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No Fooling: Ads and a Redesign for blogdowntown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, April 01, 2010, at 10:08AM

We just can't resist launching things on April Fools Day.

Two years ago today we rolled out the last major redesign of blogdowntown, moving away from a traditional blog format and embracing a more newspaper-style look. Today's launch isn't quite that all-encompassing, but it does implement a few things that take us an important step forward.

First, ads. You'll notice two banner spots visible on the site right now, and there are two smaller ones that will come into view shortly. We believe that blogdowntown is something cool and useful enough that we would like to keep doing it. Part of that is figuring out a model where the site can sustain itself and continue to grow.

In mid-2008, we decided to pursue the path of becoming a non-profit, using NPR's mix of foundation, corporate and individual support as a model. We applied to and were accepted into Community Partners' incubator program, and started going out to fundraise.

While we still believe that model can be successful, it wasn't for us. We have just completed a repurchase of blogdowntown from Community Partners, and are now moving forward as an independent, for-profit entity supported by ads.

The first spots you'll see here on the site are ones that we have donated to a few favorite non-profits around Downtown. Paid ads will transition in over the next month.

The process of reworking the site for ads also gave us a chance to clean up a few things about our design, which hadn't changed much since that 2008 launch. There will be ongoing tweaks over the next few days, so feel free to let us know if something isn't working or you have an idea for something that we could be doing better.

A few housekeeping notes... Politics has been merged into a renamed section simply called News. Our neglected opinion section -- we do plan to run more opinion, honest! -- has been merged with Etcetera into a section called Everyday, which we plan to use more for lighter content about living Downtown. Latest Content, the blog-style view of the site, has moved from /news/ to /latest/.

With that all out of the way, we hope you continue to enjoy blogdowntown and make us your source for news and information about what's going on here in Downtown.


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