9Rules Sold: All Hail our New Splashpress Overlords?

Long story short, the blog network 9Rules, of which this site is a part, has been sold to Splashpress Media. You may or may not know who they are. Frankly, I’d never heard of them before the announcement, but learned quickly that another member of their network is Performancing, the authors of the very awesome Scribefire plugin for Firefox.

Frankly, I’m still withholding judgment on the news. Here’s why: 

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This reminds me of when I used to work for this one company who was into buying other websites (mostly looking to buy communities). Rather, the owner was into buying websites because of their communities, the owner who didn’t develop the network, but instead bought it. Mind you, he had a good thing going there, with one cash cow website, but I’m digressing.

(FYI: I don’t work for 9Rules, I’m a member of the network. Independent in every way shape and form.)

Anyway, so a few months after getting hired the owner ended up buying this website for people with an “addiction” to overclocking their computers. Great site, great content, spectacular community, beautiful design (for the time)…

…but it wasn’t a smooth transition.

Right away a lot of people in the crowd were displeased. In fact, we were about to have an exodus from the community, rendering the property almost totally worthless because not only would the hardcore readers and those who interacted be gone, but also because that site had it set up so that site authors and forum moderators were pretty much one and the same. No community meant no mods stayed meant no authors wrote articles. As editor-in-chief of the site, that would be very bad for me, especially since the owner still expected that the site would post with the same frequency as before. To resolve this, I ended up calling ALL of the moderators/authors during non-business hours. (I can very specifically remember a call made during a movie outing with my family.) Considering a lot of these calls were to Canada, this wasn’t exactly cheap, made worse by the fact that I was never reimbursed for these calls.

Anyway, long story short, it was a struggle, but eventually the site started churning out stories again. Then the site’s format was changed. Again, revolt then exodus, then peace. Then the owner up and changed the layout of the site; another exodus, another revolt, and even some hacking attempts from members of a rival website made up of ex-overclocking addicts (now they were hardware wizards). Eventually there was this whole truce made and some fake FBI threats from the network owner, and… Well, anyway, it got messy, then clean again. Then website name was changed to something that previously belonged to an NC-17 site (with a logo to match), and that led to a bunch of jokes, followed by another name change which didn’t match the content at all: the owner now wanted consumer tech (phones, PDAs, cameras, etc) instead of what the community was there for, which was tweaking PCs to perform at their best. Another exodus, another revolution, and then an infusion of new(bie) blood, which was good for the owner, bad for anyone wanting to do more than babysit.

Seriously, this was one of the most botched takeovers I had ever seen, and I had by that time already seen a few.

So where’s this whole messy story taking us? Back to the 9Rules takeover. My experience with this kind of buyout hasn’t been good. Last time I was on the other side of things, and saw how different the public and private personas of the owner were. Online he was great, though he sometimes acted like an 8 year old boy on a tantrum. Offline he was a drunk, manipulative bastard who sometimes acted like an 8 year old boy on a tantrum. As you can guess, given my experience, I don’t exactly trust the new ownership yet. I don’t really have any reason to, but other than my own hangups I also don’t have any reason not to.

Good luck to the Triad on their future endeavors, and thanks for what was put together.

As for SplashMedia, well all I can promise is that I’ll stick around, see what happens, see how things change, and work to make the best out of this situation.

bender-pharaoh

Citizens of me! The cruelty of the old Pharaoh is a thing of the past! Let a whole new wave of cruelty wash over this lazy land! — Bender (Futurama: “A Pharaoh to Remember”)

3 thoughts on “9Rules Sold: All Hail our New Splashpress Overlords?

  1. I second that opinion. I don’t know what to make of them yet. My emotional connection with 9rules is currently in the negative, though my love for the community (now non-existent) still lingers. I don’t know what to make of this, Gnorb, I really don’t. Not yet, anyway.

    (Okay. Am repeating self. Coffee wearing off. Should sleep.)

  2. My attitude’s basically “no harm, no foul.” I’ll keep doing my thing, they’ll keep doing theirs. So long as it’s a neutral to good relationship, doesn’t impinge on my aspirations, I’m getting a good vibe from the whole situation (right now I’m still getting an unsure vibe, like someone tip-toeing through a puddle, and that’s something I’m OK with) then I’ll stick around. Meanwhile, if I’m part of the group I might as well do what I do best and help in any way I can, hence my increased activity in the forums. And as it stands, the association has made me a better blogger; so long as that’s the case then they’re OK in my boo–err, blog.

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