View Full Version : Seeking Inspiration, Seeking Support

11-07-2007, 08:52 PM
This is a temporary message. To jump to the most recent News item click here (http://www.tankspot.com/#33629).

TankSpot Members & Visitors,

I need your help. Over the last two years I have written game guides and helped build the community; I feel I have earned the right to ask for personal support.

My goal is financial independence and the ability to pay -- at least in part -- for a new college I wish to attend. By transferring to a new university I will be losing a majority of my current credits. Since this will include possibly moving out of state and since I have a bit of 'community capital' built up by virtue of projects such as TankSpot, I am looking for a way to build some financial independence on the internet.

Don't worry! I'm not doing anything to TankSpot! There won't be evil gold ads here; I'm not selling the site; I'm not asking for personal donations.

What I need is inspiration. I am specifically looking for inspiration in building and designing a new additional community. Secondarily, I need support and activity during the construction phases of a new project to help get it off the ground.

Continue Reading @ TankSpot Forums (http://www.tankspot.com/forums/frontpage/33657-seeking-inspiration-seeking-support.html#post50389).

11-08-2007, 04:11 AM
What Kinds of Things Am I Looking For?
The list of projects I've had bounce around in my head for the last week is lengthy. I feel that I'm off the mark, that something isn't clicking right with these, and that they don't feel right. Among the projects are three major -- and possibly successful -- ideas.

First, create a new World of Warcraft based website with broader discussion, perhaps involving raiding or perhaps involving other classes. This would be tied to TankSpot and most likely integrated. However, this may be a situation of coming into the game too late -- we won't be a World of Raids or Elitist Jerks, and it's hard to find another niche we could actively cover.

Second, development of a Tabula Rasa community website. Chances are you aren't too interested in this as a reader, which is where the issue lies -- I have very little community capital that can actually be transferred to another game. One of the biggest hurdles in creating a community is getting initial activity rolling with it. Even though the timing is perfect -- Tabula, a great game, just released last Friday -- my ability to execute it is not. Stratics and TenTonHammer may just make it too difficult to execute.

Third, development of the forum RPG. This is another difficult one, because I believe it has a lot of potential, but it also has a few programming hurdles which I need to enlist the help of others to finish. However, the RPG project has potential for helping to build a new community which would both be tied to TankSpot and separate of it. This would need your support and activity once it goes live.

These are only three ideas. I've bounced off a dozen other ideas in my head that I felt were too niche to be successful under any circumstance.

The Mental Hurdle
For me, making decisions with a purpose of financial gain doesn't settle right. It's the reason my work is voluntary and ad-free and, when necessary, run on donations.

I need to feel that I love the project I'm working on, regardless of what I choose to do. It needs to be for the right reason or it won't be worth it. But I also need to be shrewd about the next project from a financial perspective, and that's entirely new ground to me.

How Can You Help?
I need your ideas. I need your inspiration. I need your thoughts. I need whatever you can offer that will point me in a direction where I can say, "maybe this is the right thing." It certainly doesn't have to be any of what I suggested earlier.

I need your support in my next project. Regardless of whether you are a visitor or an active member, I want you to help me build that community if you feel it's worth it. I need you to realize that I will be tackling the project for the right reasons, and will treat it as I've treated TankSpot.

What's the right idea? What's the right direction? What should you suggest? How about something you would enjoy visiting and taking part in.

Patrick O'Callahan "Ciderhelm"
e-mail: ciderhelm@gmail.com

11-08-2007, 04:14 AM
Partly as a follow-up to some thinking tonight:

11-08-2007, 07:50 AM
hey Cider...

Maybe its too much to think about but, at one point, we were throwing around the idea of developing a tankspot add-on of some kind that was the best of its kind for all things tank-related. Maybe its a bit redundant considering all that's out there at the moment but it could be a good way to get the "tankspot" name out and about more. I think the success would be found in the quality and usability of the piece.

11-08-2007, 10:34 AM
yep, lack of adds, fast loading, and talent calculators = wowhead > thottbot.

SO its a possibility.

11-08-2007, 01:17 PM
Internet communities are fleeting things (even WoW related ones), and putting stock into one as a stable income source may not be wise. That said, if successful they can generate a lot of money. I think in order to have something along these lines that's stable enough to rely on, you'd need it to be much more broad. As crazy as it sounds, WoW will eventually fade. Gaming, and specifically MMOGs, aren't going to any time soon. If you're going to go that route I'd suggest making something more broad that will last beyond WoW and have appeal to more people. As for specifics... if I knew that I'd be telling my boss to ^&*( off right now. :P

11-08-2007, 01:29 PM
i agree with Marrick. Not to burst your bubble - but it takes something really grand to break into the black on web content - especially in a way to acctually make it more than pay for itself. And the really sad part is that if you come up with a good enough idea - someone else will steal it or you'll have to make so many compromises that you'll feel it wasn't what you wanted.. (reminds me of raid guilds.. err..)

