February, 2005

Shakespeare Resource Center screen shot from February, 2005

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Well, here we are in a new year with a slightly improved site. The SRC is getting ready to celebrate birthday number eight, and it's been far too long since I really weeded the garden, so to speak. While the design itself has been holding up for far longer than I ever would have guessed, certain aspects of the site have been in need of repair. Unfortunately, my life outside this website—and believe me, it takes precedence—had, over the course of 2004, precluded me from even the most routine site maintenance.

For instance, I discovered sometime last November that Commission Junction, who ran my affiliate account for the History Channel, decided that they were just going to shut down my affiliate account. Thanks, by the way, to the thousands of visitors who never thought twice about ignoring the History Channel store. You may notice that it no longer exists. That's what earning roughly $56 and change over the course of two years will get you. So, off that went.

Speaking of missing money, the site will most assuredly no longer be paying for itself since AllShakespeare.com decided that it was going to stop paying referral commissions, which seems to include the deal we negotiated for sporting text links on the play synopses. It's still a good site, so I haven't ditched the links or anything like that, but there went the meal ticket, so to speak—at $300 a year, it was paying for the site by itself.

Also, the "News and Reviews" feature on the home page started running advertisements for things like dating services and other stuff that made it less than appealing toward the end of 2004. That has been replaced by "Will's Quote o' the Day," over which I have complete control. It also pretty much runs itself, which means I don't have to worry about what's going to pop up next.

Finally, I decided in the midst of doing link updates and such that I needed once again to do my annual quest in search of language and criticism links to add to the SRC. This is when I discovered that the Web is beginning to eat itself. When you type in "shakespeare +language" into Google and see your own website come up first (out of 3.98 million results!), you know you're in trouble. But the good news is that I ran across a number of new criticism resources.

That's what led to the latest revision, which is most notable when you're visiting the play synopses. Every synopsis now sports a "Commentary & Resources" highlight, which provides links to study guides, criticism, and other useful source material on the respective play. It's amazing how one thing leads to another; the whole process took about eight hours of work that I never intended to spend.

In parting, I've got a couple of notes. Searching "Shakespeare" on Google now returns roughly 14.8 million results, and the Shakespeare Resource Center comes up no. 7 on that list. The number of visitors keeps growing; in 2004, the SRC had over 900,000 visitors for the year and served nearly 3,000,000 pages. Thanks to all the visitors who have made this site one of the most popular on the Internet. And to those handful of you who felt compelled to e-mail something really goofy, profane, or just plain nasty, I'm having fun at your expense on my personal website.

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