What Now OB Rag?

by on August 12, 2009 · 20 comments

in Economy, Media, Ocean Beach

OB Rag visitors world-wide. Click on image for a larger version that you can read. This is the Cluster Map, and is located at the bottom of the sidebar on the blog.

Originally posted on August 11, 2009.

It’s time to sit down with our readers and discuss where we think our little blog is going.  Actually, it’s not that little any more.  We started out in October 2007 and for the first six months we averaged a little over 2100 visitors a month.

Now, as we near our second anniversary (October), we’ve reached nearly 23,000 visitors a month. Check out the graph below which shows our monthly visitors for the last year. It’s obvious that we are growing and that our readership from OB is expanding. We feel we have a strong community base, solid legitimacy and a genuine acceptance by the residents and businesses of our seaside neighborhood.

OB Rag monthly visitors from July 2008 through July 2009. Click on image for larger version.

So, in grappling with the fact of our growth, becoming more aware of the trends in online versus print publications across the nation, we find that the OB Rag is on the cutting edge of online neighborhood platforms. If you’ve checked the media scene lately, it’s getting obvious that changes are indeed coming. Community-based citizen journalism is going to be an important part of the future of mass communication.

The Recent Poll About OB Rag’s Direction

In fact, we are no longer simply a “blog”. We have morphed into a news and commentary platform for Ocean Beach … and beyond.  We just took a poll of our readers and asked them what they’d like to see in the future for our website. Here’s the results:

The OB Rag blog has focused of late on news and issues about OB, almost exclusively. Would you like to see more regional, San Diego, national, or international news and commentary?

  • I think the mix of OB and other news is good the way it is now.
  • I would like to see more OB church and OB sports stories and news.
  • I would like to see OB news and issues exclusively.
  • More regional and San Diego news and stories.
  • I’d like to see more international news and issues.

Total Votes: 70 Started: July 27, 2009

Even though our readership is from across the country and world-wide (see the map above), we have been focusing on news, issues, interests and the people of OB.  We recently brought on board a gaggle of new bloggers, writers, and citizen journalists.  This new group of wonderful, down-to-earth writers have given our platform new breadth and depth, adding new styles and perspectives.

Not only that, but our new bloggers have taken on other community tasks, such as cleaning up graffiti and the mess left from the July 4th Marshmallow fight, and being watchdogs – looking out for the community. Our bloggers are becoming genuine leaders in this community through their actions. Our website has also been providing historical coverage of OB issues, like planning and police relations.

Taking on Ads

One of the important things that you need to know, is that up to now, this has not been a money-making operation – outside of donations, T-shirt and old Rag sales – and while barely breaking even dollar-wise, the personal benefits have been huge.

In order to keep expanding this website we need to build a steadier stream of financial support. Taking on ads will allow us to continue to grow and we think that OB businesses and orginizations will support us. And hey! If you’re interested in placing an ad with us let’s talk!

Changes to the Format

In order to carry ads, we need to alter our format slightly, adding a fourth column.  We hope to have this new style up online in the coming weeks.  We will continue to publish our “Weekly Poll” and the “Latest Chatter” from the comments, as well as the standard feature article accompanied by the two columns of posts. Most of the changes will be small and implemented gradually, knowing many of our reader appreciate the uncluttered look and easy to read format here.

Appeal to OB: We need an office, desk, or space in the business district

In order to carry out what we hope are the positive changes, we want to have an obvious presence on Newport Avenue or at least within the business district of Ocean Beach so we are making an appeal to our readers and supporters: We need a desk or some office space we can call ours somewhere in the OB Business District. Please, if anybody has anything to offer or ideas, contact us via our email: obragblog@gmail.com.

The OB Rag is becoming the online news publication for and of Ocean Beach. Help us to continue in this role. As always, your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Peace,

Frank, Patty and Doug

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar doug porter August 11, 2009 at 9:19 am

One thing I forgot to include was OB RAG Facebook. It’s like the Rag but with more stuff that we throw in as we troll the web everyday. It OBRag Blog on Facebook.

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avatar BillRayDrums August 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I think a forum or message board would be a welcome addition to discuss issues and whatnot.

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avatar jon August 12, 2009 at 12:07 pm

First off, congratulations on the continued success, and increase in traffic.

I think local advertisements would be completely acceptable and would only help to foster the sense of community that the website helps to promote. Perhaps some businesses would even offer coupons or specials through the ads. Many local businesses advertise in Citybeat, the Reader, and the local business directory that comes out once a year. I say go for it!

