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Thursday, November 6

simplesongstudio DOT com! - a saga

OK, back to business.

I used to have a web site. It was kind of fun. I put all my stuff on it. Books, frames, cards, bookmarks. And custom wedding guest books. I sold none of the easy stuff, but I sold a lot of custom guest books. Ah, the custom guest books.

Can we talk about custom work?

Here's the thing. If you are an artist and sell custom work, you just may end up selling a leeeetle bit of your soul. Because if a customer wants a book with twigs and pine cones painted silver for a Maine wedding in December, you will be out in your yard gathering materials and then spray painting them which is against every aesthetic you hold. If they get to choose a special piece of poetry or a snippet of their song for the flyleaf you might wind up printing out the Pina Colada Song in Edwardian font.

Oh, and brides. Brides are insane. I'll leave it at that.

So, I eventually pulled the custom books off the site and sort of let the thing die as a sales tool. I used the site as a brochure, information. And then one day I went to sign on to show someone a design and it was gone. Typing in the name brought up a music site. Huh? Apparently the email that was sent reminding me to renew the domain name never got to me. My name was gone.

Now, I don't want to sound all schmoopy here, but when you start up a small...very and nurture it for 10 years, that name means something. Yes, I own it here in New York, all legal like, but if you typed it into a browser, this music thing came up. And then, just to make things intolerable, someone started using my name on the West coast.

How can that be? This is not a common name. But one day I googled me and got a company in Oregon. I think it was Oregon. (It wasn't a web site, but it was another company called Simplesong.) Anyway.. I became obsessed with getting the domain back. The current owners (domain robbers!) had it for 2 years. I hovered over it like a mosquito. The renewal deadline came and went. One day, the listing said "pending delete". Eureka! I hovered and buzzed. And hovered. I asked a friend who knows these things what was up and he said they usually hold them for a month or so to let the owner renew. (News to me, it was reassigned to those music people 5 days after my expiration. Harrumph. Buzz)

Eventually, a chirpy customer service woman told me it would be released at the end of October and I asked if they just automatically went live like at midnight or something and she thought that sounded right. Wrong. I waited a few days and got a chirpy male customer service rep who said it would be any day now. And, he claimed, it would be at 10 am Mountain time. (this reminded me of the animal control officer I called some years ago to rescue a raccoon from my garage. He assured me that they would not kill the little guy, they would take him to the park and release him. Oh, good, I said, experiencing a Disney moment, hung up and realized a whole bunch of guys in a city garage were now laughing their name tags off.) I checked the domain name at noon Eastern time and had a vision of a nerdy guy in taped glasses snorting his name tag off. When I called to ask about that, another chirper said she had never heard of that time thing but would ask, She had me on hold a long time because, I assume, they all had to get control of the laughing and snorting. When she composed herself and got back to me, she said it would be available whenever someone got around to it and I should just check periodically. I swear she shushed the geeks behind her.

And then, in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, I switched off the Bills game in disgust (interception) and headed for my attic studio, but stopped to check one more time and there it was. Available. I guess it was 10am Mountain time somewhere. I bought it back. Huzzah!!

Now what?

Everyone who has a widget to sell thinks there is a fortune to be made on line. Some do very well, but they are the smart guys, the ones who know about things like "optimization" and "meta tags" and "spiders". There is a whole language devoted to web sites. A language I have never learned. A language I resist learning, truth be told. They spend lots of time and energy on growing their sites, promoting, updating, keeping the products current.

It makes me tired to think of it.

Plus, I truly still enjoy the shows. I get jazzed up on show mornings, setting up my carnie tent. I love the people who stop by-mostly. It's telling to watch them browse my widgets. To see what draws them, what they put down, what they pick up. So, I'm not going to try to replace my shows with a web site. That much I know.

But I have my name back and I want to use it. When people ask if I have a web site I want to say yes.

Not now, though. 4 Holiday shows in the next 5 weeks. No time to try to remember what meta tags are. But come January, those long, cold nights when it is too cold to go up to the unheated 3rd floor, I'm going to sit by the fire with my laptop and resurrect

Why not? Move forward, evolve. Change.

Seems to be the right time for that sort of thing. :)


Terry said...

Pat, I havn't had a chance to visit your blog for almost a month - it is great as usual.
We did Letchworth and sales were down by about 20 per cent from last year. It was a beautiful weekend anyway..


Pat said...

Hey Terry!..I've heard good and bad about the show this year. Let's hope for good Christmas shows!

Debbie said...

Hip Hip Horrayyyy.
Glad you have your name back, and really, you are going to enjoy growing your site. Especially with the way you write!