"Why don't you cover the Orlando theme parks?"

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 1:30 PM | comments: 0

I had a question the other day asking why, in light of having CoasterBuzz and PointBuzz for two decades, I don't cover the Orlando theme parks on the Internets since moving here. That's not unreasonable, but the age of the existing sites, and the time that has passed since, may give you some ideas.

First off, 1998 to 2000 was like the wild west of the Internet. It was all on desktop computers, there were no smart phones, and frankly anything you did on the Internet was either for the first time or among a small number of people to do it. There were no platforms at the time, or social media. In other words, someone of average ability like me at the time could create something and have a pretty good chance to make it useful or successful. There were also a ton of companies selling advertising that desperately wanted to put ads on your site, and that was rewarding. I actually built my own ad serving software just to manage it all. Yeah, those were crazy times. Even in the recession that came after 9/11, I made enough to cover my mortgage while being laid-off, and that was while paying for a $1k Internet connection in my home, where I had my own web server.

A lot has changed since then. The Internet is ubiquitous and everywhere. It has unfortunately relied on applications instead of the web itself. Platforms and algorithms rule, and they don't really surface the best things. Google and Facebook are an advertising duopoly. There aren't many new ideas. There is just so much... noise. Starting something now is an uphill battle, and probably a full-time job. What's worse is all of the peripheral things you have to do to self-promote, which is a job on top of the job. It's not enough anymore to just make great content and see it rise.

But for all the practical reasons I wouldn't want to start something right now, there's the reality that two decades have passed and I'm not the same person. In 2000, I was a 20-something driving and flying all over the place to ride roller coasters. By 2006, I was divorced and my priorities had changed. I still enjoyed the coasters, but I wasn't traveling as much to ride them, in part because I was traveling from Cleveland to Columbus most weekends to visit my vet school girlfriend at the time. Only three years after that, I got married again, moved to the nearly coaster-free Pacific Northwest and had a baby. Life had changed quite a bit. These days, I'm content to ride whatever my kid is willing to ride, and I'm fine with dark rides like Rise of the Resistance or Mickey and Minnie's Railway. I'm not "into it" like I was then, and going to the local theme parks is more a function of proximity than it is enthusiasm. Well, with the exception of the Epcot festivals, because of all the great food and drinks. It ain't for the rides!

The bigger part of this was that even in that transition period 15 years ago, I was tired of not just enjoying the moment and experience of visiting these places. I spent so many years where I was documenting stuff for the sites and it was exhausting. Especially with a little family, I'm not interested in doing that. I'll still go to a media event now and then, and I'm happy to tweet some photos or whatever, but I mostly want to live in that moment.

The better sites seem to also be underwritten by a travel agency, which makes a lot more sense and allows you to be comprehensive and have people to create stuff. I am generally of the opinion now that making content for the Internet is not a very enjoyable, let alone profitable, thing to do. If I were to endeavor to do anything now, it would involve asking for money in exchange for some service.

So that's why I'm content to not cover the mouse or the whale or the Comcastic parks.


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