The Most Popular Article on My Site in Year One
This web site is coming up on a year of operation.
When I started it, it was on a whim as a joke because of a pronunciation mistake. Now, it draws just enough traffic for me to be encouraged yet not so much traffic that I feel like updating it every day.
Most of that traffic is thanks to an article I wrote...last August.
This article, linked right there, where I compare two gaming headsets that are now not at all new and were, at the time, only sort of new.
PEOPLE WANT ME TO COMPARE HEADSETS
That's the lesson I'm learning here so far, at WorldBolding Dot Com.
The number one question I get on the internet is "Hey guy, which of these headsets you gave positive reviews to is better?" I suppose I wouldn't get that question as much if I put arbitrary numbers on reviews.
Sometimes I have a lot to say in answer to that question. And other times I'm like "well that comes down to what your own opinions are, I can't make that decision for you, I can only make it for me."
But boy, people sure do want me to make that decision for them. Like, all of the time.
It makes me worry for our ability to make decisions as a species. Okay, not really. But still, it's like, if you can't decide which of these fun products is more appealing to you, I worry about your abilities in the rest of life. If you're asking me, the guy at the very bottom of the headphone review ladder, for advice...either the other people already ignored you, or you've accidentally fooled yourself into thinking that I'm a real headphone reviewer person.
I'M A GLORIFIED AMAZON REVIEWER
I'm like if all those people on Amazon who threatened to start a web site actually did it, and then they just happened to have the benefit of a degree in Video Production and English that's useless for most things in life but very good for making online content that gives the illusion of being "professional."
The biggest difference between professional reviews and my reviews is that professionals get paid and thus make a living from it. And often, they now have to make videos because no one wants to read opinions any more when they could watch and listen to them.
I don't get paid. I don't make as much money doing this as even the lowliest of YouTube tech reviewers. In fact, I make negative money from this. But I keep doing it because I'm having fun and that's all I wanted out of this anyway.
WHAT EVEN IS THIS PLACE
This place was meant to be an outlet for whatever random creative stuff I didn't feel would fit right on Medium, and also a backup home for me online in the event that Medium implodes.
It costs me about 26 dollars a month to maintain this web site thanks to the fine folks at Squarespace and their excellent catalog of services. They did not sponsor this post in spite of sponsoring every podcast in the world.
So far, in almost a year of doing this, I've generated enough income to not quite cover one month of those 12 months of web site expenses. To say nothing of all the coffee I've purchased.
Thank goodness I have a different other job.
Would a professional reviewer tell you all of this? No. They probably wouldn't tell you their income even if you asked nicely. They'd be too embarrassed to tell you how much they make to help people make up their minds about entertainment products. Or prevented from doing so by things like social norms and standards policies.
Proper online criticism that goes beyond "Is this a good thing?" is rare these days. People just want a quick opinion and they want to move on. I think long form criticism can succeed on the internet, but I think we're about another year or two away from that happening.
Everyone has to get as sick of hot takes as I am.
If you want good examples of critics I like, I will now give some to you. I enjoy Z Reviews on YouTube, even though lots of people on the internet hate him for having opinions and being entertaining.
I enjoy Jenny Nicholson, also on YourOwnTube, for her long form critiques of nerd culture that are disguised as hot takes. Her insight and comedy are far beyond what her delightfully low-rent production values suggest. I hope she never builds a set and just keeps talking into a camera in her bedroom.
Tim Rogers of Kotaku Dot Com is generally a very good long form game critic, and does most of his best work in video, where his deep voice can be used to full effect.
Film Critic Hulk, when he's actually working, is my favorite film critic. He goes long stretches without writing anything, but his focus on the functionality in film writing is great. I don't always agree with him, but that's wonderful, because I don't just want to read my own opinion all the time.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my friend Daven Mathies who writes for Digital Trends and also sometimes not Digital Trends. In spite of often being stuck writing articles using the Royal We, he still manages to make camera reviews fun. Which is harder to do than it sounds. He makes me wish I had thousands of dollars to spend on cameras.
I'm going to write more things like this in the future. I think I've done about all I can do with the standard Stock Magazine Review format, a style I've been writing in for the last...15 years. Thinking about that number gave me pause.
My readership might suffer in the coming experimentation phase, but I think I'll be having a better time. And that's the only reason I'm doing any of this. Sorry if that disappoints you. I don't want to spend the rest of my life helping people decide which headphone is better at the expense of my own fun.
And for all the people I met through my popular article on Medium about Sony's garbage support on the MDR1000X headphones, I'm sorry, I still have no good answers for you and I think they did a terrible job.