My suggestion would be to find a web company in the field your interested in and pursue a career with them. You have a clear resume in this website on your dedication and ability. You might have to intern or volunteer to get your foot in the door, but in the long run that will be more financially stable.

then again - maybe i misunderstood your post. But i wish you the best of luck with your adventure either way.

11-08-2007, 01:34 PM
I think it's a widely-known fact at this point that nethervoid always has an opinion on something, and just about always has an idea for how to go about doing something or solving a problem. So it should come as no surprise that I've got some advice for ya lol:

1. Pick one project, and make that project sing

What I can already see happening is a flaw a lot of people add into their projects and their goals. You have lots of things you want to do and all these ideas, which isn't a bad thing, but what I see happening is: all of your projects are good, but none are great.

What's going to happen if you focus on too many projects is you're going to spread yourself too thin. You won't be able to spend enough time with them all to make sure they're all awesome. Instead they'll all be mediocre, and maybe one or two will be pretty awesome just from the fluke of putting just the right people on it, or something.

Pick your favorite project that hopefully also has a need out there, and focus everything you've got on it. Ensure you will have the time and patience to make it shine.

If it were my decision, I would choose TankSpot as the project I was going to focus on. It's the most developed (I think) and it already has momentum. And so then I would drop the other projects, not because they aren't fun or have no merit, but you don't want to spread yourself out too thin with so many projects.

2. Develop an undiscovered niche

I think you've really struck gold here at TankSpot with your focus on tank related information on just about everything a tank could ever need to know in game. I can see you want to expand on TankSpot to make it all things for everyone, which I think is a mistake, IMO. Instead, as I said in a previous thread I'm too lazy to dig up, don't expand TankSpot to cover non-tank related info, but expand TankSpot to cover tanking in other games. That's your niche right there. As far as I know, no other site is focusing on being the one stop shop for all MMO tanking information. That is your niche right there.

There are a lot of games you can add onto this thing: EQ, EVE, VG, probably Tabula Rasa (although I know almost nothing about the game) and there will be more! (WO I think)

Now the key here is how do you do this? Well you'll probably have to do it much like you did for this site, which is you're going to have to play these games or visit the communities of these games enough to learn about the tank styles in these games and who are the who's who of those tanking communities. Show them your site, and tell them you'd like their help in developing a place for tanking information from their game (and how that relates to raiding etc like you've done here) with tank theory, tank gear, all that stuff. The key there is you putting in the time to first get to know these other games enough to 'talk tank' with those playing, and secondly to find people willing to come over here and post tanking info about those games (just like writers here do with WoW info). Then those people link their articles for guildmates on guild sites or in game, and BAM you've got people coming in to read that stuff, just like you did with WoW.

If I were you, that's what I would do.

11-08-2007, 01:58 PM
Lilie, I got your PM and will respond.

KudagAxehand, I fail at complex programming. I can learn it and develop it, but it's a conscious decision on my part that I'd be more successful by putting the same time into developing with the skills I already have (web and graphics design, writing).

Kazeyonoma, WoWhead vs. Thottbot = good.

Marrick, I agree. TankSpot is fully intended to last beyond WoW when we get to that point. I discussed that about a month ago in a blog post. The flip side is that TankSpot is a site I'm not going to throw ads up on in the short or medium term and won't in the future so long as donations continue to pay for it.

Dielgore, your first paragraph shares information I'm deeply aware of already with the development of this site and a political site prior to this. Your second paragraph on a web company is good advice and I'm also looking down that route, but it's something that's a bit alien to me and I don't know where to begin searching.

Nethervoid, picking one project and developing an undiscovered niche are two things I'm very aware of and actively use, as with TankSpot. I agree with most of what you've said. Per branching out to other tanking communities, my plan had been to wait until WoW players started branching out to other tanking games (Warhammer, etc) and then covering those games at that time. The second issue to this is the size of the niche -- I chose to approach a Warrior/Tanking site as opposed to a raiding site or general site because I knew the community of Warriors was large enough to support and make use of it. I'm not sure I want to specialize in an immediate project (though I'm sure we all agree we want TankSpot to continue to new games in the future).

11-08-2007, 03:24 PM
That's a nice theory Bandar, but I know I have better things to do than make recommendations to people that they could easily figure out for themselves with about an hour's worth of reading. That's not meant to be harsh, just an observation. I've always advocated teaching people what they need to know to make the decision, rather than just telling them what to do.

