Australian entrepreneur with FanFooty (alive) and Tinfinger (dead) on his CV. Working on new projects, podcasting weekly at the Coaches Box, and trying not to let microblogging take over this blog.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Taking the T-Bird away from daddy

Mike Arrington's departure from the Gillmor Gang podcast, something for which I have been asking for a while now, has finally happened. Jason Calacanis has even made some noises about joining Mike over on Mike's own podcast, TalkCrunch, which Gillmor credited me for suggesting. There was so obviously a generational divide on GG that Steve couldn't handle. I wish him well with his "rebooted" whatever: it will no doubt serve a valuable purpose by concentrating all the boring old farts onto one podcast so that they don't seep into others.

Mike seems to me to be a controlling personality, as is Steve, and there's nothing wrong with that. In the right medium, it is a great thing, but it can be counter-productive... in Mike's case, the now-infamous anti-troll rant at Bloggercon IV (ZDNet blow-by-blow) where he complained about aggression by trolls but talked over anyone disagreeing with him. I hope that as host, or facilitator, of more regular TalkCrunch podcasts he can get his point across in an environment where reasoned debate can happen without the baggage of prejudices born from 1980s-era thinking.

Now if only Shelley Powers (ex-BurningBird) would take up my suggestion of a BlogHer podcast, then there'd be some 2.0 podcasts worth listening to.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Back to one blog... for now

The enterprise Web 2.0 blog I have been writing for a couple of months over at ZDNet, Reality Check, has not survived past its trial period. I'm quite sad about it, since I thought the quality of my posts was becoming pretty good. Its start was rather disastrous, when some remarks I made about censorship caused some trouble, but after that I stuck to my knitting and had started to create something that was not quite a blog, not quite a comment piece, but something in between which would hopefully have been interesting if not informative to enterprise readers. Perhaps that hybrid approach was a mistake, but that's for others to judge.

Lest any conclusions be drawn from the above, let me say that the ZDNet peeps were all great, and continue to be great, and I have nothing but respect for all of them.

I'll have to sit and think about things for a while now. I've got some other personal blogging projects on the go at the moment in between hacking away at FanFooty and Tinfinger and FanLeague and Phil's 1Eyed sites and all the other irons in the fire. I hope this won't be my last foray into problogging though - I enjoyed it and I think I'm good at it (and the money helps). Whether another publisher agrees with me in future is the question.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Money or the box (of traffic)?

That's it. I've had enough of traffic. Traffic is overrated at this point. At least, it's over-rated for my "other" site, FanFooty, the one about Australian rules fantasy football. The load on our server got so bad this weekend that I couldn't access it for the entire duration of the AFL games on both Friday and Sunday - the live fantasy scoring pages are by far the most popular pages on the site, and of course they're only interesting during and just after games. My access problems appeared to be mainly because I'm at the arse end of the Internet down here in Geelong, so I'm the last on the line to get to our server which is sitting in Florida, although others reported either slowness or lack of access. When I could see the php, I was getting the dreaded Warning: mysql_connect(): Too many connections message. We've been running at upwards of 3500 unique visitors a day, serving 100k pages a day on the weekend.

The solution is to charge for access to the live scoring pages. It's sacrificing traffic for the good of a smaller number of users, and depending on how many of those 3500 visitors (2260 of whom are registered on the site) convert to paid members, it might allow more investment back into infrastructure or other stuff. I put up a poll about the amount to charge up on Bigfooty, although my first thought was to charge A$5 for a half-year, and A$10 for a full year, if only because it's similar to the charge structure of Yahoo Gamechannel. The resistance between $5 and $10 or even $20 isn't anywhere near as much as it is between $0 and $0.01 for any product online, of course, especially for FanFooty since it seems fantasy football in Australia skews a bit more teenagey than is the norm elsewhere - mostly because the historical popularity has been far more on free-to-enter salary cap comps as opposed to paid private leagues. Perhaps by charging for access to live scoring FanFooty's own membership will skew older.

Dealing with a paid membership will mean I am going to have to use more of my experiences at FUMBBL.com, as I blogged about last year. Not that people pay to use FUMBBL, but they have something to fight over, in their case being ranking and community reputation, and making people pay to access parts of FanFooty means I have to start dealing more directly with griefers. I will have to start tracking IPs, identifying hacks, and dealing with angry users who think I've stiffed them out of a fiver/tenner for some reason or another. Should be good practice for Tinfinger.

The next step for FanFooty, apart from officially launching FanLeague and then FanSoccer and on and on, is to start some adjutant revenue projects. Fantasy football in Australia is still at a very early stage of development, and there are a lot of types of complementary products yet to hit the market at a quality level of the States.

Note: Mike A blogged about fantasy NFL today, linking FleaFlicker.