Dropzone.com enters an exciting new phase!

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Heya all,

I've got some important news to share today. Dropzone.com has a new owner: an internet company called NameMedia which, among other things, specializes in running online communities and "enthusiast sites". This marks an exciting new phase for the site because for this first time there is a real strong arm to support the site and propel it to the next level. NameMedia is a remarkable company and has an impressive list of success stories with community sites. Above all they have a real appreciation for the uniqueness and variety of characters that make up our community of skydivers. Not to mention that they have "real" technical support staff (with pagers!) and designers and content people and all sorts of other goodies that Daniel (my partner) and I only pretended to have. ;)

So what will change? Well, not too much in the next few months. I will continue to run the site, working with the existing team of moderators as before. As far as management and day-to-day operations are concerned there are really no immediate changes. Within a year however I anticipate becoming regular user of the site, as NameMedia will appoint a full-time replacement to take over the day-to-day operations.

After a while you may notice some improvements as we start to leverage NameMedia's resources. This could include fresher content with more frequent updates (e.g. articles, news), better site performance, faster responses and better resolutions to issues and bugs, some enhancements being implemented, and ads that are more targeted to our community.

Ultimately, the strategic direction of Dropzone.com is in NameMedia's hands and you should expect to see gradual phased changes. NameMedia understands perfectly well that community sites are first and foremost about the communities. They will involve you in the change process and invite your feedback and advice.

OK, so why did I sell? For two reasons:
  1. Because my personal priorities have changed. Both Daniel and I have families and children (on the way) now and a need for more consistency and security than what is offered by running a website as a semi-professional-skunkworks-two-man-show with very little capital. BTW, this change also applies to our other two sites: Rockclimbing.com and BASEjumper.com.

  2. Because we got a good offer from a buyer whom we consider a really good fit and a worthy guardian. While I've never put the site up for sale, over the years we've had dozens of offers. This one stuck out.
For those of you who have more questions or want more answers, se the FAQs below.

NameMedia Acquisition FAQs

What else can you tell us about NameMedia? What else do they do?

NameMedia is located in Waltham, MA and has two divisions: One part of what they do is buy and sell domain names and they've been doing this since 1999. Separate from the domain side of the business is the "enthusiast site" division which was started in 2007. This is what Dropzone.com will become part of.
Here are some other communities that the own and manage: http://www.namemedia.com/adventure/

What about the Moderators?
The Moderators are still in their same roles and will continue doing what they are doing now for as long as they choose. NameMedia will look at me to find somebody from within this community to take over the leadership role in the forums, and the moderators will always come from the community. Nothing will change there.

What kinds of changes is NameMedia going to make to Dropzone.com?

Over the short term you’re not going to see any dramatic changes. NameMedia are not migrating the entire site onto their own platform or changing the entire design and technology backend overnight. They are continuing to host these sites with Gossamer Threads – my hosting partner for many years – and will keep them involved in the technology development.

This is not to say there won’t be changes in the future, there will be. NameMedia, like any business will make strategic decisions about where to position and how to evolve this site and aim to continually improve and grow their membership and in the process earn your trust and loyalty. They assure me that any change will be evolutionary and not revolutionary. They have no intention of suddenly repainting the house and moving all the furniture around

They’re gonna want to make more money from Dropzone.com, right?

Of course. But this does not have to be a bad thing. One of the big reasons why we felt NameMedia was a great fit for Dropzone.com is that they believe in monetizing in the right way. Preserving the integrity of the user experience might take more thought, creativity and effort but it’s always a better idea than making a quick buck and driving away loyal site visitors.

NameMedia has strong existing relationships with many adventure and outdoor related brands. They also have relationships and access to ad agencies and networks that specialize in serving ads targeted to specific demographics and verticals. NameMedia is in a much stronger position than I ever was to negotiate quality and relevant advertising that will enhance the site and user experience rather that diminish it.

Are they going to flood us with pop-ups?

No they’re not. You know how I feel about pop-up ads. Feel free to visit any of their other enthusiast sites and you’ll see there are no pop-ups on any of them.

Are they going to sell my email address and read my PMs ?

No they’re not. NameMedia will have a clear published Privacy Statement just like we have now. They know very well how people feel about privacy and spam and have no desire to diminish the value of their investment by alienating the community that sustains this site. Please give them the benefit of the doubt.

Are they going to make Dropzone.com a pay-only site?

NameMedia believes, as I do, that a website needs to be setup in such a way that people can access the information freely without having to pay or else it's not going to succeed.

I've read all of the Q&As and I'm still worried. Is that OK?

Of course this is ok. I was wary and I can understand that you may be wary. I have flown to the US and met with their leadership team in person and I can tell you that after many conversations with NameMedia and with people just like me who had their community acquired by NameMedia, that I trust that they have Dropzone.com’s best interests in mind and that have a great philosophy about how things should be done. They are not perfect and may make some mistakes during the transition process or along the way. I ask that you give them the benefit of the doubt and send them your feedback, they want to hear it.

