FanWire has a completely new look.. Its modern, fresh, and fun.. It is well organized and it can provide you with hours of enjoyment.
Where is it? Well, its getting developed, and those things take some time and money. So I’ve decided that instead of burning my pockets by spending $400 a month on hosting the old version of FanWire, I’ve decided to just pull the site to be able to focus on the new version. Its a bit of a pivot, but I feel confident that the new site will be much more worth it. Its just part of the territory when you are bootstrapping a project.
In the meantime, make sure you are Liking the FB page and the Twitter account so you can stay in the loop when its ready. I wish I can give people a preview, but I’d hate to have someone steal the look.
A blog article has been long over due. Bootstrapping a business on your own dime is an extremely difficult task, especially when you have to balance the other items in your life, your financial situation, and the workload so you don’t lose your mind.
If it wasn’t for the success of my marketing company, FanWire wouldn’t have even launched, because building a website in this capacity is EXTREMELY expensive. I seriously could have bought a house. But whats fun with just owning a house you have to make payments on?
So anyway, for those of you that go to the FanWire site I want to start off by letting you know that this version of the site is nothing compared to the next version. Over the last 6 months I’ve been getting trained to become a UX expert, learning all of the key fundamentals and how it can apply to both desktop and mobile. This training has opened my eyes tremendously, and I wish I took the training a year and a half ago, prior to dumping all of my money into the first build.
Right now, FanWire is a clusterfuck of information, let’s be honest. It kinda looks cool, but its a hot mess. The servers are slow and they can’t handle the load every time the site gets browsed, and as more people come on board, its just going to keep turning into a disaster. 4 months ago I had a second design I started working on, but the truth is that it looked like I was trying to polish a turd and call it a diamond, but the reality is that its just shit. So after spending thousands into that design, before it even gets live, I scrapped it. It sucks, but thats just the way it is. I’m fortunate to have had the feedback I had, and I made the conscious decision to pull the plug regardless. I’m sure a lot of people would just launch it anyway, but I knew that I would have to beta test the hell out of it, while hating every minute of the site.
This leads to me where I am and why I’m writing this.. I’m working on a completely brand new version of the site and its vision. It will solve the problem of simplicity and discovery.. And the mobile app will beat the shit out of anyone else in this market. The Pinterest look is already outdated and I have my own look I want to follow. The servers will load faster, and you’ll enjoy the experience.
So just do yourself a favor and either join the current site, Like FanWire on Facebook, or Follow FanWire on Twitter, so you can get informed when the new version is live. I have no idea how long it will take, but it will be worth it.
This week we are adding one last feature before the full site refresh, the SEARCH feature! Seriously, I’ve never been so excited for a feature before. The developer and myself worked really hard to fine tune and tweak the abilities and I’m really excited for it.
It delivers instant results and if you spell something wrong, it gives you a replacement. Its very intelligent and the more someone screws up the spelling, the more we remember what it really should be too.
We’re removing the faded icons on the left side, which I originally expected to involve social media and user interaction, but then I decided to scrap that (along with a ton of money I invested on those features) and instead the focus on FanWire is all about the content and gathering data the best way possible.
Enjoy the Search feature!
September 10, 2012 FanWire launched, and I have received some great feedback on the site. It’s continuously building, gathering data, building profiles, and the traffic is steady. Really no complaints. But I didn’t see myself going to the site on a daily basis to become a user, I was only going to the site to beta test features I was adding. So whats the point of building something if you can’t enjoy it yourself?
That was when I decided to think to myself, what was it that the site needed in order to continuously bring me back to the site? So I thought of the following:
1. I hate Pinterest, and it reminds me of Pinterest
2. Twitter is bombarding the page, with Instagram coming in a cool second.
3. The site isn’t expandable beyond Celebrities and Music. If I added Sports as the next phase, I’m screwed.
4. It is very difficult to tell one content post from another.
So I took these ideas and my feedback, and I decided to solve each of these problems one by one, especially the look. I hired several designers with a mockup that I created, and I chose the best one.
The site is now getting its redesign, which I’m hoping will be 100% live by December 1st. By then, this site should be rocking just in time for 2013.
Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake and make a change. If you stick through a problem without solving it, you’re setting yourself up with failure simply because you’re being too ignorant to admit there is a change needed (I”m sure having two co-founders with different perspectives can cause even more turmoil).
December 1st. Mark the date.
What is it? Its a chance for entrepreneurs, developers, and anyone who’s really interested in building something amazing (and fast) a chance to work with like minded people for three straight days, sleeping is optional.
FanWire will give out free T-shirts, stickers, and grocery bags for all participants.
Give it a look and buy your tickets before they all sell out!
