This week we’re closing two of the big sites I built for my work. Both OutdoorArkansas (semi-working archived version) and RadioFreeArkansas ( (semi-working archived version) were both labors of love for me as well as work.
With OA, I built the first custom CMS we used, which I was really proud of (and still am, though it needs some updates). RFA was based upon the same system, but with some changes and improvements. RFA was also my first commercial site that used CSS positioning (though I created a less cool version for NS 4.x). But, neither site was making money, and both suffered from a lack of content, since they were built premised on us having a full-time Web Editor and a budget that allowed for us to pay freelancers. With the loss of the Web Editor position and good new content, the sites began to decay quickly (from a usefulness standpoint).
That being said, I understand that we have to concentrate on the web projects that make money, and both of those sites were big money pits. Of all the newspaper-based web publishing divisions in the world (and I’m not talking about the WSJ or NYT, but medium-sized dailies like us), we may be the only ones actually making a profit with almost none of that coming from advertising. Next year we’re projected to make even more money, a lot of which is due to ecommerce projects I’ve built into our core paper site. So, I’ve got a lot to be proud of from that standpoint. Still, I’m a bit disappointed that those sites I labored over (singlehandedly, pretty much) are being closed. At least I can keep up archived versions for my portfolio (plus iIplan to take copious screenshots just in case).