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Second anniversary

Second anniversary

by eyn on January 24, 2008 · 12 comments · AddThis

Channel-Ai 2nd Anniversary Logo
Lame logo for Channel-Ai 2nd Anniversary

First of all, this draft post has been sitting for quite some time and it’s about time for me to simply press the publish button… So, August 25th is the birthday for Channel-Ai Community Blog but I did not have the time to complete this anniversary post back then. In this post, I will try to sum up what we have achieved in the past two years and what we plan to achieve before hitting our 3rd anniversary. ;)

The idea of Channel-Ai Community Blog was born around mid August 2006. Back then I was thinking if I could make better use of the WordPress I initially installed for my personal blog. Since I am not that active a blogger, I reckon this blogging platform will be put into better use if I somehow allow Channel-Ai forum members to participate as writers for this blog. I discussed my proposal with Jason, my high school friend, and he liked this idea so much that he was willing to be one of the first writer for this blog, showing what could be done to promote the latest release of your favourite J-Pop groups and singers via this blog.

I then started the recruiting process in the forum via an announcement post. The response was very satisfying and we managed to recruit our first 5 writers: Rinoa, spellcheck, Leanne, Lainay and Spyro. All of them were very passionate about the blog and we all had a great time working and chatting together. We got to know each other quite well during this “exploration” era and it was really a lot of fun, definitely one of the most memorable era for this blog in my opinion.

Throughout the past 2 years the number of writers for this blog has grown considerably. Instead of focusing only on J-Pop reviews, our writers have managed to crossover to cover biographies, doramas, K-Pop, and quite recently some news articles as well. As the admin, my contribution to reviews and articles has been very limited. Most of my effort has gone into improving the blogging platform to make it as easy as possible for our writers to publish top quality articles with rich multimedia content. As such, I have learnt some of WordPress inner working and manage to code some fairly popular plugins to enhance writer’s ability to produce visually attractive reviews or articles. I have also spent considerable effort into SEO to make sure our author’s wonderful articles can be read and appreciated by even more J-Pop lovers.

 

Layout

Channel-Ai Blog Layout
Channel-Ai Blog's Theme

The current blog theme is a custom modification of the popular Cutline theme. All the modifications are done by me and the colour scheme used is inspired by two blogs: PostBubble (no longer exist) and Blogging Pro. Header images used are taken from Ai Otsuka’s Renai Shashin single booklet, which I personally find very fitting and blends perfectly with the colour scheme used.

Honestly, I am quite proud of this custom mod of Cutline and I have been reluctant to start coding a new blog theme, knowing it will be very hard to produce an even better theme. Several people has asked me if I can send them the current blog theme but unfortunately my answer has been no. First of all since this theme is based on Cutline, I will most likely need to obtain permission from the original author before distributing this modded theme. Second, the theme is so heavily modded that it will break on any other blogs that does not have the same plugins installed as this blog. With that said, I will try and see if I can clean up the theme’s code and release this when I finish designing the next Channel-Ai Blog theme. ;)

 

Multimedia

We have completely switched from QuickTime to FLV ever since I released the FLV Embed plugin back in January 2007 for easy FLV embedding within WordPress posts. The reason for the switch is quite simple: the adoption of Macromedia Flash is much wider compared to QuickTime. Also, since the FLV format is quite open i.e. you can use different players written in Flash to play those files, as such you get to choose the features you like when picking your favourite FLV player such as full screen playback, timer, even subtitle display using an external caption file!

fyi, a collection of all Flash videos and music reviewed so far at our blog can be easily accessed using the experimental Channel-Ai TV and Channel-Ai Radio.

 

Popularity

We have been in the J-Pop blogosphere for slightly over 2 years and we have seen steady growth in terms of RSS subscribers and daily visitors. With that said, the growth seems to have slowed down quite a bit as apparent in the RSS subscriber and daily visitor graphs shown below:

Channel-Ai Blog RSS Subscribers Graph
Channel-Ai RSS Subscriber from March 11, 2006 to December 16, 2007

 

Channel-Ai Blog Traffic
Channel-Ai Blog Traffic from September 2, 2005 to December 16, 2007

While the reason for the slowing down of our growth rate is unknown, I believe we need to push out reviews and articles more consistently and frequently to attract even more RSS subscribers. However, due to the “free” nature of our blog writers i.e. they work on articles whenever they feel like doing it, it is hard to maintain consistency in terms of frequency of site updates. As such, I personally plan to get more involved with the writing process which will hopefully get our writers motivated.

We are also looking for new writers so if any of you reading this is interested in contributing to this J-Pop blog, feel free to drop us a note via the contact page. We are currently planning some weekly series of articles to ensure that this blog will be updated at least once every week, hopefully this can be implemented should we find the right candidate to be in charge of such weekly columns.

