Monday, February 1, 2010

Five years in, where our ambitions lie

The end of 2009 marked the 5th anniversary of Associated Content – a media company that came into existence when I quit my job in the online search and taxonomy world, believing that if we built the Web’s first content marketplace, we could organically grow the largest collection of quality content and contributors on the web. One month later, I convinced Leonardo, the origin of most everything, to leave his newspaper job and come aboard. We started building code, analyzing text and tracking the value of every new submission.

Exactly five years ago today, our first piece of content worked its way through our publishing process – Managing Diabetes by a freelancer named Steve, followed by an article about Riedel wine glasses written by a terrific professional food and wine reporter from the now defunct Rocky Mountain News. Some of the Contributors (or “Content Producers,” as they were known back then) who joined us in our first months are still publishing on Associated Content, including Jeff Gedgaud, Emma S., A. Hermitt, Timothy Sexton (our first-ever “CP of the Year”) and Crystal Ray (2009’s “Contributor of the Year”). Each of these individuals has created more than a thousand pieces of original content and reached millions of readers.

It's funny to look back on our early goals, because what seemed wildly ambitious at the time now seems quaint. We wanted to publish a library with half a million pieces of content and boast more traffic than similar start-ups like Squidoo and Gather. Needless to say, we passed those milestones long ago, fueled by the passion of our amazing community of Contributors and staff members. In these five years, our ragtag group of online innovators has grown into a team of more than 60 talented individuals, supporting a scalable platform that publishes the fine work of 350,000 Contributors, who have submitted 2 million articles, videos, slideshows and audio clips.

So where does that put us now, at the dawn of our sixth year in online publishing? As anyone can see, the internet economy has evolved and our innovative business model now relies on ceaseless execution – assembling the largest, most talented, most diverse group of content creators on the planet; building game-changing technology; and supporting our incredible community of Contributors. We are proud of what we've achieved, and we know how much further we have to go.

Big changes are already in the works, including a bold upgrade to the look of our site (see preview below). We just rolled out a new look for our Movies category, and more Associated Content categories will be re-launching in the coming year, complete with tailored designs and new functionality. Our Contributors can also look forward to new opportunities to participate in our platform at a deeper level. Stay tuned to our blog for details on all of these initiatives.

The new article page - launching soon! Click to enlarge.

At this time, I'd like to offer heartfelt thanks, to:
- the endlessly creative and perfectly diverse contributors who have helped us build a library of two million pieces of unique, engaging content;
- the dedicated team that ensures that Associated Content continues to climb;
- the visitors who have thrust this library into the top 50 sites on the Web; and
- the multitude of media and technology companies, large and small, who have partnered with us.

Five years ago, we saw the need for something called "The People's Media Company" because we knew that traditional media models would have to face more innovative and inclusive models. They have. And now our next set of wildly ambitious goals seems similarly daunting: millions of Contributors, billions of page views and a continually innovating platform that applies efficiency and scale to the industry. When we look back in five years, I hope (and predict) that the Associated Content of 2015 will make these ambitions look quaint.

-Luke Beatty, Associated Content Founder & President

27 comments:

Sabah said...

Thank YOU Luke Beatty and the AC Team for building a dynamic publishing platform that continues to be a profitable outlet for thousands of Contributors.

The new layout looks great, and I'm excited to see what's in store over the next few years!

Patricia said...

Proud to be part of it, and like AC itself, hope that my goals for my first year will be quaint in five.

The Cheap Gourmet said...

Congrats on the five year anniversary and THANK YOU to everyone who has helped provide a wonderful writing platform. I look forward to many more years with AC!

Pam Gaulin said...

Thanks, Luke, for AC. I've been here since 2006 and it's been a fun, educational, groundbreaking and profitable ride. AC has opened doors for me that I didn't even know existed. I love working with the AC staff and have made a wide network of writer friends through AC. I look forward to the next five years of AC, and the next five...

Marie Anne said...

Bravo!

Thank you for providing the publishing platform for the writer in all of us.

