Friday, February 12, 2016

The Status Of GanguStars: Part 1 - The Neighborhood Has Changed.

The Status Of GanguStars
What I'm about to say should have been posted 2 months ago. But I haven't really been super excited about rambling on about bad news. Who really likes to? And who really wants to read about that? I do owe those who visit the site an explanation and update on the general status of things associated with GanguStars. This is not an invitation to a pity party, but the overall tone would even make Rodimus a sad robot.

GanguStars Print Projects
I guess I'll start with the Art of Advertising book of Japanese toy ads. To put it bluntly, it was a failure, at least in terms of of copies sold. At first I had this idea that I could get to work on the second volume of the series, one which would have focused entirely on Takara's Microman, Diaclone, Transformers and Brave Series toys. It would have been cool, 40-50 pages of ads from each of those toy lines, and some other neat bits from other Takara toys added in. I had pretty high hopes for that first month of Volume 1 going up for sale. I had said that if I could at least sell 50 copies I would go ahead on Volume 2. However, the first month saw only 12 copies sell, and while I had hoped month 2 would match or exceed that, it didn't. I lowered expectations and decided that if even 30 copies sold I would go ahead with another book. The Art of Advertising has been open for order for 7months now and it has yet to reach 20 copies sold. In fact, between October 6th 2015 and January 28th 2016, not a single book sold. If not for a single book order on January 30th, it would have been 4 straight months with no sales.
It should be no surprise that I have scrapped the second volume of Art of Advertising. Also scrapped is the Diaclone comics translation. While I doubt it would be popular with people, I am actually cancelling that because I don't think it's a smart move (legally) to continue on with such a project as TakaraTomy is starting to breath live back into their property. Any future print projects that are done under the GanguStars name will only be promoted when they are finished and ready to be sold or given away.

Outside The GanguStars Blog
Next up, the GanguStars social media pages. I have several outlets to post things, some have worked, some have not. One got outright deleted, and one is in a bit of trouble. I have a Pinterest site which I haven't updated in ages. A Tumblr site which has also been pretty much abandoned. The GanguStars Twitter feed has not really taken off. I use it more to see what friends are doing as opposed to putting out info on what I'm doing. I use it more as a place to think out loud about things that are pissing me off. So very much like what many other disenfranchised folks use Twitter for, but it's not what I should be doing. These I guess you could call failures were tolerable 2 months ago. It didn't bother me much that Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest did not generate much traffic to my site/blog, I had Facebook and YouTube for that. And then I didn't.

The first and part of the second week of November I was completely isolated from the internet. For about 9 days I had almost no contact with anybody, or any place online. And in that time, and just as my luck would have it, Facebook decided I didn't have the right classification for my page, and took it down. It was down for a week before I even knew it. And nobody else said anything. I didn't get any texts from friends about it. When I returned to the net, there wasn't any emails or anything on the matter either. Nobody knew, or nobody really cared. Facebook had given an option via email to reset the classification of the page, but in doing so it deleted all my old content, groups activities, and list of friends (and all associated messages and shared pics). Here I am now 2 months later and I am still wondering that if nobody cared that it went down, is anyone going to care if it really goes back up? I've done almost nothing with the GanguStars Facebook page, or the quick fix personal page I created when Facebook required a new admin to run the GanguStars page. Not sure on it's future at all.

The final blow to the GanguStars social media presence came with a take down notice at YouTube. While I had some original videos there, most of the others were either t.v. commercials of Japanese toys, and open/end themes from various shows. The one that got me in trouble was a 2 minute open theme clip from the JyuRanger Sentai Series. Something my channel didn't even need because it was easily found in so many other areas of YouTube. Now my YouTube channel is on probation till the later part of the year. I just went ahead and removed anything else that could cause a problem, but the damage is done. I had big plans for the GanguStars YouTube page, and until at least next Fall, those plans are shelved.

The GanguStars Blog Falters
With two of the biggest traffic drivers to the GanguStars blog being out of commission, visitors to the site fell, quickly. Add to that a general lack of interest in what I was posting and a look at blog traffic gave a very contrasting view of what was going on. Some posts were exploding, some dead on arrival.
The blog has turned into being nothing much more than a buying report these last few months. I had tried to advertise postings on various forums, of course in social media and just places I though interested people may see them. I had seen this work for other bloggers, some with great success while posting less interesting materials. But it didn't work for me, and disappointment set in. And I think somewhere in there disappointment with the blogs success, following and lack of excitement began to create a disappointing, less exciting blog. I just was just no longer feeling any sort of fulfillment when working on it. The last few months have seen a series of half-assed postings, to a point that I kind of just didn't even do that any longer. The blog isn't finished, but it's definitely stagnant.

The Look Of GanguStars
I have gotten a few negative comment son the look of things around here. And I noticed something pretty important that needed immediately changing, or at least something that needed to be set in motion. First and most important to me is the use of one of my pictorial GanguStars logos. It's one i have used for watermarking, or small identity icons on forums and social media. If you follow the GS Twitter feed or Facebook page you may have noticed some blank banners and icon images recently. You'll likely see more of this while I try to figure out what to do next. The reason for these changes comes from watching the Major League Baseball All-Star game last year. I love baseball, I watch the Detroit Tigers as much as I can. I do not however follow the Houston Astros. Had I been  a fan or even casual observer of the team I may have noticed that at some point they changed their logo from a dumb asteroid/moon orbiting stadium to a more Texasy themed design.
After seeing how close their logo was to mine I figured I would create something new. I looked up other logos by viewing "star circle logo" in Google, and sure as shit more similar logos appeared. The only one that would have had any influence on my GanguStars design being the Converse All Stars logo. Seeing as how I've worn those shows for about 24 years that wasn't too much of a shock. I've already stopped using the old logo on most things and it's as good as dead. Something new will come about, or I'll revert to using the GanguStars text logo for everything. Other changes will be more cosmetic. Color updates, layout changes, things like that. But it's not exactly a priority for me right now.

Wrapping It All Up
I don't know if a blog/site like GanguStars is needed these days. I know for fact it doesn't fit in at all with its surroundings. With 2016 rolling in, it marks 20 years of me creating websites to share info on toys. That's a pretty damn long time to be doing something I have no need to really do. I don't need to share info, pics and such. I have these toys, I own all these rare books, I don't get any benefit from posting them all online. I do this for those of you out there that don't have these things. But I do it at the expense of my time and money, and if I am only seeing maybe 10-15 people visiting a blog post I spent 6 hours on, I'm sorry to say it's not worth it. I don't want to sound ungrateful, because I'm glad there's at least those 15 people who showed up. But it's not enough. And I find myself think more and more that it either time to just accept that what I do will never be successful and continue, or give up completely.