 

Comments

1 Litre of Tears” remains the most commented blog article of all time on this blog, with over 800 comments right now! A total of 3516 comments have been posted to our blog and a total of 144 articles have been published. This corresponds to about 24.4 comments per posts, even though most of them are actually posted in the “1 Litre of Tears” article.

Thanks to every reader who has spent the time to comment on our articles because every comment motivates our writers one way or another. Every constructive comment you posted let our writers know their articles are read by nice people like you and it really shows that their articles are really reaching out to people. <3

Spam comments have become less of an issues after we started using the Akismet WordPress plugin. At Channel-Ai Community Blog, each comment is manually moderated by either me or our blog editors. With the help of Akismet, our job is just to weed out spams that leak through and also some useless comments (usually request for downloads etc.) that doesn’t worth to be published in our opinion. fyi, frequent commenters do not need to have their comments manually approved. They will also not see any ads that helps our virtual private server healthily running.

 

Writers

We added 5 new writers this year, they are Celsius005, Amichan, Erika, Rokit, and oroitsme. Celsius005 is an active member at the Channel-Ai forum and he has been extremely helpful when it comes to translation of Ai related materials. Being a huge fan of BUMP OF CHICKEN and Kanon, he has written biographies and reviews for both of these artists. Amichan isn’t a member at Channel-Ai forum like most of the writers are. Instead, she applied to become a writer for this blog via email, which is very sincere and passionate in my opinion. So far Amichan has published 1 review – mink’s e+motion (a very nice soothing album IMO).

Celsius005
Celsius005
Erika
Erika
Rokit
Rokit
oroitsme
oroitsme
Amichan

Erika is a big fan of Johnny’s boys, especially ARASHI. She has published 3 articles so far, all of them are related to Johnny Entertainment’s idol groups. Rokit is the webmaster of NamiTamaki73.net (used to be NamiTamaki.net) and has published 2 reviews of Nami: “CROSS SEASON” and “Winter Ballades” single. Lastly, oroitsme is just like Amichan i.e. she is not part of the Channel-Ai forum. However, nothing stops her from being a contributor on this blog, in fact she has published 3 articles so far and has written several drafts to be published in the near future.

Once again, I would like to stress that we are still looking for enthusiastic writers who want to contribute to our blog. Wide exposure of your written work is almost guaranteed seeing we have been around for over 2 years and have about 200+ RSS readers on average. Google also likes our blog quite much as apparent in the ratio between search engine referrers and site visitors. Overall, if you like J-Pop and want to share your knowledge about the artists you like the most, join us and start making a difference today!

 

Plugins

One of the thing that sets this blog apart from other blogs is that we actually offer plugins for other WordPress users to download and use on their blogs. All these plugins are made to make this blog better, but apparently many WordPress users find great uses of these plugins on their blog as well. Out of the 4 plugins currently available on Channel-Ai Community Blog, FLV Embed is the last addition but proves to be the most popular one so far. Over 8000 people have downloaded FLV Embed over a 7 months period, despite the fact that there are several WordPress plugins that provide similar functionality. Personally, I coded FLV Embed to work in a similar way as the Audio Player plugin, which is quite popular among blogs that are music or podcast related. The tag syntax is almost the same except with some added parameters such as width and height.

Star Rating for Reviews, the first plugin developed by me, is a rather original (concept-wise) plugin developed for the sheer purpose of reviewing singles and albums. I recently updated the plugin to include a new sortable table feature and added various bug fixes. If you are a fellow blogger that do reviews on your blog just like we do, I highly recommend you to give this plugin a try and enhance your reviews with pretty stars and automatically generated overall ratings. ;)

btw if any of you have a good idea for a WordPress plugin but does not have the necessary WordPress and PHP knowledge to do it yourself, feel free to tell me and I’ll see if I can write such a plugin for you (provided I have the time). :p

 

Conclusion

It isn’t easy to keep a blog running for 2 years, our writers have spent a lot of effort writing the best article they could and keep trying to become better and better at it. I truthfully owe the success of this blog to my dear mcbloggers, especially Rinoa who has been with this site since its very beginning and has never stopped contributing everything she could to make this site better. Of course, the kind comments from our site visitors and regular readers really makes a difference.

For those of you who have never shown your “face” on this blog, don’t you think it’s about time to say “hello” to our writers and let them know why you subscribe to or visit our blog? Hopefully there will be more interaction in the future between our writers and our readers, it is one of the thing that I would like to improve in the upcoming year.

