AS I SEE IT 5/03/2001
One of the things about owning a wrestling website, and posting on a lot of
others is that you see why it's important to do it for the right reasons. This is
especially true given the recent problems with Internet based businesses. As a result of
making bad affiliation choices, many of the wrestling websites we came to know and look at
daily aren't around anymore.
SCOOPS and IGN Wrestling were taken out within the last two months by Snowball/IGN respectively as a result of the following economic news:
"SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 17, 2001--Snowball (Nasdaq:SNOW - news), the leading online network for Gen i(TM) - the generation of Web-centric young adults who have grown up using the Internet - today announced that it received notification from Nasdaq on April 10, 2001 that its common stock is subject to delisting from the Nasdaq National Market for failure to comply with Marketplace Rule 4450(a)(5), requiring maintenance of a minimum bid price of $1.00 per share.
In English, their stock price is going in the toilet.
Adcast and their perpetually annoying ad stripe along the bottom of pages (including PWBTS at one point) also went out of business.
There have also been rumors about the CBS sponsored Wrestleline having problems, which have (so far) not occurred.
Even 1wrestling.com is considering the option of a pay-for-news page that they control, so that they don't join the list of websites held hostage by companies either owning them or offering advertising revenue that is promised but never paid.
Blake Norton offered the following opinion in his farewell on IGN Wrestling:
"...There isn't a wrestling site on the internet that can really call itself a business; there isn't enough money on the internet for it to be a business, and today IGN was the latest company to realize that..."
Perhaps this is true. I don't intend to offer readers some sort of economic analysis of the Web. I'm not remotely equipped to do that.
But I do want to mention that it's important to get into wrestling for the right reasons.
As a fan, I think it's important to support and promote the wrestling business, especially independent promotions. Indies are the future of the business, whether or not they grow into regional territories; or just serve as a fun diversion for fans,and provide talent for the Big One (and a half), Japan and Mexico.
Additionally, I think it is important as a fan to work actively against those people and things that harm the business, ranging from the Parents Television Council and their allies to unmonitored drug use within the business to unscrupulous promoters to those within government who selectively enforce or establish rules governing wrestling, such as the New Jersey State Legislature's rules against so-called "extreme wrestling".
But I attempt to do all of that from the perspective of being a fan, not as someone "in the business". I don't do it looking to make a buck out of it. While I don't criticize anyone who does or who can, I'd suggest that they be very careful about being beholden to any company or any wrestling promotion. When you aren't in charge of your own destiny, you risk someone taking what you enjoy away from you.
Much the same is true about those men and women who work in and out of the ring for independent promotions.
Most times, those in wrestling are lucky if they get payoffs large enough to pay their gas and tolls home from the show. Still, they continue to wrestle, sell tickets, put up rings and perform any one of a hundred tasks because they have the business in their blood. To make ends meet, they work "real" jobs to pay the bills, but the business is what moves them.
I've seen D-Lo Brown, Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch, Mick Foley, Sean Waltman, Chris Jericho and Lance Storm and many others go from indies to make that bigtime. But for every one of them that the average fans knows, there are hundreds more that national audiences may not ever see. They love the business enough to continue with it as long as their hearts and bodies will let them. So they work in flea markets, junior high school gyms, fire halls and keep on trying to please crowds that may only number in the hundreds, or even in the dozens.
A year ago, when no one foresaw the near-meltdown of the Internet economy, I quoted 2kwrestling's Jon Farrer in an AS I SEE IT as saying the following:
"...There are fabulous sites that offer great fan interaction as well as your daily dose of news, rumors, and other general things. These are sites that are successful because people type that address in the box, not because of some five line plug at the bottom of a news post, linking to that site.
I guess what I'm trying to say is let's take some action. Let's stay dedicated to the sites that bring us real news, views and interviews from guys who know their &$@%, not ones that are run by 13 year olds after UGO contracts...."
Indeed, those of us who are willing to treat our role in and around the wrestling business as a labor of love, and not merely as an opportunity for a buck or an ego trip, will keep enjoying it 10 years from now.
Those who don't do it as a labor of love, and own websites whose news or columns we always thought we'd be able to read... or who work for promotions that we took for granted as always being there, will disappear; leaving us and those who newly discover wrestling in its next wave of popularity as fans of this unique artform.
In short, remember about being a fan just for the sake of being a fan.
For the Vince McMahons and others who are lucky enough, it is indeed a business. But for the rest of us, it remains a labor of love.
As it should.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)