Ladyfisher
Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

May 11th, 1998

Changes and Good News



This has been a terrific week. As you check the website this week, you will notice some changes. Some are changes in the look of various pages, changes have been made to make the site easier to navigate, and more 'user friendly'. Other changes have been made to make the pages load faster. We have also done a lot behind the scenes. Things which hopefully you won't see, but will make it easier to get to Fly of the Weeks items and the past Chat Room Tying sessions. We appreciate your comments and input on all we do here, you will also find a new page where you can contact us. This is your, website, and we do read every email and comment sent to us.

The Premier Issue of a new magazine hit our mailbox this week. This is sent to every fly tackle shop, sporting goods shop, manufacturer, and supplier in the fishing industry. Fly Fishing Retailer is a quality magazine, (trade journal actually) which should help the industry regain some of the ground some claim it has lost the past couple of years.

One of the articles in this issue is on technology, and an article titled, Build Your Own Web Site. It is a well written introduction for shop owners especially those who may not be computer friendly much less computer literate. It also has the basics of what it takes to have a successful and profitable website.

We were shocked - and absolutely delighted to find an review of Fly Anglers OnLine in the new Fly Fishing Retailer magazine. The section is called "Net News," and the review was under the heading "Sites We've Fished". Forgive a little bragging on my part, but I want to share the article with you. The following is quoted directly from the article:
"Fly Angler's OnLine is a weekly on-line magazine created by fly fishers for fly fishers and, as such, serves the consumer well. The presentation is entertaining and easy to navigate. There are articles from guides, book and video reviews, gear reviews, reader commentary, fly-tying tips, casting instruction and more. The publishers of the site claim: "From the novice up through the ranks to the seasoned angler, each of us could improve our skills, learn more about the issues affecting our sport and have a place that provides honest information on products we are considering purchasing. This Web site provides this information . . .and more." Well, from what we could see, it did provide what they claimed, right up to the more part. What about links to other fly-fishing sites they feel are important - such as nonprofits, stores, companies with neat information? Apparently, Fly Angler's Online wishes to remain a fortress of information with only one way out."

Our sincere thanks for the review. Unfortunately the reviewer didn't catch our TU link on our main page, but he is still correct - we will remain a fortress of information. We have offered the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) a link from our front page. That was two months ago, with repeated phone calls and email. They have not yet responded. While we do not not have a links page, we do include links in various articles where they are relevant. If you have found a good source of fly fishing information on the Web, don't hesitate to share it with me. As time permits we will include those sources on a special page, called Reader Recommended Links.

Finally, I welcome the opportunity to let you know about Friends of Fly Anglers OnLine. If you haven't noticed there are no flashing banners - or "buy me" clicks on this web site, take another good look. Frankly I feel advertising is so overdone on the web, just like television commercials, we tune them out. We (me for one) don't read them. And the blatent manner they are used, takes away from whatever content is supposed to be there. We made the decision before this Web site was ever "on air or live" there would be no banner ads or flashing "buy me's" here.

As long and JC (J Castwell) and I are the heart of this Web site, it will be as it is now, more like PBS, quality not commercials. If you are familiar with your local Public Broadcasting Station, you know they have fund raising drives several times a year. In fact, JC & I "bought" tickets to a recent concert in Vancouver BC through our contribution to one of our local PBS channels. While we differ from PBS because we are not a non-profit organization, the premise is the same. It is costly in both time and money to produce this website. We do have a few underwriters - companies who feel we are contributing significantly to the sport of fly fishing. We believe others will join them in time.

Some of our readers asked how they could personally help. Well, "send money" didn't quite seem like the proper thing to reply. And we felt having a personal connection to this site by receiving something back that identified people who wished to support the sight as "Friends" was proper. Where will the money go? Fair question. Web sites create bills. Keeping a site on an Host Server costs money. Adding hard drive to speed up the loading time of a site, and properly maintain information logs, cost money. Eventually FAOL will own it's own Server which will still be hosted by a commercial server. We have very loyal writers for this site who should be paid. They continue to write for us because they feel this site is a place that appreciates what they have to say. And it is. Your comments and readership - and our growth because you tell your friends about it - are proof of that. It is not our intent to get rich producing this site, but we would like to be able to pay some of the bills the site creates from proceeds from the site.

We hope you continue to be our friend - and enjoy the information we present each week, whether you become a Friend of Fly Anglers OnLine or not. We are here because: if we don't do it - who will? ~ LadyFisher

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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