Third anniversary

by eyn on February 12, 2009 · 8 comments · AddThis

Anniversary post always comes a few months late *hides*

August 25th, 2008 marks the 3rd anniversary of Channel-Ai Community Blog. It is hard to believe we have made it this far, as all of this started out as an experimental move to spread the love of J-Pop music. We acquired many writers throughout the past 3 years, all of them passionate and knowledgeable when it comes to the artists they love. Some went on hiatus due to various reasons but luckily, we never run out of new writers to inject new energy into this blog. This year, 3 new writers: 1337rice, sljinu and DJAeon, joined our crew and they have proved themselves to be the most productive despite being the newest additions to our family!

Layout

Until just moments ago, our blog was using a modified version of Cutline theme that I completed overnight 2 years ago. Of course, much tweaking has been done here and there as more features and plugins were added throughout the past 2 years. In order to prepare for yet another wonderful year of J-Pop blogging, I decided it is time for a new theme. Every now and then, things need to be changed to stimulate creativity.

Sure enough, being a huge fan of the Cutline theme and all, I immediately fell in love with Thesis, another wonderful theme by Chris Pearson. Indeed, Thesis can be seen as an extension of Cutline in terms of typography, design and ease of customization. With that said, all these premium features come with a rather expensive price tag of 87 dollars for a personal license. While it might seem a little overpriced at first glance, the versatility, built-in SEO, ease of customization, clean front-end and back-end definitely make this theme worthwhile.

Cutline vs. Thesis

For the colour scheme, I decided to follow the good old blue, green, orange combo. Part of it is just me being lazy, but really, after playing around with different colours I just couldn’t help feeling the fresh blue, green and orange combination works out the best and complement the sidebar rotator really well.

Talking about the rotator, it currently features artists that have been covered on this blog. Much effort went into finding high quality photos that fits the current theme’s feel and design. In order to promote the different types of article we offer on this blog, the top navigation menu and sidebar has been redesigned to showcase some of the best articles we offered, namely those highly informative biographies, groundbreaking J-Pop news and heart wrenching dorama reviews. The current theme also supports threaded comments which is one of the main features of WordPress 2.7. Hopefully, this improvement will stimulate more discussion between our readers and writers through threaded conversations.

Media

As mentioned in our 2nd anniversary blog post, we have completely switched from QuickTime’s MOV to Flash’s FLV for our video embeds. While FLV is a great format, what it lacks is the high quality compression that H.264 provides. As such, I am looking into bringing H.264 encoded .mp4 to our blog in the near future, which should allow us to deliver higher quality videos at even smaller filesize than FLV!

To ease the implementation of adding image captions, I wrote an aptly named plugin called Image Caption. :) If you have been wondering how we consistently publish articles with wonderful image captions, now you know the magic. If you happens to be a fellow blogger with a self-hosted WordPress blog, I highly recommend you to give this plugin a try!

Popularity

FeedBurner Stats
RSS subscriber stats from Mar 11, 2006 to Feb 11, 2009 by FeedBurner

Our RSS subscribers have been growing steadily at an almost linear pace, which I can’t say is a bad sign, but an exponential growth would have been better and more closely reflects the natural law of growth. Is such slow growth rate limited by the amount of J-Pop lovers out there or we just aren’t doing enough to speed up the growth? It is tempting to think that our slow post rate might have contributed to this…

Google Analytics Stats
Blog stats from Nov 14, 2004 to Jan 14, 2009 by Google Analytics

On the daily visitor side, it seems that our popularity hasn’t been growing but quite oppositely, shrinking in size! *panic* From the stats produced by Google Analytics, it becomes clear that our peak happened back in May 2007, during which we attracted 107,936 page views.

When I look at the WordPress Stats graph below, I can’t help but feeling a little sad… *sob*

WordPress Stats
Blog stats from May, 2007 to Jan, 2009 by WordPress Stats

So, what really went wrong? Well, I reckon part of the reason is due to the falling popularity of my FLV Embed plugin, which has consistently outperformed our other blog posts in terms of page views. Since those plugin pages contributes to a large percentage of the total page views, any changes in terms of popularity of FLV Embed and other plugins I wrote definitely have an impact on the overall page view counts.

With that said, what I would like to see from now on is to have our J-Pop articles raking in more and more page views, after all the main focus of our blog is still J-Pop, right? This cannot be done without support from readers like you! If you have always been lurking our blog, it will be greatly appreciated if you can start commenting on our articles to help start a discussion on the materials reviewed. If you have good knowledge of specific artists and feel that they haven’t been covered enough on our blog, please apply to become a writer and join our team!

J-Pop is still a relatively small niche in the blogosphere but we are working hard on making it the next big thing! Please give us your support and help us realize this dream. Hopefully 2009 will be a great year of J-Pop blogging despite the economy downturn!

