So it is with a hopeful heart and a Godzilla haiku with which we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to whatever tinfoil-reinforcing insanity 2015 will bring.
Our first year has been a good one, overall. While we missed our original projections, having but one investor to keep happy and basically no overhead means that heads will not be rolling; we are, objectively speaking, doing quite well hitwise, averaging close to 1000 views a day (some days up to 5k) even with all the flu-induced light posting that’s been going on lately. We’ve had over 120,000 visitors so far.
Today we posted our 500th post (this is our 501st) since our launch July 14, Bastille Day, 2014. We’d originally planned to launch May 1, but the sudden dissolution of our ecovillage HQ rendered that date impossible, so we pushed it back to the next most politically resonant date that season. Since then, posting five days a week, we’ve averaged between three and four posts a day: our morning Link Roundup, a reblog or two from elsewhere in the WordPressosphere, and at least one original article.
Over time we’ve come to welcome more contributors, and we are proud to feature each and every one of them. Curt Hopkins is our sole weekly columnist, with Numbers, a pointed commentary on the week’s top issue, in poetical format. Douglas Lucas was the only journalist present at the sentencing for the Paypal 14, where he got us an exclusive. Go on, read the whole contributors’ list (particularly if you don’t like MY writing!).
Our top story this year was $670 Billion Served: An Interview with Redhack Hacktivist Collective, followed by Twitter attacks Julien Blanc, racist “Pickup Artiste” who advocates choking strangers, a story which we were the first in North America to cover. Then, on Day Three of the protests, we featured #OpFerguson Speaks! an exclusive interview. Our fourth most popular article emerged in the wake of @TheAnonMessage’s faildox of Michael Brown’s shooter, A Message From The #Ferguson Protesters To #Anonymous. Our fifth most popular article is frankly offline, as the subject’s legal advisors suggested it might make post-incarceration life more difficult for him and his family. Since it was a guest post and the author and subject both requested it be removed, we complied. Sometimes we’re soft-hearted that way.
Our own clear favorite is the year-in-the-making The Sabu Effect: An Interview with Jay Leiderman, which was originally commissioned for the Daily Dot but ended up published here. The philosophical underpinnings of Anonymous, as well as the way it changes over time in response to law enforcement actions, are one of our favorite subjects, and this is simply one of the best interviews we’ve ever done. Honourable Mention goes to Happy Birthday, Chelsea Manning, which marked a rejection of Objective Reporting and seriously, it felt good to take the gloves off my “on the one hand” and really lay it down for once.
We started out covering Cryptocurrency daily, but over time that got pretty depressing. It also requires someone who’s more dedicated to the subject than we are, so if you’re a person who is literate, entertaining, informed, dying to write about cryptocurrency, and independently wealthy, give us a call.
Social media was our bitch this year: the majority of our hits come from search engines, with Google News rising fast, but Facebook and Twitter have always been good to us. Our Facebook page just broke the 1600 Likes barrier, and we have over 1200 Twitter followers (sorry about those followbacks! Stupid Twitter rules!), and all of that was organic.
We blew a little money on Fedbook boosting posts, but frankly we’re getting far better results NOT boosting posts; the boost seems to work on one post while somehow depressing the reach of all subsequent posts, causing a starvation effect that makes you eager to boost another post, and another, and another, and frankly, fuck that shit. We’re happy with an average reach of 3200 per Fedbook post for free, which is higher than we averaged when we paid for exposure.
We launched our own Subreddit a couple of days ago, to collect the headlines where Redditors can see them without getting my ass shadowbanned. And yes, we’ll get our own alien and web design, just as soon as we finish paying Creatrix, our designer, for the Cryptosphere All-Seeing Eye that she designed for us back in June.
Our readers turned out not to be who we expected at all: instead of an international coalition of “civilians” and media, our readers are largely information and security professionals, and overwhelmingly American. We’d have thought we were a bit basic for y’all, but then our link roundups are quality; enough so that we’ve seen more and more sites in the security field making their own linkposts, which is hilarious if you realize that this is an SEO-juicing, shadow-outreach technique imported wholesale from my past as a gossip blogger.
Thanks to ongoing support from the Pirate Party, we are occasionally Big In Serbia.
To date we’ve had three offers for The Cryptosphere; none of them cash, all for a merger, and all from the same source. While the valuation this would give us is interesting, it’s not interesting enough. We need either a merger with an organization with solid ad sales system in place or obscene amounts of raw dosh, served up in buckets by Versace menswear models.
Omidyar, you have my email? Ball’s in your court.
We have (and everybody says this, but we really mean it, particularly the “royal we” part) big plans for the coming year. Video roundups will be the first big addition, featuring newscaster Peter Henery, based in London and Vancouver. More contributors are on the way as well, and we’ve got a few blockbuster features underway sitting on deck, right beside the half-finished knitting projects.
In fact, if there is one thing we’d like to do more of in the coming year, it’s features. Short and sweet cyber and crypto news is all very well, but any writer yearns for scope. Here, we have infinite scope. All we need is infinite time.
Oh, and those slavering truckloads of glossy, glossy greenbacks. Pierre. Call me.
Featured image and haiku by Janis Ian on Facebook