I understand that this is your business, but it seems that you have lost touch with who your end or true customer is. You provide a free forum and editorial site to promote karting yes, but the business side for your is the revenue generated by paying advertisers who rely upon us the end user visiting and using your free product to give value to their advertising dollars. So saying you dont care about us the users, our opinions, and experieinces with “YOUR WEBSITE” is wrong. The end users, be it lurkers or posters are what determine the going rate for advertising on your site, the more we visit the more you can charge your advertisers. That makes us the customer.
As you say we can just give up, not visit etc. but what good does that do you or your advertisers. I am certainly not visiting as much, nor spending as much time on the forums as I did, and I can guarantee with 100% certainty I am far from being alone in that regard.
I have posted that I did not like the new format, still dont and never will. I used to enjoy reading the forums and now dread it. Posts that just complain with crappy comments like “new site sucks” are wrong and should be removed and dont deserve to be acknowleged, but someone stating they dont like the new site because its hard to read, or hard to navigate should be acknowledged, not met with resistance because you dont agree. You are the creator and it will be hardest for you to be objective, but you owe it to your readers and yourself to take a step back reevaluate your position.
Thank you for taking the time to comment here. I’ll first comment that I care very deeply about my readers, both those who use the forum and those who don’t. I also believe that I have a very firm grasp my my business model and the symbiotic connection between our EKN reader and our valued advertiser. Please let me correct the statement that ‘the more we visit, the more you charge’. EKN has not raised its advertising rates for the last four years. There is no correlation there. My rates are based on a guaranteed view count that we triple each month.
As for our readers, I talk to them every day. I chat with every driver and parent at every race I attend. They are our readers as well, and they have much different EKN experiences that the regular forum visitors and posters.
I haven’t told people to leave the site, but only that it is what it is. I’ve let them know that I have a plan for the future of EKN and this new site design is part of that route. We have some incredible things planned for the site, new concepts for attracting new karters, educating them, and supporting the industry. It’s hard for me to keep quiet and not respond to all the doubters, although I need to remember that they don’t know my vision, only their own comfort zone, which some believe has been compromised. I understand and truly value that people love EKN (and the forums), and I’m proud of that. But, I cannot sit and let the world of media pass us by. The old site was archiac and was missing all the functionality we need to move forward. And I did not believe that I could do what needed to be done any other way.
As far as providing our advertisers with value, I learned LONG ago that it’s not just about banner views or click-throughs. That’s only a small part of what we must bring to our clients to make being part of the EKN program successful for them. Yes, it’s a component, but we provide much more….and with this new site platform, I can do even more for them. To me, that’s crucially important.
And to address your final paragraph. You posted that you ‘don’t like the forum, still don’t and never will. I used to enjoy reading the forums and now dread it.”. That’s hard to read, but it’s your perogative to feel that way. But I also don’t think I’ve given much ‘resistance’ to improving the ‘hard to read and hard to navigate’ feedback. We’re looking at ways to improve it further. Thanks to Howie Idelson, a talented graphic designer, we made some font and style changes which I love, and we’re looking to add more features to improve navigation and the overall experience. That said, the only resistance that I offered up was to the suggestion of scrapping this forum and starting fresh with something else. Put bluntly, that’s not an option right now.
We’re taking EKN to the next level, and I’m personally excited by everything that is in store. I wish I could let you all in on my vision, but that would ruin the surprise and the ideally consistent run of exciting additions and improvements.
Eric, thanks again for the comments and the line about the straight negativity being removed from the site. I have read and taken in all that you have offered.
Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com Publisher / Editor - @RobHowden