History of Television Obscurities, Part 2

In Part 1 of my history of Television Obscurities, I ended in late 2002 or early 2003 when the original version of the site, launched in November 2002, was placed on hiatus. I probably left it online but wasn’t updating the site. After several months, the site was relaunched on June 11th, 2003. At the time it was being hosted as a freebie site at Tripod, so there were banner ads at the top and bottom of every page.

Here’s what the site looked like in November 2003:

Television Obscurities - November 2003
Television Obscurities – November 2003

This is the only screenshot I took of the site, which is why all of the images are there. There were just six articles (then called features) at first but I was adding another six each month. That pace didn’t last long, though. These weren’t great articles, either. The audio/video available was in RealMedia format which at the time was considered cutting edge. The quality was awful.

On January 1st, 2004 I moved the site to its own domain name (the familiar www.tvobscurities.com) where it has remained ever since. During the early years I tried numerous times to get a message board going but could never quite get it right. I was also constantly tinkering with the layout, the color scheme and the organization of the articles. I was big into columns for a while. Oh, and drop-down menus. That was the main navigation tool for a while.

Looking back now, all I see is the terrible layout and the horribly written articles. But at the time, these early years were incredibly fun and exciting. I was getting dozens of e-mails a month from people asking about all sorts of shows. Some would have a title or at least a network and a vague date. Others knew nothing about the show other than one vivid memory about a specific scene. Those people I usually couldn’t help.

In early 2006, a friend of mine who is a professional web designer was kind enough to create a new layout for Television Obscurities. Here’s what it looked like in April 2006:

Television Obscurities - April 2006
Television Obscurities – April 2006

I liked the design so much I’m still using it seven years later, with some minor changes.

Until November 2008, there was no way for visitors to leave comments. Everything was static. I had to manually update the main page whenever I wanted to “post” something new. I eventually decided to use WordPress as a content management system (CMS) because it would let people leave comments and I could use the blogging functionality on the main page.

In many ways the history of Television Obscurities can be split into two eras: before WordPress and after WordPress. Before WordPress I don’t think I had regular visitors or readers. There was no attempt at a regular schedule. After WordPress, that all changed. I introduced a weekly schedule in January 2009 and started writing two articles a month. That was a mistake. It was too much.

I actually didn’t abandon the weekly schedule until September 2010 but by that point it was too late. I was burnt out. I went on hiatus in January 2011 and returned in July 2011. I’m not sure Television Obscurities has ever recovered from those six months of silence. At least not in terms of the number of people regularly commenting on posts and articles. I think a lot of people never returned after the hiatus.

And that brings us to the present day. Television Obscurities is ten years old. I’ve spent the past six months revising all of my articles. I almost finished all of them in time for the anniversary but there are a few left. I have a ton of ideas for new articles, show spotlights and more. Now that I’ve finished looking back at the history of the site, check back tomorrow for a look at the future.

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