Your dog has been watching for more than a century
Five years ago, I celebrated a decade of running the TV Calendar.
It was a happy and amazing time, but there was also a hint of sadness. 10 years is a looong time in internet years, and I wondered how much longer I could keep the site alive. How much more interest in the site was there? Could I keep it economically viable? Did I myself have the stamina to continue? Running a massive site on my own is, at times, both mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Here we are another 60 months or so later, and the answer to all these questions seems to have been overwhelmingly positive. The site continues to attract new visitors, while retaining long standing users. I constantly get emails from people who have just found the site, and also messages of thanks from those who have been using the site for 10 or more years. Despite a lot of changes in ad policies (of which I will go into greater depth shortly) the site still more than pays for itself. Donations are always gratefully accepted, and 'premium' is definitely finally arriving this year, but have no fear about the sites profitability (while competitors have come and gone, citing financial problems).
And yes, I still love running the site!
But it's been a crazy 12 months for the TV Calendar. While I've never coming close to quitting, at times this past year, it's felt like it might be the beginning of the end... once or twice because of my own stupidity, but a few things out of my control.
Last October, I noticed a significant drop in users from search engines. Concerning but not devastating. Google had finally gone "mobile first" (without telling me), and was using the mobile web version of the site for all page rankings. While that 5 year old version of the site was perfectly fine for human eyes, a scripting error meant that its SEO wasn't... great. Or even aspiring to the level of bad. It was simply non-existent. 2 months after I fixed this, Google emailed to explain the algorithm move. I had managed to fix the "problem" before it became fatal thankfully; I've seen a few of my competitors that I believe were also badly hit around the same time that haven't recovered.
In January, I received a sternly worded email from Netflix and CBS because I was displaying a place holder date for the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. How one person randomly choosing a day just to have the link on the site, and then doing nothing to promote said date, could affect two of the largest networks in TV, I still haven't figured out. It turned out I was two days early...
March saw the largest single referrer (which was actually a network of sites) to the Calendar suddenly go offline. While the Calendar has stayed steady or increased in users, this network had declined over the last couple of years. A decent percentage of my users that came from links also disappeared... for a while. This has since recovered, but it was a stark reminder that no matter how much you work on your own project, success is not always in your control.
Premium is definitely coming this fall season. You may have noticed that show summaries have replaced certain words with 'hugging' and 'cuddling'. This is not a hack, and it's not a joke. I use Google Ads, and due to the number of Adpocalypses (it's not just a Youtube thing) I now cannot have SHOCKING or ADULT content on the site. Great. It's not like half the site is CSI type shows, and the other half is zombies... sheesh. If you could all go on the My Little Pony summary page every now and again, that'll be the only page with ads on soon.
The profile section is getting a revamp, with a few more points of interesting data exposed. And show summaries will have more information on them. Plus better rankings, ratings and recommendations.
HBO released the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones and we also saw the final episode of The Big Bang Theory; so now two of the largest shows on the site have come and gone. But that doesn't mean interest in the site will wane. In the next month or so, we will see the first (real) shows from new streaming services for both Disney and Apple. Along with long termers Amazon Prime and Hulu, and the struggling CBS All Access (wooo, Picard!), the number of content providers is rocketing once again, making the TV Calendar more valuable than ever. It should be an interesting few years.
If you're new here, I hope you stick around. If you've been here since the beginning, I want to say a big THANK YOU! It's not many sites that are still around after so long, especially without a large team behind them. What we're doing here is something special.
It's been a great 15 years, and I can't see the end being close any time soon. You guys keep visiting, I'll keep doing my best to bring you the best information and site that I can.