Writers

1337rice, DJAeon and sljinu are the 3 new writers that join our team this year.

1337rice
1337rice
DJAeon
DJAeon
sljinu
sljinu

1337rice is not only one of our newest writers but he is also a moderator at our very own Channel-Ai forum as well. 1337rice listens to a wide range of J-Pop music as apparent in the variety of reviews he has written so far. It seems that he is currently crazy about Perfume’s technopop so we can probably expect more Perfume reviews from him in the future.

DJAeon is one of our youngest writers but his age definitely doesn’t stop him from being one of the most productive writer here. Being as enthusiastic and motivated as he is, he often seek advices from our editors before publishing his articles. So far DJAeon has covered several reviews for Koda Kumi and Ai-chin’s music, but he is well on his way to show his interests in other artists as well.

sljinu started out as a junior member at the Channel-Ai forum but within short amount of time, he rose quickly to become one of the most experienced posters and a well regarded source for the latest Ai-chin news through his excellent translation skills. To date, sljinu has published a whopping 10 interviews, most of them are related to Ai Otsuka.

Conclusion

It wasn’t easy keeping a blog running for 3 years and without readers like you to support us, we would have stopped doing this long time ago. I want to thank all my fellow staff members for keeping this place alive and kicking after more than 3 years. I also want to thank intlwota for giving us the Best Group Blog award! Every recognition matters and every comment and feedback we received tell us all our effort is worth it!

Let’s look forward for another year of J-Pop goodness right here at Channel-Ai Community Blog!

What would you like to see more from this blog?

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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.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

sljinu AUSTRALIA February 16, 2009 at 2:47 am

I actually went back to look at the previous anniversary posts and realised that there was another theme used before Cutline. I quite like the new theme too but I kinda miss the Channel-Ai banner with the Renai Shashin photo…the new picture rotation is good and all but it adds quite a lot of noise to the page too…

Just wanted to say I noticed at one point the amount of ‘lovers’ we had was 411 so we actually passed the 400 mark! So yeah, we finally got past that milestone…time to try and keep that number consistent I guess…

And lavy, although there hasn’t been any new interviews translated for almost 2 months, just letting you know (and anyone who’s interested) that I’ll still be continuing…just having a bit of a break at the moment. I’m working on a Koda Kumi interview right now and if I can work up the enthusiasm, I’ll finish off one with FLOW, and another with Remioromen. Those two are particularly difficult because half the time I have to reread the sentence several times in order to just get an idea of what they are trying to say. I sometimes wish people would just speak clearly =/

Reply

lavy February 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I am sooo looking forward to Remioromen’s! I like them a lot. Well, actually I like anything related to 1 Litre of Tears, lol.

Reply

sljinu AUSTRALIA February 25, 2009 at 5:19 am

Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath about it but I will try to get round to it as soon as I can. I’m currently a little less than 1/3 through the interview = =
Oh, and I never knew you managed the blog, nhatkyviet! It was my source for J-drama while I was watching it! These days I grew a little tired of it and wanted a break but upon revisiting your blog, I was sad to see the it was going to end soon. Well, I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thanks for all the uploads you shared with everyone! Perhaps you could say I owe you the favour of translating Remioromen’s interview hahaha!

Reply

DJAeon UNITED STATES February 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Yay! 3rd aniversary! It’s great to see all of the progress in the blog this year! I’m sure with a little effort we can climb up out of the slump and pass our records! Great job on the new theme too~

Reply

lavy February 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Congratulations, guys!

I found this site pretty late but have been enjoying reading it since then. I just love reading reviews!

As for the “What would you like to see more from this blog?”, I voted for Album Reviews but actually it’d be appreciated if there are more interview translations. Really impressed by sljinu’s skills.

Reply

eyn February 19, 2009 at 9:50 am

Hi lavy, I saw you have a fairly popular site yourself, that’s great. If you have any suggestion on how to make this site even more interesting, please let us know.

Album reviews usually take longer to complete but we will try to publish more of them seeing they are high on the voting results. Thanks for your feedback!

Reply

lavy February 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm

eyn (I tend to pronounce it as eien (永遠), btw): Nhatkyviet was actually started by my brother and he did most of the management, too. Too bad we can no longer keep it running due to time constraint :(

I will definitely let you know if I come up with any idea to make this blog even more enjoyable :) Asian entertainment in general and reviews in particular are no doubt the joy of my life. LOL. Btw, I think I still see the poll for winter singles up there on the front page, maybe it’s time to put up a new one?

Reply

eyn February 28, 2009 at 12:30 am

Haha lavy, I guess we run out of ideas for new polls, any suggestions?

As for the pronunciation of my name, you might want to check our staff page for some interesting answers lol.

Reply

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