After I wrote my post about some bloggers disappearing, one blog I mentioned showed signs of life — then signs of death. I’ll tell you about it in this Friday bonus post.
I told you that The Minimalist Path wasn’t being updated and looked like it was disappearing. Soon after, I found out that David Damron, the creator of the site, had “sold” it to a guy named Rick. (I put quotes around “sold” because this has not been announced on TMP, and I’m not certain it’s the right way to describe the transaction.)
I feel compelled to speak out about the changes at TMP because I liked the old site so much, and I dislike the direction it’s now taking. I also feel a slight need to admit my participation in the new direction there as a way of freeing myself from it.
I mourn what it once was, and I recognize that it is now an example of how wrong a blog can go. I know a lot of my readers are also bloggers, and I present TMP as an example of how to kill your blog.
I contacted Rick offering my help, and my guest post, Four Steps Along Minimalism’s Wide Path, was the first in a series from both experienced and somewhat inexperienced bloggers to appear on the revamped site. I was told to write 600 words — longer than David’s usual posts — and I complied. I was more than pleased to participate in the resurrection of one of my favorite blogs.
But it didn’t really go all that well.
When my post ran, a huge, full-page pop-up was programmed to take over the site after you had been there for a few moments. (It’s still in place now.) Even worse, the advertising interfered with the site’s DISQUS comments system (I really don’t like DISQUS), causing the post to get very few comments. And I was only able to get through to respond to comments once or twice.
I was a big supporter of David Damron and the original TMP. David wrote concise, thought-provoking articles and presented them in a nice, simple format. Ricks says he plans a redesign, but for now, the site is a how-not-to example of pieced-together design, non-existent copyediting and half-broken advertising links and pop-ups.
While these problems can be called teething troubles, I don’t like the idea of turning a site aimed at minimalists into something that is unapologetically and heavy-handedly commercial. Many minimalists include some type of advertising or promotion on their sites, and that’s fine with me. But an inexperienced blogger taking over someone else’s message and commercializing it isn’t as fine with me.
While TMP hasn’t gone radically commercial yet, more commercial posts — like product reviews — are planned.
Other than a somewhat popular domain name and the list of RSS and email subscribers, I’m not sure what Rick has purchased. Everything that was once TMP is going or gone. A commercial site written by a rotating team of writers with varying skills and ideas that will soon look different is not at all like what was once on that domain.
Of course, my hands aren’t clean since I participated in this relaunch of TMP, but unless the trend toward commercializing the site is reversed, I’ve washed my hands of it.
I admit that I guest-posted for Rick because I wanted to take advantage of David’s email and RSS audience to promote this blog. That benefits this community by enlarging the number of commenter who contribute to our conversation.
But I wonder how many of David’s subscribers have now been scared away by the new direction of TMP. Have you been?
Gip Plaster is a web content writer. Previously a journalist, online bookseller and even a corporate advertising guy, Gip now specialize in writing high-quality content for websites — his and other people’s. Visit Gip’s Front Yard (www.gipsfrontyard.com) too.
You can count me in that group. Checked it out once or twice in the past couple weeks and have not been impressed.
Sam recently posted An E-Book Redesign and Sale
I’m not surprised that TMP’s changes don’t sit well with you either, Sam.
I really liked TMP and thought it was a model of how to do this right, and I’m genuinely sad that it is now doomed. There’s time to turn it around, but I don’t see how that can really happen.
count me in, I have been increasingly feeling uneasy about the direction TMP has taken …..I think there is a loss of connection with us readers/community –
Sadly I don’t think the new owner is listening- as you can see with the comments – well those that get through
Alex, I think inexperience is the primary problem at the new TMP. The owner isn’t a writer and doesn’t seem to want to be, so I don’t see how it can work.
It’s ashame to see a good site in decline.
When I visit a site and that pop-up shows up to subscribe by email to receive a free eBook, a huge red flag flies in my face. I question whether I really want to follow through and read this blog anymore, because past experience has told me that the pop-up is going to show up constantly, regardless of whether I have cookies turned on or not. Having the eBook listed in a side-bar is more than enough to catch my attention without turning me off.
James, I agree. Pop-ups are spammy. You can argue about whether banner ads and other website advertising belongs on blogs about simplicity and minimalism, but I don’t see any way to defend pop-ups. They’re designed to annoy you into taking an action rather than to persuade.
Thanks for commenting. It’s always good to hear from you.
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