Things are kicking in high gear for FanWire and it’s getting really exciting! We are pushing some great new features to the site to make it sooo easy to navigate. We also have more and more content coming to the site so you will constantly get the latest and greatest information for your favorite bands or celebrities.
Here is a list of upcoming features:
1. Tutorial videos- I’m going to post some videos on the basics of FanWire, so if you have a minute to spare, watch them, it’ll make your life much easier.
2. Instagram posts! We are putting the final touches on our crawling, but it should be done this week. All of your favorite celebrities and bands’ Instagram accounts all on FanWire.
3. Instant Filter! This, in my opinion, is the best feature that can come up on the site. It allows you to show what you want and don’t want to see just by clicking on the filter buttons. Instant effect so you can quickly get rid of what you don’t want to see. If you are a member of the site, being a member saves your preferences.
Next month we hope to have our search feature ready to go. We want this perfect because searching is a key component of the site. It will make it so easy to type in a music video title and to immediately get the results you want.
Mobile app’s are in the pre-production mode, getting planned as we speak, so be on the lookout for a Spring 2013 release for iOS and Android.
I didn’t really know what it was called what I was doing at the time, but I knew that I had this idea to bring information into a single place. I wasn’t sure how, wasn’t sure the platform, I just wanted it to happen. My first name choice was Fan Base, I thought it was catchy, didn’t seem like a lot of websites were in conflict, and it was the easy way out. But then I ran the name by a lot of people, and it didn’t seem to stick, and neither did the pitch. So after that, I tried the name FanHub, and for me, this was a winner, winner, chicken dinner with the only exception was that it was similar in style to ‘StubHub’. I was still set on it, and I even spent some money on a trademark application, which was an absolute waste of $800 and 4 months of waiting. I thought that by acquiring the trademark I could get the domain from a group of guys who refused to sell it to me, and I quote, ‘unless you have a billion dollars.’ When the kid told me that on the phone, I actually laughed at him and told him to have a nice day.
Even though the majority of friends and family liked the name FanHub, I knew I had to change it.. But at this point, I was discouraged and frustrated. I wasn’t happy with my logos, I couldn’t get a decent name, and its IMPOSSIBLE to come up with a good catchy brand now a days. Tech companies are doing everything possible to come up with a brand, using domain extensions that go along side the domain like del.icio.us but lets be honest with ourselves, if you don’t have a dot com, people just aren’t going to remember your quirky name. Even right now typing del.icio.us I had to type it in Google just to figure the damn thing out (thank God they bought delicious.com finally).
I spent 2 weeks, literally non stop every day looking for inspiration. I tried crappy websites that give you ‘Web 2.0 names’ which are more like names a Pornstar is most likely to be called. I would walk around stores looking for ideas, I’d take walks around LA looking for street signs, monuments, ANYTHING, but found NOTHING. And then it came to me.
The Social Network just came out and I was even more inspired about my company. Despite getting rejected by investors, and a lot of older people ‘not getting it’ I stayed positive and to boost my inspiration, I read the Facebook Effect. While reading the book, I read that Zuckerberg had this software he was trying to launch called WireHog, and so I paused for a minute, thought of FanWire, and did some research on the name. In this day in age, there was nothing significant with the same name. We all know about LimeWire (RIP and thanks for the trojan attached to a song I downloaded back in the day), but that was about it.
I didn’t want to keep my hopes up, because I had a list of other domains I was trying to get, and most of them were ‘one off’s’ guys that held onto a single domain as if its the first child afraid to let go of it, in hopes of some miracle they’ll get a pay day for the domain. I emailed the guy, and to my surprise, he responded immediately and was a reseller! Thank God! I talked the guy down $500 and I ended up buying the domain for $2,000.00, which was a lot for me at the time because I had barely any money, but I knew I needed to commit to it.
TIP: When deciding on a domain, if you have the funds saved up, SPEND the extra money on a trademark attorney before you spend any money. Do a basic trademark search, and find someone reputable; going through the Legal Zoom method just won’t cut it; which is the lesson I learned the first time.
After the domain was purchased, I decided to put some money aside each month and slowly acquire every possible domain I can get from every country willing to sell domains to a US customer (you would think Canada would be a little more flexible with their rules, but of course, they aren’t). Once the domain’s were collected I then gathered some creative domains for short URLs such as fnw.re and fanwi.re. As much as FanWi.re is cool, I still feel it just won’t stick as a primary domain, but it will look cool as shit as a short URL for Twitter posts!
Suggestions: Godaddy.com is good for your local domains, but NetworkSolutions.com is great for your International. Keep it simple and stick with only two places otherwise you’ll lose track and miss out on building your collection, only to then get squatters on various versions of your name.