This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
September 11th, 2006

About Ten Years Ago

My husband and I began a marvelous adventure. Actually it began several months earlier, (but who's counting?) and it is on-going. Even better, you are part of it.

Yes, we are celebrating the beginning of our 10th year as Fly Anglers OnLine. In an Internet world where the average 'life' of a website is three months, we are really old. I was looking back over some of the articles which have appeared here on FAOL of a celebratory nature and came across one by the late Al Campbell in 2002 titled "Have We Come This Far?" Al wrote it commenting on a bulletin board topic about the number of people signed up on the boards. At the time there were 2,000. There are many times that now, but some have not been active in a while, so once we do some pruning we will have a better idea.

We do have accurate figures on how many people visit FAOL every day - about 11,000 unique people spend time here every day. The number varies, Monday when the new issue goes up is usually the hottest day. We receive 9 MILLION hits per month. I know some think FAOL is 'small potatoes' little do they know. The important thing is our readers know.

We may be old, but we don't want to be dinosaurs. We are making some major changes behind the scenes, the first visible ones are the new Bulletin Board and the Monthly Drawing. I honestly don't know if we are done messing with the bulletin board or not. I do know we will be making changes on the Monthly Drawing. The questions will probably change from month to month, the concept being we want to gather good information on what our readers are thinking, what they are (or aren't) buying, and why certain things get more attention than others. We've already asked what you would like to see on FAOL, and trust me, we are tying to sort out which things need to be done and in what order.

We will always keep the basic premise. Fly fishing is a passion anyone can enjoy - it isn't a private club. A recent article in Fly Fishing Trade magazine questioned if fly fishing could learn anything from golf and snowboarding.

"Snowboarding, at least in the early days, could be accomplished with one board, a pair of hunting boots and a winter jacket. Fly fishing's challenge is to offer a simplicity that matches the act itself, and to let anyone in the club."

Hey, we've been here doing that for the past nine years!

We think another of the reasons this site is so successful is because we do listen to you. And the other big one, is - well, let me quote Al Campbell's article:

"A lot of people have come and a few have gone since this magazine started. A few guys who had plans to get rich quick didn't last a year. A few more got busy with other things that didn't leave enough time to hang around a place that showed little or no financial return. A couple wanted to run the show and discovered that it wasn't their show to run. Most are still here, at least to some degree. The ones who stayed realized that Jim was right. At some point in your life, you need to give something back if you want to be at peace with this world.

A lot of Internet fly fishing adventures have come and gone since September 1997. The sites that were started with financial gain in mind seem to have been the first to fall. A few of those remain, but show some wear caused by a realization that they will never get rich this way. The few that continue to grow offer a reality and vision that was evident in this magazine from the start. They are giving something back. They love the sport enough to return some of the benefits to those just starting and those who will benefit from the generosity."
Congratulations everyone! Let's see what the tenth year brings. ~ DLB

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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