Grounded & Steadfast

The journal of Chris Bowler, a collection of thoughts on faith, business, design, and the creative process. Also learning to code.

On Deck

Ever since I've had the desire to have my own weblog, there has been the aspiration to do it full time. Blogging as my job. Who wouldn't? To be able to research, to write and to experiment with the things I'm excited and passionate about—sounds like a dream job to me.

This desire really started around the time John Gruber left his job at Joyent to write for Daring Fireball full time. I was just getting into the world of personal blogs; reading his explanation of the thinking behind his decision has always been a reminder of what's possible when you find what you love and pursue it wholeheartedly.

As an aside, the entire time John has been writing DF, he has done a great job of keeping his audience abreast of his plans for the site. Specifically how he wanted to support himself and his family by writing.

During this time, Jim Coudal implemented the Deck, of which Daring Fireball was one of the first four members. And this advertising network has seen amazing growth in the last four years. Starting out with four sites in 2004, is has bloomed to twenty-seven twenty-nine sites as of April 28, 2008.

For folks who appreciate clean design and a site looking the way the author intended it to, the Deck serves up tasteful, appropriate ads to the audience. It's safe to say that I've even come to enjoy the majority of the ads I've seen on the Deck—a far cry from what you will see most everywhere else on the web. John summed it up nicely in his Bedecked article in 2006:

Each one of these principles is contrary to the conventional wisdom in web advertising — most sites that draw revenue from advertising attempt to cram as many ads as possible on each page, in as big and garish a format as possible. Yet I feel strongly that our policies make for a superior experience both for you, the reader, who is neither distracted by animation nor insulted by “punch the monkey” nonsense, and for the sponsors, who do not have to compete for attention from other advertisers on the same page.

Well said. The beauty of the Deck is that is detracts not at all from the content the reader sees while rewarding the author for his\her time and efforts. I've always thought that if I was to get involved in the world of blogging, the only ads that would ever adorn my site would be via the Deck.

So when the Deck grew to twenty-seven sites this month with the addition of Dean Allen's Textism, I was a bit envious. And curious. How exactly are sites added to the Deck? And since the best way to find out is to go to the source, I did just that. I asked Jim Coudal via email what the criteria are for sites getting added to the Deck network. Here's his response:

New sites are added to the network by invitation based on traffic, appropriateness to the target and visibility within the design, web and creative communities.

We're currently full of new additions for the next month or two and will be looking at additional sites to add at some time in the near future.

Thanks for you interest, please keep us in the loop on developments on your end.

Well, if you're going to set goals for yourself, make them worthwhile. This is one of mine. In terms of traffic—and you could add quality of content — The Weekly Review is a far cry from the sites currently on the Deck. But over time, hopefully that will change.


Update: Great timing on this post — today Jim Coudal announced the addition of four new sites to the Deck. They unveiled a new domain and design as well.