So it’s been a while since my last post, primarily because it’s been a crazy time, these past few months. Crazy for all of us living on planet earth, but also pretty rough for the few of us that work on this site along with yours truly. That being said, there has been a lot of planning for Standard of Entertainment’s future, and we are ready to start sharing some of the changes you’ll be seeing (hopefully) soon.

Part 1: Ad-Revenue Sucks

For the majority of SoE’s history, we have existed as an online content producer, through the writing and hosting of the video game guides most of you probably know us for. These guides, both the text ones and the video ones, never made a lot of money at any point in time, and it has been a constant struggle trying to find a way to expand and survive off the advertising revenue that has been the sole form of monetization used for these guides.

So far there have been three main platforms we have used for publishing our guide content, Hubpages, Youtube and our own site hosted on wordpress, each with their own drawbacks.

YouTube has been a consistent source of revenue, however the videos are immensely time consuming to produce and quality of videos has a very low impact on their ability to be seen. Most of our income from YouTube has come from the Skyrim videos we made, primarily because they were made right after the game was released and YouTube tends to benefit those that get to a topic first, as opposed to those that cover it best, which is backed up by the fact that those Skyrim videos are not our best work by far, and tend to get the most complaints out of all our videos there.

HubPages has been a decent source of income, but comes at the price of way too many advertisements displayed on the pages. On top of the hit to quality that causes, the platform itself has been on a decline in terms of the level of quality they look to uphold and has had long periods of time in the past, where there was little to no traffic coming in, thanks to changes they decided to make. Most of our success there is from a long time ago when each author had their own sub-domain, which allowed our guides to stand apart from the abundance of low-tier content that gets published by other authors. Currently their new system of niche websites, has meant that the content we produce there gets grouped back in with other authors. While they do curate the content that makes it to these niche platforms, the content they promote is almost exclusively brain-dead top ten lists, that only serve to clog up search results, despite that being the very thing that got content sites like this smacked down by google nearly a decade ago.

As of right now, there isn’t much left on Hubpages, with the exception of our Battlefleet Gothic 2 guide, which we still plan on moving over to it’s own hosting here on SoE as soon as we have the time and ability to do so. It is also currently in need of an extensive re-work which has been part of the delay.

Finally, Standard of Entertainment, the site you are currently reading this on, is honestly just an immense amount of work to keep running and update. This is not a problem in and of itself, though it does take time away from content production. The bigger issue at hand is that the ad revenue from content hosted here is abysmal and pretty much always has been. We could change that in a second, but the price of increasing ad revenue on SoE is makin everything far spammier and harming the work we have put in to formatting and making everything look really pretty and easy to read, which is something we have been vehemently against doing and still continue to be.

At their best, none of the sources of ad-revenue have ever been enough to survive on, with maybe 3-4 months out of the past 10 years having made enough profit to actually pay for the very basic costs of living needed to keep a roof over one’s head, while also still producing quality guide content. In the end, this means that if we want to find a way to grow beyond what we are today, we have to find new ideas on how to monetize or generate revenue without relying on advertisements, which brings us to the current plans for the site…

Part 2: Looking for a Solution by Going Back to our Roots.

The original SoE

Most of you probably won’t know this, but waaaay back in time, all the way back to this site’s original registration back in 2009, Standard of Entertainment wasn’t a video game site at all. There were no guides to speak of, no videos and no walkthroughs. Our first iteration was actually as an eBay store that specialized in Collectible Trading Card Games, like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering. The url, standardof.net was just a redirect page that took you directly to the eBay store and hosted little else besides some cheeky phrases and our original logo.

