Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I went to Newsarama this weekend. I was surprised to see that I hadn't been there in over two months! But my forum posting has been on a downward trend for some time now. Newsarama, however, was the place I initially got hooked. I have met a lot of friends there and am still in contact with many of them through other forums, Facebook, blogging, emails, what-have-you. But my posting on Newsarama (or Nrama) had been in decline since the spring. There was no reason for it, really. Sometimes I just don't care to post. Nrama does have a rep for trolls, and not an entirely deserved one, but I wasn't avoiding anyone. It was just a slow period and I was limiting myself to returning to old threads.

And then it happened. Newsarama came under the Imaginova umbrella and the End of Universe came to Nrama. Or so you'd think with all the complaints. I had seen it all before, when the site's generalissimo Matt Brady broke up the main forum into a series of sub-forum's. People protested. A Star Wars themed Rebellion was raised. People quit and vowed never to return. But they did. After a while it all settled down and everyone was back, happily, and sometimes snarkily, posting. Maybe Brady and Co thought the same would happen this time, but this time was different. This time change came with the loss of a lot of basic functionality. No PMs, no polls, no email alerts, videos cannot be embedded, etc, etc, etc. It seemed like a backwards step. And the switchover was far from smooth. I myself had to make several attempts to log on to the new site before one of the moderators helped me.

So how have things changed? Well, two months later it looks like they haven't much. People are still complaining (that is, providing User Feedback). Promised upgrades are still being promised. I was struck by how slow things are. Before the June changes it was next to impossible to keep a topic on the first page of the forum unless a lot of people were interested. If a thread didn't gain others' attention, it would drop like a stone. Of course, it was the weekend and things are always slower then, what with everyone posting from work, but even today the last post on the main Talk@ thread is three hours old. The equivalent post on the previous version (which is still accessible) is only twenty minutes from the top. So I checked Newsarama at Alexa, which tracks web traffic. In the last three months Nrama's traffic is down twenty percent. In the past the site could shrug off whining fanboys. There were always more where they came from. Not so now. And hits, page views, are important. They are to websites what ratings are to TV.

So, it turns out that Imaginova was not such a good business decision after all.


Westside Goth said...

yeah... rama is pretty boring.

Anonymous said...

I left Talk@Newsarama when they did the forum changeover, because the new forums required java to even read, and that's just inexcusible webdesign. I mostly surf with java turned off and it saves me from so much crap. For some sites I may turn it on for added functionality, but my policy is that if they won't work at all without it they're not worth my time on a regular basis.

I still went there to check for news at least once a day, and then (for a short time at least) they compounded the error and I couldn't even read the main page unless I had java on. It's since been fixed, but the damage is done. All this combined with the spread away from pure comics coverage to lots of more general interest stuff that I can get anywhere.

I always used to have a Newsarama window open, for the forum and the news itself. Now I go there maybe once a week, if that.

I still haven't found another forum to fill in the gap, but my permanent news window's now gone to CBR.

Way to go, Newsarama.
(was ghostly1 on the forums, btw)

Stephen said...

Well stated, David Bird.

I too deserted Newsarama shortly after the June changeover for reasons similar to those that you mentioned. It's sad really, as I'd felt the community there was truly something special. In the years I spent there, I had countless great times and made some cool friends that I still talk to to this day.

It's a shame the forum was damaged beyond recognition by the corporate buyout. A real shame.

Henri Ducard said...

I left because of the was the forums were being moderated and how certain posters were allowed to get away with trolling, while othrs were banned without stirring up any trouble.

The new owners gave the people who made Newsarama an undeserved middle finger for their years of loyalty and will soon die out when the improvements never come.

Dreamer said...

well, it's kinda weird but i spent all my time online at newsarama, checking out each and every single nes item as they were posted and reading the forums till my eyes bleed, but never had created an account to publish comments. i don't know, something kept me from it. i'm talking about like 4 years time or something..

than after the new minnova interface/design came up, i went to CBR, which i visited like once in a month, if i really got bored; and created an account to start posting at the forums. now i nearly ever go back to newsarama.

obviously it's not the posting functionality loss which made me leave newsarama, nor is it the extended coverage (which i don't understand why it bothers some people.. what's so hard about ignoring stuff that you don't like?). I just did not like how the news items are presented, a single picture space at the top.. i like reading my articles along and than reaching to the point where i see the new image :)

Anonymous said...

Im one of the old schoolers and im happy for brady but im sad for the community.
It is no longer newsarama. It may be by name but the heart isnt there any longer.
I still go there to get info but thats about it

with that said, screw nu-sarama

Anonymous said...

As far as news coverage, it may sound like the party line, but the comics section as just as much if not more comics news than the entire site had before. There's just also more games, film, and tv news. For example, the biggest story in COMICS today would undoubtedly be the announcements Marvel made at last night's retailer summit:

Where is that story on CBR? Well, as of 8:21 EST, it's not there. Instead, they have an interview with Zachary Quinto about Heroes (TV) and Star Trek (Film). Just think if you're gonna make a point, you have to allow all evidence, not just some of it. :D

Anonymous said...

(I posted the news item post above)
Too be fair, the new forums are absolute crap. I think if they'd opened up the new news sections for film, tv, and games, and kept the forums the same, we'd see a lot less complaints goin on over there.

Anonymous said...

The drop is now -27%. It's actually gone down almost 1% a day in the last week.

I still post there occasionally, but the lack of functionality + moderation with an agenda + the vacuous corp. nonsense from the people in charge makes for a dead deal. Of course, they (Nu-Rama honchos) will tell you no one in the industry pays attention to Alexa--I think they'd better figure out what their precious advertisers ARE paying attention to..

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for Brady...He almost never posts there himself, and when he does he sounds like a cranky bastich. Can't be fun watching a bunch of dopes ruin your baby, even if they do pay you a lot of $$.