Looking Back on My Career as a Hip Hop Web Publisher, Pt. 1

I ran multiple hip hop related sites for the last five years before selling the two big ones and putting the others on hiatus.  A couple of these sites provided info services (press releases, new album reports).  Though the press release site was often disrespected by hip hop bloggers who would link to articles at other sites that were simply press releases with a writer's byline added, it got plenty of traffic and links and was one of the ones I sold.  The albums site rarely got linked to from people who I know were using the service but had a core following that kept up closely with the site.

Since shutting them down I've been hearing from folks who now realize that, under the new owners, the press release site will never be what it was and they now see that nothing like that exists anymore.  But the strongest response was to shutting down my new albums report whose core audience was devoted but never linked out.   That lack of links and acknowledgement was part of the problem keeping it smaller than it should have been and limiting possible income so that I was doing that one for less than $1 an hour by the end!

As I debated shutting that down, I got multiple comments and emails from people who thanked me and encouraged me to keep going but never really supported the site.  One guy even said he used it every week as a source of info for his site and praised it highly.  I searched his site for links to the albums report and found none at all.

I did get a couple of people saying they would link to me and help publicize the site but it was too little, too late.

I'm not saying these were invaluable services to the world but they were solid professional services for a niche audience that mostly took without giving.  At some level, it gives me a perverse pleasure to see their after the fact responses but mostly it makes me sad.  More importantly, it's a reminder to support and appreciate the things that one finds important or even simply useful in the world because when those things are gone, I'm starting to see that they're rarely replaced.