By Frank Moher
backofthebook.ca turned three a few weeks ago. We launched on October 16, 2006, and I would have marked the occasion back then, but I’ve been busy piecing our archives back together after our recent redesign. I’m almost done; I’ve got the photos loading in on old stories again, and pretty soon all the youtube embeds will be working too.
It’s important that the old posts are intact, because they have an indefinite shelf life. There’s no telling what story from three years ago somebody’s going to want to read, or come across in a web search. Unlike traditional print stories, ours never become birdcage liner. That’s one of the things I’ve learned as an online publisher. Here are some others:
– A great many of you first find us not because you’re looking for us, not even because you’re looking for news or commentary, but because you’re looking for a picture, using a search engine like google or bing. That’s fine. It’s a little disappointing that you may be reading this, not because I’m your Best Blogger For Life, but because of this picture of naked Britney Spears:
But we’ll take your traffic however we can get it.
– Most bloggers can’t write to save their lives. I except our exceptional team, of course, the ones who have kept backofthebook cooking while I’ve been dealing with the redesign. But if I could, I would supplement their posts with material taken from other blogs out there –with the authors’ permission, of course — and make our magazine more of an aggregator of pithy Canadian content. The only problem is that I have searched far and wide and found exactly one blog that it seems to me bears cross-posting, and that’s Alison@Creekside‘s, selections from which constitute our politics section. She’s, for my money, one of the best political commentators in the country, online or off. As for other self-fueled opinionators, well, let’s just say that citizen journalism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
– Many of you are really, really interested in Jian Ghomeshi’s sexuality. Our search statistics prove it. It’s inexplicable, but it’s true.
– Almost none of you click on ads. In fact, I expect many of you take pride in that fact: “Me? Click on banner ads? Heck, I don’t even see ’em anymore.” The only problem with that is that, unlike big corporate websites with big fancy ad-selling teams, we don’t make money just because an ad is shown on our site; we only make the big cents if you click on it. What’s more, we are not your Mother and so are not providing you this free compendium of wit and indispensable information because we love you, at least not solely. So go on. Click on an ad for cripe’s sake.. Yes, I know I’m breaking the google terms of service by doing this, but — see that ad down there? Click on it. Do it. CLICK ON THE DAMN AD!
Thankyou. Whether you clicked on it or not, I feel much better now.
And thanks for joining us on this journey. Year Four, coming up.