The end of WinCustomize

...as we know it...

By on January 6, 2009 7:03:31 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1110

The new subsription drive has started...

This is a site that gets 90,000 visitors a day.  And today it's gotten 9 subscriptions or renewals during the subscription drive. $260 down, $49,740 to go in about a month to re-do the site.

There are two different visions for the site. Let's call them the community versus commercial views.  I'm on the commercial side.  Zoomba/ID/jafo are likely on the community side.

We've estimated that the new site is going to cost around $50k to make.  Stardock is going to pay for anything that the community doesn't come up with. But in return, the more Stardock pays into it, the more say it's going to have on the design.

I'm pretty sure that the core skinning community is no longer big enough to pay the bills and that's fine. Skinning has become one of those ominipresent things that, because it's not a niche, doesn't really have a strong core following like it used to. It has millions of users but relatively few who really care about a "skinning community" any more than people really care about a core World of Warcraft community. Skinning is everywhere these days.

The new WC, the commercial one, will be radically different than the WC we have today.  First, the S-corporation that runs WinCustomize will get disolved and become part of Stardock Software (which makes WindowBlinds, Object Desktop, etc.).  

Second, WC will be funded out of Stardock Software's marketing budget. 

Now this may sound bad but let's face it, most people come here for Stardock related content.  When this site started, programs like Winamp, Hoverdesk, WinStep, ICQ Plus and others were pretty significant.  Today, it's pretty much all about WindowBlinds, DeskScapes, IconPackager, wallpapers and a that's about it.  

The community won't disappear but obviously the site will become much more Stardock oriented and the days of WinCustomize as a quasi-independent entity will come to an end.

See what we have in mind: http://forums.wincustomize.com/335824

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January 6, 2009 7:08:42 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Makes a lot of sense to me, a business has to be able to adapt to the climate.

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January 6, 2009 7:12:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Gone.

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January 6, 2009 7:22:42 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

...well it might be a good thing if it happens.... as long its not a big AD for SD, that will only put users off and ofc if SD owns Wincustomize it will also have a big responibility to make it even greater and the cash to make it so..... i hope

And if i can speak frankly, remember the path that led to 90.000 visitors a day is not wrong and a tweak is probably all it needs to meet the future head on.... remember Frogboy without the community it wont be as many happy days at SD anymore and without "wincustomize" our happy days wont be as many either, both parts benefits of a mutual compromise.

Stardock have great support and a great connection to those who uses it's products dont make it all about the benjamins that would be a step down.

I will still be here making skins eitherway unless you guys have something completely different in mind??

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January 6, 2009 7:36:07 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

i dont completely understand the thread..darn insomnia. i come to WC for the skins for xion, the misc icons and of course WB. hope these sections will remain intact .this little community is a great place to hang out... as i stated previously, wish i could contribute by buying a subscription, but circumstances beyond control force me not to. 

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January 6, 2009 7:44:09 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Gone.

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January 6, 2009 7:48:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Sitting here and reading this, sad is definitley one of the emotions I feel quite strongly cos as the post says.."The end of Wincustomise"...that to me spells doom, doom for the site which I have grown to love in the very short time I have been a member of it, for people like me and my Father, its been the personal touch that brought us here and kept us here, the people is what this was about for us, and obviously the fantastic software and the authors who use it, but I also understand that without money, nothing runs.....its just once the boardroom takes over this site, things will never, ever be the same, it will be a site where you come to conduct your business with Stardock and then leave, no checking in everyday to see what the crowd, the family is up to.......I dunno I understand where all this is coming from, I just hoped that it would never happen here, how stupid can one be, or maybe I am reading too much into this post by Frogboy, its just that the title sounds so ominous and then when you read the post and take in the hard cold facts.....I see it as it is, definitely the end of Wincustomise as a family unit....its JUST BUSINESS after all isn't it....Damn, Damn, Damn

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January 6, 2009 7:54:48 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Gone.

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January 6, 2009 7:56:18 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

you mean..no more forum?

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January 6, 2009 7:56:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I don't know what to think, but then again I guess it wouldn't matter much at this point.  Can you be more specific when you say more Stardock oriented?

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January 6, 2009 8:03:50 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I don't think the forums will vanish completely y'all.. as it stands its already a fairly small forum and small number of 'locals' compared to some other forums and many folks come... and go..  sounds more like a consolidation of the two entity's... No one died.

On top of which, seems to me that the number of actual skinning \ customization posts have dropped dramatically over the past year or two.

 

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January 6, 2009 8:07:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

you mean..no more forum?

well getting a forum up and running does not require 50k pretty much anyone on a limited budget can have a forum.....

And i think it would be in SD own intrest to have a forum... its a great and inexpensive way of support, new ideas suggestions etc. and we all work like beta tester.

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January 6, 2009 8:13:22 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

without the community it wont be as many happy days at SD anymore and without "wincustomize" our happy days wont be as many either

As Brad said, WC as we know it today won't be around....however WC will still be here. This is where the community needs to show it's support for WC. Object Desktop, it's auxilliary apps and the games they produce is Stardock's "cash cow". This is what keeps Stardock afloat. WC on the other hand most likely costs the company a boat load of money. I'm sure the maintenance costs and bandwidth alone cost a lot more money than what the subscriptions are bringing in. In order to survive, companies must conform to their environment and adapt to changes.

