Over the course of the last 12 months, the site has grown from quite literally nothing to having around 40,000 unique users a month. That's some real good brie.
Admittedly, a lot of those users are confused Americans who spend an average of 15 seconds before clicking elsewhere, and we're still tiny compared to the bigger sites, and we have big weeks and quieter weeks, and we're still shrouded in the cloud of nonentity-ness next to the Jim Sterlings of this world... but I'm rather proud that the spirit of Digi managed to rise from the ashes. Especially after my years in the relative wilderness.
However, the anniversary seemed like as good a time as any to take stock, and rattle things up a bit.
Early on, I thought Digi2000 would be an occasional thing, possibly leading to some sort of Digitiser retrospective book. You all told me you'd rather it was a daily site, and that you were willing to fund it. So that's the road I strode along.
The thought of being paid by individuals, rather than an employer or organisation, was completely alien to me, so I'd wanted to offer a whole bunch of stuff to those who sponsor the site through Patreon or Paypal.
Among those were regular videos, but it was apparent over time that interest in the videos was waning, as I ran out of general things to talk about. Also, from talking to our sponsors, it was pretty clear that they were just happy to support the site. Having Digitiser back, in some form, was enough for them, it seemed.
As I've done so many times before, I can't thank them enough for their generosity. Everyone who has supported this site from the beginning, or kindly given us a one off donation, should be applauded not only by me, but by everyone who enjoys the site. It's because of them that you get to read Digitiser2000 every day without having to put your hand in your pocket, or tolerate a load of ads.
Consequently, by way of rewarding their faith in me, I've gone out of my way to offer as much content as possible on here - above and beyond what I'd promised. I think, for the most part, the stuff on Digitiser2000 has remained pretty damn good. Particularly since my day job commitments eased up after the summer, I really do feel like the site has been on a roll.
I go through phases of wanting to do more stupid stuff, or more serious stuff - I'm in one of the latter phases at the moment - but I feel that the honesty in writing what I want to write about in that moment, however I want to write about it, is part of this site's appeal.
Looking at other games journo types who are supported through donations, few of them offer rewards, and I think I've made it pretty apparent that I will always go the extra mile in ensuring there's stuff to read on Digi. I suspect I offer more daily content than most.
Consequently, one of the changes I'm looking at making is taking away the tiers whereby I pledge a certain number of updates per week depending on how much money Patreon brings in.
Fact is, as we head towards 2016, I'm starting to get busier with other stuff again. Alas, I've not managed to raise enough funds through Patreon to look upon Digitiser2000 as an ongoing concern full time. I've done my best to make it that - especially in recent months - but at some point I'll have to start prioritising my other work again, as I was having to do earlier this year.
I love writing for TV, but I also love the freedom and immediacy of writing for Digitiser2000, so it's a hard to choice to make.
Nevertheless, whichever of those is going to ensure my mortgage gets paid is going to win out in terms of my time - though I've genuinely been having anxiety nightmares over the last week about letting one or the other down...! I hope you can continue to trust me that there will always be stuff worth reading on here whatever happens.
The other thing I'm getting rid of is promising regular video updates for Patrons. I've not done one in ages, and nobody seems to care. Plus I'm already updating the Digi2000 YouTube channel a couple of times a week, and have never felt wholly comfortable with hiding stuff behind a paywall. If Digi2000 is going to continue to grow, I think it's important that my energy goes into offering stuff which helps facilitate that.
Our YouTube channel might not get all that many hits - indeed, it seems less popular than it was at the beginning! - but I really enjoy doing it, and think that it offers something different. I'd love to hear in the comments what you'd want to see from me in terms of video content.
That said... I do intend to offer occasional spot benefits to our sponsors.
Our higher tier supporters all received a free t-shirt, 16,000 words of a book I'd started writing was given to our Patrons, and something else we're going to be doing - probably over the next week or so - is giving all of our sponsors a brand new edition of The Man's Daddy's Book of Popular Comedy jokes.
It includes hundreds of jokes which weren't in the previous edition, and content that is exclusive to the new version. It's very silly indeed, and I love it, and it'll go to all our monthly sponsors who pledge $2 (about £1.50) or more a month.
Nevertheless, given that our Patreon sponsors have dipped of late - we've gone down beneath $1,000 for the first time this year, unfortunately - we're having to think about other ways to fund the site, and justify the time it takes.
I'm now writing for Techradar on a weekly basis, in return for a generous plug, and though t-shirts have sold well for us - thank you to everyone who bought one - that's probably not something that we can make much money from on an ongoing basis.
Something I'm also toying with is putting the aforementioned new edition of The Man's Daddy book on sale as an e-book, for anyone who doesn't want to sponsor the site on an ongoing basis. I'd love to know if that's something people are interested in. Please comment below if it is.
There are a few other things I'm considering, which might also help support the site. Among these is still doing some sort of book. I'm not sure I've enough readers to be able to crowdfund it, so it might be something I'd offer as an e-book, or print on demand. Or I might look into chasing a publishing deal. I've a couple of different ideas I'm toying with.
One of those is a history of British games journalism. The other is taking ten or so games that have meant a lot to me, and using that as the backbone to a sort of personal history of British gaming, as I experienced it. Again, I'd love to know if there's any interest in either of these - and whether they're something you'd be interested in. And therefore worth my time.
Lastly, after the success of the Play Expo talk I did, I've considered putting together some sort of event - a sort of Evening With Mr Biffo/Digitiser type of thing, with a strong focus on games and stupid stuff. I've enough anecdotes and scandalous stories to easily fill an evening, but we could look at make it something more special than me just rambling on.
Anyhow... Enough. If you fancy supporting us through PayPal or Patreon, you know where the links are. Either way, your feedback on all of the above is invaluable. I'd love to hear your ideas as to how we can keep Digi2000 going into 2016 and beyond. And thanks again for reading, supporting, sharing, spreading the word, buying a t-shirt, and tweeting. Every little helps.