A Big Thank You to the Readers for Getting Freezenet to This Milestone!

Freezenet has officially reached a major milestone in its development. Drew Wilson is saying thank you for making it possible.

On January 3, 2013, I opened Freezenet. It was, admittedly, at a rather emotional time where I was wanting to continue this pursuit of writing file-sharing news and expand into the broader horizons of security, free speech, and many different aspects of digital rights that have really taken a front row seat at the expense of file-sharing in general.

In many ways, this sea change was ultimately for the better. Rather than focus on the much more limited debate of copyright, it represented a move forward for the Internet in that we are talking about how does society grapple with technology as it impacts more and more of our daily lives. After all, the opportunities this represents is absolutely huge because it unleashed much more potential for what the Internet has to offer for society. This is not to say that the file-sharing debate was bad in any way. In fact, in some ways, it paved the way for some of the debates we have today.

The unfortunate side effect is the fact that news sites devoted to file-sharing ultimately struggled to continue to remain relevant. Some shied away from politics altogether which only hurt the chances of remaining prosperous over the long term given how much the debates surrounding technology so often make their way into the political arena. Having experienced the early days, the idea that there would be huge national debates about technology that gripped international media is absolutely astonishing for some back in the day.

Personally, I always found the topic of technology to be much greater than some trivial topic for niche interests. In retrospect, it probably made someone like me to be an ideal candidate to move the overall digital rights debate forward. This in spite of the fact that, way back in the day, I didn’t really see myself as anyone other than a simple journalist working for a website. Back then, the very idea that I would single handedly run a website largely by myself and take on a brave new world and era of technology would’ve scared the living daylights out of me back in the day. “No, no, I’d probably let someone else handle that” would probably be something I would say to that back then.

Yet, as the demise of ZeroPaid started becoming apparent to me, I somehow managed to muster up the courage to create a simple website just for the purpose of keeping my dreams of journalism in this realm alive. Somehow, the idea that I still had more to give to the world won out over the idea that arguing about the nuances of copyright and how technology works in the real world would land me in a prison cell at some point with some big executive type decrying what an evil monster I was for daring to question something.

Yet, all these years later, with my “build a website brick by brick” mentality, Freezenet has really become more than just a website I could continue writing news articles. It even became more than just something to work on because I simply enjoy writing news. It became about exploration of areas I wasn’t comfortable with. Whether it is playing games on consoles I had little to no experience with or checking out the topics of security or even the, at times, cringe-worthy topics of social media, Freezenet really took on a life of its own.

Who knew I would be able to put together a WordPress theme that would be a responsive layout? Who knew that I would be managing a website at all? Honestly, who knew that I had the capabilities of putting together a functional web forum? Who knew that I would be the first to install and incorporate a functional Wiki on a site out of all the file-sharing news sites out there? While there were certainly growing pains along the way (some of which proved to be rather stressful to me even), somehow, I was able to conjure up the patience and knowledge to put together what you see today. So much about it was based on the idea of, “Hey, this is cool. Let’s add that!”

As the website grew, so did you, the audience, as it turned out. More and more people seem to be enjoying the content I’ve been able to produce. While this website runs with ad support, it isn’t as though I was raking in the cash either. In fact, I was basically fighting over scraps of change thrown my way in many respects. Still, I didn’t let this ego crushing aspect of website development deter me. I was doing something I enjoyed anyway, so I just kept at it.

Now, thanks to you, we’ve reached a huge milestone for the site. For the month of November, we finally pulled in more cash then we spent on maintaining the site for a whole month. For any website or business, this is a huge milestone. So, because of this, I want to give a huge thank you for making this milestone possible. Without you, this milestone would not even be close to possible. I sincerely thank you for this.

For those who look at this site and think that this is all so very easy, I can tell you, it is far from easy. Trying to customize your own functioning responsive layout on a WordPress CMS in and of itself can be a real pain in the rear. What’s more is that, these days, it takes a lot more than a couple of guides and a regular news article being pushed every day or so. So, I thought I’d share some statistics to show just how brutal it can be to get to where someone like me is now:

  • 850 music reviews published
  • 556 video game reviews published
  • 157 WordPress pages
  • 3 CMS’s (one slated for removal)
  • 2,649 Wiki pages
  • 4,571 WordPress articles written
  • 5 social media accounts
  • 36 podcast episodes published
  • 38 YouTube video’s uploaded
  • 7+ years of uptime
  • 1 legal threat

Nothing about that says “easy”, I can tell you that. This is also why there really isn’t that many file-sharing news websites any more. If you are in it for the fast money, you are, without a doubt, in the wrong line of work. You really need to enjoy this stuff or you are in for a world of hurt (and even then, even if you do enjoy it, you can still be in for a world of hurt, albeit, much smaller).

As for what to do moving forward, it is going to continue to be what I say so frequently in my YouTube videos, continue to make an even cooler and better website that people want to hang out and check out online. I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped make this possible and get this one step closer to being more than just a passion project. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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