[Musings of a Blog Haver] the Sponsors

I know you we’re all expecting to see another wonderful Musings article courtesy of the incomparable Loquacious, but she’s having a birfday and has the day off.  So it’s up to me to entertain you this fine Sunday Evening.  Now I just need to make sure I do as good a job of her as she did for me. Only I don’t have that handsome rapscallion, SinSynn, to help me out.  But come to think of it he can’t hinder me either…

I think what makes Lo’s Musings series truly interesting is that she’s pulling back the curtain on an area of our hobby lives that the vast majority of us only have a passing understanding of.  She’s an actual game store owner.  As we’ve found out, what goes on behind the counter (so to speak) is fascinating.  Which is not to downplay her excellent writing ability and wit, it’s just that those are the vehicles rather than the cargo.

Imagine this crashing into your brain.
My grand intention for today is to attempt something similar with blogging.  Which puts me on shaky ground to start with since blogging is a whole hell of a lot more common than game store owning.  So it behooves me to try and articulate the unique parts of my experience with the House of Paincakes.  There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes as it turns out – more than I had anticipated when Dethtron and I first planted our flag out there.

But things change over time.  Let’s call that obvious statement number one(ish).  Our initial mission statement of “allow swearing and promote blogs” has gotten exponentially more nuanced than what Dethron and I had come up with at the bar when the House of Paincakes was born.

One of our first posts was a statement about how we were going to be add free.  I also like to think of it as a statement of principals as well with this being the biggest bullet point:

First and foremost, we are here to advertise for you, the gaming enthusiast

This is what drives most of what we want to do and have to do to make things happen.

We may not have paid sponsors, but we still have sponsors none the less.  That’d be you guys.  Just like regular sponsors, we have to court you and not piss you off.  Because if we piss you off, we don’t get your sweet, sweet page views.  It’s what we get paid with in a sense.  It’s what makes us go.

‘Courting’ our sponsors, however, is the part that has really been an eye opener.

The initial strategy we had was to recruit as many of the other foul mouthed bloggers as we could.  And it went pretty great.  There were a ton of people out there who just couldn’t or wouldn’t shoot for the PG-13 rating that the other networks often required.  We didn’t want to build a blog list based on exclusion if we could help it.

The initial part of our plan went swimmingly.  But somewhere along the way, the non swearing half of our little dichotomy also decided that we were worth the attention.

And it turns out that there were a lot more of them.

Which is fantastic, to be honest.  The idea has always been to keep growing to keep the ol’ promotion engine fueled.  And who doesn’t love it when their hard work is rewarded?

But there were also some unintended consequences of this happy confluence.

The biggest being that we have to do a bit of self editing even though we claim to be a bastion of inclusion and non-editing.  So no swearing in the post title, so swearing in the first sentence of the post and the first picture in the post has to be clean.  Essentially, we need to set things up so that our blog’s appearance on blog lists isn’t undesirable.  And this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Ultimately, it all comes down to that sponsor thing.  We want more of them.  We need to grow so we can better promote our members to a wider audience.  It’s a simple equation: mo’ readers = mo’ promotion.  We can’t grow if people aren’t linking to us.  We’ve found that being the source of an errant ‘fuck’ on someone’s blog if is a pretty big deterrent to that.  Especially if they’re trying to be family friendly. So we reign it in.  Not just because we need new members but also because we were inadvertently excluding people.  A rare double whammy.

It’s not something I was expecting we would have to do.

It feels a little surreal that we’re so successful we have to alter our behavior, if I’m honest.  But it’s also nice that people seem to dig us in the first place.  Life and comprises and all of that.

Have a great night everyone!

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