First Trax :: Daily News
Bzzzt, Fritz, Sizzle...BOOM!
02.12.13 09:52 AM
Today's normal morning update that ALWAYS covers ALL of the wonderful news of snow, slopes open and daily notables will be replaced for TODAY only with this brief announcement that we're alive and well here at SkiSoutheast.com land!
What are you talking about, you ask. After all, we haven't gone anywhere. The website has NOT been down. All of the webcams that are meant to be running are running. We STILL have links to every ski resort in the region and thanks to Herb Stevens, Joe Stevens, Brad Panovich, Kenny Griffin and Tonette Fisk we provided lots and lots of photos, videos and news on Monday about all of our ski areas. In fact, we were THE ONLY resource that covered every single ski resort in the region on Monday (and every day for that matter) with the accurate temperatures, slope openings, news, events and more.
Let's cover the only REAL technical difficulty and then I'll address a perceived one. If you'll look around any and all pages of SkiSoutheast.com, ResortCams.com or any of the weather websites we broadcast including not only HighCountryWeather.com but 20 other weather websites such as SnowshoeWeather.com, DavisSVWeather.com, BeechMountainWeather.com, etc - you'll see that EVERY advertising spot says "Advertise with Us".
10:50am: Update: We have temporarily toggled ads to be invisible rather than defaulting to "Advertise with Us" as we are all but SOLD OUT for the season. Ads should begin showing up during this week.
One of our industry insiders emailed someone knowledgeable about our productions and asked, "What do you think about SkiSoutheast.com? Nobody's buying ads?"
A business owner who DOES advertise with us emailed on Monday about how misleading we were to sell ad spots and then not run them...instead opting to place "Advertise with us" all over the websites.
No, this is NOT me...although I'll bet my face is about that color!
We placed an announcement Monday, however EVIDENTLY some of you don't look at announcements every day, so instead we'll take up some valuable website real estate and place it here.
As of sometime on Sunday, February 11th the advertising program that we use to serve all placed advertising on SkiSoutheast.com, ResortCams.com and HighCountryWeather.com began experiencing issues.
They are aware of issues with their servers and are working to remedy them. Currently all spots are showing a default "Advertise with us link". We appreciate all of our advertisers and sponsors and as soon as OpenX's programming issues are resolved all ads will go back into circulation. At that time we will add whatever "down time" has taken place to the tail end of your advertising contract. We'd expect that this issue will remedy itself momentarily. However IF not, we have already explored a strategy of switching our cloud ad servers over to Google. In any event we'd expect a resolution soon.
Thanks for your understanding.
We are STILL updating all of the important stuff like the SNOW REPORT, PROVIDING REAL TIME WEATHER, WEBCAMS and more! So be sure to go and check out the videos, photos, snowfall totals, weather forecasting and keep up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and over on the messageboard. We're alive and well, thank you very much!
All of our advertisers ARE STILL FEATURED within our Trip Planners so we're still pushing traffic...
In fact,thanks to our growth in traffic, outreach, weather network of meteorologists who use our LIVE CAMS and our sponsors we had our best advertising revenue generating season ever!
As many of you may know, we considered three offers to sell the website this past off-season and instead opted to take things up a HUGE PEG and thanks to a great marketing department consisting of Cherie Grambow, Blake Heller and Matt Snyder we had our BIGGEST SALES SEASON EVER. Thanks to Kenny Griffin, Adam Goudelock, Tim Salt, Sean Blankenship, Lauren Style and Jim Eleczko - a phenomenal support staff of designers, programmers and content developers we have been able to offer even more day-to-day interactive news and content than ever before. Thanks to Brad Panovich and Herb Stevens (with input from Kenny Griffin) we have THREE METEOROLOGISTS on staff who have been providing us with the best weather forecasting in the history of the website.
Thanks to Joe Stevens and our ski resort owners, CEOS, COOS and management teams - we've had unprecedented participation from the resorts themselves. We still have a few ski areas that have not done anything with us this season...but that's probably more our fault than theirs. In fact, only two ski areas really don't like us and I think you all know who those are. (Some things never change...no matter how hard we try.)
However, things are great and we're all enjoying life here within our "little pond". Our LEAST visited day thus far this season was this past Saturday when a combined 17,384 visitors came to our little network of pro Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resorts websites. So far since October 1st we've entertained more than 3,216,000 visitors and displayed more than 19,000,000 pages to those visitors. Those numbers represent a huge growth over last season with nearly 30% of our visitors this season being NEW - so we're growing our audience outreach as well. We're on pace to see more than 8 Million Visitors this calendar year!
We've implemented some new features over on ResortCams.com including a new Twitter account. We have much more planned to keep you entertained year round...so look for those tweaks soon.
Last month we had SO MANY visitors hit ResortCams.com that it cost us more than $1000 in bandwidth overage fees. We have an AMAZING arrangement with our server farm in that we have an unheard of bandwidth allowance. So for us to be hit with more than $2000 worth of overage fees in the last 45 days was unexpected. I guess that's what ya get with popularity!!!
We decided to experiment with some tweaks to see if we could minimize the number of people who were coming on the website and simply "camping out" on LIVE STREAMS. We saw a number of people logging onto a cam and simply leaving it running all day which has never been the "plan". Outfits such as USRelay and VisaStream charge $450-$600 a month to stream LIVE STREAMS that are about half the size of our HiRez videos and nowhere near the quality...and yet we are hosting these streams at ZERO TO HALF the costs of other video hosts.
That said, we made the decision to place timers on the cams to simply STOP the streams after two-to-three minutes. Visitors who wanted to continue to watch would simply have to click the PLAY button again to start the stream. No problem, right?
All of a sudden we began getting emails from people claiming that the cameras were broken, not working, etc, etc. Not so. One click and they could see the LIVE STREAM again, but evidently we've come to a point in our society when clicking a play button is simply not acceptable ;-)
Truth be known our bandwidth didn't see a drop and our CLICKS went through the roof because evidently there were ENOUGH of you who figured that it wasn't too much to ask. However, the sqeaky wheel gets the grease as they say and after an inordinant number of complaints...we made the decision to take the times off and eat the costs for now.
So this latter situation was not a technical difficulty, but a perceived one.
I think I've about covered everything so...check back tomorrow for the usual ski and snowboarding talk. We have some winter weather in the forecast for Wednesday and into the weekend so stay tuned for the latest.