The store ran alright, and we did well enough to pay our bills off of that alone. The margins were small, and the work was immense, but we were slowly growing and doing better with each month, with some rough patches here and there, as we were still scrapping by on just enough income to keep running, which means when personal disasters hit, they hit us pretty hard. We managed to survive however, until March 2010, when eBay decided to change up their fee structure and sold it as something that would benefit 98% of all sellers on the platform with reduced fees and better sales. This was a bullshit lie, and even if it wasn’t, we still fell in that “2%” of eBay sellers that got stuck with higher fees. Sources: [1] [2] [3]

While we plan on making a full post on our eBay issues at some point, here is a great jumping off point, to sum up the impact it had on our business. In this linked article, a blogger who sold on eBay at the time goes over the impacts it will have on their business, while describing how all the available options result in significantly higher selling fees, just for listing the items they already had. In that article, the writer mentions they have roughly 300 active listings. Thanks to the nature of trading card games, and the massive amount of variations and listings needed to cover entire sets of cards available, we had well over 5,000 listings around the time of the change. As the writer mentions, eBay was of no assistance to them, and neither were they any help to us. These fee changes devastated our business by increasing the fees we had to pay, somewhere between 200-300% or several hundred dollars more in fees per month, while simultaneously crushing our sales numbers by jacking up the fees we used for promotional upgrades at the same time and removing the store inventory listing format that helped allow us to stand out from other listings that would otherwise get mixed in, in our search results.

I will find time in the near future to go over the specific impacts of this change, how it was so difficult for us to deal with and why it completely annihilated us and nearly caused me to wind up homeless, but for now, please believe me when I say the effect this had was unavoidable and utterly crushing. We eventually had to shut down when the fees inevitably rose past our income and made it impossible to pay them, but the way that happened was also quite awful and out of our hands, something we will also cover when we go more in-depth about this in the future. The point is, that’s where our online-retailer story abruptly ended and caused many years of ongoing hardship for us here at Standard of Entertainment. Eventually we would shift towards the guide content you know us for today, so there was some good that eventually came out of it (no thanks to eBay), but for a long time, standardof.net was reduced to a simple message and picture of our logo, to mark what once was.

The message displayed on standardof.net after our store was shut down. The message is admittedly silly, but behind the humor, these were truly dark times.

Making a Comeback

In the times passed, we have done some various selling online through non-branded accounts through various marketplaces, mostly as personal side incomes or in emergency scenarios where we had some dire bills to pay and had to sell off personal items to do so, but we never got it to the extent that we had back in 2009-2010. This is about to change though, as our recent exploration into this, along with the current shortages of PC equipment thanks to COVID, has created a real need and demand for reliable vendors who can sell hard to find equipment like Graphics Cards, CPUs and other shortage-affected items, brought us to the realization that if we were to re-open an online store, and merge it with the traffic we have now thanks to the guide content, we could effectively monetize the site, without having to rely on advertisements, while finally having the funds to seriously invest in other operations.

That brings us to the main part of our current plan. The Standard of Entertainment store(s) are on the return, and this time, we have a new strategy that will prevent a repeat of the past, while diversifying the outlets we sell through online, since there are many options that weren’t available before, even if eBay still dominates much of the online marketplace.

To help us get started on this track, we currently have third party agreements with some eBay sellers, who are selling items of ours for us. If you came here because you purchased an item on eBay that came with a strange little business card that brought you here, then you purchased that item from one of our mentioned partners. Admittedly, we are still sour with eBay from our past experiences and would prefer to stay away from there, but realistically it’s not much of an option for us when things are still trying to get off the ground as they are. As we are able to expand our inventory of items we have for sale, we will be also looking at other third party outlets to set up officially branded marketplaces at, with those outlets being announced as they go live in their own separate posts.

The Standard of Entertainment Store (Coming Soon)

One of the biggest announcements we have to make, though one that will take some time to get ready and launched, is our very own self-hosted marketplace, right here on standardof.net. This was actually something we wanted to do back in the day, but didn’t have the opportunity to get to in time. Thankfully there are a lot more options for how to achieve this and much better infrastructure to support this venture. Some of the items we will be selling here once the store is open for business is; Thermal Supplies, Processors, PC Hardware, Graphics Cards and more. We will also be looking to sell these at fair prices (no scalper prices) though it is worth mentioning that a lot of suppliers are raising their prices thanks to these shortages, so certain things like Graphics Cards might still be more expensive than they would be if we had started doing this last year, but we will still try our best to keep prices in line with what one would expect from most other major retailers, except those that are taking full advantage of the current times.

