When I started Chaser News, the provider was Yahoo and the blog host was Movable Type. It was not the best place or template to use. I complained about both on my web site, and people suggested I switch over to WordPress. I did, and eventually ditched Yahoo for Just Host.
WordPress was superior in many ways and more intuitive to use, but its analytics were always a sticking point with me. Just Host had better analytics at the time, which was necessary for me to be able to get data about news audiences.
For an advertising budget of zero, Chaser News did extremely well: it got some press, online mentions, comments, feedback -- and well over a million hits in a short span of time.
I brought in animations that looked eerily like me, which were a hit. So much so, in fact, that they were spun off into their own site called Monsters & Queens.
And Monsters & Queens were seemingly bizarre, yet had their own following.
It had no overt narrative and no central protagonist. It was based on alchemy, but instead of chess, I used playing cards, with each card being a character. The vague intersecting stories were told as little observations, and eventually, the deck expanded to include other kinds of decks (tarot, Hanafuda, even Runes) and then there came new cards unique to the story, such as the Mentor Queen and the Queen of Seeds.
It was very metaphysical, and eventually that site transmuted into something new and less enigmatic: A Dangerous Woman Story Studio.
No silly animations, but characters with names and backgrounds: The Mentor Queen was Magnus Lyme, also known as The World's Most Dangerous Woman. The Queen of Seeds became Holly Lake who had her own set of non-lethal mystery stories.
While Chaser News and Monsters & Queens were radically different ventures, they had strange things in common: they (a) gave me far more email messages than web site comments to a ratio of 50:1, and (b) a lot of people were ripping off parts of my work.
Some were even brazen about it. I had one writer from China send me a distressed message through a social media site, out of her mind because I took down M&Q before she had a chance to use it as her own work -- and could I please send her the missing blog entries so she could finish plagiarizing my idea?
This was not a one-off.
Not for M&Q, and not for Chaser News.
I have been a peculiar secret even when online, and it carried over to A Dangerous Woman and even here.
I used WordPress until very recently, never quite happy with it. The analytics were not always reliable: some days, it would show that I had no hits, even as I got emails from people taking issue with what I wrote, which happens a lot more often than you can imagine. I have a Twitter account, but gloriously neglect it, merely posting up links to what I write. I have some people wonder whether I am being shadow-banned over there, but truth be told, I do not comment on other people's tweets, rarely retweet anyone's stuff, and don't usually follow people unless they follow me first, and even then, I don't always do it.
Twitter was never my thing. I disabled my first account and then went back years later.
But my web site is a different matter. I focus my energy here, and it was giving me grief.
There came a point earlier this year when the titles of my entries would not publish the way I wrote them. It would always be an altered word in the middle of the slug. No missing words, but an altered word.
At first, I thought I was making a typo because I think faster than I can write, but when I went back to correct my error -- the word I originally wrote would flash the way I thought I wrote it before switching back to the incorrect word. I suspected a malware issue or a glitch. I could not discount hacking or sabotage, though I didn't think it was the likely answer. It didn't happen to every entry, but it was happening with increasing frequency.
I was aside myself, clearing my browser, ensuring all my software was up-to-date, disabling auto-correct, and using both my Mac and my PC (and then tablet and smartphone), but it kept happening. So I asked for support from WordPress, whose "happiness engineers" kept blaming me, never offering an actual solution. This went on for a couple of months, until the unresolved problem led to a real headache, and I decided to see if the problem was me or WordPress.
So I tested on SquareSpace and had no issue; so I ditched WordPress and came over here permanently.
My only regret is not switching a long time ago: the analytics are far superior to WordPress, and pinpoints things that I didn't have before -- so much so that now I can nail down those who crib from this web site that clocks data more accurately, which I couldn't do before.
Not only can I keep a better track of certain sticky-fingered operators, I can finally conduct very precise experiments on audience reactions.
It is now the reason I can start unveiling F.R.E.E.D. more confidently. I can keep a better track of data, such as people who want to benefit from this web site, but refuse to give credit where credit is due.
I provide links to ideas and data that came from elsewhere. I do not pretend I thought it up or found it myself -- even if it comes from people I do not like. You don't like me because I criticize the press? Who cares? Not me -- get over yourself. It is still thought theft. Your personal fear of me is not a mitigating factor that excuses you.
The analytics show that I am getting more hits than I did over at WordPress, for instance, and a new web domain shouldn't outpace one that has been around for five years. It does, and it allowed me to tweak things to where they needed to be.
I still get email messages -- and a lot of them, with an even wider ratio. While it is very nice to whisper your displeasure how I write things and what I think, remember, I am not wrong. I do research.
Seriously. You may not like the fact I am not impressed with journalism, that I have very long headlines (nothing compared to the chapter titles in the Magnus Lyme Mysteries that can go on for a paragraph), that I suddenly have cheeky animations as I tear apart Establishment journalism, call out mansplaining, or that I think Canada needs a swift kick in the backside, too bad. I am not changing everything about me to make other people happy.
Deal with it.
Today seems to be a bumper day for that patronizing habit.
For the record, it is F.R.E.E.D., not FREED. Ontario is in for a thrashing because the electorate were unprepared. The federal politicians who were usurped by Trump are arrogant and limited empty-heads who should have seen this storm coming and are now acting like spoiled brats who like to abuse their Third World nannies. Journalism is dead.
And I have my own idiosyncrasies. I am an acquired taste, and proudly so.
There is a method to my madness. Instead of wearing blinders of opinion and rote habit, let go of that, and start riding my wavelength.
If you want a new method of fact-gathering: one that turns over rules to break them, you have come to the right place. Read it the way it was meant to be read: it is experimental, not traditional.
It is not about validating, but questioning. It is not about justifying, but challenging.
And I am questioning and challenging barriers in this neo-Victorian era, especially questioning and challenging why female mavericks who truly do not march to a sanctioned script are suppressed, and people will only negatively communicate with them in private.
Meaning this well-kept secret is not going to be a secret much longer.
Everyone has been now put on notice.
And that brings everyone up to speed of where things stand...