Written by Michael Rohde Friday, 18 November 2011 14:04
The Goozex Report was the original version of what is today known as GoozerNation. It was not born out of a need for ad revenue or any other business model. Rather, The Goozex Report was created out of the desire to initiate something. In August 2008, I was swiveling around in my work chair, bored to death with nothing to do (all my work was done for the day) and I wanted to start something new. What would that something new be? I told myself, you are a writer, therefore you must write. What would I write about? Why not something fun? Why not write about my hobby... video games? OK, so what should I write about on video games? Why not Goozex? There didn't seem to be any other Goozex blogs out there and I realized that other people might benefit from the information that I was tracking. At the time, I had been telling my brother about recent point drops on games and he seemed interested to learn that information, so perhaps other people would be interested in that as well. So, I now had a topic. The question then became how to publish. I was already using blogspot for my family blog, so I started with that. And there were no ads. No Amazon affiliation. No nothing. Just me in my chair, sitting in a cube, staring out the window watching an American flag wave in the wind. And The Goozex Report was born.
In the first month, The Goozex Report had just under 2000 visits. The last post on TGR was February 2010 when I announced the blog was all grown up and had become GoozerNation. In the past 30 days, despite no new posts in almost two years, the blog still had 408 visits over the past month. Let’s compare that to today: in the past 30 days, GoozerNation had just over 61,000 visits. My last two articles have brought in over 8500 pageviews. And they are still coming in. Sure, to some mega sites these numbers are still low, but you have to remember that I’m just some random dude still sitting in a cube with a desire to write. And I’m not doing it for ad revenue nor Amazon sales. I’m doing it to share information about my hobby... video games. And so are the Contributors to the site. A recent article about Skyrim brought in over 9700 visits in less than two days. There have been a few days when GoozerNation had close to, or over, 10,000 visitors in a single day. In terms of internet numbers, this might sound like a small drop in the bucket. But try to imagine 10,000 people. I did some quick research, and in 2008, the average number of people who attended concerts in amphitheaters was 9109. On a few, albeit rare days, GoozerNation’s single-day audience could sell out a concert. We have more monthly visitors than some football teams have fans per game. Can you imagine the GoozerNation audience filling out a stadium? Believe it man, it’s true.
GoozerNation has come a long way in the past three years. From tens of visits per day to thousands of visits per day. From me writing by myself to Erik Kubik joining in December 2008 to having a dozen Contributors today. Here is Erik's first post. Today, Erik is one of GoozerNation’s most dedicated members and much of the success of the site is due to him and his writing.
It was during the early days of The Goozex Report when I met Blake Grundman online in September 2008. At that time, he was writing for his own blog called, Thoughts of a Random Gamer and he was contributing to Kombo. Here's one of Blake's first posts in which we discussed hockey games on the Xbox 360. Many of you know Blake as GrundyTheMan on Twitter and his work for Games Are Evil. It was Blake who introduced me to N4G, and the pageviews opened up like a burst dam. Since then, we have moved in different directions, but we still keep in contact through Twitter.
The past three years hasn't always been a bed of roses. The site did go dark for a few months until Mark Nebesky, the CMO of Goozex, contacted me about starting it back up again and let me know that Goozex was willing to lend support. I haven’t looked back since.
Over the past year or two, I know I haven't always been the easiest person for the Contributors to work with and I will openly admit that I regret a few moments that I wish I could take back. We've also lost a few Contributors that I miss; some of whom have gone on to jobs in the video game industry, others have simply disappeared into the grand cosmos. But for the most part, the site is successful in terms of a growing audience, a dedicated group of Contributors, Goozex's continuing support and we all have something in common: a desire to write about our hobby... video games.
So, why write this article now? GoozerNation is not celebrating an anniversary, nor are we making any major announcements. It’s just that every once in awhile it’s good to take a moment to step back and reflect upon where you are and how you got there. What would you do differently? What would you try and improve on? Where do you want go in the future and how do you plan to get there? What does GoozerNation mean to me as a writer, what does it mean to the Contributors, what does it mean to the audience? What do you want it to represent and how do you achieve that?
Recently, an email thread sprung up among the GoozerNation staff discussing different directions in which to take the site, what is the business model, and what responsibilities do we have as journalists? This made me step back and think, ‘How does one go from writing a blog post about Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 dropping in value to discussing responsible journalism and business models?’ Talk about a pebble causing a ripple that started a wave. It’s all kind of mind blowing. After all, I’m just some dude sitting in a cube.
It’s thoughts and moments like this when I want to strip away the advertising campaigns, drop the Amazon Affiliation and go back to reporting Goozex point drop information; get back to the roots of how all this began. But I think we are beyond that now. GoozerNation has a life of it’s own and I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to. Not that I do want to quit, nor would I ever quit, that would be like giving up a child. Eventually though, children grow up and hopefully go to college and leave the house and live their own lives. But we have many more years before that will happen.
In the meantime, during this moment of reflection, I am reminding myself of where it all started, where it’s been and where it’s going. I want GoozerNation to continue to grow and to be a fun and interesting site where people gather to discuss games. For that is what GoozerNation is all about: a group of like-minded writers that want to write about games. If that sounds like fun to you, then please join us in celebrating our hobby... video games.