THE VALUE OF TRASH

Wanye
August 01 2013 10:32PM

 

It's still the summertime doldrums here at the Nation. With little news expected in the next few weeks before things heat up prior to the season starting articles involve projections, speculation, rumours and British people bombing down hills after a wheel of cheese. 

And today we present an article on the new trash button and what it means to society. If you want an article about EV/60 or something else substantiative keep on truckin soldier. If you want to know why we created a trash button that will probably lead to fist fights in the comments section for all eternity read on.

This is an article about the business of the Nation and nothing more. You have been warned.

BACKSTORY

Back in 2011 the Nation Network signed a landmark advertising partnership with Post Media and OilersNation.com. Under the terms of this agreement the Edmonton Journal sold OilersNation advertising inventory along with it's own EJ inventory to companies all over Northern Alberta and beyond. They are far and away the industry leaders of monetizing news sites so it made perfect sense to try and make something work. 

It was a negotiation that dwarfed the Treaty of Versailles in it's complexity, term of negotiation and number of soldiers in attendance. But we got a deal done and it worked pretty darn well.

Until the lockout.

GOD BLESS THE LOCKOUT

 

The 2013 lockout was an absolute bitch for any business involved with Professional Hockey to any degree. Bars and restaurants lost money. People who sold hockey apparel lost their shirts* both literally and figuritively. Media folks tasked with covering the NHL sat about twiddling their thumbs and cursing their luck.

And here at the Nation we took it right in the beans. Not so much in terms of traffic - somehow that remained miraculously steady. But more in terms of trying to build our revenues which in turn allows us to continue to lead the league in bloggers under payroll.

We can't count the number of times we heard potential advertisers say "I really like what you guys have to offer here but I want nothing to do with the NHL at all during the lockout. Frankly they can go (words deleted to protect the children.)"

And so we struggled along. We did a wage rollback across the board but didn't let any writers go. We scrambled and sold off organs to fund the burn until the season came back and then we waited for our advertising partnership to start ramping up again.

In our subsequent chats with the EJ they made the very rational observation. "The local market for hockey related advertising is still in the doldrums. We will continue to do our best to move units for you guys but it is going to take some time for things to recover."

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

"Time for things to recover?" That's all very well and good for a publicly traded media congolomerate with private planes, private executive washrooms and DVDs of Howard Stern's "Private Parts" on every table in the building. But for the Nation Network - a double dog dare turned into a blog turned into a beer - we have no such luxuries.

And so we took the massive gamble of ending our advertising partnership with Post Media back on June 1. That is kind of like quitting your job in Green energy investments to do hockey blogging and other internet jiggery and throwing your entire future down the toilet.**

We rolled the dice and undertook the very risky play to sell our own advertising in house and set about looking for a sales executive. In the meantime your ol' pal Wanye and Co set about selling advertising ourselves and hitting the mean streets of Edmonton advertising proposals in hand.

What makes us think we can do a better job than a building full of sales professionals at Post Media? Passion we suppose. Passion and determination and a lack of brains. While we combed the internets, retained head hunters and offered everyone wearing a suit within 100 miles an interview we were able to land 5 new advertisers and kickstart growth again.

We are very grateful to these advertisers for their support.

AND THIS BRINGS US TO TRASH

You may have noticed that we now have a "negative props" or a trash button on the site now allowing everyone to give the big ol thumbs down to any comment they see fit. This was something we long held off on doing for fear that it will turn into a 24/7 flame war with everyone trashing everyone and calling for permanent bans on the biggest offenders.

Yet "branding a trash button" remained on our list of things we could do to run cool advertising campaigns for advertisers. So one day we sat down and made a list of commercial waste disposal companies we could approach with the idea and got to steppin.

And amazingly the first company we approached thought it was a great idea. The guys over at Construction Waste Disposal saw the value of the concept straight away. "As a company that operates commercial trash bins there are few opportunities to brand ourselves in a memorable way to Albertans. The idea of a trash button - people trashing something and seeing the CWD logo afterwards - is a hilarious idea and reinforces the connection between our company and trash. It's our business and we take it very seriously. Will this campaign result in more awareness for our company and more revenue down the road? Only time will tell. We are thrilled to give it a shot."