Jeff Gedgaud said...

Thank you so much for all your hard work getting things setup for us contributors.

You continue to show you care not only about getting the news out about the site but in helping us get what we need to contribute to the wealth of information that is Associated Content.

Ahermitt said...

Wow! Time Flies! I have enjoyed the ride.

Lyn Lomasi said...

Congrats on a successful five years. I know there will be many more to come.

Also, much thanks to AC. The site has given me so much knowledge in writing, so much opportunity, and brought me in contact with some amazing people (staff and Contributors alike).

Your care for the community that you have provided is awesome and I look forward to AC's future. :-)

M.G. Hardiman said...

Cheers and thanks to Luke Beatty and the exceptional AC Team for giving us the opportunity to participate in this incredible and far-reaching mission, collaboration, and publishing platform. As a relative newbie on the site, it's exciting to hear about the foundational years. I certainly look forward to seeing what's to come. The new layout looks fantastic. Good work and hats off, AC!

Regards, M.G.

Lyn Lomasi said...

P.S. I was referring to Luke when I mentioned the care, if I didn't make that clear. ;)

Also, I meant to say that I love the new article page look - very professional.

Linda Ann Nickerson said...

Thank you for the opportunity and for continuously upgrading and updating the site. Looking forward to more!

Carol Bengle Gilbert said...

And it's getting better all the time!

JesseSchmitt said...

Awesome! AC has change so many lives including my own. Here's to your next 5 & continued success! The best is yet to come!

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben said...

Luke, you have every right to be extremely proud and I am honored to write for Associated Content. I began here in October, 2006. I also began subbing again after homeschooling for 10 years. Living in Michigan, still no full-time teaching job. Writing for AC- an ever increasing and eminently satisfying home business opportunity. Thank you for that.

jcorn said...

It has been wonderful working for AC and thanks for a wonderful ride and millions of page views. I'm eager to see AC evolve and grow in the upcoming years. That have already been some exciting changes!

jcorn said...

Just revisiting, after passing the info along to others :)

Cassandra James said...

A large percentage of my full-time writing income now comes from Associated Content. Very happy to be a part of it. It's been an amazing experience for me.

Congrats on the first five - can't wait for the next five :-)

Ranee Wright said...

Thank you Luke Beatty and AC conglomerate for providing a great writing platform and community!
It is fun to look back and see what once was a huge deal and now seems mediocre.
Great job in the past five years. I look forward to the next five and beyond!

Kelly Spies said...

I am so dang excited!

Jolie du Pre said...

I LOVE Associated Content. I quit at one time, but I'm back and I will never quit again. This time, I'm here for the duration. I hope AC is around for many, many, many years to come!!!

Pamela Gifford said...

I love getting paid but more importantly, AC has built my confidence, opened doors, and taught me so much along with all the helpful contributors who are all too ready to lend a helping hand. Looking so forward to seeing what comes this year! Thanks for this great post!

KBalbify said...

I am a newbie around here, but it is a great sign to see company officials asking for feedback from it's writers, and making positive changes. Thank you!

Roberta said...

I'm very proud to be part of AC!!!
I love it!!!
I love the new design and everything about it!

Karen Zakavec said...

Congratulations and Happy 5th Anniversary to AC!

Thank you to Luke Beatty for having the vision to start this site and for providing writers the opportunity to publish their work.

I'm happy to be a part of the AC community and look forward to seeing where we will be 5 years from now.

Anonymous said...

I really like the new changes. If you want to read more than one article by a certain writer, it's easier to get to the main body of work.

I would like to be able to subscribe to the AC contributers with a different email account than the one that I use for business transactions, though. Maybe someday, eh?

Gayle D'Ambrosio Crabtree said...

Thanks for creating AC. I continue to be in awe of all the sources here and have learned so much. AC is proof that the sky is not the limit. There is a lifetime of even better years ahead.

Devrie said...

I think Associated Content has had one of the best business concepts over all the other content sites I've experienced. I feel confident that AC has staying power, and I'm getting excited about its movement forward.