11-08-2007, 03:37 PM
I always liked comic strips. Some of the "linkshells" encountered while playing FFXI had some art savy folks who would draw comics for their website and it was a decent draw (no pun intended) to get people to visit even though they weren't members.

I keep going to Death and Taxes site because of the "legendary threads" containing a NSFW image thread and interesting/funny video threads. A lot of us go to websites while at work not to just learn, but to be entertained for a short time.

11-08-2007, 03:43 PM
You have done an amazing job with this site: building it's community base, providing guides and links to guides, providing a place for theorycrafting and WoW related news, and so much more. Perhaps instead of starting a new project you could consider ways to make Tankspot profitable. In reality the common thread here that ties us all together is WoW, and RPG's in general. What that really means is that a new project would have to be along those lines in order to make full use of the community base (imo). Those sorts of things could also be integrated into the site as it is currently.

Question: Why are adverts bad?

I totally agree with your decision to not advertise gold sellers on this site, but that isn't the only kind of advertising. Surfing around other WoW sites I see ads for everything from the newest MMORPG to cell phones to virtual online communities, and in most cases the ads are even inconspicuous (WoWwikki for example). You have a good enough name in the online WoW community, and the site is well known enough that you could probably pull in adverts for a number of things that you may even use or support yourself. For instance, you saying that you play Tabula Rasa is almost an endorsement, why not have a small advert on the site for it?

Suggestion for a new idea:

A centralized location for mods, and ratings and recommendations from some of the best known names in WoW. Let's be honest, some of the regular posters here are well known and respected in the community, mostly because they know what they are doing. Just in the Warrior forums alone on the WoW site you see the occasional post asking what kind of mod is running in a particular screenshot, and regular recommendations for specific mods (Omen for instance). Provide a central location that discusses the usefulness of various mods and provides links to download them. You would not even have to host the files yourself, just link to the site which does. And based on the amount of traffic you send their way to download (and inevitably click some of the advertising links) maybe you could even see some small amount of revenue. Just a thought. (Unfortunately the URL modspot seems to be taken already :-P)

Good luck in the brainstorming.

11-08-2007, 04:06 PM
Korintar, I think I've been a bit incoherent in that there are several aspects to advertising and I've brought up bits and pieces of policy in various places on the site. I'll attempt to put it all in a single post here. Lots of catches to it. I'll throw it up in bullet point.

I'm not opposed to advertising nor am I opposed to earning a small amount of money for my development work here, as it has been genuine work and has been unpaid. The flip-side is that much of the writing here is not mine, and I feel it inappropriate to profit off work such as Satrina's Evil Empire guide;
I am opposed to advertising from the secondary market, which is impossible to sidestep effectively with GoogleAds or other advertising services;
I am opposed to taking the route of advertising while members are still donating to this website. This is not a moral opposition but an ethical one, as I have stated in the past that I would not introduce advertising to TankSpot while donations were paying the monthly bills for TankSpot;
Corporate sponsorship for a related and beneficial product or community will be considered for TankSpot as it gives the website a genuinely stable outlook for the future. This is partly being accomplished through the TankSpot ebook project, but I'd be happy to see other projects.Finally, TankSpot provides a certain capital that will benefit my other projects, even if it is not financial. Specifically, we have a large amount of fully licensed software running on this server. The initial cash investment in this software can transfer to a new community as long as it is hosted and run on the same core server.

In other words, I have an edge on many community developers in that my investment capital is dirt cheap for a second project. The development of this community also substantially expands my personal resume. TankSpot does have realistic bonuses it's providing to my future endeavors that may be worth more than monetizing it. :)

11-08-2007, 04:10 PM
I'm more interested in getting knowledge into people's heads than worrying if you make an honest buck out of the effort of setting this thing up and keeping it running.

11-08-2007, 05:14 PM
I think comic strips would be an awesome way to generate traffic and if it was kept on the upper tier website, I don't see why some advertisements wouldn't be feasible there. The toughest thing is finding not only someone who can draw, but has the time and talent to keep something interesting and funny. (Think Warbucker etc.)

11-09-2007, 10:01 AM

1. Thanks for your hard work on this site, you have always been a very helpful person and it shows in all the work you do. (i even remember you helping me respec my warrior on cenarius a few years back, and you didnt know me from adam.)

2. i am starting to play tabula rasa after 2.5 years as a tank in WoW, if i play a "tank" on TR and could help blog or something about the crossover and new stratics let me know. i think a lot of people who are crossing over from WoW are really interested in using the skills they have learned in WoW in TR.

also i know im looking for any info on TR i can get my hands on.. especially from a trusted site.