AND SO HERE WE ARE

 

The 2013-14 NHL season approaches and it is a make it or break it time for the Nation Network. Coming off a lost season that saw more money lost than Blockbuster Video in its final years we are fully in control of our own destiny. We have finally found the Sales Executive to take us to the next level and he starts on Tuesday. NationHQ is ramping up on the back end with Kent Wilson, Thom Drance and Jon Willis leading the way and getting our content ready to be the top of the pops in the coming season.

We have some deals on the table to add some amazing writers to the other sites and some opportunties in radio and podcasting are back on the table. We are finalizing a deal to buy a website and nearly double our traffic overall. And who knows you may even hear your ol' pal Wanye chitty chatting away in our squeaky pre-pubescent voice in the near future.

Anything and everything will get a good look in our quest to make the Nation into a powerhouse business. This means 100 writers under contract, 100 million pageviews a year and $200k to Edmonton charities annually. Rather than allowing things to recover naturally we are going all in and publicly stating our goals on a website that now gives people the ability to trash what we are saying and will remember our words for all eternity.

We can't overstate how much appreciate everyone reading our sites, buying our gear and paying 1% attention to our ads. 

We here at the Nation Network are ready to go.

*Zing

**See Gretz, Wanye circa 2009.

09049f03ecb006ab29372206f2a88f75
Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#51 Buttonpusher
August 03 2013, 09:28AM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Props
13
props

I can trash AND props a single comment?!? Wow that's hilariously stupid! This is going to be a gong show!!

Great marketing idea though! Well done Nation Network, well done.

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#52 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
August 02 2013, 11:14AM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Props
4
props

I wish the props and trash buttons were a little bigger. They don't quite jump off the page and straight into my retinas enough as it is.

Solid addition though. Props.

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#53 SmellOfVictory
August 02 2013, 11:31AM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Props
6
props

Somewhat unrelated (and unwarranted, since I'm an evil Flames fan) but you're an awesome dude, Wayne. I mean that in the most sexually intimate way possible.

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#54 ubermiguel
August 02 2013, 02:05PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Props
5
props

What a creative idea in micro-advertising.

Beware the trolls that will try to get as many Trashes as possible as a twisted badge of honour.

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#55 G Money
August 02 2013, 03:43PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
4
props

Maybe you could find a stage props company to sponsor the props button?

Or a propellor-making company?

Real estate company? (i.e. PROPertieS?)

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#56 elite_idiot
August 05 2013, 04:42AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Props
2
props

Sweet!

Sorry, but I had to trash everyone's post as an inauguration for such a feature.

I wonder if I could trash my own post...

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#57 match16
August 02 2013, 11:51AM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Props
8
props

Has everyone forgotten about Dany Heatley?

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#58 I tried it at home
August 02 2013, 11:59AM
Trash it!
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trashes
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props

Im thinking Dennis Garbagekoff should be the next Captain of the great and storied Edmonton Oilers. Thank you, and try the fish

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#59 rubbertrout
August 02 2013, 01:46PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Props
7
props

@Rocket

While I miss the Enders of yesteryear and am nostalgic for the way things used to be when there weren't that many of us posting, by the same toke I'm happy that the site has grown into the success that it is.

It took real stones for these guys to evolve this into the place that it is and if the downside to their success is having a few more trolls online then so be it. Whenever a site gets bigger the level of discourse goes downhill to some extent. It is inevitable.

Just remember the good days and when you see someone trolling then trash the ever loving hell out of them.

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#60 Kevrock
August 02 2013, 09:59PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
4
props

First job of new Sales Guru I hope is replacing stinky Lexus background with a more suitable Canadian brand.In a seriousness though, Glad this is growing for everyone involved!

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#61 Mantastic
August 02 2013, 11:51AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
19
props

for canucks army they should have it called the Riot It! button instead of trash.

