Gamers With Jobs was begun in January 2003 with the idea that it would be a personally entertaining hobby that Certis and I would enjoy for however long the ride managed to last, a timeframe we measured at something like six months. In our very wildest and unicorn populated dreams we imagined a perhaps marginally successful gaming website, though one with daily articles that would be worthy of industry recognition, written by writers good enough to scribe their unique voices anywhere in the business. We imagined a forum of thousands, with more posts than we could hope to read, a tight community, and threads that spanned pages growing better at every turn. We imagined thousands of unique readers per day, and millions of hits a year. It all seemed pretty damn far fetched at the time, and how we laughed at the mere hinting of such nonsense. Well, kids, we're there, have been for a while now, and the question that Certis and I have spent a large portion of the year deciding is: What now?
GWJ is equal parts beast of burden and labor of love. I'd no more abandon or sully this site than I would dip my pets in a tasty batter and fry them up for dinner, but as the site grows, in many ways despite our best efforts to restrain it, the joyful beast consumes more hours, more work, more bandwidth, more time, more money, and more effort. So, considering that we would not begin to think of letting the site deteriorate, Certis and I are faced with the choice of slowly drowning under its weight, or accepting that we must make GWJ a part of our own jobs. You probably sense where this is going, so let's just get this out of the way, and then we can talk about it.
Gamers With Jobs will begin displaying advertisements. Please, I'm begging you, read on before reacting!
According to string theory there are limitless parallel dimension with infinite probabilities stretched across a multiverse that allows for all possible permutations of reality, which means there is, somewhere out there, a universe where Certis and I are extraordinarily wealthy and able to maintain ourselves on wit and looks alone. This is not that reality, though if anyone can fashion a method by which funds can be transferred interdimensionally then we may have an alternative solution. Barring that, GWJ needs revenue to sustain, and survive.
I have several things I want to address, but first let's talk about what sort of positives this change could bring. First, Certis and I are renewing our efforts to grow and improve this site, but we can not do it without resources. Generating revenue means that we can begin considering improving the site technology, layout, and servers. Faster access, better navigating, and, imagine this, a functional search function are just a few of the things we'd like to consider doing. Further, we could focus on generating more content and creating incentives for our personnel in keeping them here.
As it stands now our donation drive provides a nice base to keep us functional and breathing, but it offers no room for growth, and we are stretching the dollars to keep providing the level of content and reliability you've come to expect. It is enough to keep the doors open, but not much else. We have far more potential than we've been able to explore.
Additionally, Certis and I put in a lot of hours in managing and producing for the site. It's time that we love, and were we independently wealthy we'd do it for nothing without complaint. Tragically, we both increasingly find ourselves in conflict about where to put out time. Supporting the site sometimes comes at the expense of supporting ourselves, and it's increasingly easy to imagine a scenario where we have to start abandoning our time with the site to the daily grind.
We recognize that not many of you will feel this is an entirely positive change. I'm sure you will all draw different conclusions as to what this means, and we hope that most of you recognize it for the relatively benign force that it is. We will not be asking our writers, who, as you've certainly noticed, are fiercely independent themselves, to change their voices or styles. And, should there erupt at some unlikely point conflict between what our writers responsibly post and what our advertisers want to be associated with, then we'll stand behind our people. I find that kind of scenario, however, highly unlikely.
Our approach in providing advertising will be to find the least intrusive reasonable ads possible. We will explore advertising alternatives designed not to annoy the reader, but still be effective. We've certainly no desire to seem irksome with gaudy or intrusive ads. I imagine there would be a period of fine-tuning as we find a balance between what generates revenue without getting in the way of the site.
In the end, this is the choice we have made, between stagnation and growth, sustaining on the edge or seizing an opportunity to be mighty. Without this, it is possible that our levels of participation might no longer be sustainable, that we would not be able to monitor the forums or produce content or recruit new talent as much, that we would have to spend more of our time working for someone else than for you and ourselves. We ask not that you take our assurances of continued commitment to unbiased content at face value, but that you have the patience to allow us to prove it.
As always reader comment, which is pretty much known for being vocal, is welcome, and we will be very interested in your responses. We hope you understand our reasons for bringing advertising to the site, and have the faith in us to find that satisfying balance that does not intrude upon your experience or tarnish our reputation. In fact, I think you may find that GWJ will become better than ever.
I know there have been a number of changes that we've asked you all to deal with the past few weeks, and I certainly understand the uncertainty and chaos that brings along with it. This, however, is the last shoe I forsee dropping anytime soon, and hopefully we can get through a bit of turmoil with a better site and a better community in place. Again, we hope to prove this not with words but action.
Let the rampant speculation and wild hyperbole "… wait for it! "… begin.