|Cover letter from second WoW Insider application (click to enlarge)|
Update 2.3.15: Now you can save WoW Insider! Well, you can at least be a part of the next step.
Update 2.4.15: Blizzard Watch, the next venture for the staff formerly at WoW Insider, has surpassed its first three tiers of fundraising goals.
I can't even remember when or how I first discovered WoW Insider. All I know is that it was a long time ago. What I can say is since that first visit, I've returned on a near-daily basis. The Queue is something I look forward to reading every single day, and I'm pretty confident when I say I haven't missed an edition of The Queue since I first started reading. I'm one of those people for whom The Queue can be "late" if it isn't posted in the AM.
WoW Insider has consistently been a source for all things Warcraft, and really, continues to be a great source for all things Blizzard. I'd like it to remain that way. When I learned about the all-but-confirmed rumors about AOL shuttering the Joystiq family of sites, I was dismayed. I won't pretend to know about the finances that drive a decision like this; companies regularly cut services that aren't performing to standards. As far as I know, only AOL knows what those numbers look like; at least, if anyone else knows they aren't able to say.
In the corporate world, they'll look at a site like WoW Insider and determine it's value. Value, in this sense, is profit. However, a visitor to the site defines value in much different terms. I know that I'll find Warcraft news and analysis in a singular place, written by people I've grown to trust over the years. People who I consider a part of my life even if I'm not a known part of theirs. Most importantly, WoW Insider functions as a rallying place for the community where ideas can be freely shared and debated. That's value to me.
It's because of WoW Insider that I met hundreds of WoW players I hadn't known before. I wouldn't have this blog if it weren't for WoW Insider: this space began as a holding tank for the posts I submitted the second time I applied for a position at WoW Insider. I enjoyed the process of it, so even after rejection I chose to continue filling this space. The pet battling guides which brought over 1,000 visitors daily throughout MoP and much of WoD wouldn't exist were it not for WoW Insider. The hundreds of pets I've given to enthusiastic pet battlers over the last few years is a direct result of WoW Insider's existence.
#SaveJoystiq is trending nationally again.
— Adam Holisky (@AdamHolisky) January 27, 2015
I'm not going to pretend that a hashtag/letter-writing/boycotting campaign is going to give us the result we're looking for. If the rumors are realized, and our worst fear confirmed, there's not much we can say to AOL that would change their minds. We can yell "Hey! We like this! We find this valuable!" All they need to counter with is the bottom line, one that's in the red or not far enough into the black. Not profitable.
So where that leaves anyone, who knows. Until we get official word, none of us on the outside can truly tell what will transpire. However, the community does have the power to take things into their own hands should the worst happen. Sites like WoWhead, Ask Mr. Robot, Curse, Warcraft Pets, and others offer a substantial amount of a free content to the community, with additional benefits to people who pay a small subscription fee. I subscribe to, or have donated to each of the sites above because I find their content valuable and want to ensure they remain a resource for the community.
I can't say whether or not something like that would be feasible in sustaining WoW Insider for very long, if at all. But if we do have a shot at #SaveWoWInsider using our own means, we owe it to the folks there---and ourselves---to give it a try.
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