Today’s piece of reader mail doesn’t include a story about mysterious sky noises or digital photos of a monster, but the sentiment expressed by John from Indiana echoes something I’ve heard a few times before, and I thought this might be a good opportunity to address a few things about Who Forted and how it’s run, what we get out of it, and why we keep at it.
Please update your website daily. I am routinely disappointed to find the same stories left up for what seems like forever. What is an exciting story on the first day is boring by the second and annoying by the third. If a week goes by & all of your stories are the same, I probably won’t be back for at least a month or more…. Please be active on your site… It’s a great concept, but if its just a part-time hobby it’ll likely fail…
Alright, so we miss a day or two here and there. Sorry, John.
First off, Who Forted is, unfortunately, a part-time hobby operated by Dana and I, for what amounts to zero profit. We get a little of cash here and there from selling some advertising, but that money goes right into hosting bills, necessary upgrades that make the website a better experience for readers (like the rather massive update a few weeks ago), and towards paying for t-shirts and other swag we randomly send out for contests or promotions. If we’re measuring success in terms of cash flow, any accountant would tell us we’ve been failing for five years solid.
Fortunately for us, we don’t measure success that way. WF is very much something we do because we’re in love with the anomalous, not because we think it’s going to pay the bills. We measure success based on the amount of fun we’re having, and how much interesting, unique content we can provide, which brings me to the point of your email: why don’t we update a whole lot more?
Well, for the last six months or so, we’ve actually been pretty good about getting daily updates out, especially if you consider our record. There’s a few days that go by here and there, but please keep in mind that I’m the sole editor of a website that is being updated and maintained while, at the same time, I’m working on producing an upcoming web series, writing a book, and doing various other commercial work for which I’ve been hired. To top it off, I also contribute about 80% of the material you read here, particularly when it comes to the Daily Weird. Considering the work load, WF ain’t doing too bad.
If you still aren’t convinced that we’re actually performing better than ever, consider this: it took us close to four and a half years to hit a million unique page views. We hit that milestone around Christmas last year. Since then, in the span of just six months, we’ve already long surpassed the two million mark. That kind of growth is crazy, and has only happened because we’ve made a conscious effort to pour as much of our hearts and souls into Who Forted as we could muster this year. We’re still committed to that.
We also have to thank so many of our wonderful writers, old and new, regular or occasional, for contributing to that kind of growth by writing all kinds of kick ass articles you won’t find anywhere else on the internet. Whether they’re exclusive stories about a relative’s alien abduction, peeks into eerie phenomena like the Black Eyed Children, or detailed looks at some classic and under-appreciated tales of the strange, these kinds of stories are what helps set WF apart from the echo chamber that tends to form around paranormal media.
I could always do what plenty of other fringe news outlets do and cut and paste other people’s content, add a snarky paragraph and a stock graphic, and call it good, but I try to spend a little more time putting together something that doesn’t just look nice, but is a unique, fun, and informative take on the topic at hand. It might make for less “content”, but I feel like it’s worth the extra time, especially if it means our content actually contains something.
So, are we failing? Are we succeeding? I’d certainly say the latter, but it really depends on who you ask. We do our best to update every day and keep the front page looking fresh, but as I said, this is labor of love that’s run by two people. If you want to see more content, by all means, let me remind you that we maintain an open submissions policy. Write something and send it our way. Have your friends do the same. You might not get rich, but we can guarantee you’ll get read.
Now, I better get back to updating.