Well, shit. Yesterday indie web ad network The Deck shut down. John Gruber, whose Daring Fireball was a founding site, wrote a beautiful post-mortem last night. The network simply couldn’t stay afloat as web publishing goes through its current upheaval. Social is eating everything, including ad revenue. It’s frustrating, but not surprising.
I always aspired to be a member of The Deck. When this site was at its most productive, it was a part of the InfluAds network. Later I switched to Fusion Ads. Both operated on a similar principal to The Deck: one well-designed ad per page. But then BuySellAds, which operates the Carbon network, scooped both up. Under BuySellAds I watched Fusion’s payments go from a small monthly pittance to literally nothing. So I cut ads entirely.
The candler blog turned eight last week. I often joke that I started the site right at the end of blogging but got stuck with the name because the domain I wanted wasn’t available.1 It’s quaint, in 2017, to have a site with blog right in the name, but I don’t plan on changing it any time soon. Blogging is so old now that its detractors have set their sights elsewhere; writing on your own website has become old media.I don’t know what the future of publishing is. Medium thinks it has an idea, but, uh…they’ve said that before.
Social is gobbling up time, attention and traffic. Once it was a boon to the open web; now it’s an alternative to it. The biggest loss is not that sites like this one may shrivel up, it’s that the next wave of writers won’t even consider owning their own little slice of the web.
The Deck going away is a loss made all the more frustrating by the fact that there isn’t really an alternative to it. Writers will always find a way to write, though. My hope is that the next generation of writers will find a way to put their words on the web on their own terms. Social doesn’t offer that. Blogging always has, and always will.
Hint: just remove “blog.”↩