Finally – please keep in mind that for the next year at least, I will still be running this site as before. See me as the gatekeeper. I’ll keep you posted on everything that may be coming your way down the pipeline. :)
Safe swoops

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Your efforts to build this site (and BASE Jumper/Rock Climbing) have been greatly appreciated, and have certainly had a powerful impact on the development of the sport. Skydivers have a stronger and broader community today because of your commitment.

I’d like you to do one extra thing for me before you move on. Take your right hand and touch your left shoulder blade. Now, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You have helped to improve a small part of the world, and should be proud.

Tom Buchanan
Instructor Emeritus
Comm Pilot MSEL,G
Author: JUMP! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy

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Are they aware of the needs of the DZOs and manufacturers, and will changes to those parts of the site still be as easy as they currently are? Every time I have had to have a change to the UPT (or RWS) area on the site, it has been very easy, and I would hope that the information about who represents the different DZ's and Manufacturers will be passed along so that they (we) can continue to use this site to educate consumers.

BTW Congratulations on the payoff for all your years of service to the global skydiving world. DZ.com has been a very valuable resource for skydivers, and I hope they maintain your standard for being the (most of the time) first and last stop for anything anyone would want to know about our sport. They have VERY large shoes to fill.

Mark Klingelhoefer

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Congratulations, and thank you. I have made many friends here, and still remember how helpful this site and the people on it were when I first started to jump.
I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

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Congrats Sangiro! You have built a really great website and deserve to finally make some serious money for all your efforts. Hope the new owners can keep the flavor and spirit intact.

Thanks for what you have given us. Getting skydivers working together in an organized and disciplined manner in a free environment like dropzone.com must be like herding cats, but you (and especially your moderators) did it!

I also think this website may have saved some lives. The Incidents forum and wise advice from experienced jumpers and riggers have probably prevented a few newbies from biting off more than they could chew on canopy choices, camera flying, swoops etc.

2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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Sniff, sniff... All the way from little "Sangiro's Synergy" (back in the day)...

Some of us remember. :P:)
Hopefully, none of us will have to mourn.

Sounds like you've done your best though, to remain true to your convictions my friend, which some of us are witness to now for YEARS. Even in this - the event of your "selling out".

Best of wishes and regards to you, as always, and for what you have done, and brought to us here - that so many have probably even just taken "for granted". Know though too, that some of us have "recognized", and we pay our tributes, and our "props".


coitus non circum - Moab Stone

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Well, congratulations! I hope they gave you a fair price and you'll take a vacation for a month or two.

I'm very happy for you, but I'm a bit sad about it too. It's the beginning of the end of an era. [:/]

So I try and I scream and I beg and I sigh
Just to prove I'm alive, and it's alright
'Cause tonight there's a way I'll make light of my treacherous life
Make light!

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This reminds me of Office Space and the meeting with "The Bob's"

It was the spiders wasn't it?:|

Does this mean that Walt and Funks can come back?:D:)

Good on ya. You worked hard on this and now you get to reap the benifits.

Will the mods get paid now?

What is the answer to life the universe and everything?

What color am I?
I'm not usually into the whole 3-way thing, but you got me a little excited with that. - Skymama
BTR #1 / OTB^5 Official #2 / Hellfish #408 / VSCR #108/Tortuga/Orfun

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thats gotta be wierd...

TurtleSpeed: Hi there
Sangiro: Hi I own Dropzone.com...
TurtleSpeed: What ever you read in my PM's on 5/12/07, It was just an experiment. and i didn't enjoy it.:|

Where did that name come from anyways? what exactly is a Sangiro?

Fly it like you stole it

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Congratulations, HH!!! :)
Does this mean that those that met their significant others here on dz.com, need to pay you your pimp fees before you leave? ;)

Seriously though, I hope that the new company doesn't come in and change how you have things set up. While The Bonfire can get quite crazy sometimes, for the most part it's still a fun, friendly group of people. And it gives all of us somewhere to let off some steam :) (or show some boobies). >:( We thank you for allowing us that opportunity!

Good luck in the future and with your family. :)


Are we called "DAWGs" because we stick our noses up people's butts? (RIP Buzz)
Yep, you're a postwhore-billyvance

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Thank you for putting this site together, and continuing to work on it for years until it became what it is today. It might not be the next MySQL, but it is very important for us. I did my first searches on skydiving here. I did my first bit of learning about how I should avoid certain companies. I learned a lot before I ever jumped from a plane, thanks to you building and maintaining this site. At SkyFest, I noticed that after meeting someone new, the first question was "are you on dropzone.com" or "what's your name on dropzone"?

Thank you Sangrio. I may never meet you in person, but if you were to tour drop zones in the USA, all you would have to do is introduce yourself and you'd probably see a free jump ticket in your hands.

Thank you again. I hope things stay the same...as they change.

- David
SCR #14809

"our attitude is the thing most capable of keeping us safe"
(look, grab, look, grab, peel, punch, punch, arch)

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