Related Posts:

  1. First anniversary If you've been wondering why we had so many articles published on August 25th, and a few more after that, then hopefully this entry's title will give you a better idea! This is our own unique way to commemorate a special day, the day when Channel-Ai Community Blog published its very first article exactly one year ago.......
  2. Third anniversary August 25th marks the 3rd anniversary of Channel-Ai Community Blog.........
  3. Ayu’s anniversary "Mirrorcle World" is Ayu's 42nd single which was released to celebrate her 10th Anniversary.........
  4. LOVE IS BORN ~3rd Anniversary 2006~ To celebrate her third year since her debut, Otsuka Ai held a special concert at Hibiya Yagai Ongaku-Do on September 9, 2006 entitled 【LOVE IS BORN】~3rd Anniversary 2006~. But this was more than an anniversary concert for her, as September 9 was also her 24th birthday and hence the title of the concert “Love is Born”.......

About the author

eyn is the geekmaster who spend his free time maintaining this blog, programming WordPress plugins and recruiting new writers who has a passion about J-Pop. His J-Pop goddess is Ai Otsuka but he also enjoys mihimaru GT, YUI and Jay Chou's music.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mosey UNITED KINGDOM May 23, 2008 at 5:47 am

Wow, I only just came across this post, sorry! I have to admit I am only an infrequent visitor to Channel-Ai, but always like reading the music recommendations as more often than not, I really like what the authors highlight or recommend! :)

A belated congratulations for your two year anniversary; I only wish I had the talent to develop plugins as well for my WP site, but alas I always have to rely on the genius of others like yourself.

I have to admit I didn’t realise it was Channel-Ai that released FLV-Embed (alas I use another) but I think a major plugin that you released called ‘Image Caption’ is fantastically useful – simple yet *so* helpful – but it is unfortunately not very well known at all (most people would think that no one would bother to do something so simple yet brilliant) otherwise I am certain it would be one of your most popular plugins as well.

Thanks for your contribution to the online J-Pop (and more) world as well as WP! :) I would like to wish Channel-AI every success for the future!

p/s: I didn’t know that Star Rating was a plugin. What a find! :D

Reply

Leanne UNITED STATES May 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Wow, 2 years and still going strong huh? Happy to see that the blog is still a major success!

I just began d/l jpop again in months and I came upon a link to the blog and it became really nostalgic. Just remembering our wild chats!! lmao Anyways, not to get off on a tangent…

But yeah, congrats eyn on making your blog a big success for 2 years! I can hardly believe it!

Leanne :)

Reply

Rinoa February 27, 2008 at 11:11 am

Happy Second Anniversary indeed. I really enjoyed reading this article. It was nice reading about how this blog evolved and changed throughout these past two years. I must say that this blog has become a big part of my life, no matter how busy I am because it has become a passion for me.

Hope we get more active writers. I really look forward to yet another fantastic year for this blog!

Reply

mafee THAILAND February 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm

A bit late, but…… Happy Anniversary!

I’ve found this blog even before the board. And though I’m more active in the board, I come here now and then to update J-pop news. This blog is really something. I love the layout and style, though I don’t participate much, because my scope of interest in J-pop is mainly Ai-chin. ^^”

Keep on good job. Gambattene!

Reply

Riko UNITED STATES February 15, 2008 at 12:01 am

Congratulations! Being an RSS subscriber and a regular reader of your blog, I am so proud of your success. Keep it up!!! =D

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hiro UNITED STATES February 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

oh yeah, i’m an RSS subscriber too. =]

Reply

Andrew AUSTRALIA February 3, 2008 at 1:45 am

Congrats on two years.

I want to compliment eyn on two things as well. The blog design is beautiful. I came across the site looking for a good review plugin, even that is elegant and well designed. So thank you :-).

I’ll stick around as an RSS subscriber now too.

Reply

van-kun VIET NAM January 30, 2008 at 12:00 am

I’ve read Channel-ai since the early of 2007 and I have to say, you guys really have done a very good job. ^^ Please post the reviews more often. Thank you very much. ^^
Happy your 2nd Anniversary. ^^

Reply

Reika UNITED STATES January 27, 2008 at 12:12 am

thank you guys for everything :]]]
very very hapy :]
always read the articles :]
keep up the good work guys xDDDD
always thank you (*’u'*)

Reply

Lainay UNITED STATES January 26, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Awwww, eyn. :]
That was a nice read. I’m so sorry I didn’t contribute at all in 2007. I see there are many new members who have kept the articles coming, but it seems our 2005 McBlog team has somewhat evaporated. =[
I don't listen to J-pop with as much enthusiasm as I used to, but I will try my best to keep checking back here and writing some more articles. :(
Anywho, HAPPY 2ND ANNIVERSARY! [very, very, very belated]

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Jo UNITED STATES January 25, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I have definitely enjoyed reading the reviews published by numerous Channel-Ai bloggers.
It is a way for me to increase my knowledge of Jpop and even individual artist’s background and biographical information.
A big THANK YOU goes to the contributors of this blog. ^_^ I look forward to see more interesting articles in the future!

Reply

hiro UNITED STATES January 25, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Cool. I might consider joining beginning in June.

It would be neat if you used the 2nd anniversary logo above with the reflection effect as the new logo for the blog.

Reply

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