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#62 Rocket
August 02 2013, 12:26PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
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props

@Young Oil

Totally. I've been a fan of this site for years but in the last 6 or so months it has got a little to troll friendly for my liking. This new trash button, while a good idea, seems to exacerbate the problem.

You're right though, this is a good site for (somewhat) intelligent conversation about The Oilers so I hope we all keep the site classy.

This isn't about having thin skin and not being able to take criticism. Most people here are pretty awesome. I just don't want this site to turn into the TSN comment section where nothing intelligent seems to happen.

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#63 Roy
August 02 2013, 11:57AM
Trash it!
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trashes
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0
props

TL DR

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#64 DieHard
August 02 2013, 12:23PM
Trash it!
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Young Oil wrote:

First of all, thanks for having one of the best blogs in Edmonton, and all the work that you do. But honestly, I can't say I'm a fan of the negative props button. Before it was implemented, I thought it would be a good idea, but after seeing the results, with about 95% of comments receiving more 'trash' than 'props', I personally think it could do more harm than good to the website.

I completely respect and understand the choice, and doing it for revenue and advertising opportunities is a good reason, but from another perspective, it could really affect how readers view the website.

While the idea of negative props is a good one, people who automatically trash a comment seems to already be becoming a problem. I'm not sure if it's because they do it for their own amusement, because their own comment got trashed, or simply because they think any opinion except their own is garbage, but the fact of the matter is, it is consistently happening. I don't know if it will change in the days and weeks to come, but early signs show the odds are against it.

For me, the main problem is that people comment to get their opinion out there, and naturally want to get a positive reaction. However, seeing people trash everything may make people hesitant about putting their opinion out there, or saying something controversial. It discourages intelligent debate and discussion, which for me is one of the main reasons I visit the site on a regular basis.

Now, I know I'm just one reader, with one opinion, and if I'm in the vast minority, I know this single opinion won't change anything. I completely understand wanting to do what you think is best for the website. But I just wanted to share my opinion, that the 'trash' option makes me less likely to visit the site and comment.

I agree with you. Previously, I would have just prop'd you but now it seems rather pointless. I thought I'd reply instead. It always took a good comment to get someone to prop you and that was a good thing. Now, people are just clicking prop/trash because Oiler Fan. Maybe the novelty will wear off soon and the props and trashes will become more reflective of the actual comment. I hope so.

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#65 Dangilitis
August 03 2013, 02:55PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
4
props

Oh. I thought it was to show DSF that, contrary to his beliefs, no one agrees with a word he has to say...

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#66 I am the Liquor
August 03 2013, 08:41PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
1
props

Need to get to work on the steaming pile of crap option- complete with porta-potty service logo!

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#67 Dr Philosophy
August 04 2013, 02:22AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
1
props

Speaking as a reader of only FN, I can honestly say the blog is carried by one or maybe two guys. Didn't fire anyone during the lockout? That's the equivalent of not using a compliance buyout because "its not the way to do business" or some other such fiddle-faddle.

I like what I read, even and especially because I think it's wrong most of the time. The blinkered "advanced stats" stuff is fun to read and the aforementioned writers can hold a tune worth listening to in a "live music tonight" sense.

Kudos for going it alone. This is AB, after all: land of the milk and honey of career opportunity. Go drill that Oil! heheheh

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#68 Jimmycrackcorn
August 04 2013, 08:42PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
2
props

@gongshow

Agreed!

I have no issue sharing all the his stuff on my Facebook page.

Happy to help spread the good word!

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#69 The Keystone Garter
August 14 2013, 07:50PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Props
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props

I was telling a friend, my father used to put a belt, a stick, a wrench, and a video of the last Bomber game on the kitchen table and say, "Choose". My friend replied his dad hit him with a wrench, and my friend forced a smile. I did an about take and glared at him for a few seconds, then continued: "I used to go with the Bomber game, cuz **** him, that's why!!". My friend started to whimper and cried. He was lost in his own world. That piece of trash ruined my joke.

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