Usenet dwellers, lend me your expertise.
April 8, 2008 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I created a website that "tracks" Usenet related software. Whenever a new revision is announced, I list it along with a ChangeLog. But I'm having trouble finding the right community to market it to. It seems that most Usenet people tend to keep to themselves. Is this a crazy niche that I should abandon, or does it have real merit?

The website tracks newsreaders across all of the major platforms - as that's where my interests are. I'm also trying to keep it from being a "binaries only" site (but there's not a lot of development being done on text centric newsreaders).

I've made postings on FileSharingTalk, Slyck, Usenet itself, and a few smaller websites. I've been organically "Stumbled" once, and I've tried taking an ad out on StumbleUpon.

I'm receiving about 50 hits a day.

It strikes me that the service would be useful, but after running it for a month an a half, and not really gaining very many readers, I'm questioning its usefulness.

(I'm not sure if posting the actual site is allowed. So I'm going to err on the side of "No". It's in my profile if you'd like to look. If I am allowed to, I'll post it in a followup.)

posted by lowfi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Abandon. Not that it doesn't have merit, but it's just not going to gain traction. It is pretty niche, so I'd say set your sights elsewhere.

SABnzbd and other tools are pretty standard for the audience, and well, the first rule about Usenet is you don't talk about Usenet.

Not that I'm talking about Usenet or that I ever have used it...
posted by cgomez at 3:01 PM on April 8, 2008

Best answer: I can't see the point. I'm a Usenet user (text only) and have been for over a decade, and I've never needed the service you're providing. I have the newsreader I like. Every now and then I'll poke around and see if there's a newsreader I might prefer, but I just go to macorchard for that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to both of you.

As someone who is interested in multiple clients on multiple platforms, it seemed liked a handy thing to have around. And it seemed perfectly suited for an RSS feed that people would subscribe to.

I'll probably hold out for another month to see if anything changes, but I greatly appreciate your input.
posted by lowfi at 7:22 PM on April 8, 2008

We have text ads for non-premium users, though we've never really done much with it aside as favours to a few select people. I'm not sure you'll get much interest, though; surely it's not hard to track development of a client, and there's plenty of sites which track a lot more than just Usenet clients?
posted by Freaky at 8:04 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: Well, right. But the idea was to track the development of multiple clients. And one place to watch them all.

I personally use Newsleecher on the PC, SABnzbd and URD on Linux, and igrabnews on the Mac. And I'm also interested in a few text based news readers.

It sounds like I may be the only person out there that has similar interests.

Sometimes I just like to see what's going on with all the various clients. ala Even if it's not a program I'm directly interested in.

I also thought that it might introduce people to a new application.

I'd eventually branch out into dedicated reviews, and so forth. A clearinghouse of Usenet related information.

I'm aware of the first rule of Usenet. But my gut tells me that we're going to see an influx of users in the coming year or two.
posted by lowfi at 8:31 PM on April 8, 2008

I think it's pretty cool, actually. But I'm probably kind of a rare user; I have Mac, Windows, and Linux workstations, and I have the latter both as text-only and X11 systems, and I'm enough of a malcontent to always be looking for a better piece of software than whatever I'm currently using. But I'm not sure how many people there really are out there.

Because I think the site is handy, I'm certainly loath to tell you not to continue updating it ... but I think you're marketing to a very tough crowd. It might take a very long time to catch on and develop a userbase. I guess what I'd say is that you should only continue doing it, if you're comfortable just putting the information out there on the off chance that someone finds it useful, or that it'll be useful down the road to have all the back entries there.

I think some of the most interesting stuff you have going on is actually on your Wiki (esp. the newsreader comparisons, which you're right in saying don't get done too frequently or thoroughly); I question if a Wiki is really the best format for it. I think they'd do just as well as blog entries right on the main site.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:00 PM on April 8, 2008

> But I'm not sure how many people there really are out there.

Uh, I mean people like that. I'm vaguely aware that there are a lot of people out there in general. Supposedly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:01 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: @Kadin: Agreed on the wiki being the wrong format for the usenet client review. The wiki predated the blog site by a couple of weeks. And I was more comfortable with wiki syntax and formatting. Now that you mention it, it might be a good candidate for extending out to a few more clients and moved over to the blog.

I'm a software malcontent as well. Which is why I used the Freshmeat analogy. I browse their RSS feed every day religiously. I'm always looking for something new and interesting.

I guess, boiled down, this sort of site is good for anyone either curious about how other people do things, or the chronically unsatisfied. Or both. :)

I think most people who have an interest in a site like this are going to benefit mostly from the RSS feed.

(It's nice to have positive and negative reviews of the site. Not that the reviews were negative...well, you understand what I mean.)

Thanks again, everyone.
posted by lowfi at 9:14 PM on April 8, 2008

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