No Static At All; TTAC Going Postal?
First off, I’d like to ask you a favor. Could you please take a couple of minutes and fill out this survey? The suits at FM Publishing want to hook potential Truth About Cars (TTAC) advertisers on the quality of our readership. As you are all Harvard MBA’s earning seven figure salaries ready to buy whatever high-priced goods we tout, FM should have no problem landing a major sponsorship deal with BMW (you know, aside from the whole flying vagina thing). No really; do what we do: tell the truth. Much obliged. Now, to my main point: should TTAC post once or twice a day, or more?
Last night, TTAC contributor Stephan Wilkinson returned from a somnambulistic sojourn at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. He fired up his Mac and discovered a large pile of our New Content Notification emails sitting on his e-mat. Wilkinson was not pleased. STOP CRANKING OUT SO MUCH MATERIAL! Wilkinson wrote that TTAC’s twice daily editorial output threatens to overwhelm readers with automotive information.
There’s evidence to support Wilkinson’s “no mas” position. Every time I put up a new post, at least fifteen subscribers unsub. The dearly departed who reply to my “Oops” email report that they’re drowning in TTAC emails (which renders my email a heavily ironic gesture). I’ve responded to these protests by A) shutting off the New Content Notification System as of today and B) commissioning Redwing Studios to create a program that will allow subscribers to limit/eliminate their New Content Notification emails. But the central point remains: two 800-word posts a day had dozens of subscribers hanging up the cybernetic do not disturb sign.
Is less be more? Would you be happier with just one post per day? As a jobbing journalist used to cramming prose into the infobeast like a French farmer preparing a duck’s liver for foie gras, the idea of cutting back on content scares me witless. In fact, I’m so freaked by the prospect I’m reluctant to try an experimental literary liposuction. But I can certainly see the advantages of streamlining our operations, for both of us.
Posting once a day would liberate editorial time/money we could use to improve each article. We could pay our writers more (maintaining their loyalty). We could afford our own review photographs and, perhaps, add video. We could bring back the stats and stars, in an expanded form (similar to the system I designed for Jalopnik). It would give me more time to commission, think and hone. And once-a-day frequency would give our highly intelligent, worldly and literate readers a full 24 hours to hash out the issues raised by each post. On the other hand…
I want TTAC to kick ass. Providing you’re not a triskaidekaphobe, click on “editorials” button at the top menu bar. I’ve split the content into 13 sections. In an ideal world, I’d have reporters for each of these beats. Even if we Zen down to once post per day, the math doesn’t quite ad up: lots of writers, lots of stories, seven posts. In other words, if TTAC published once-a-day, critical stories could get left behind.
Of course, that’s not your problem per se. TTAC’s strives to provide the highest quality automotive writing we can, in a form and frequency that suits you. So, again, I put it to you, the life and soul of this website. How often would you like TTAC to publish new material? Assume that the NCN email problem is solved and that maintaining our current pace (or more) would not require sacrificing quality. Meanwhile and in any case, thank you for your patience, consideration and support.
Stephan Wilkinson on Aug 26, 2006
Since I seem to have started this whole thing, I should now mention that's my point. "Very busy." I never meant to say that it was too many NCN e-mails that bothered me. It's that there currently are at least three editorials on the home page that I'll never even bother reading, since they happen to be about subjects that only marginally interest me (trucks, among other things). If they were the Post Of The Day, I _would_ read 'em, knowing that they're probably quite good and I suspect well worth reading. But the stuff keeps pouring out of the site, and I know I'll never get to them. I suspect the division breaks down to there being a whole lot of people out there sitting in offices bored out of their skulls, hoping against hope that something gets posted so they can take a break and read it...and a smaller number of people who are just too damned busy to stop and read that often. Obviously, Robert should do what Group #1 wants and needs.
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