As many Qs as you want. S
uggestions and requests for the site welcome (liked that tribe idea yesterday). Facts, stats, general FAQ type stuff...especially as after 9 years I've still not done an FAQ or decent help page.
Example, as I'm a bit sick of hearing people's ideas of what they thought happened...
Q: Why did you do the SKY deal and why did it end?
A: Because I'd always wanted to take what I'd learnt from DiS and build sites from different audiences that I didn't feel were served on the web. Sky wanted someone to set-up Sky.com/Music and as their website has like 4million users a day, we could see an upside to reaching an audience. It all came about because Sky bought the company who sell our ads (originally Aura - who also sell online ads for premier league football websites, Asos.com, etc) and as we were their biggest music site, we went in for a chat about turning DiS' content into something more digestible and, like, yuhknow, not as offensive and all nice-nice about stuff like Madonna. Instead they bought the idea of new sites and Sky.com/Music being an aggregator of their best bits.
9months of negotiations followed. Deal was done. We kicked Simply Red's management out of their office which we were working in the basement of. 16 or so staff and consultants were employed and the sites started to come together. All the while, we weren't getting any closer to knowing what sky.com/music would be and how we'd dovetail in and, more to the point, where our promised budgets for video and marketing had gone. Discussions then revolved around their digital downloads/streaming and they started to get feedback that a store shouldn't have criticism attached and should just be recommendation and blahblahblah... anyway, with credit crunch predictions and all that (which obviously, given hindsight, seems more obvious, especially as it affects a company like Sky directly), they used the 1 year get out clause 8months into the deal, giving us just enough of the agreed budget left to pay peoples' redundancies.
Obviously you can say we were stupid to get into bed with a company like BSkyB (which, is only 40% Newscorp/Murdoch, etc) and wonder why we could afford staff before and not after. The main reason for the later was ongoing costs, like 18month phone/internet contract commitments and the fact we're accounted to for ads quarterly, which meant we were 3months out of pocket on cashflow... all of which is dull but is stuff I've had to learn. We only had two staff before the deal and a bunch of people doing work experience for the site and label interns (and technically I was employed by the label).
Obviously, in an ideal world (and I really am an idealist and still confused how this glorified hobby has snowballs and why, even after a trip to Havana to read Bukowski and clear my head, I actually went through with it) we wouldn't have done the deal but at the same time the compromise of not enough staff to do the things we wanted to do or the money to expand into video, promoting big gigs, etc and grow DiS to do more for the music we love. On the plus side, I'm really proud we birthed http://www.theQuietus.com and http://www.thrashhits.com, both of which are doing really well and are important additions to the internetz musical landscape.