Oh boy, initially, I had scheduled this post for early January, and look at the date now. As of writing this, it is March 14th. We are already three months into the year, and only now can I take the time to write down a couple of passages. 2020 has been a heck of a year for pretty well-known reasons, and 2021 seems to follow in its footsteps. But we are gamers, and you are browsing Grindosaur - so enough with this real-life nonsense; let us focus on what went on behind the scenes and what I have in store for you in the upcoming year! By the way, I am kidding; We have to talk about personal matters here and real-life in general. I am healthy, and I hope that you are too. Let's go!
So, 2020 was, as I already proclaimed, a rollercoaster for most of us. We had, and still have, an ongoing pandemic; people lost their jobs left and right, riots took place (predominantly in the United States), and several natural disasters were thrown into the mix. In retrospect, a "shit show" best describes what went down all over the world. And during such a time, Grindosaur was turned into a legitimate business - arguably the best time to found a company is midst a pandemic, would you not agree?
As very few of you know, I have left my regular job at the end of 2019 to focus on Grindosaur full-time. Quite the risky move without an ongoing pandemic to begin with, but who would have thought that only a few weeks into 2020 would change our lives for the foreseeable future? So, there I was with less than 200 daily visitors in January, equipped with only my savings to finance this undertaking and no active income - and a pandemic at the horizon. That was scary, let me tell you that.
But as time went on and me focusing on getting more content and features onto the site, the daily user base exploded. To recall, in January, the site had less than two-hundred daily visitors. This quickly changed, and the site grew up to 600 daily users by March, breaking 3.000 in May for the first time. By that time, I knew I was onto something, so I acted accordingly and issued my self-employment starting April 1st. But that heralded in problems over problems.
My base assumption has always been that it is pretty hard to get decent traffic onto a website. However, once done, monetization would be pretty easy to finance the continued existence of a project. But I quickly learned that sudden growth comes with its downsides. The website was flooded with bots, scraping content and clicking the newly introduced ads. The new objective for the second half of the year was not content anymore, no more site features, no user interaction; it was bot mitigation, fraud detection, and its prevention - to secure the project's survival. And it was a mind-numbing fight that would last up until the beginning of 2021.
And to top it all of, during the second half of the year, it dawned on me what I had pushed away since February: my love interest and potential companion I spent a lot of time with and adored for so long was gone, and would never return. This realization spiraled me down a dark path making progress infinitely harder and postponing much of the content and site additions I had planned. But alas, we all have to face certain events sooner or later and rise in the aftermath to shine once again. And so I did, to combat the invalid activities taking place; to ensure Grindosaur's survival.
As you see, a lot has happened in 2020, and I could go into way more detail about many things, like how I never imagined Digimon to help me make a breakthrough with my website. It was a mear accident that I started hosting Digimon databases, and it quickly blew up that I had to provide more of it to quench the thirst of my growing user base. It blew my mind at the time (and still does). Furthermore, through my work on this website, I have met many great guys and gals, including streamers and Digimon fans, excited about my work on their favorite games. It was such a stressful year, but so very worth it in the end. And it is only the beginning...
The ongoing bot warfare coined the first three months of this year, and I am finally in a position where it seems that I have gotten the situation under control. There is still fraudulent activity, but my ongoing work on the website's architecture and defensive measures has tremendously decreased it. That does not mean that there is no more work to be done here. It's an ongoing problem webmasters have to deal with, especially when sites grow, but I am much more knowledgeable today than when it all started. But let us finally focus on what this year will have in store for Grindosaur and its user base; it is time after all this wall of text you had to read through!
Now that the bot situation seems to be under control, I want to work on Grindosaur Prime - the elevated state a Grindosaur can reach. Practically, it describes a process a Grindosaur runs through that turns him into its prime state of existence, enhancing his livelihood with mechanical parts and machines, increasing his game grind capabilities tenfold! What does that weird fantasy mean? Well, essentially, Grindosaur Prime will be a subscription-based service introduced to the website. It will allow you to support the website and its editorial independence while also gaining the perk of not being tracked by third-parties (Google, for example) and not seeing ads anymore. I am working on additional features, but I cannot announce more than is currently in the works (and people have a tendency to ask once specific features are disclosed but not yet available). It will be a service heavily expanded upon in the future, with pretty cool stuff in the works. However, if you fear content gating, be reassured that there will be no content gating. We will limit particular tool usage further down the line with excessive server load, but these services only exist on paper at this very moment and will be announced as time goes on. Grindosaur will not participate in blatant information gating as other media try to.
Additionally, with Grindosaur Prime's introduction, I will overhaul the whole dashboard and user registration process. I have a long list of features, like user profiles, preference-based news sections, and tons of user requests that will be implemented as time goes on.
Speaking of news, beginning sometime this year, I want to get more news articles onto the site. I am not a big fan of bloated, opinionated articles and reviews circulating the internet. Therefore, I will try to be as objective as possible and mark opinions accordingly. The same goes for game reviews I would like to publish. Once these will appear on the site, I will have developed and published a coherent catalog of ranking criteria to see if a game is right up your alley. These articles, including their rankings, will not be purchasable as I have sworn not to participate in the ongoing media corruption taking place in the gaming industry. If something is terrible and not worth your time and money because of flawed design, cash-grab practices, or unfinished content, I will tell you. Oh, and Grindosaur will not participate in pointless media drama. If that is what you are looking for, please go somewhere else.
Speaking about articles and media coverage in general: Due to the problems Grindosaur had to face last year, I had to postpone the introduction of a comment system. This feature was planned for last year but was never implemented. I have promised it, and I will try to get it onto the site as the year progresses.
Then there is content in the form of tools and databases. Grindosaur strives to build a custom database solution for as many games as possible and integrate said data into nifty tools. While I have already started working on several tools, like the Digivolution Planner, they are far from finished and lack in so many regards. The same can be said about incomplete database entries and errors in said databases. I get a ton of feedback every week and make many shadow fixes, but some errors are still undiscovered. If you find any, please report them. As for new databases, I have several works in progress, utterly unrelated to Digimon, that still need polishing before releasing them into the wild. However, I have also received several requests for more Digimon databases that I will try to implement sooner or later. This project is far from being dead, albeit me being very silent in the past.
Twitch and Social Media
Lastly, I plan on picking up streaming on Twitch to communicate in a more personal way with you about games, Grindosaur's content, additional features you would like to see, and everything else that might be going on in your or my own life. The user base is pretty huge, but I interact only with a tiny portion of it. That is something I would like to change as many of you have so many great ideas or feedback that I would love to hear. If you are up for it, you can follow my personal Twitch channel to be notified once I am online! Moreover, if you are interested in partaking in our small Discord community, please consider joining it. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram will also help you keep up with everything Grindosaur (I promise that they will become much more active in the next couple of weeks). I have to get the hang of it, as I am not a social media person. On a side note, sometimes I feel old as I have distanced myself entirely from these services while only being 27. This is a world I have never imagined joining, but whatever.
As I said, 2020 was riddled with hardships, but I am more than ready to make up for that in 2021. Be excited about what I, and Grindosaur in general, will have in store for you, and let us have a great year despite the ongoing pandemic!