So the latest incarnation of the Trail website is up and the bugs are slowly being ironed out. It's arrival was greeted by much hoo-ha and wringing of hands. Toys were tossed out of the pram and folk hoisted their petticoats and left, vowing never to return. But, of course, they did. Such anguish over what is, after all, a free resource. I've never seen the like.
The Trail-haters on OM were gifted a sitter but even they failed to run with it. Changed days.
The site isn't what I expected but I sort of like it in a retro, back to the late nineties when the internet was young, kind of way. I thought it would be flashier and more like the magazine, which is looking fairly slick these days, but it's not. I can't help feeling that they've dropped the ball a bit and perhaps missed a golden opportunity to pull in more readers. If, indeed, that's what the plan was.
But then I could say the same about TGO. Last time I looked, the forum was quiet and full of spam.
I think for a magazine to thrive these days, it needs a strong web presence. Neither Trail nor TGO have that. Not yet, at least.
TGO's alliance with Outdoorsmagic was working well for a time. Chris Townsend, John Manning and Cameron McNeish were fairly regular contributors and that was a good thing. I bought many issues of the mag as a result of some of the threads on OM. But they slipped away and set up shop on their own. A shame as OM is still the best outdoors-related website out there.
I'll watch with interest how the sites develop over the next wee while. I might even contribute from time to time because that's what it's all about; folk contributing and keeping the forums alive.
Success depends on keeping the punters engaged and you can't do that with a half-arsed website.