watch every single word I say because otherwise, someone could leave the site permanently or temporarily in a huff. I'm tired of having it out with Alex in the staff forums (again, these are resolved fast, but the damage is usually done by this point since everyone sees it). I'm just tired of the constant FUCKING drama that has permeated everything Inside Pulse has done since before Widro split from Ashish when they were at 411 (and what's sad is that it's actually not that bad nowadays; most of the drama the staff had this year was people overreacting to *possible* drama. That's not a bad thing, but if anything is indicative of just how fucking sick we are of one another at this point, and how bad the drama used to be, it's the fact that we're having the geek equivalent of 'Nam flashbacks over the slightest provocation, or even the slightest perception). I'm just... tired of thing at a site I've been at for a long time, just as tired as they seem to be of me. Despite me stepping on eggshells since 2008, I know - for a fact - that 85% of the staff hates me, 10% are people I hired, 4% are ambivalent, and 1% sleep with me. That 85% wear me down, but they're also not brave enough for the most part to have any issues out with me personally.

I'll still be staying at DHGF, but mainly for features and maybe the odd review (for sports games and the like). I'll definitely not be doing news anymore, nor will I be editing after this week, after which point I'm going to recommend Mel take my Thursday night slot. I won't be taking anyone with me definitively, either. Aileen will be contributing, but I've also recommended that she keep up her duties at DHGF as well. Everyone else, it would not be in their best interests to come write for me unless they wanted to, because my focus is different, and because I cannot get them the perks (free games) for awhile that they get at DHGF. For all intents and purposes, I'm a former staff member, kinda like Dave Olivera or Matt Yeager.

So I'm starting my own site, and making it a business venture. How does that make me feel?

Scared shitless.

One of the things I liked about DGN was that it was really no-bullshit work. Write whatever you want, pick your topics, give me five pieces a day, submit them all in a Word document, I'll do the formatting, do you take direct deposit. It couldn't have been any fucking easier. At DHGF, I was actually a little frustrated because I now had editing stuff to worry about. I had to format my images, get a 120 up, and make sure my own spelling and grammar were correct (I'm very poor at self-editing, and usually ask Aileen to look over my wordier pieces).

At IG, not only will I be posting, and editing, the entirety of the work on a daily basis, but I'll also be entering into areas that I'm either not comfortable with, don't know anything about, or just flat-out hate. For one, I have to make money. This involves both me having to advertise, and taking in advertising. I loathe advertising - I run AdBlock in both of my browsers - and don't know how to do it. I have to find a way to monetize this because donations won't work, especially in this business. Then, to get the ads up and rotating, on a site that doesn't look like shit, I have to code the website. This is where I am clueless. The FESS website was delegated. Superbusnet is nothing more than a custom Wordpress theme. I have no knowledge of complex website coding whatsoever. Now, I not only have to advertise and take in advertising, but code the backend of the site, and make it look good in the process (something that involves image skills, something else I have zero clue about but at least I have been offered help by Crystal and Mel). I have a feeling that I'm going to be talking to Cammie as much as humanly possible in the next few weeks.

There's also the matter of public relations. I have been effusive in my praise of Bebito and DJ the past few years for two reasons: they do a job - PR - that I do not want or like, and they've tolerated me, someone who definitely has made their jobs harder with some of the things I've written publicly over the years. Shit, I'm surprised Squeenix didn't wire my copy of Dragon Quest IX with a bomb. Now, I have to establish good relations with these companies personally? And maintain them? Let's just say that's out of my comfort zone. Granted, I do have a few contacts to start out with - mostly iPhone companies - but I don't even know how reliable they'll be at the new site because I won't have the presence or Alexa rank - for awhile - that Diehard does.

The worst case scenario is that I bomb, waste six to twelve months of my time, and go limping back into IT, probably on a help desk somewhere because my skills and quals are depreciating. The best case is that I become totally self-sufficient on my writing. Even then, the money probably won't be what it was in IT, but at least I'm doing something I like. The stakes are very high, and I just hope I'm ready, because the work starts tomorrow.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
I see. I can't say I blame you really and wish you good luck with that. I'll try to write for your website from time to time.

I loathe advertising - I run AdBlock in both of my browsers - and don't know how to do it. I have to find a way to monetize this because donations won't work, especially in this business. Then, to get the ads up and rotating, on a site that doesn't look like shit, I have to code the website.

If you host the ads on your own server, you can avoid ad blockers but that requires an ad deal with a company... :(
Jan. 2nd, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
I figure I can do ads one of two ways:

1) Go through companies. I'm not fond of that because then I lose control of what I'm advertising.

2) Do my own deals and have everything go through /insightfulgaming/adserver or something like that. That's easy to block for people who know Adblock, but it means I'm going through my own server, getting all of the advertising money (no cut for Google or someone else), and gives me full control of what's on my site. But the overhead is going to be something else.

I figure until I become bigger, and get onto Google News, option 1 is the best choice I have. I also have to figure out stuff like flash and the like, because it's very easy to block regular ads (though I might actually tell people who want to block my ads how to do it. I notice it's better to draw flies with honey than vinegar)
Jan. 3rd, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
I suggest you look into Project Wonderful starting out. While they're going to get a cut of the funds, you retain full control over what goes up, and you're not going to have to mess with coding something.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Project Wonderful... is that where all those webcomic sites go from? I was thinking about that starting out.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 05:01 am (UTC)
HMMM I will see if I can help you in any way.

Let me know. The only talent I have to lend is writing, though, and I tried the reviews...you remember that crap I wrote, maybe I'll try again this summer.

One thing to do is just to post on forums. Have your link in your sig. Make some provocative comments, link to your site as reference.
This is the strategy I learned from the PU world; it's how a lot of start-ups there are engaging in viral advertising. The cultures of the two communities may be different, and the sizes may be vastly different, but I think the concept is still sound.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Knowing personally the difficulties of ventures like this, I wish you the best of luck.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
I can't offer much aside from being a human Grammar Check, but I do wish you luck, and I promise to read and comment avidly once the site is up.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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