- Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:54 am
Hmmm... Since Yard seems to be in "full disclosure" mode at the moment, I figured I'd join.
I'll begin by being as blunt as he was: I also hate the ads. Hate them. I knew I'd hate them, and I knew you guys would hate them. I shared this opinion with Grant when he first told me that he planned to place them in between posts. This isn't meant to throw Grant under the bus: It's my site, and I could have told him from the beginning not to do it. But he knows 1,000 times more about websites than I ever will, and he gave me a "You'll see, it's what all the BBs are doing" sort of answer. Which may or may not be true, because I don't have the time to check out a lot of other websites, much less message boards. All I know is that when I DID come across ads placed in between posts on message boards, I thought they were hideous and intrusive. But I let him give it a go. This was the email I sent to Grant at 5 pm today:
Well Grant, like I said:
1) I hate them. The response from the board? 100% negative. EVERYONE hates them. And they are way too big.
2) I don't care that "everyone else is doing this." "Everyone else" is Yahoo--we're The Drake.
3) I haven't seen ads this big on other BB boards. And when I have seen ads it's been on sites—like spey pages or iFish—that are ONLY message boards, so they don't have a choice if they want to make money off ads. We do. Let's keep them on the blogs and the DD and the back-issue content and everywhere BUT the forums. If we want them on the sides of the forum, fine, but not in between posts—it just looks way too commercial and lame. Please remove the ads from the forums.
Then I clicked on this post... and felt equal parts pride and anger. Of course I was pissed that anyone would begin by saying FUCK YOU (for "ruining this place") to the person who started this place. And who has paid for it for more than 17 years. But, as often happens when anyone gets angry at me about the board, I can hardly believe a person could feel so connected here that he is compelled to write the kind of post Yard did. He, like many others, feel an ownership of the Suk. That's the kind of stuff—"engaged audiences" in corporate-speak—that big companies spend millions of dollars to buy. Unfortunately for them, it's also the kind of shit that can't be bought. For it to be honest and real and authentic, it has to grow organically, like it has here.
Now, as to Yard's other comments...
1) "Haven't bought a mag since you started pimping pay for play shit"
If that's how you feel, then you shouldn't buy one. I wouldn't buy it either. Especially since The Drake was founded in part on being whatever the opposite of "pay to play" is. So if you could please enlighten me as to where, exactly, I've run a positive "pimping" review of an advertiser's product, I'd like to see it. The irony here is that I feel I've sometimes been too sensitive to avoid the "pay to play" scheme. Take the current issue: I wrote an honest piece on Christmas Island, quoting people from Frontiers, Fly Water, and Front Range Anglers, none of whom advertise in the magazine. I went out of my way not to talk to Yellow Dog, even though that company has supported The Drake for fifteen years, even though they helped get me there, even though they're friends, and even though they recently began booking XI. Was that fair to them? Probably not. But it was the most fair thing to do for my readers, because Fly Water and Frontiers both have years of experience on Christmas Island that Yellow Dog doesn't. Do I pay full price for every place I get to fish? Fuck no. And there are two simple reasons: 1) The income range of The Drake readership extends far beyond my own, and I don't think my audience would be too stoked to read five feature stories a year about my experiences fishing from a Forest Service campground or $1,200-a-week lodge. 2) I really, really like to fish.
2) "No clue why you think this is going to work."
I don't think it'll work, and I never did. See above.
3) "No fucking way I help these ad companies"
They aren't ad companies, asshole, they're flyfishing companies. I've never allowed the google ads or other bullshit non-flyfishing related ads on here. Since you're such a hardcore steelhead guru, maybe you can tell me how many fellow steelheaders you think have at least one Hardy Marquis or Bougle in their past? How many of them wear Simms? What would the history of steelhead flyfishing even look like without those two brands? Hopefully they'll figure out a way to survive without the "help" of your great TRs.
4) "What a money grabbing douche bag you must be. Maybe now you can actually pay the photogs for the pics you "bought" from them but just forgot to pay up on?"
These are my two favorite lines. (Except, in the first sentence, "money grabbing" should be hyphenated. In the second—try to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition.) As to the "money grabbing douche bag" part—not that it's any of your business, but for the past ten years, Grant has made 50% of the ad revenues from this site, and since 2011, Geoff Mueller has made 25% of the other half. For the past 2-3 years, that ad revenue has been roughly 20 grand a year, which leaves me (the company) with about five grand a year. Unfortunately, Peer 1, which hosts the site, costs $245 a month, so there goes $3,000 of my $5,000, leaving me with $2,000. But then I pay Grant and Geoff another $10K each for all the work they both do to keep this place running—Grant with his tech skillz and Geoff with his content skillz. If you're keeping track at home, that leaves an average loss on the website, each year, of $18,000. All so Yard can say "FUCK YOU" to me, for free. (And if it's not obvious, Grant and Geoff aren't making shit off this place either.) As to your "Maybe now you can actually pay the photogs for the pics you "bought" from them but just forgot to pay up on?" accusation, I make the same offer I made on the pay-to-play assertion: Please provide the names of all these photogs that I've forgotten to pay. Was it you? Some of your friends? I'm not saying that it's never happened, but I am saying that's it's never happened on purpose. You see a lot of the same photographers' names in my magazine. What do you suppose they would say to me the next time I asked them for a shot, if I hadn't paid them for the last one? Again, I'm not saying it's never happened—I'm unorganized and I'm slow. But I'm fair. And I worked as a freelancer myself long enough to know how important those checks are. If you or anyone else feels like sharing a story on this thread about when and how I screwed them over, have at it, and I'll make it right.
In closing, let me just say, Yard Sale, that you don't know me. And you aren't doing yourself any favors by pretending you do. You once sent me a PM mentioning a couple Oregon coastal rivers that are very dear to me. In postings, you say you listen to Pig Pen on a tape player (probably "Good Morning Little School Girl"). You quote Navin Johnson and you talk about drinking Rainier. These are all the things I really need to know about you to understand that we'd probably enjoy sharing a day on the river. The ads on the message board will go away, but I hope you don't. Just save the diatribes for things you know are true, rather than things you think are true.
"Any mods on this forum or what? It's just a free for all of people being assholes to one another?"