Whoa, okay… I hope the title of this article didn’t startle you!
This isn't so much an announcement as it is an open letter — a way for us to share with you some things that are going on behind the scenes. While nothing is going to change for Adventure Gamers in the near term, we are currently looking closely at the longer term future of the site. It might be unusual to talk about this publicly, but I think it's the best way for us to figure out what happens next.
I don’t quite know where to start, so maybe I should just jump in the middle: Adventure Gamers is in need of a new owner.
I started Adventure Gamers over 16 years ago. While I’m not as intimately involved as I was way back when, I have always been around to play the role of owner and ‘webmaster’. Editor-in-Chief Jack Allin and the writers are focused on the site’s contents (and in this area the site has totally been Jack’s baby for many years), while I’ve taken care of the technical and commercial aspects of the site. Or at least, that used to be true. More recently, I’ve just not had enough time to spend on the site, and after 16 years my passion has admittedly run a little dry. It’s been obvious for a while now that I’ve been holding the site back more than I’ve been helping it.
At first blush the solution might seem easy: just step aside and let someone else have a go. However, the search for a new owner is complicated by the fact that Adventure Gamers is currently neither a fully community-driven site nor a fully commercial one.
In case you didn’t know (and I know some people are unaware of this!), nearly all the participation in AG is contributed for free by people who enjoy the chance to help cover a genre of games that they love. We could never have so much new content every month without the help of our team of amazing volunteer writers, nor have a functioning community without our volunteer moderators.
At the same time, the ongoing demands are such that the site needs to have at least one fully paid editor or administrator, and ideally one of each. There simply has to be someone who can keep things moving and coordinate everything on a day-to-day basis, on both the editorial and administrative fronts. And so right now, Adventure Gamers exists in a grey zone between being volunteer-driven and professionally run.
This obviously has implications for the future of the site. Does it continue essentially the way it functions today? Does it become part of a larger commercial entity? Or should it revert back to its earliest days of being a community-based fan site only?
That last option is, in my opinion, by far the least desirable. Realistically, the only way the site can continue to be updated as frequently as it is today, and at a similar quality level, is for it to remain professionally managed. But there are some 'ifs and buts' when it comes to passing the site along to any new management.
Firstly, what is required is an owner who sees the potential in Adventure Gamers as a site covering just adventure games. Some interested parties I spoke with privately did not want to keep the site adventure game focused, and that just doesn’t seem right.
Secondly, it’s also important that any future plans for the site are respectful of its history and community. Both the adventure genre and this site have flourished over the years, and it's of vital importance that all the hard work that went into the site is fully preserved.
That said, a new owner would have to revitalise the site to some degree and redevelop its revenue streams. Historically, Adventure Gamers has generated revenues through direct advertising, affiliate sales, and formerly a game download store. There are also two different third-party companies we know of that are interested in providing Adventure Gamers with a fully integrated game download store (one that would be much better than our own past attempt at building one) which could bring in reliable monthly revenues if implemented.
As far as traffic goes, the site currently receives around 120,000 unique visitors a month, though it's easy to see it reach a bigger audience with improved forums and increased attention to search engine optimization (due to time constraints, our SEO currently receives almost no attention at all). With a Moz domain authority of 52 (if you're wondering, that's just a little stat for web development geeks), Adventure Gamers sits on top of an amazing foundation.
Ultimately it may be that we have to re-think Adventure Gamers and make it much smaller and more slimmed-down, essentially abandoning its position as a significant online magazine to become community-oriented. However, that's clearly not the best outcome, so I'm hoping that by making my intentions to step aside clear, we'll be able to figure out a much better plan. We’re essentially open for anyone to pitch their ideas which fit the basic criteria I've outlined above.
If you wish to get in touch, you can do so via e-mail (my address is [email protected]). This also goes for general feedback on the site; feel free to let us know what brings you to Adventure Gamers, and what you'd like the site to be in the future. (We've enabled comments on this article.)