It has been four-plus years since I first launched GunShyAssassin.com, and today, I have some unfortunate news I must report.
I have made a tough decision that has ultimately been a long time coming, and will no doubt bring a smile to many smug fucking faces out there, much to my chagrin.
This spring, when the site’s registration is set to expire, I won’t be renewing it.
Until then, I will be updating the site as much as I possibly can, as often as I can. But when the domain expires with GoDaddy this May, the site will go dark.
I’m sorry if this news disappoints. Go ahead — call me a quitter! Go on…do it.
I hate like hell to be making such an announcement, but the truth is nothing has been the same for me since Chris Adler (you know…Lamb of God’s drummer) decided to pull his association from the site. The day he told me he would no longer be participating in the Adler Chatter column, a part of me started giving up.
Much more than that, though, there are a number of legitimate reasons why I’m shutting the site down.
For starters, over the last few months, my actual job as a newspaper reporter has been keeping me entirely too busy during the day to post metal news while it is still relatively fresh.
I’ve had this same day job since 2011, and miraculously, I’ve somehow managed to balance both the demands of that post with my duties as the site’s editor and main contributor. However, that hasn’t been the case lately, and doesn’t look like things will be changing anytime soon.
Secondly, the site’s content management system (fucking WordPress) has been behaving rather wonkily for more than two months. I have researched the problem and it apparently stems from a conflicting plug-in — an issue my web developer has been unable to pinpoint or resolve.
In short, the issue is this: columns and news posts now literally take anywhere between 5 to 15 (and up to 20) minutes to actually publish to the site. Before this frustrating WordPress dilemma, the same process took less than a minute.
The third reason I want to outline is the site’s obvious lack of growth.
It saddens me to report this, but over the last year, GunShyAssassin has basically plateaued. Instead of seeing surges in Facebook and Twitter followers, the site’s social media pages seem to have become stuck in place.
For every follower they seem to attract, one or two others will stop following the site.
Additionally, for nearly two years now, Facebook-generated traffic for the site has waned tremendously, as I’ve been unable to keep up with some of the other blogs out there that pay Facebook daily for more exposure.
The truth is, if you don’t pay Facebook to “promote” your site’s posts, significantly fewer people end up seeing them in their timelines — even if they’re followers. Hence, some of the stories I post only make the timelines of only a few hundred.
The site’s libido-like state — especially over the last year, which basically saw only a few sudden surges in traffic here and there — has succeeded in eroding a lot of the passion I once had for running GunShy.
Now, what was once something I looked forward to doing every single morning and something that gave me pleasure and even a little bit of a thrill, has become a fucking burden — a stress-inducing chore with no more rewards.
The last reason I’m shutting things down is the juice. And I am not talking about the football-playing murderer.
There’s an old saying: the juice has to be worth the squeeze. I have honestly never made more than $300 in one month running the site, and for years, that didn’t bother me. Keeping the site updated was more about being heard and being honest, with fervor and humor. But as I have gotten older, I’ve come to recognize time’s value.
To make the site better, I’d need to invest significantly more time in it. I’ve already invested innumerable hours and untold dollars trying to keep it going and keep people coming back. But I simply can not justify doing it anymore.
The juice isn’t worth the squeeze. If I make $75 in a month from advertising revenues, I’m legitimately thrilled. I can’t devote more precious time to something that’s stalled out, by all accounts.
When I first launched the site, I didn’t have a job. It had been a couple of years since MTV News let me go, and some months after Noisecreep showed me the fucking door. I was freelancing but struggling.
At launch time, I imagined a day when I’d be able to run GSA full-time. I was so determined to match the successes that were being enjoyed by the blogs my friends were all running and I was filled with hope.
But shit just never happened the same way (although, the first two-and-a-half years did see rapid growth for the site).
Sadly, the only thing I’ve actually succeeded in doing with this site is alienate myself from people I used to call friends while pissing off scores of bands, several different management companies and almost all of the metal labels and publicists.
The greatest compliment bestowed upon the site during its existence (other than talented dudes like Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach, Mark Hunter from Chimaira, Revocation’s Dave Davidson, Shadows Fall’s Brian Fair, Battlecross’ Don Slater, Full Blown Chaos frontman Ray Mazzola, Skeletonwitch’s Dustin Boltjes, Patrick Shannon of All Else Failed, Insomnium’s Ville Friman, The Funeral Pyre’s John Strachan, Jesse James Madre from Tiger Flowers, and Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad agreeing to write columns for it) was that GSA was sort of a Bill Hicks amid a sea of Dane Cooks.
That kept me going for a while, but it just isn’t enough to keep me going anymore.
I once dated this chick who would always refer to GunShyAssassin as my “hobby.” It would piss me right the fuck off. I considered running GSA a job, because for the longest time, the site looked to be on its way towards solvency — and potentially capable of keeping the old bill collector’s at bay.
Now I know she was right.
I’d say I was proud of this hobby of mine, and for making some small impact on the metal scene with the site, but I have too many fucking regrets at this point. I will say that I have made many new friends through the site (you folks should know who you are).
Some part of me thinks the scene needs a site as surly and unfiltered as GSA. Another part of me feels like no one really cares.
In my opinion, the problem is that there are so many fucking stupid (and largely corporate) metal blogs out there that the market is literally overrun with them. And sadly, there are only a handful that the labels will devote their feeble advertising budgets to.
Those same sites also receive the lion’s share of the exclusives — the song streams and the video premieres — and are the only ones that are ever fucking asked to sponsor big tours and festivals.
GSA is not one of those favored few.
That fact has made it even more challenging to try to promote the site over the last few years. I can wholeheartedly say that practically every exclusive I ever ran on the site I genuinely had to fight for, and that sucked. I’m tired of fighting.
I’m burned out. I’ve got nothing left in me. I just don’t get any enjoyment anymore and I can’t bring myself to beg for any more help from metal labels and publicists, who’ve already decided they’re only going to deal with the same five or six sites.
Additionally, I have to be truthful: My overall passion for music has diminished rather significantly. Perhaps my diagnosed depression is to blame but it has been well over a month since I’ve downloaded any of the free new albums I’ve been sent by the labels.
I can’t even remember the last time I turned on music to listen to. It’s been months since I’ve been to a live show. It feels like it’s been years since I’ve actually wanted to go to a live show.
I’m just done.
I’d launch a crowd-funding campaign to save the site if I thought it’d be successful or if I had anything tangible to offer anyone. Plus, I’ve been so critical of crowd-funding campaigns in the past that I could never start one in good conscience.
Seriously, folks — I have done everything in my power to get new people reading the site, to produce content that people would share with others. But I continue to come up short. And I can’t do it anymore.
So, let’s try to have fun between now and May, OK people? I promise to try and piss off even more people and burn even more bridges before the curtain finally closes on this thing.
And to anyone who ever blasted the site, ignored my emails, talked shit about me personally, or otherwise sent bad vibes my way the last five years (and you totally know who the fuck you are), you can go suffocate in a vat of boiling, AIDS-carrying semen.
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