Ok guys, here's the deal.
Well what started out as an idea for a prank got out of hand and caused a lot of drama over the last couple of days. Here's what went down:
A little while ago in the Mod Discussion forum the idea was brought forth to play an April Fools joke on the site. The idea was to convince people that NS was becoming a pay site, have everyone freak out for a few seconds, and then clearly let everyone know that it was just a joke.
I was stoked on the idea of having a little fun though I tried to make it clear that we were only going to put one news article up on Friday (April fools day) and that everything - including the fact that it was joke - would be explained in one release.
Unfortunetely some people that were in on the joke took it upon themselves to start the rumours early and basically botched the joke and caused a ton of freaking out - so now it's over. Could have been funny but maybe next year if everyone learns their lesson about starting shit on the net in a non-controlled and non thought-out way.
Now for the record, NS will never be a pay site, I just want to make that as clear as possible.
But all the freaking out was quite interesting. The response from all of you guys was pretty much what I had expected but there were a few things that really need to be addressed.
The main one was along the lines of "Magazines can survive off of skiing so why can't NS?". Well guys, that's the question of my life right there. Flip through your precious ski mags and take a look at all of the companies - core or not - that are advertising. Compared to the amount of ads and advertisers on NS, we've got nothing. When Freeze went down the tubes there were a few companies that saw the value in NS and decided to support us but the vast majority just ran to the next most popular mag and handed in their $8000 per page.
Now I've long stood by the notion that since we're the single largest gathering spot for skiers on the net (our reach is starting to surpass some magazines), we should be supported enough by the industry alone to survive. For some reason though, that's a constant stuggle.
Of course it's clearly not up to me how companies spend their advertising dollars but hearing from team managers, athletes, and industry people in general how great NS is and how much they read the site has gone from a compliment to just plain frustrating because the majority of them give absolutely nothing back to something they use so often. Or worse - they use the site for their own purposes and then talk shit on it. We work on this site for the member base, not the industry, and that seems to have worked quite well so far in building this huge community, we're just hoping to see people giving something back.
Also, for those that were so quick to call myself and the rest of the people that spend their lives working on this site 'sellouts' or 'selfish', get a grip on reality and realize that we do what we do for the good of this sport, not for the money - though I don't think it's too much to ask to try to survive. If we're to be compared to, and expected to compete with things like print media, well we're not going to be able to do it for free.
In the end, I have to apologize to all those that freaked out and got stressed over what was supposed to be a simple joke. But if anything good has come out of it, it's the overwhelming passion that you guys feel for the site - and that display is reason enough for me to keep doing the job that I'm doing. We'll just have to hope that the industry that uses us so much starts to give back for all of our hard work.
For the people that do understand, and support us, you'll see their logos and ads on the site. These are the companies that keep this site alive and NOT a pay site. So whether you like the companies or not, just realize that they're the ones that keep this site going.
it's all very exciting.