ANN should have celebrated its 4th birthday two days ago, on December 28th 2000, but somehow I didn't get around to doing it. However, I still felt like doing my usual writeup of what has been going on, what is currently going on, and how the future will look like for ANN. Read more below.
The year 2000 at ANN
ANN v2, a major update to ANN's scripts went online in January 2000, and has been in beta ever since. From its beginning, ANN v2 supported specific categories for files and websites, although these haven't been used as much as I would have hoped. In February, I did quite a lot of work on ANN's scripts, and as far as I know, was the first Amiga webmaster to incorporate an RDF file. In April, I experimented with open posting on the main page since I was away on holiday, and it went pretty well, even if not perfect.
May saw quite a lot of trouble with one advertiser. In June, my graphical counter crossed the 1 million threshold and I announced the Newsticker and ratings system, both of which didn't see a lot of success, however.
In July, my hard disk died, I had motivational problems, lost two friends in a car crash and finally found a reliable contributor/moderator, Teemu I. Yliselä. A rudimental preview system for news postings was added in late July, and in August, the former advertiser finally paid the May bill. I also worked on the scripts again and asked for new moderators, but didn't have much luck in finding suitable candidates.
September was marked by my resigning from work and returning back to school, after (among others) asking for advice on ANN. In October, I added quite a few older articles to the main article database, bringing it up to over 1200 moderated entries. Visitor numbers went up in October and November, and in December, I bought a new PC and for the first time in months, worked on the scripts again.
In the past twelve months (January 1st to December 29th), ANN recorded almost two million pageviews, with the busiest month being October (around 205,000). Around 50 Gigabyte of data were transferred. This shows how popular ANN was in 2000, in 1999 I only recorded about 700,000 pageviews.
The year 2001?
I'm not sure what the future will hold for me, the Amiga and ANN. I didn't use an Amiga for over a year now, and I'm not not entirely convinced whether Amiga Inc. will be able to succeed in broadening and reviving the market again. Still, visitor figures are either going up, or remaining stable, depending on the month, so that is a good sign. What is bugging me more and more, however, is that most Amiga companies are either unwilling to pay for advertisements, or only making offers below the already low industry average (under heavy pressure due to NASDAQ crashes and dotcom failures). That way, my income through banner adverts has suffered more and more, and that might be a real threat to ANN's future.
One thing's for sure though, I need to get more active again as far as regular (news) updates and script revisions are concerned. Amiga.org has revised its scripts, amiga-news.de is working on a rewrite too, and ANN is risking to lose ground if I don't get the main engine and all related pages up to date.
I guess I will also need to find a solution to get ANN updated more often again, since Teemu will be doing his military service starting early 2001. A first, and long overdue, step has been done today, since I finally wrote the admin scripts to allow me to moderate/edit all news via web forms, rather than having to do FTP uploads.
I guess if there is one person I'd have to thank first, it would be Teemu. In the second half of 2000, he did quite a lot of updates, and assured that the pages where updated more and more often, even when I was updating less and less often. Of course, many thanks also have to go to my loyal visitors, who stuck with me throughout 2000, and who made the past twelve months the most successful ones as far as visitor statistics are concerned.