TrenchMice gets snuffed


We pulled the plug on TrenchMice yesterday.  It had plateaued in traffic, and wasn’t able to break through to the next level of readership. New features or different marketing efforts resulted in only temporary traffic spikes, followed by a return to the plateau.

The cost for the servers wouldn’t be a large financial drain in and of themselves, but keeping it alive would distract me from new ventures and work.  (Even for an automated site, you’ve got to periodically check the server logs, analyze crashes, fix bugs, update the software, yaddayaddayadda.)  So…it’s gone.

I’m still happy we built it, because many positives came out of it.

  • It was a vehicle for Python and Django immersion
  • It was a vehicle for immersion, to varying depths, in other open-source technologies
  • It was a vehicle for SEO immersion
  • Two businesses sent us cease and desist letters.  I may frame the one from the particularly clueless attorney.  (No, we didn’t cave. I’m proud of that.)
  • Indirectly, it led to my current full-time job
  • Last but not least, I made many new friends and business contacts.

On to the next adventure…

16 comments
  1. Sorry to see it go. It was a great idea. It’s a shame it didn’t break out.

  2. i am sorry to see this happen…the site was really cool and had interesting stuff

    i look foward to any project you may have in the future

  3. John said:

    @Jonathan and Jonathan: Thank you for the kind words.

  4. Paul said:

    I admire your willingness to shut it down and move on. I need to kill more of my old side projects!

  5. John said:

    @Paul: Thank you.

    I didn’t want to dwell on this decision’s emotional tug of war, because it was unremarkable when viewed from 20,000′. I.e., it’s the same story for anything you believe in. You pour your energy into it, hope it will take off, gain comfort from the (real or imagined) gains, and try to understand (or explain away) the declines. To contemplate ceasing any activity for which you had expected a successful conclusion is always hard.

    But there was a sense of relief after doing it. And the acid test that it was the right decision was there being only a brief period of second-guessing, followed by a permanent feeling of resolution.

    Most importantly, since this decision life has been simpler, more focused, and more productive.

    Were I a bad philosopher, I’d say that sometimes you have to weed life’s field…

  6. sad on TM getting close. It was one my most memorable online job. Do remember me if you ever start this sort of venture again.

  7. John said:

    @sagar: I sure will!

  8. Bill said:

    urumor.com has the same concept and looks like it has a growing community of people if anyone wants an alternative. rip trenchmice, i was a loyal fan =)

  9. Diana said:

    That explains why I haven’t received my Trenchmice newsletter in a while.

    Sorry to see it go. It was a neat site and I enjoyed checking in now and again to see if there was any DS news.

    I hope it left you with that feeling of “I’m a total badass. I can do ANYTHING.” Those are always my favorite kinds of “failed” experiments.

    Happy times!

  10. John said:

    @Diana: Yes, it was, overall, an empowering experience! Your checking in “now and again” is in fact symptomatic of the site’s challenges to driving higher traffic numbers — there weren’t sufficient reasons for the typical user to check in daily, much less multiple times per day! Ah, well…

    I hope you’re doing great!

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