It would also be nice to have more frequent changes to the sidebar. The ever changing “poll” is a great addition, and the comments always change, but we’ve been looking at the same peacerock and OBrag t-shirt stuff for quite a while now. Maybe they can be rotated with popular stories that are getting pushed to the bottom, but still have some local interest?

Other than that, I think you guys are doing great, and I’m proud and thankful to have had the opportunity to contribute my own stories, interviews, bad jokes and rants throughout this past year. Hopefully more locals will want to get involved and submit their own articles as well.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 12, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Jon,I’ll have to tell Genie that you’re getting tired of looking at her photo. Actually I agree wid ya. Our original plan was to have rotating T-shirt people – which we did for a while. But with our new format coming in, one of the side-bars will be places for the ads. And we’ll have to rotate the other more often. Thanks, dude, for being a big part of what we’re doing.

Billyray – are you suggesting something different than our current weekly Bulletin Board?

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avatar jon August 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

lol. Nothing personal!

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avatar Shawn Conrad August 13, 2009 at 7:56 am

I am so proud that the Rag is doing so well. I know how much it means to Frank, and I am very pleased that it is panning out.

Congratulations all. You deserve it.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 13, 2009 at 8:28 am

Shawn, thanks dude. I won’t even mention that you actually came to a staff meeting once.

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avatar Brie August 13, 2009 at 8:35 am

OB Rag is awesome, and I’ve shared a few of its articles with my friends. Occasionally, I notice glaring typos and grammatical errors, though, that diminish the overall quality of the blog/news source/platform. If you guys ever need a volunteer copy editor, please let me know. Keep up the great work!

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avatar Editor August 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

Brie – if you ever see those monsters (glaring typos and grammatical errors) just email us or make comments – and we’ll correct them. That’s the great thing about blogs – we can correct ourselves in mid-stream, so to say. And thanks for the kind words. Come back often and daily, and make comments – our writers thrive on comments. It’s true, I’ve seen it. Give one to one of our bloggers, downcast and slumped over due to no responses to their hard-work, and they’ll perk up and be themselves with a sunshine smile.

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avatar Editor August 13, 2009 at 9:32 am

Just for the record: the OB Rag had our best day ever yesterday: 4 shy of 1600 visitors!! Mostly, due to Doug’s recent post about the Town Hall meet of Susan Davis that was filled with laughter.

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avatar Dave Gilbert August 13, 2009 at 10:03 am

The Rag Rocks! How about a cartoon strip? Political or otherwise…there must be tons of artist/illustrators with a keen insight for social commentary living here.

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avatar jon August 13, 2009 at 10:21 am

I REALLY like that idea Dave! I’m sure there are some local artists that would love to have their work shown. Whether it’s political or not, it would be nice to see some examples of local artistry up here!

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avatar Pat August 13, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Frank,Patty and all contributors,thanks for all you do.
I realize at this point it’s most likely a labor of love.
I hope you find a way to make it lucrative to the point to make it sustainable.
OB Rag has been immortalized on a historic plaque on the old Bank of Italy building. Picture to come.

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avatar Brie August 13, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Will do! Also, what about a music section to rival CityBeat? :) There are so many good underground bands here.

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avatar lane tobias August 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

brie – working on it!

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avatar obvance August 13, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Good job Frank!!!

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avatar jaci silvestri August 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

HERE’S TO THE PEOPLE WHO GOT OUT TO REMOVE ALL THE GRAFITTI FROM STOP SIGNS, ELECTRICAL TRANSFORMERS ETC.. I DID’NT HAVE TO FEEL LIKE I WAS THE ONLY “NUT” OUT THERE WITH SIMPLE GREEN AND A RAG !! WHAT A DIFFERENCE !! REALLY, NOT A TAG IN SIGHT ! THIS IS A TESTAMENT TO OUR COMMUNITY SPIRIT.
THANK YOU OB RAG BLOG FOR GETTING THIS DONE..
JACI

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avatar jon August 14, 2009 at 11:59 am

Jaci, feel free to come down and meet with a bunch of those people today at 4pm at Santa Cruz beach. We will be taking a walking tour, cleaning up along the way and sharing ideas and resources to continue keeping up on this problem affecting our community. Sounds like you are already doing your part, and it would be great to have your added support in our rag-tag group. Thank you!

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avatar lisashook August 20, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I would like to offer clerical support when you do find an office space or any other help you might need.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Lisa – thanks sooooo much! Your kind offer has definitely made my day!

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