Rantings and Ravings
  Joyful little columns by us.

The AQ is Missing!

By: CereCere

Where have we been, you ask?

Ummm... where to start...

First, I guess I should give you the usual reason. We have been extremely busy over the last 6 months or so with offline activities. I myself was going through one of those great changes in life that many go through when they get to my age. Don't worry, it was a very happy change. Those who know me, know what I'm talking about. ;)

Okay, that's the reason a lot of people use, but there's more. There are two more important and closely related reasons why the review side of things has been so slow.

It all has to do with how the Internet has changed in a big way since the fall of 2001. From about 1995 to 2001, many of us enjoyed, no make that were spoiled, by many of the free services provided to us on the Internet.

And boy were we spoiled.

We had free forums, free guestbooks, free domains, and of course, free webspace just to name a few. At it's peak in 1999-2000, there were no limits to the freebies. Free webspace providers, for example, were providing huge amounts of space, sometimes "unlimited", with no bandwidth restrictions, and dozens of great options. There were also lots of hosts to choose from. You didn't like one? So what? Just move somewhere else. Now that's all gone. Yes, there is still free webspace; but before, you could setup a free website without many worries, without many problems. Now, not only do you have to be a web developer, but also an accountant of sorts, keeping track of your space and bandwidth, estimating if you have enough left to get through the month without being shut down. Then there are the ads. We have all complained about how bad the ad systems were, but I would love to go back to just a year ago when they were actually much more tolerable, before those dang pop-unders and cookie driven things appeared.

All of this has had a big impact on this site. First, we have had to make some adjustments of our own to survive in this new web environment. Spreading the site out more, hoping the ads don't drive people away, and wondering if posting just one review would drive our bandwidth over the limit. Now that we have made the adjustments, were not so worried about bandwidth anymore. Still, it was a big concern for the first three months of the year as we tried to figure out how the heck Tripod records and judges if your site is over the bandwidth limit. How they don't really explain it to their users that well, not to mention how they never return your emails with technical questions, didn't help. You could call all of that the "physical impact" the changes in the Internet had on us, but the "mental impact" was actually much greater.

We wondered, and still wonder, if we could go on reviewing under these new conditions. Most fan based sites use free space rather than paid space, and our reviews could have a negative impact on those sites. I don't mean just the worst and runners either, I also mean any site we review as a recommended. This is something I believe is unique to this SM-Anime WPR due to the large amount or traffic we receive.

Now, I dislike shooting off stats about this site, but I have to lay out the facts before you to show my point. On average, this site generates about 400 to 500 page views a day, on a good day it can get up to 600, even 700 views. That's a fair amount of people for a fan-based site, and each one of those page views can potentially visit a reviewed site in the few days after it's first reviewed. In my observations, the number actually is much less than that. However, I have noticed the average fan site which generates 10 to 40 page views a day often sees their hits increase to the 100-200 range or more in the three or four days after we review it. After those few days have passed, this number drops, but still leaves the site at around 50 to 100 views per day. At least until the review is moved to the archives. If the site is already fairly well-known and large, the increase is usually lower, but for the smaller sites, which tend to be the ones using free webspace nowadays, the increase is very obvious.

With that in mind, if we review a site using free webspace, that uses a fair amount of their space with something like a decent sized image gallery, the jump in page views will cause a large jump in their bandwidth usage, potentially shutting their site down. That's something we don't want to happen, just because we reviewed it. I know how upset, and panicked I sometimes feel when this site disappears offline for different reasons. I'm sure many site owners out there will feel the same way. So what do we do? Do we stop reviewing? Do we favour sites that pay for their webspace over those that don't? Even if the free ones are more numerous, and at times, better sites? This is what I've had to ponder in my mind over and over, and I'm still not sure what to do about it. The best way would be to review, do a test run of sorts, to see if my fears are true. However, can I in good conscience decide who will be our guinea pigs? In the case of recommended pages, I could ask the site owner if they want to be reviewed or not, but in the case of worst, you know were not going to get anyone to say yes. Those of you who say, "who cares about the worsts?", well those sites we want to improve. They can't improve if they are shut down can they?

So I decided the best bet is to lay the cards out on the table, let our visitors know what is happening, and ask them what they think so I can get some other opinions on this. Please send any thoughts you have to our email at aquartet@yahoo.com.

  • July 7th, 2002
  • As usual any comment made on this page is that of "The Amazoness Quartet" or one of its members. Tripod has nothing to do with our opinions, etc, lalala...

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