Three years ago this week, DrydenWire.com went live. Although we are still in our infancy stage as a media outlet, it’s important to take a little time to celebrate what we have accomplished over the last three years. As we celebrate our anniversary week by sharing with you some of our history, numbers, fun facts, and what the future holds for us, we are also giving away a 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV! (See below for more information)
- Monday: Origin (1-5)
- Tuesday: By The Numbers (6-10)
- Wednesday: Fun Facts (11-15)
- Thursday: What’s Next (16-21)
21 Things You Might Not Know About Me: DrydenWire - Fun Facts
11 - Fun Fact #1: What’s In A Name
When we were in the early stages of production we discussed what the name of our media outlet was going to be. We had many ideas and discovered it was exhausting coming up w/ a name, therefore, we chose NewsToday as a ‘working title’.
Halfway into production we looked at this again and decided that since one of our core values was fluidity, we didn’t want to be tied to “News” or “Today”. After all, as we mentioned in or Origin portion of our 21 Things on Monday, our readers would/will drive the bus. So if after a year we wanted to switch from “News” to something else, well, we couldn’t since “News” is in our title.
We looked at this again about 2 months before going live and wanted to incorporate the word “Wire”. Definition: An electronically transmitted service providing up-to-the-minute news stories, financial market updates, and other information. This would be akin to BusinessWire, APWire, NewsWire, etc. We had several ideas but landed on “CommunityWire”. However, similar to the aforementioned concerns, we didn’t want to be tied to a “Community” if we wanted to maintain our fluidity. When someone asked Ben: “Who’s Wire is it?,” he replied, “Well, mine I guess”. Since BensWire sounded stupid, DrydenWire was the logical choice. Though the name has presented some challenges, it was meant to be and are very happy with it. (Note: BlackBoard was going to be the name but the domain BlackBoard.com was already taken. Had it not, that would have been our name).
12 - Fun Fact #2: Survey Says?
In the summer of 2015 before our Launch, Ben Dryden did a straw poll of family members, community members, and business owners. He explained the concept of DrydenWire.com and that it would also be free. He then asked them if they thought this is a “needed” business for our area. Of the 100, 98 said it wouldn’t work. The three most common reasons why not were:
- “We already have newspapers and people are used to that”
- “People around here won’t read news on their phones or a computer"
- “It’s not sustainable if it’s free.”
The two that said it would work? Ben’s mother, Diane, and Ben’s girlfriend, Jerusha.
Ben married his girlfriend shortly thereafter.
13 - Fun Fact #3: Show Me The Money?
By January of 2016 - our 4th month after launch - revenue generated from our advertisers grossed $300 for the entire month. This was split 4 ways: $75 to each Ben, Diane, and Holly, and $75 back to the business. It took us 7 more months before we were able to gross $1,000 in a month. We knew the first year or two were going to be rough and, boy, was it ever. But we knew if we kept working hard and stuck to our values, advertisers and revenue would come.
Today, DrydenWire is just now breaking even on a monthly basis (including paying back a lot of debt for that first 1 and 1/2). We are able to start paying down that debt thanks to Google Ads. Yep, they are annoying sometimes, we get it. But that is what put us over the top to start making changes and updates to our website (more on that in tomorrow’s “What’s Next” portion). A lot of work goes into publishing DrydenWire.com every day, and to remain free, yeah, you’re gonna see some Google Ads as well.
Although financially the first year was challenging, we look back on it fondly now as a sort of right-of-passage. We are what we are today because of that perseverance.
14 - Fun Fact #4: "It’s 'Its' Not 'It’s'"
In 2016 our website did not have ads at the bottom of articles/posts. Every week, Ben would put a picture of a Llama at the bottom of at least one story. You would have to scroll waaaaay down to see it but not one person has discovered this. Ben got the idea after reading that the TV show Seinfeld would either reference or have in the background, something about Superman in every episode. The Llama came from the PC game: SimCity. After switching to a different server and incorporating local advertisers at the bottom of articles, the Llama photos were discontinued.
Needing something new, in 2017 DrydenWire.com published a story that had the word “it’s” when it should have been “its”. We received a very strongly-worded email about this from a community member. We made the error again the following week and received a second email. From that point on, and for the entire 2017 calendar year, at least one article per week Ben would purposely use “it’s” instead of “its”. By the end of the year the “it’s ‘its’ not “it’s” emails from this person stopped - and so did we. We still will use the wrong version from time-to-time because, well, its the simple things in life make us smile. :)
In 2018 we have incorporated a new fun thing. However, nobody has caught on or noticed it as of yet.
We already have our fun thing for 2019 planned.
15 - Fun Fact #5: I Don’t Think So Folks
DrydenWire.com was contacted by an intermediary representing a group that wanted to buy/invest in DrydenWire.com. Always keeping his options open, Ben had several discussions with “the group”. The proposed idea was to keep DrydenWire.com doing what it had been doing - with Diane writing features and Ben doing his thing and have the title of: “Editor”. Financials were discussed, concepts were discussed, but when Ben found out that he would lose creative control over DrydenWire.com and that he would be required to adhere to “the groups” direction on what to post more or less of, he immediately scrapped the idea and discussions ceased.
In our experience, the more people in a room trying to make a singular decision only complicates things and even seems to make people dumber. So yeah, I don’t think so folks.
How to Enter Giveaway
You can enter for the giveaway up to 4 times - one for each of the 4 articles you share on Facebook. If you do not use Facebook, you can share the article(s) on Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “giveaway” and copy/paste the article URL in the body. On Friday, we will publish all 21 Things and include the announcement of our giveaway winner.