The off-topic blog

Gee, I sure hope you didn’t check out this post expecting a discussion of new hardware or a commentary on the latest news in the tech industry. If so, you’ll probably be disappointed. In case you forgot, or just haven’t been around here long enough to figure it out, I’m the biz guy. I don’t test or benchmark new PC hardware; in fact it’s probably a stretch to claim that I even tinker with it. I don’t write reviews and I rarely have access to insider industry information. Proofreading everyone else’s articles is about the closest I get.

I’m the one who works to make sure all the reviews, news and analysis generated around here translate into revenue. You know how it works: hardware, tools, servers, rack space, bandwidth – and most importantly, our time – all cost money. Thus the need for a guy like me to get sponsors and advertisers and to represent The Tech Report at trade shows and industry events. Of course all this has to be done without selling TR’s soul by allowing business relationships to affect content or editorial integrity. And, just as difficult, I have to keep from alienating our readers with ads that are too numerous, obtrusive, distracting or insulting. It’s a balancing act that I actually find enjoyable at times. You all are the reason we can continue doing what we like to do. Not only do we enjoy the interaction with everyone, we need you guys!

In case you hadn’t noticed, this post is a bit aimless. The deadline for getting it done crept up on me and really couldn’t have come at much worse of a time. My family has been sick, a big trade show is right around the corner, the beginning of the 4th quarter – when ad campaigns get re-worked – is upon us, and several other issues demand my attention this week. However, I voted for the staff blogs and have been anxious to get new features implemented here at TR; therefore, I couldn’t really say, “Oh wait, I haven’t had time to write anything yet!”

So, because I kind of whiffed this one, I’ll try to make it up to you guys on my next post. Here’s how: you get the chance to tell me what you’d like to read about… and I might even follow your suggestion. Within reason, of course; I’m not going to wax eloquent about pipelines, pixel-shaders, transistor counts or caches. That’s just not my schtick. But if you all come up with something that piques your interest and pertains to my role here at TR or an angle on this operation with which I have some expertise, I’ll do my best to comply. A few ideas, in case you’re clueless as to what is in my purview: gerbil demographics (remember that study we did last year?), balancing advertiser requests with audience demands (I’m sure several of you have some opinions on that one), journeys with Scott (college, worldwide travel, Wichita, canoeing, discovering Indian food…), my two home-built PCs (nothing complex, but I could give specs and experience), or something else that you’d like to read.

Of course, this is my blog. (who else hates that word?) So, just like Scott, Geoff, Cyril, Ron and Andy insist on editorial control in their articles, I reserve the right to discuss what I want here. But give me some ideas and we’ll see if we can agree where to go next.

Comments closed
    • Flying Fox
    • 14 years ago

    May be a definitive mention of how the ad stuff works, like charge by serving, impression and all that? So next time when some newbie complains about it, we have a more permanent “sticky” to link to.

    • red0510
    • 14 years ago

    OT post in an OT blog.

    Why do special characters not render properly in the ja.zz page but they do on the ‘blog page’? Example:


      • Kevin
      • 14 years ago

      Something to do with the character encoding. If you switch it to Western in your browser, it tends to show up properly.

      • Damage
      • 14 years ago

      Yeah, jazz doesn’t spit out those things right. Adam’s new to using this system, so he didn’t realize not to use Word with its auto-modify function enabled for writing up posts. Something to note. Eventually, we may be able to get jazz to behave better for us, so it’s not an issue.

        • Inkling
        • 14 years ago

        (\smacks forehead)

    • Inkedsphynx
    • 14 years ago

    I want to hear about where all you TR guys work. I can’t recall having ever seen mention of working in an office, or if you’re all working out of the back of a VW bus. Pictures would be nice to go along with it. Is there an area in an office dedicated to hardware reviews? I can imagine some desk strewn with a few thousand dollars worth of parts, almost like some mad scientist was about to assemble the Frankenbot (not to be confused with the TR Frankenbot™).

      • Inkling
      • 14 years ago

      q[<...where all you TR guys work.<]q The Bat Cave. q[<...out of the back of a VW bus.<]q Well, yeah. But it's parked in the Bat Cave. q[

    • bralex
    • 14 years ago

    Actually, I would be genuinely interested in hearing about the ad business.

    Wait, I know that sounds crazy.

    I know a number of my favorite message boards have begun taking ads to cover expenses, and some are having much more trouble with it than others. One, for example, has an array of tiny ads across the top of the page. Nice, unobtrusive, randomly loaded; unfortunately, they are flash, and one of them crashes IE whenever it happens to come up. Of course, I don’t know which ad it is because I never see it.

    The larger animated ads here never give me trouble (though I wish they weren’t animated). Do the companies _listen_ to the sites they advertise on? Is there a real feedback cycle – do you hear from users about ads, and pass that info back to the companies? My ideal ads are small, non-animated banners that advertise a specific product, not just a store. Right now, on this page, I see 4(?) ads, 2 currently animated, 1 that looks like it was animated but now it is just a mystery picture of some card. Of all the ads, the verizon cell phone ad is the most effective for me (though I am completely uninterested in the phone).

    Anyway, I just ramble sometimes; train of thought still boarding at the station.


    Edit: whoops, shame on me, they are _all_ animated, once I actually posted they restarted. Ick.

      • Inkling
      • 14 years ago

      I don’t think it sounds crazy at all; it’s actually rather interesting, and somewhat more complicated than I originally expected. Many think it can’t be all that hard, and I supposed it might not be if all you want is a few bucks to cover bandwidth. But to bring in enough revenue to support full-time staff requires seeking out specific advertisers and carefully balancing what appear on the surface to be competing interests.

      Flying Fox also has a good inquiry about how the metrics actually work… I’ll probably explore this further in a post at some point.

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