There will be more announcements on this soon, so expect to see follow up posts specifically about our plans for our own store in the coming weeks.

Part 3: Embracing the Crypto Future (Without Selling Out To It)

This is the one where I know we risk causing some emotions to flare up, because we are well aware of the hate that exists out there between gamers and crypto enthusiasts, but here’s the first thing I want to mention about that. We will always be about gamers first. We mean that for real, this is not some PR statement so we can sell hashing equipment with a wink and a nudge at the expense of gamers. Part of our promise in this, as was briefly mentioned, is selling gamer equipment at reasonable prices, namely the Graphics Cards that are so hard to find and a large reason why this hate exists, and understandably so. Again it will take time till we have a steady supply of these items to sell on a regular basis, as they are expensive, our distributor agreements are brand new and we don’t have a lot of credit lines to use up on securing pre-orders, but we are doing everything that we can to get them and provide them.

More importantly, Cryptocurrency is undeniable going to be part of all of our futures in one way or the other, and there’s a lot of reasons, beyond fighting over rare equipment, that should bring these two worlds together as opposed to keeping them apart and at each other’s throats. We want to offer crypto currency payment options, we want to support up and coming crypto projects, we want to find uses for the lesser known coins without trying to just shill them or post rocket or moon emojis, we want to help run nodes to secure these networks, and we want to utilize the new technologies these projects bring to the field to find new and creative ways of providing a great user experience while still monetizing our content without having to resort to packaging advertisements in every field and box we can to the dismay of the readers.

Also for real, the US dollar is kinda fucked right now and things aren’t looking good. Yours truly spent a couple years diving deep into the stock market and understanding the dark world of finances only to have the ever loving shit scared out of me when I realized just how rigged and hollow the systems we depend on are. For all their brazen pump and dump coin groups, I can promise you, the stock market is far more criminal and tilted against the common individual than anything I’ve been able to see with cryptos. This might be more of a personal opinion, but there are many signs abound of the confidence in the US dollar slipping, and honestly, crypto currencies give us the ability to break free from the traditional systems that have brought us such grief over the years via monopolized marketplaces and lacks of alternatives. Despite the fact the income from advertisements has sucked, we still desperately depend on the little we get, and throughout the entirety of our time on the web, we have only had one real option via Google’s Adsense, with no viable alternative really existing even today. We’ve basically been dealing with 10 years of constant fear that one day Google would ban us for no discernible reason and without any chance to appeal, it could have spelled the true end for this project of ours, were it to have happened at any point in the past.

Depending on traditional systems is a big part of why we have stagnated in the past, so embracing this new decentralized future on the horizon, can really change the game for us, and for you, the person reading this right now, as someone who will hopefully benefit in turn.

So what are we specifically going to do with crypto?

