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9rules: 150 plus sites and shrinking

Written by Scrivs on February 15, 2006

When we started this Network a question that came up a number of times was why we didn’t let any site into the Network. There is strength in numbers right? We didn’t take that approach because we wanted our Network to stand for something and we chose quality content as that one common theme. As we have grown over the last couple of months there have been other issues that we have had to deal with concerning our brand and image and how it affects our memebers and readers that have entered into the equation of how we select a site.

Through all of this we also know that our members have lives and their sites aren’t priority #1. Some sites start to lose some of the qualities that made them members in the first place. Some take a different route with their content, while others just stop posting. It’s called “life” and it happens. However, we understand our members are only helped out by us when our image is strong and the sites within the Network have the qualities that our readers have come to expect.

Yes, what this means is that some sites will be removed from the Network. This is not an easy thing to do at all because I have become good friends/acquaintances with many of the members in the Network. However, this is something that many members have been asking for a while now and an issue I brought up a couple of months ago within the forums so really it’s nothing new. There are also two other new policies (if you wish to use that corporate term) that we are putting in place.

One content Network please. We aren’t the only independent content network on the block anymore and therefore there was never a need to address this issue, but sites, a smart move by the way, are joining more than one Network to expose themselves to as many readers as possible. However, for the content networks this isn’t a good thing because your brand could be tarnished if associated with another network that doesn’t represent your ideals and you stand the risk of confusing your readers (the ones who don’t have the deep understanding of the blog community).

Adults, move to this line. Behind the scenes there is a network of sites being worked on that are sexually themed and obviously for adults only. If we are creating a network such as this, it makes sense to guide 9rules towards being one where sexually explicit content doesn’t exist. Everyday we are reaching new audiences and part of this includes children and teenagers who enjoy reading some of our member sites. If you know me you know I’m not the type to shy away from Adult stuff, but this is more about 9rules understanding new responsibilities we have to our readers, not us being prudes.

From where I am standing none of this is easy to say or do. Blog/content networks remove writers all the time, but no controversy is made of this. Being a larger and more recognized network though means tougher decisions going forward and this is one decision that I am not happy to make, but know that it must be done. If we tell members they are joining a network with the highest quality sites, that is what they should expect. If we tell readers they can come to us to find the best of the best, then that’s what we must offer.

Nothing less, everything more and that means we have to get smaller before we can get bigger again. So over the next couple of days you will see the 9rules badges removed from some of our member sites. This isn’t a reflection of the person or their capabilities to produce great stuff. It’s about 9rules moving forward.