2015 has been an emotionally exhausting but ultimately rewarding year for the team here at The Daily Banter. For those of you who follow us closely, you will have noticed some significant ups and downs — from the evolution of the Banter Members program, the launch of our digital magazine ‘Banter M’, to the loss of two brilliant writers (Bob Cesca and Mike Luciano) — the year has been interesting and challenging to say the least.
As all independent media outlets know well, running a high-quality site that doesn’t churn out hundreds of top 10 lists to drive traffic is immensely difficult. We have hundreds of thousands of readers visiting the site every month, but this does not translate into big ad money. We have relied on third party ad networks to keep afloat (and believe us, they don’t pay well), and our members have essentially kept us going with their generous contributions. The result is a somewhat volatile existence that basically requires us to work all hours of the day to keep traffic up while maintaining the thoughtful quality you hopefully see here on a day to day basis. This isn’t to complain — we love what we do here at the Banter — but it requires nerves of steel to steer the stormy waters that seem to get more and more treacherous as the internet evolves.
Despite the never-ending battle with Facebook algorithm changes that randomly decimate our traffic, the fickle ad game that punishes high-quality publishers like us, and ever changing social media trends, we are still here, still publishing day-in, day-out, and still saying whatever the hell we want. And we plan to continue this in 2016, but with more vigor and a better platform to do it from. So over the next few weeks, you will be seeing some rather big changes here at the Banter, all of which are designed to make the reading experience a million times better, the ads infinitely less annoying, our voice that much more accessible, and the experience significantly more interactive.
We will be partnering with ‘Say Media’, an innovative company that has built a publishing platform specifically for publishers like us — a beautifully designed template called ‘Tempest’ that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but integrates ads into the structure of the site, rather than the janky cut-and-paste method we’re using currently (believe us, we hate the current ads as much as you do). The result will be a far better reader experience on all devices, so we can finally say goodbye to the host of tech related issues we face on an almost daily basis.
Say Media won’t own us and you won’t see any changes in editorial whatsoever. They provide us with the Tempest platform and will sell our ad spots and take care of all technical issues. This is an enormous relief to the team given we would rather spend our days creating engaging, thought-provoking content than fiddling around with browser issues, faulty ad tags and their constantly changing price performance. We’ll probably take a hit early on as the changes roll out, but we’re hoping this should stabilize and improve our ad revenue as the site itself becomes much more solid.
In 2016, we’ll be featuring some fresh voices from the likes of Robert Covington Jr and Garland Nixon, and we are also launching a brand new podcast. The podcast won’t be exclusively politically focused and will be free for everyone (something made possible by all our members). Without going into too much detail, the new podcast will be largely focused on the insanity of modern life and how to survive it. We’ll be discussing other topics like politics, spirituality, ecology, philosophy, martial arts, sports and so on too, but mostly as they relate to the crisis of modernity — a topic that seems to be more pervasive than ever. We’re aiming to provide something genuinely interesting and useful to our readers, so stay tuned and we’ll let you know more about it sooner to the release of the first episode.
We will still be publishing ‘Banter M’ our digital mag every week, and will also be looking to add new features for members. You have literally kept us going through the difficult times, and we will never, ever forget the support you’ve shown us.
2015 was the year we faced down adversity and survived it. 2016 will be the year we get back on our feet and kick some serious ass.
Thanks from all of us here at the Banter, and here’s to all of you having a great 2016 too 🙂
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.