Steve “sCary” Gibson, webmaster for the popular “Shugashack” shooter news site, had this to say on PlanetCrap:
ive known i was overpaid by advertisers for the past year or two. i completely expected it to end a while ago when ad networks figured out they werent making as much money as they were handing out.
there is no denying that there are thousands upon thousands of eyes viewing gaming websites every day. it is also a pretty specific demographic which advertisers love. what those eyes are worth, and how advertisers can catch those eyes is a whole different story. but there is at least something of value there.
if that value is enough to sustain a website and staff, or if we’ll have to go to subscriptions… dunno.
I’ve gotten quite a few emails already from dozens of other site owners, just flat-asking what we plan to do in the aftermath of Gamecenter’s pulling the plug on their network. Wish I had an answer for them – the truth is that no one really knows what’s going to happen. XRGaming is making a go at lining up other sponsors to replace C|Net – will it work? You tell me. If it doesn’t, don’t expect XRGaming to last too much longer, as bandwidth is about the only thing besides pornography on the Internet that isn’t available for free. Other gaming networks face similar decisions (in the MMOG world, the Vault going through its own trials of fire with Snowball, and Stratics wrestling with the UGO realization that paying its affiliates suddenly became optional), and it’s entirely possible that the gaming Web in January of 2002 could be very different from the one in January of 2001.
So what are we going to do? Well, for one thing, note the new old name at the top of the page. It’s a totally meaningless action that says, um, well I’m not sure what it says. But, god damn it, ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN.
Seriously, and more to the point, we’re not going anywhere. If I have to pay some web hosting company to take care of the site, I will. If I have to move the site to GeoCities, I will. If it happens that the only option to keep from being bankrupted by bandwidth charges is to charge $1 a user, I will. (And yes, I know that will very effectively kill the site. It’s not in the plan, folks.)
And… bet on it… some day, maybe very soon, maybe very far away, I’ll quit writing for this site. It happens. It’s a hobby, not a job. When it stops being fun, I’ll stop. I’ve thought about it before, I’ll think about it again.
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, actually.
On the way back from Verant, piecing together the story I had in my mind and knowing that no matter how I wrote it someone was going to be pissed off and not really having a problem, I read the Drudge Manifesto, and had sort of a Zen moment. When he wrote about piecing together stories that were liquid plutonium out of instant messages and fragmentary emails, I nodded along.
I knew that. I lived that.
This is how news in the twenty-first century will be written. Not by the old, tired censors who think they have some god-given right to decide what people should know, but by the people who actually have their finger on the pulse – the source code.
And not every story will be right, and not every story will be fair, and not every reader will have the luxury of simply believing everything they read. The filters are breaking down. What in the last century was journalism, in the next becomes more of the 19th century model of newsgathering – reporting, with a strong editorial slant, that in most cases can’t be bothered to disguise itself.
And in that light, whether or not you’ll be able to Shock the Monkey or download MSN or read Gary Coleman’s column, people will still bitch, and the little grey guy will keep on keeping on.