Let's face it....as mentioned, the skinning world has changed significantly throughout the past several years. It was programs like Hoverdesk, Beatnik, and EZPop is how I actually stumbled upon WC. Windowblinds was in it's extreme infancy. Cursor XP, Object Dock, and several others didn't exist yet. Today, the primary focus is WB, IP and a couple of others. DesktopX is still struggling to catch hold despite the incredible power this program has to offer.

I'd be willing to bet Brad's outlook on WC as it is today would be a lot different if it was an entirely self supporting entity. I don't think you'll see a lot of change from the "community" aspect of things. The core jokesters and talent that come here regularly and really make the forums what they are will still be here ('cause here at Hotel WC, you can never leave!, and my Zubish to English translator has told me so!). So this is where we need to step up. Doing the math WC is looking for about 1670 subscriptions/renewals to hit it's goal and about 90,000 visitors a day....hmmmm......

Don't worry Tails.....you can't get rid of us that easy!!

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January 6, 2009 8:17:44 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The forums will remain as they are today.

But the non-stardock sections of the site will likely be no longer visible by default (they'll still be around).

Most people don't realize that today, WinCustomize is actually its own S-corporation (Stardock Media, Inc.) which is run independently from the rest of Stardock. The "community" has a large say over how the site is run, what content is maintained, etc.

Assuming the subscription drive fails to pay for the new site, what will happen is Stardock Media will become part of Stardock Software and Wincustomize would be run by Stardock's marketing team instead of by a community lead.  

The new design is going to be web 2.0 and the GUI Champs site is serving as a lot of the base tech for the site (though not the layout).  I think you'll see a lot fewer ads for google and such but you'll see a lot more promotions of things Stardock is interested in.

I also think you'll see more migration to Impulse with getting skins and themes and such more about using Impulse to obtain and manage them but I'm just speculating.

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January 6, 2009 8:19:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Gone.

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January 6, 2009 8:19:41 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

well getting a forum up and running does not require 50k pretty much anyone on a limited budget can have a forum.....

It's not the forums that cost the majority of the money....It's the database structure, and all the proprietary programming that IS WC. Let's face it....no "out of the box" software can handle and/or provide anything close that Wincustomize does.

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January 6, 2009 8:21:03 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Wouldn't that make WC more like "Impulse Lite"  

I fear most benefits of a WC sub will be gone as it will become a corporate supported entity.

On the plus side,will that make it possible to bundle ODNT Ultimate or other SD software with a WC sub?

I still plan on renewing my sub in Feb. anyway.If it's going to be the future,so be it.

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January 6, 2009 8:21:15 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Do what you gotta do but anouncing a subscription drive the same week as announcing "huge" changes does seem a bit sketchy. I undersatand the need for changes , I'm just saying there is a big contradiction there.

If the new site functions like the GUIC site I don't think there will be many people around anyways.

 

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January 6, 2009 8:21:21 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

WC introduced me to great apps such as xion and WB..both which has brightened my daily life. xion has brought back my love for blues music and WB's tweak of the OS has made my friends who arent WC members intrigued if not jealous.

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January 6, 2009 8:27:10 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

hope you're right Mickey

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January 6, 2009 8:28:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

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January 6, 2009 8:29:38 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Remember folks He did say if the sub drive fell short.

The way I read it is, the more money they have to put out, the more WC will be altered to fit Brads idea of a commercial site rather then the semi independant site WC has been over the years.

Even then... look at Impulse community and the gaming sections. They still have folks chatting it up in those SD run communities. So I dont imagine We will be run off.

Tho,I would be interested in having a better idea of what Brads Vision would be for WC.

Just saying More commercial like is pretty vague. What changes will be implemented if SD does Take a larger part in the goings on in WC ? will there be less categories? Will the mods be replaced with Paid staff? Will people still be able to submit skins? Will there be voting and comments on those skins? Would People still need to subscribe? Will it be more like a store?

Also I do Imagine SD will make sure anyone who subscribes to WC still gets their moneys worth.  Brad and the crew have made thier mark's by building a buisness on customer service and giving the masses more for their $. I doubt this will change.

 

 

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January 6, 2009 8:30:24 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'm sure the maintenance costs and bandwidth alone cost a lot more money than what the subscriptions are bringing in.

Yet wincustomize is a big promoter for stardock products people pay cash and then make content and SD it self does not produce much content for their own software compared. Changing it to radicly would be a bad buisness move imo. And as Brad said the money will come from their marketing budget.. so i guess he sees it somewhat like that. People pay for the software to use whats on wincustomize.. symbiotic.....

It's not the forums that cost the majority of the money....It's the database structure, and all the proprietary programming that IS WC. Let's face it....no "out of the box" software can handle and/or provide anything close that Wincustomize does.

I was answering AKA... what i meant was if people got together and just wanted a forum it isnt really a problem...

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January 6, 2009 8:30:30 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Let me re-post this.  I have two kidneys and only need one.  Anybody know someone who wants to buy a kidney?  Awe, nevermind.  I just realized I'd have to take time off of work to have the kidney harvested...I can't afford that, either.

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January 6, 2009 8:30:38 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Great post HG

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January 6, 2009 8:34:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

what i meant was if people got together and just wanted a forum it isnt really a problem...

Very true my friend.

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