A year ago in March, we wrote our first State of the Blog address. Boy, does that seem like a long time ago. We were then three people, one blog and sometimes nine posts a day, with traffic at 10,000 daily visits. Now 17 people are involved, and we are 5 blogs with 30,000 visits in New York and anywhere from 1,500 to 5,000 visits in the others. And as for posting, we sometimes go a little nuts and throw up 19 posts in one day. Why? Because we believe that a calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness.* [see mission below] Because blogging home design and resources is addictive, and there's so much good stuff out there to be discovered. And because you, the readers, have been knitting a most remarkable community within these sites. There may be a handful of "official" editors, but are hundreds of "unofficial" editors who add to the sites daily, sending in tips, answering questions and letting us know when something weird is going on in a thread. More heads IS better than one. Our goal last year was to take our small, informal operation, do a better job and add more cities. Our plan for the next year is different. Rather than expand our sites, we want to expand INSIDE of our sites. The strength of the online experience has always been that the distance between readers and writer is minimal and that commenters have the potential to add as much (or more) to a conversation as the editor. While we are already one of the few design sites that actively support comment threads, we want to expand on this potential even further. Here is our plan for 2006: 1. Add registered comments and personal pages. Catching the buzz from the tremendous popularity of sites like Myspace, Friendster and Flikr we will be adding registered readers the ability to add their own pages to the blog: • Comment without entering security codes • Email one another directly • Manage your own page with profile, archived posts and pictures of your favorite chairs, rooms, colors, etc. 2. Launch the apartmentherapy.com splash page. This cover page for all the sites will not only orient new readers more quickly to where everything is and what we are about, it will also be a full feed reader and universal search for all the sites at once. If you want to read only one blog, this is it. 3. Transition AT:Los Angeles to a group run blog. With Alec Holland moving back East this summer, we are already embarking on a massive change to the LA site. Instead of looking to replace him with one editor, we are working with some of our most talented readers to create a five editor team. This is a solution that came about purely from LA reader initiative and seems tailor made to the reality that is Los Angeles. In a city as big and spread out as LA, you need a net to catch the design buzz, not a fishing line. 4. More blogs? Maybe, but honestly we need to work on advertising income more if we are going to be able to pay anyone else. If we do add any in the next year it will only happen if there are enough readers who ask for it. We have heard rumblings in the DC Area, Seattle and Boston, but we’ll have to see. We’ve also been excited about the prospect of splitting off PlantTherapy or The Gallery into daily subject blogs and the possibility of creating The Nursery, but again, we’ll have to see. Rather than a “If we build it, they will come” mentality, we believe in a “If they ask for it, we will build it” approach to expansion. Finally, as we head off into a new year, we invite all new readers to jump in and play an active part in shaping this community and praise all old readers for making it what it is today. Onward, and hope to meet you soon! All the best, Maxwell Our Mission Statement: • We believe that a calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world. • AT stands for reconnecting and enjoying your own home....however you want to do it. It stands for simplicity and modesty, but it also stands for a bit of decadence as well. It stands for doing-it-yourself and working within a tight budget, but it also stands for hiring people to help you and splurging every now and then. AT stands for finding the balance between simplicity and luxury. • AT’s goal is to raise awareness, weed out the crap, connect people to a community of resources and to inspire them to aim higher, while reducing their reliance on stuff. • AT is therefore a cross between CNN and Zagat’s, providing constant news, reviews and how-to’s so that you are informed and inspired and can find whatever you need for your home, when you need it.
The Launch Party - March 2004