The TV MegaSite's Blog Post #202
 

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The TV MegaSite's Blog Post #202

Strange Internet Trip 1/18/18

Happy New Year! I meant to post this back in October, but then things got crazy-busy.

Things have certainly been interesting with this site since it began. Just to give you a little history...I started working for our friend David, who started Ask Jeeves, back in 1995.  He got me started in this crazy world of the Internet. He gave me a computer, paid for my connection, etc. and I helped him start Ask Jeeves.  In the meantime, he encouraged me to learn HTML so I could create web pages. I learned from a book he bought me!  It was very easy back then. Later I learned Microsoft Frontpage because I hate coding. Now I use Expression Web, for the most part.

Anyway, people who had web sites back then put up photos of their family, friends and pets; they talked about their hobbies; and they made links pages. I did all that and more. My hobbies, of course, included TV shows, so I made quite a large site. This was all long before Facebook and Twitter.

In 2000, the site was too big, so we (my online friend Amanda and I split off the TV site from my personal site, and we got many more volunteers, and started covering all of the soap operas. I had previously only been covering "General Hospital" and "All My Children," although I watched many soaps.

Ask Jeeves used to pay quite well for ads, so I got some of those for my sites, as well as Amazon ads.  At the end of 2000, one quarter of the Ask Jeeves company was laid off, including me. I did try to find another job (since I was on unemployment), but I couldn't find anything that paid very well, and that I was qualified for. I just concentrated on building my site, and I did that full time. Eventually, I turned it into an official corporation.

For awhile there, the ads paid pretty well for what was a "fan site."  It seemed to double every year, and I was making around $10,000. However, a few things happened that derailed my site, so now I make very little. (Not that I get a salary or anything. Any money made goes back into the site.)

I always spend some of my own money in the site. Even if the ads pay for the hosting and domain name expenses, we have mailing expenses (for our monthly prizes); and I always buy gifts and cards at the holidays for our contributors. I even ran up quite a credit card bill for the site back in 2008, when I thought we were going to be making a lot more money. I ended up having to pay that sucker off from my personal money!

Here are the reasons we don't do as well as we used to:

1) The site was hacked and deleted in 2003, and it took us a long time to fix it back up. We were getting over 300,000 unique visitors a day (now it's about a tenth of that). It's never really recovered from that, in many ways.

2) People are more savvy about ads, so there is less ad revenue. Most people don't click on ads, and many use ad blockers.

3) A lot fewer people watch TV shows than they did 20 years ago when we started. So that means less interest in our site, since it's about TV! Even though there are certain shows people love, and not all watch them on regular TV, it still does hurt our site. Now, if I pandered to the audience and only featured hit shows like "Game of Thrones" or "Walking Dead" on my site, it would probably do better. I can't do that, though. I only feature shows I watch and like.

4)  The site always did well with soap operas, and there were about a dozen soaps on the air when we started. Now there are only 4 soaps and a lot fewer people watch them. Strangely enough, though, we still get more visitors to our soap opera pages than any other.  We still are the only site that has daily transcripts for all of the soaps, so that's why.

5) We have a lot more competition. There were only a few good TV sites when I started, and most of them are gone. Very few sites cover both daytime and primetime. Still, most sites that are my real competition have funding that I don't. Either someone has a savvy small business budget or they're owned by a larger corporation. I can't compete with that.  Maybe one day...but not now.

6) Pop-up or Pop-Under ads were always the best-paying ads on our site, and we can't use them any more.  Google and other sites we do business with have said they're forbidden. Many of them just use too many sleazy tactics to try to get you to click on them, and so most companies are just saying no to them.  However, they did pay well, so they must have worked.

7) I've tried to find better ads to replace the ones we've lost, but the only ones I've found so far either turn out to be sleazy, or they don't pay well.

8) I don't have time to find more ads, get the coding, and put it on our pages, and then figure out in a month or so whether they work or pay much.

The good news it that we still keep plugging away. Our site was never about making money. It's always been about putting out great content that we hope people will like. I don't believe in click bait or scams or ads for gambling. I also think that if you're going to make a "top ten list" that it should be all on one page. That's old school....

More good news is that we still have a great core group of people who help me with the site every day. We still have many fans. We're very active in social media (as much as I have time to be, anyway).  I'm back in school to try to learn about how I can be a better journalist and improve the site. Hopefully one day, we can make more money, which will mean we can pay more people, and produce even more great content. 

I will always say "we" because this is OUR page. Not just mine. It's yours - the readers and the other volunteers. I hope you enjoy it!

Come join our team if you have a little free time...

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You can find my older blog posts at http://www.tvmegs.com

Chronicles - My personal blog, which is not about TV.

Leave a comment (put the blog date or I won't know which one you're commenting on)

Page updated 1/18/18


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