I’ve had an interesting relationship with Splashpress Media over the years. You may recall that several years ago I was blogging for them, then I supposedly took over running the joint with Scrivs and – err – Franky.
That is until sometime in late 2009/2010 (I can’t remember exactly when it was now, and I can’t be bothered to trawl back through Twitter) when Franky threw one of his hissy fits at the same time as going into overdrive, and told everyone that I (basically) wasn’t up to the job of running SPM.
This was after only a few months. The straw that broke the Franky’s back? It was along the lines of me not writing an article or report over a weekend that I’d been given about ten minute’s notice of.
I always knew that Mr B — after his last blowout when in charge, storm-out-of-Splashpress, leave everyone in the lurch, come back and somehow hold Mark Saunders to ransom a few months later — wanted to be “in control” again, and he got his way.
Yes, apparently my lack of drive meant that the sites weren’t going to progress at an acceptable rate. The flagship acquisition – 9rules – would languish and die, apparently.
So, with me out of the way and the bold Franky in charge, things must be really good at SPM right now?
Of course they are. Let’s take a look.
The first thing I noticed is that I’m still the editor of several titles, like Daily Bits, despite the fact I was struck off around two years ago.
9rules? That must be sparkling, right? Well, the members forum seems to have disappeared. The last “weekly highlights post” was in June 2011. 9rules appears now just to tick along, automatically scraping RSS feeds and doing sod all with them. Community? Yeah.
How about Celebrific, the site that we had big plans for. Now, I’ll admit I’m not really into the celeb scene, and I know it’s quite a tough market to do well in. How’s that doing? It gets one post per day if we’re lucky. Heck, it was doing more than that before we took over!
Forever Geek does look quite healthy. It had a big makeover and it looks good. It has some great writers and perhaps it’s Splashpress Media’s flagship.
Filmsy? More flimsy.
Apple Gazette is being admirably run almost single-handedly by the excellent Robin Parrish. We had also given him Erati to work on, but that too seems to have slipped. I can hardly blame the guy — he looks like one of the few holding together multiple sites and running out of time and energy. That isn’t how it was supposed to be.
So, I must admit to feeling a little sorry for Mel Panabi. He’s been involved with Splashpress in the past, so presumably he has an inkling what he might be letting himself in for as the new community manager:
He has now rejoined us as a full time team member and will be covering a variety of blogs in the tech and entertianment [sic] channels [sic] such as Apple Gazette, 901am, Celebrific and Filmsy. He will also be account manager for our MyBlogGuest profile and responsible for all guest posts on SPM properties.
Mark, I really hope you are paying Mel a decent wage for all that lot.
Splashpress has often been accused of buying properties and running them into the ground. This time, can we hope that things will be different? Will the “A list” SPM blogs be injected with new life? Is the new look network page, with its 6 channels, a blessing or an administrative ball-and-chain?
SPM outlines its own problem (though of course, it’s not labelled a problem) in its announcement of a partnership with ManageWP:
“The entire umbrella of Splashpress Media covers well over 700 blogs so this will a crucial time saver for us!”
While claiming to have 700 blogs may not be factually inaccurate, I wonder how many of those sites are healthy, profiting, spam free entities that an owner would be proud of?
SPM is also planning to launch Forever Geek Forums. Oh yes, I seem to remember we were trying to launch those two years ago.
The only saving grace (until such a time as he returns, which unfortunately seems to be one of those inevitabilities alongside death and taxes) is that Franky appears not to be holding the reins any more. At least, not all of them. Whether Mark still has a puppet-master remains to be seen.
You can read this article as sour grapes if you like. The fact is, I always believed in the potential of Splashpress Media — I’m not in the habit of taking on projects that I can’t see any hope of. The trouble is, the network seems to keep changing direction, jettisoning talent, and spreading itself too thin.
I’d love to see just a handful of SPM sites really excel (At least there’d be more juice flowing to Recipe Finder when they pimp it). Will it happen this time? Let’s watch.