Monday, March 05, 2012

A Look Under the Hood

Winter's almost over. And due to the calendar, things about bullseye are a little sparse.

I’m well aware we’re in the middle of Sectional season. But they’re fragmented matches scatter across the country and getting reports from them is a difficult thing to come by.
So I thought it might be entertaining to give ya’ll a little peek of what it’s like on this side of the monitor.
For a non-monetized blog it’s a fairly successful operation, warts and all, from a stats standpoint. There are about 7,000 hits to the site—give or take a 1,000—that happen each month. People from as far away as Peru, Russia, New Zealand and a whole pile of visitors from Europe come here routinely. Heck, the blog even has a small following in Malta.

On occasion I’ll even get some guests from the Middle-East where I’ll begin to wonder why they reached out here in the first place—and for what purpose.
At times it can be a little unsettling. Hopefully I’m not unknowingly contributing to something nefarious on some distant part of the globe.
I’m under the impression most of the people who arrive here are interested in competitive pistol shooting. And for the most part they’re interested in Bullseye. It’s fairly obvious to me that even people who practice the International disciplines are at times starved for any kind of content, even if it’s from a closely related cousin. 
To give you a better perspective just take a look at my current blog roll. It’s located on the right hand vertical column titled Friends. Most but not all link to me and most that do are from Europe. Their intended content can have a high degree of subject fidelity or be extremely eclectic. Something I’m sure that’s driven by the individual inquisitiveness of their respective blogger and his or her range of interests.
If you never have, consider taking a look at a few of them. I learn things from all of them at one time or another including the small-bore rifle shooters from Ireland.
Then there’s just good ol’ folks, looking for who knows what, by using a Google search engine. And where do a lot of them land?

Well, an awful lot arrive at an old blog post I did about the Sig/Hammerli’s Trailside three years ago. That thing gets slammed day after day. So, I’m assuming there’s still a huge market demand for them and its clone the X-Esse. Actually it’s the most read of all the posts that I’ve ever written. And I can count on at least 40 new people reading it every day—day in and day out.

My hope is a small percentage of them will peruse other parts of the blog and eventually seek out our sport.
On occasion, about twice a month, I get unsolicited emails from retailers and manufacturers asking to do guest posts. (Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes too.) Sometimes you just gotta admire the persistence of those in the open marketplace. I’m not opposed to having such relationships but the current crop of prospective guest writers have simply proposed selling their stuff—stuff that might not even be related to bullseye. In the past if someone wanted to showcase their wares, they had to come from our ranks: an established manufacturer, retailer or a notable BE figure. 
Since the hit stats are so robust the blog has been the target of spam-bots for the past three years. The comment areas are hit hard every day, something on the order of 30. I get offended when cyber-trolls attempt to steer readers into their sites; thereby giving them an opportunity to sell just about anything, from sunglasses to Viagra.
And there’s one item that surprises me to this day. I’m stunned at how infrequently people write comments on posted items; considering the sheer number of people who arrive here and the hours they invest consuming its contents.
I’m under the impression it has something to do with the type of people that bullseye shooters are. True competitors rarely thump their chests and are more satisfied with simply performing well.
Although there’s a flip side to this situation. I get about 7 to 10 emails a week from various new shooters asking for advice on new gun purchases, referrals to gunsmiths or inquiring where they can find additional research materials. Due to their unsolicited but direct email approach, I assume the majority want some degree of anonymity. But for the life of me, I’ve never received anything that would be construed as a private matter or an issue that would be embarrassing.

On rare occasions a few tenured shooters will occasionally email me. But their subject items tend to shift more towards the political end of the spectrum, or some type of promotion for the benefit of the sport.

And then there are times when the blog affects me, be it directly or indirectly. 
As an example, near the end of last year at a state championship I was approached by a shooter I’d never met. Apparently someone else on the line pointed me out and he quickly came over. He shook my hand hardily—without ever introducing himself or offering any other pleasantries. Then with a joyful smile he asked me in an upbeat tone, “Are you having fun with the blog?”
I replied, “Yes, I am!”

Oddly that was the extent of our conversation for the entire day. None the less I immediately understood what he intended to communicate: a gracious compliment about the blog.
Incidents like the one mentioned above happen frequently. I’ll be the first to admit, the blog has been an incredible resource for reaching out to all kinds and types of people in the sport. And that includes a lot of other people who don’t necessarily shoot with us but support our sport as well.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tony,

I enjoy your blog and try to visit it at least weekly. I suspect that you receive few comments because people don't have a lot to add. Those who like to talk probably inhabit the Bullseye forum.

Please keep up the good work.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Yeah, commenting on a blog is like asking questions after a lecture. It happens but it's not a conversation, it's your stage.

That being said I will say that I did actually come to your site after researching what would be a really good 22 to play around with. The Sig got mentioned a lot and your site had about the best description. I read that post and then a bunch of others and in a matter of months mission creep landed me on a team with a trio of nice guns and a really fun new hobby. Due in no small part to this blog and the Bullseye site.

So, thanks Tony.

G

Joe Fobes said...

I get the same results after the range orientations at my local indoor range. I will ask does anyone have any questions or comments......... silence until they start to gather around me on their way out. Most just to say thank you but some that are shy and want to ask their question in private.

Love the blog and everything you do for our sport!

Anonymous said...

Great blog that brought me into bullseye.
The Trailside post is also a reference for me, and other inquiring minds. It led to the purchase of a 6" pistol with some add-ons. It's the only pistol I kept after being forced back to NYC (in storage at my SD FFL for the moment, ALAS!)

Way to go, and keep the 10s coming :)

Jacob53 said...

Tony,

I agree with the other comments. Its a great blog and we all appreciate the time and energy you put into it. I think it's especially helpful to newbies like me exploring ways to get into Bullseye.

Keep up the great work,

Jacob