The Rise, Fall & Rise Again of Threadwatch

    June 27, 2007

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. One way to know for sure you live on the Internet is to launch a site and then take it down. The moment you announce that you’re moving on is when you suddenly learn that what you had going was appreciated and even loved.

That’s the Internet Way. We think we communicate better online, but I disagree. I think we bitch easier and with greater freedom. I think we create drama for the sake of getting attention. We use the Web to show support only if the situation is a major disaster or matter of the heart. But on an every day, routine life basis, far few have the nerve to drop by to say they read or participate in your “thing” and are glad it exists.

Such is the case of Threadwatch and Aaron Wall. It’s hard to read the Threadwatch goodbye thread because support is coming in now, at the end, and even some well known figures in the industry have dropped in with their shows of support and thanks. You can’t argue with statistics and the data says TW was losing its fire power. Despite that, it had a following.

In October of 2004, Nick Wilson, at the time unknown to us, came to Cre8asiteforums for help with a new website he was launching. He posted in the Website Hospital, – Site Review Please.

The thread is a great memory and tribute to TW’s birth; a beautifully descriptive example of what it feels like to start a new web site. Nick’s courage, energy, ambition and devotion proved to be unstoppable. TW did so well that later, Aaron Wall bought it and for awhile, it was an island with its own SEO/M tribe, its own language, and its own personal code.

Less than 3 years later, Cre8asiteforums members are discussing the closing of Threadwatch. It’s like watching a comrade in arms. Some wish to offer salute, some will continue to find fault, and some will be utterly quiet, not knowing quite what to say.

I think it took incredible courage for Aaron to present his reasons for wanting to close up shop. I dread the day I decide to walk away from Cre8asiteforums. It’ll be a nightmare. Even though I know it will passed on to friends who love it, the loss of a site founder always causes distress to people. We become attached and like them to be there. I felt that way when Nick passed TW on to Aaron.

TW has the last hope that it can be saved or morphed into something new. Whether or not that actually occurs is anyone’s guess. TW was an interesting ride. The one place SEO’s could go and pound down shots in a virtual pub and not give a rat’s behind who saw them there, or heard what they said. If one of their own was ever in trouble, the troops were rallied in mere seconds. Otherwise, it was where you went to be in the company of those whom could care less what you wore to the party.

Sometimes I needed exactly that.