I have been unhappy with a great deal that's taken place over the last year on DaBearsBlog. I do not care for the new layout, which manages to strip our site of all its personality. I do not particularly care for the new commenter experience, which makes it very difficult to follow a particular conversational thread. (There are also some post creation issues that baffle me but I won't bore you with the minutiae of Word Press.) I do not like that so many readers have inundated both my email box (email@example.com) and the ChicagoNow email box with complaints about a site that prided itself for years on its simplicity.
So why has DaBearsBlog decided to stay with the ChicagoNow network for 2012? It is a valid question and I think you, the loyal readers, deserve valid answers. Here they are:
- The process of returning to a fully independent web site would require several months of preparation/work and those are not months I could find in my schedule in 2011. If we decide at the end of 2012 to leave the network we'll be needing to hire designers to remake the look of the site and developers to build a functional home able to handle the increased traffic. I was simply not willing to move to a half-assed site for a substantial period of time.
- ChicagoNow pays me. Real American currency. And if we went back to an independent site I would lose income that I see no real reason to lose. Work, in every field, feels too tenuous at this point to disregard consistent cash.
- We all see the old site through rose colored glasses but we have had far fewer site meltdowns since the move to ChicagoNow than we had as an independent site. And with ChicagoNow there is a full-time staff ready to fix those errors, as opposed to my spending three hours trying to get Noah on the phone.
- I believe in this network's ability to reach a large number of people in the Chicagoland area. Our site's traffic numbers are tremendous but they are less-than-stellar around Chicago. It is an area I'll be aggressively pursuing in the coming year and I believe being part of this network will aid in that pursuit.
So we are staying with the network for another year. Beyond that, who knows? Nothing is writ in cement here currently. If you have issues you're encountering on a regular basis please continue to contact both myself and the system administrators. Next year the Chicago Bears are going to win the Super Bowl (I'm officially the first to predict that) and it will be a landmark year for all of us. Hopefully by the end of 2012 we'll all be happy at ChicagoNow. If we're not...it's back to the dark alleys of the internet with us.
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