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A Tale of Magazines and the Year 2007: Who'd uh thunk it?

As we get to the finish line on the new pre-NAB issue of Creative COW Magazine, the thought hit me this morning that this is really quite an amazing ride. When we started building web-based community sites back in June of 1995, we would not have dared dream that this would be happening in 2007. Or that we'd be doing as odd a thing as building a magazine and competing against the major publishing ventures in this industry. If someone had told us the future many years ago, we would have likely laughed.

It's quite a strange thing to remember the days when we paid $39 a month for a web hosting site that could hold all of us back then. There were about a hundred of us then, as the tools cost around $50,000 as the cost of entry into this market. While the cost of systems dropped, our web hosting bill jumped to a hundred a month and that seemed like a big thing. System costs kept dropping. Our web hosting bill then went into the hundreds, then thousands a month. Then the site picked up employees and the thing just grew and grew until -- well, here we are. Today, in most months, we get around 400,000 unique visitors -- some months, a lot more. We've had some months, that while rare, have hit around 600,000 visitors and up.

It's really been an amazing adventure and we have made many wonderful friendships along the way. Kathlyn and I joke that we spend more time with our virtual online family than we do with many of our blood families. We have seen you face trials, overcome and succeed, we have seen some fall and leave the playing field, we have watched others begin families of their own, and have been saddened a number of times over the years when family members have written us and asked that their loved one's picture be removed from our site's team as they passed away.

It has been incredible and I must say that I love the Internet. It truly is the place where you find the best hopes and, sadly, the worst nightmares of humanity. But I do believe that there is far more of the good than the bad. It is where you find a wonderful group like the COW Team who host and help people that they often only know from a few words on a screen. It is also where you find people trying to destroy your business using the most under-handed tricks and taking the intelligence they possess to try to ruin you. Oh well, our friends have always ridden in to our rescue and the fact that we even exist today is a testament to the friendships and relationships we have built over the last dozen years of doing this. Like most of you reading this, we have chosen to side with those who would like to leave the world a better place than it might have been, if left alone to those with darker agendas.

In the end, it's all been a remarkable experience and me and Kathlyn, along with all of us who work on the COW as employees or volunteers, thank all of you for being a part of this experience. As I told Mel Charters years and years ago when he first introduced me to the Net: "Man, I love the internet -- this is right up with the printing press and the wheel."

The best to you always,

Ron Lindeboom


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