This blog, A Shareware Life, started in May 2003 and has built up a nice amount of traffic, for a blog. It's traffic has steadily increased over time, with a big jump last November when I switched to TypePad.
My other blog, Solitaire Trader, my stock trading blog, started less than 5 months ago in November 2005. It's traffic has been increasing at a faster rate.
Today, Solitaire Trader now has more page views than A Shareware Life.
There are two main reasons for this, aside from the general increase in traffic that Solitaire Trader has gotten since November.
Last week, Google introduced Google Finance. One of its best features is that it features blog posts about a particular stock. For example, see this page for the stock ICON. While it is debatable whether Google Finance is going to be able to compete with Yahoo Finance, there is no doubt that Google Finance is getting traffic. Within a couple of days after Google Finance launch, half of the traffic to Solitaire Trader was coming from Google Finance. Traffic doubled in a week.
In addition, this week I started a new feature on Solitaire Trader. I am now posting Watchlists every evening. These watchlists show the stocks that I'm looking at closely. It seems that these watchlists have had a big impact on traffic and are generating a lot of page views.
The next step for Solitaire Trader will be to put ads on it. I'm not sure yet whether to use AdSense or something else. AdSense didn't work very well here on A Shareware Life, but with the different subject matter maybe they will work better on Solitaire Trader.
Basically, this article is Dan's take on the Sex & Cash Theory. What is more important, making money or your art?
Dan clearly is on the sex side.
An independent developer that wishes to sustain their independence must pursue
their own interests in game design and development and give them preeminence
over their interests in business and profit.
Personally, I've never been big on the "art" in indie games. I'm more focused on whether the game plays well, provides a good game experience, that is, whether it is fun. Grand ideas of expressing myself in the art of the game don't really enter into it.
Recently there has been a lot of discussion in indie game circles about an indie game portal. Leaving aside for the moment that an indie game portal is an oxymoron, there are already some indie game portals in existence.
Which one is the best?
The best indie game portal has these characteristics:
It gets a huge amount of traffic. Almost every internet user knows about it.
It has the widest selection of indie games there is. In fact, just about every indie game is listed there.
It's free to get your game listed there.
You can improve your listing by paying a small amount of money.
It's easy to use and people can find games on it very quickly.
Exclusive Interview with Plentyoffish.com. Andrew Johnson posts an interview with the founder of a dating site. The site is making $10,000 a day from Google AdSense. And it is a two person (husband and wife) business (!), just like we at goodsol.com are. Now that's inspiring!
And since this is a blog in the independent/casual game industry, the special casual game post is:
Portals Are Good. Phil Steinmeyer explains why he thinks portals are good. Personally, I don't think they are good, but they aren't bad either, they just are. At least for now.
And that is this week's Carnival of Marketing.
If you are interested in hosting the Carnival of Marketing, email Noah
at noah [at] okdork.com with your website and which date you want to
host the carnival. If you want to submit a post to a future carnival, articles can be
entered on the Blog Carnival submission form.
Take a drive through Illinois -- home to McDonald's headquarters --
and you might discover that many of the towns you pass don't have one
"real" restaurant. No diner, no place for a fancy night out. Just a
Hardee's, a Pizza Hut, and, of course, a McDonald's. This is not a
phenomenon limited to tiny towns near Springfield. There are thousands
of McDonald's franchises across the country, along with chains like
Arby's, Subway, T.G.I. Friday's, and countless others churning out
anonymous, forgettable meals to people in a hurry. Hey, it's what we
In fact, most small towns in Illinois do have diners, usually small cafes. But you usually have to drive away from the interstate or into the main part of town to find them. Look for the little cafe with all the cop cars in the parking lot, they always know where the best food is.
Springfield in particular has a lot of non-chain restaurants. I go out to lunch every day (many days its the only time I get out of the house). While I do hit some chains like Pizza Hut or Chili's, mostly I go to small local restaurant/bars. There are plenty of such places in Springfield (although admittedly there is a lack of good pizza places. For some reason, all pizza in Springfield is thin crust. There are no good Chicago style pizza joints. For someone used to the pizza in Champaign-Urbana, that is annoying.)
Unfortunately, many of Springfield's best places are currently closed due to tornado damage. I went looking today for an open place in one of my usual eating areas (Wabash Ave), and nothing was open:
The Barrel Head - this great bar/restaurant no longer has a roof, greatly expanding their beer garden. I don't know if they are going to reopen.
Steak n Shake - this is a chain, I know, but a good one. The SnS on Wabash is closed, can't tell when it will reopen.
Sgt Peppers Cafe - a local cafe. The one on Wabash is closed. I ended up eating today at the one on Stevenson.
Amber Jacks - a great place for burgers. Part of the roof is missing, but there was activity all around it today, it looks like they are repairing to reopen.
Darcy's Pint - they lost their sign, but they are open. But they are always incredibly crowded. I'm not sure how they escaped damage when you see how badly some of the warehouses next to them got hit.
Getting back to the Godin post, there will always be a place in the market for local restaurants, no matter how well chains do. In fact, the better chains do, the more there will be a demand from people for something different.
This is true in the indie/casual game market as well. The better the portals do with their games that are all the same, the more niches that will be available for those who are different.
Since I implemented some anti-spam measures a year or two ago, not a single spam posting has ever even made it to posting on the forum, but it sure hasn't stopped them from trying. Today, a spammer trying to sell various prescription drugs tried the biggest spam attempt yet. At one point, he was trying to post a spam message every minute.
None of these messages came even close to getting posted, as they had to get my approval before being posted. However, it was a pain because each attempt was generating an email and it was hard to get anything done with so many spam posting attempt emails coming through.
So I had to step up the spam protection on the forum some more. I banned some IP addresses, even some entire countries, but finally nailed them by banning posts with certain words in them from even being submitted (let alone posted). That stopped them dead, as it is tough to sell Viagra and such without using the word "Viagra".
The filter is smart enough to ban "cialis" without banning "socialism", although there's no need for socialism on a solitaire discussion board.
Springfield, Illinois is continuing to clean up after the Sunday night tornadoes. I was finally able to get to the post office yesterday. I had to get there by taking a long way around as Chatham Road was still closed. I took a few pictures, although you can't really see much of the damage in them.
This is a glass company with broken glass all over their building.
The florist may be enchanted, but it didn't save their roof.
I had plenty of time to take pictures on Wabash as the traffic wasn't going anywhere.
Behind the red truck on the other side of the street is a veterinary office that was basically destroyed. I hope if there were any animals there that they weren't hurt. Our own vet office was also near the path but appeared undamaged.
I have been near two tornadoes in my life. The first was on April 3, 1974 in Decatur, Illinois. That is the date of the largest recorded outbreak of tornadoes in history. It is called the Super Outbreak. There is an entire web site devoted to the super outbreak of tornadoes at april31974.com. It lists all of the 148 tornadoes that day. It looks like they are numbered in chronological order. The Decatur tornado was #5. It was an F3 that was on the ground for 19 miles, going about a mile west of the school I was in at the time.
This is a rare moment - Inquisitor and Pumpkin together on a monitor not attacking each other. Usually, Pumpkin tries to play with Inquisitor by jumping on her, which results in lots of hissing and growling and generally bad cat feelings.