Plans for the future of the site

A few weeks ago, the folks from the new online publication, the Ypsi Citizen, invited readers down to the Brewery to discuss the future of their fledgling enterprise. I was one of about six or seven people who turned out to complain about this or that, bemoan the loss of “real” local papers, and occasionally make a helpful a suggestion. It was an interesting exercise, and, since then, I’ve been thinking that I need to do something similar with MM.com. It feels like it’s time to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and make some adjustments.

So, I may be calling on folks to have a beer or two with me at some point in the future. Be prepared.

There are a ton of things I’d like to do with the site, but I don’t know that I have the time, energy, or technological know-how necessary to see any of them accomplished. The good news is, I have some resources now, thanks to the coupons that have been running monthly on the site.

Assuming I can continue the way I have been, charging one local business a month $100 in exchange for promoting whatever special deal they’ve agreed to offer you and your fellow readers, after paying for the hosting of the site, I’ve got about $75 to work with.

The first big expenditure is coming soon. I’ve decided to buy a new camera, so that I can start taking photos again. After that, though, I’m thinking about retaining someone with general web and WordPress skills to help clean things up. I can’t pay a lot, but I’m thinking that maybe there’s someone out there who likes the site enough to put in an hour or so a week for cheap.

Then, whatever’s left over, can start going toward content. I’m thinking that maybe I can occasionally buy a movie ticket for someone to write a review, or, as I did yesterday, offer to buy a $3 strip joint soup and sandwich combo for a reader willing to document the seedy topless dining experience down the street. I realize that $10 or $20 a month won’t go too far, but it’s better than nothing. I think it would be cool if, for instance, I could commission an article a week from someone I know and respect, in exchange for $5. I realize that they likely wouldn’t be doing it for the money, but I’d like to be in a position to at least buy them a beer for their effort.

And here’s something else I’d like to do. I’d like to do more video. I’d like to interview people who do interesting stuff. I’m not thinking the pieces would be slick, like the ones being produced by Concentrate in Ann Arbor, but just simple shots of people talking about what they do. Ideally, I’d like to have something like a community access television show online, with interviews and bands. I think that’ll have to wait until Clementine is out of the house and I’m retired, though, when I have more time.

And, as long as I’m thinking out loud, maybe we could add a MM.com store to the site, where my friends could sell their stuff. Or, at the very least, I could set up an Amazon store where I could peddle my favorite books and movies, again using the proceeds to do good stuff for the site.

Maybe I’m just bored, but I’m sitting here tonight thinking that maybe this site could be a hell of a lot better if I just loosened up control a bit, and asked a few more people to contribute their considerable talents. Anyway, your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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19 Comments

  1. Posted April 29, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of the slick videos of Concentrate, they’ve got a new one up today about Haab’s.

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Do you plan to offer tenure?

  3. Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Actually, that’s not a bad thought, OEC. I was thinking about more of a Scientology model, where people rise through the ranks by paying me, but perhaps an academic model is better.

  4. Steve Swan
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see a “Mark Maynard After Hours” site heaped full of goatse and other tantalizing items for the discerning adult.

  5. Posted April 30, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Hey Mark,

    I’d definitely be interested in helping out behind the scenes, either by shooting and editing video clips, or working on the audio/soundtracks for ’em.

    I also think it’d be great if we built out a PHPBB or similar forum where these discussions could take place – I’d be happy to work on that too.

  6. Keen
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It seems like a natural that the site could host a kind of local events calendar, or forum.

  7. Dee
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I volunteer to provide content for the goatse page. What a great excuse to look at porn & smut!

    d

  8. Steph's Dad
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    When you say you plan to provide goatse content, what exactly do you mean?

    And can you hold a camera while you’re doing that?

  9. Kripen
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Discussion Forums! Yes!

  10. Robert
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Mark, have you ever thought of adding an audio stream? You could play interviews and do live webcasts from various events around town. I’d be happy to host a creepy Art-Bell-like show for it.

  11. Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I like all this good thinking, Mark.

  12. Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    So are we all in agreement then that we need to 1) start an internet talk radio station, 2) provide a place for people to post their amateur goatse snapshots, and 3) create a forum of some type where people can exchange notes on everything from muskrat cooking and ammo hoarding to prostitution and ball shaving? And, yes, I will offer tenure to my contributors. After 10 years of loyal service, I’ll allow them to post whatever they like, whenever they like, without oversight. I will also let them leave the basement and see their families on weekends.

  13. Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, though, are there other ideas that you would like for me to consider?

  14. Ol' E Cross
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I’d like a concurrent retro blog were you could post and people could comment without any concern than anyone actually read what they said…

  15. Posted May 1, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    And, as long as we’re wishing, I’d like to have a blog that would take me into the future, so I could see what kind of comments would be left prior to my actually making the posts that inspire them.

  16. Dee
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    SD,

    Well, I was originally thinking that I would just comb the internet for appropriate content, but now I can see a whole new world of possibilities.

    Signed,
    The Accidental Pornographer

  17. galan
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Mark,
    Your ideas in the original text you wrote all seem good…at least ideas that it seems might work. It is a starting point. There is a place for the Ypsi Citizen to focus on reporting local news and events/happenings and for you to do what you do, or are thinking of doing as well. More in depth discussion and video coverage and the kind of mind-wandering interviews, webcasts and videos that capture a situation or visually report events.

  18. Svetlana Sexaty
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Can you please change the code so that it stops sucking at my ass?

  19. Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why I never acted on any of these ideas. Some of them are actually pretty good… As for that sensation in your ass, Svetlana, I’m sorry. It’s a bug in translation software that you’re using.

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