It doesn’t have to be a clean slate. I’d join up with an existing site. I just figured it would be more palatable to start something new, rather than convince somebody else to change how they’re already doing things.
I wouldn’t really want to run commercial ads. I’ve done some targeted banner ads on MPOGD.COM with good results, but I advertised an online game on a site where people go when they want to search for online games. It’s a good fit. Probably nobody is going to pay to run an IF ad on an IF site, and anything else would be silly. The whole “visit our sponsor” shtick has always seemed like a scam to me. Back when it was profitable, advertisers were paying lots for no real results, and now to earn anything you have to offer up so many ads that it really – to me – ruins a site’s credibility. I mean this as no offense to anybody running ad-funded websites. It probably makes sense for the top dogs. It’s just not something I’d want to do on a site of my own. I run personal sites on the server that’s used for my online games, and the online games pay for it. So everybody wins.
That’s not to say we couldn’t run fake ads. Well, not fake really – but ads that are funded by participation. Contribute good articles, interviews, etc, and get advertising space for your own game or IF-related website. That type of deal. But something IF-related. Like a banner for your game. Not a banner for something other than IF.
It would need to be updated frequently. I can already see the forum visitation dropping off. It’s kind of interesting to watch. People return, see nothing new, and the more they see nothing new, the less frequently they return. An IF hype site would definitely need daily content (links to IF announcements, etc), with frequent “feature” content. It’s something that would only work, I think, with several active volunteers (so… thanks in advance!).
I’ve had a busy work schedule (working Saturdays, even), but I might be able to get something set up on Sunday. If nobody is in favor of intfiction.org/ main page. I’d need to come up with a logo, a style, install blog/news software (and learn how to customize a theme), get manager accounts set up… hmm, might take longer than a day. I can do emails @intfiction.org pretty easy, to legitimize the editors/contributors.
Then it would evolve, as it struggles for the right balance of content.
One thing I don’t like to see on sites I visit – but it happens – is the same game mentioned frequently. I don’t fault those guys for getting as much exposure as they can, but when there are 12 front-page news topics and four of them are about the same thing (Game X just had a birthday, then Game X is offering a new-player incentive. then Game X adds a new module, then… yeah) it starts to look like there just isn’t enough news to go around. Those examples may not apply to IF, but I could see the possiblity of monopolies if any single contributor becomes the dominant contributor. I’d like to see diversity.
I really like the layout of the AdventureGamers website. At first it seems a little overwhelming, but they have an area for features, an area for news, a “hype-o-meter” area, links to the latest reviews, and even links to the latest active forum topics. I like the pic/screenshot beside the features, although that’d be a little hard when most IF features would be about text-based games.