  1. First off, we will be looking to accept crypto currency as payments once we have our store opened. This will be a day 1 priority and we will be looking to support a lot of alternative currencies that are not commonly considered by most major establishments. In other words, not just Etherium and Bitcoin, but altcoins like Ravencoin, Ziliqua and so forth, because we honestly feel there is room in the future for more than just a couple successful coins, but a wide array of options much like how there are many companies you can trade on the stock market, or the large number of fiat currencies utilized in the world today. Maybe we are wrong, but maybe not, but it still means more options for you.
  2. We will start looking to support crypto projects in various small and fun ways, like running our own dedicated nodes, something that doesent necessarily make money, but still supports this rising economy and helps familiarize people with it.
  3. We want to explore deeper integrations with crypto projects that allow us to find new ways of providing content and services to our users. Things like video streams or file hosting or even alternatives to advertising, things that can help provide real benefits or practical uses to both us and our users, that also provide additional sources of revenue generation.
  4. We want to find ways to facilitate individuals to get a hand in on the more exclusionary areas of crypto currency, like running mining rigs or staking nodes, and not in the normal ways via staking coins or buying your own machines, but systems that allow people who have limited funds to buy a portion of a machine or a portion of a staking node operation, that allows people who don’t have “throwaway money” to still get a hand in the real meat of things, without having to just be relegated to the sidelines. This will take a lot of work and feedback to make sure we do this right, but one of the real ongoing travesties in the crypto world is that there is still a number of limiting factor in terms of who can take part in these activities. Personally I have been aware of Bitcoin as early as 2010, but was unable to get involved in it back then due to lack of resources. (I was too poor to risk blowing my one graphics card mining any, and desperately needed it for guide production) I would like to do something about that for others who may be in that same place today.
  5. Finally (for now) we want to provide genuine, informative resources on crypto currencies and the related subjects. Our skill set is creating informative guides that people can trust with feedback listened to and a personal interaction with the communities we serve. There is also a real lack of trustworthy information out there when it comes to crypto, since the newness of the tech, the lack of regulations, and the decentralized nature, has allowed for a lot of scammers and shillers to set up shop and confuse the ever loving hell out of newcomers. We want to fill that gap by providing trustworthy guides without conflicts of interest, somewhere people can go to learn about these coins and the tech, from people who are the right kind of paranoid to properly inform users on things like, for one, how to avoid getting your coins stolen from you, or how to identify possible scam coins or sites.*

*I want to take the time to just re-iterate, on the off chance someone has seen the Weapons 2.0 graphics in our BFG Armada 2 guides, yes they are currently fucked up because we calculated rate of fire from the Reload stance wrong. This was pointed out to us a while ago and we haven’t been able to fix it yet because its a shit ton of work, because we still need to get the guides off Hubpages because they suck ass, and our plans to do it last November were thrown into the air by a series of unfortunate events during an already tumultuous year of avoiding the plague. Just to kind of get an idea as to how messed up the year of Covid has been, I personally have had to move something like 7 times in the past year alone, and lost a lot of personal possessions doing so. This has been a sucky year, but despite that we are still all alive and have every intent to fix those weapon tables the moment we have the free time to do so. As of right now, we gotta pay these bills first before more bad shit happens, but since I was talking about trust, I did want to take the time to address that even if chances are no one reading this will know what im talking about.

All that being said there’s going to be a lot of new stuff coming to Standard of Entertainment in the next few months, but we haven’t forgotten our roots, we are just finding a new way to be the thing we always dreamed of being, because trying to put faith in the systems and companies of the past has been a series of excruciating experiences that usually involved us getting taken to the cleaners over and over. No joke, the only company that has been truly good to us all these years, has been our hosting provider, InMotion Hosting. This is not a referral link, they wont pay us a dime if you purchase any services from them and no one paid us before hand or at any point to make this comment. They are just seriously the one company we have been involved with heavily over the years that has been reliable throughout, and I just wanted to show them some appreciation because of all the rage induced meltdowns I’ve had watching money get pretty much stolen by other billion dollar companies we could never hope to touch, despite how illegal what they were doing was. They have treated us well and helped us survive when a lot of people were trying to cannibalize and consume us, and have routinely gone the extra mile with stuff I didn’t expect they would offer, without charging us a dime for it, when doing the same through another provider was likely to be very expensive.

Expect more specific updates soon, and if you actually read this whole post and understood it, you also have my sincere thanks because I know that wasn’t easy, lol.

PS.
To the people who keep emailing me asking to pay us to post sponsored content, I cordially invite you to get fucked.

Last Updated on April 13, 2021 by Standard of Entertainment

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