Measured within the span of a human life, nine years old is still childhood. In metal blog years it’s more like middle age. A few others out there are older than NCS, but not many, and a lot of our former peers have died and turned to dust. Mere stubborn survival continues to be some kind of triumph, and so once again I’m celebrating another milestone: We’re nine years old today, having posted our first article on November 21, 2009.
I continue to be amazed and thankful that we’re still here, that so many good friends are still devoting themselves to writing for NCS on a purely volunteer basis, and that so many readers are still willing to pay attention to what we’re saying and streaming. As usual at this time of year, I want to begin by thanking some of those friends who have been here the longest, keeping the grinding gears of our gruesome machine in motion.
Andy Synn’s first post was a review of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra on September 23, 2010. And DGR’s first post was a series of year-end lists on December 28, 2011. They are good people, and their steadfastness in continuing to write for NCS without pay and despite being buffeted by the usual vicissitudes of life over so many years is still to be admired.
Another old-timer, TheMadIsraeli, still surfaces when life’s travails allow it, and as I look back over the last year thanks are also in order for the contributions of many other fine folks who have also been helping us for years — among them Comrade Aleks, Wil Cifer, Vonlughlio, Grant Skelton, Todd Manning, and Karina Noctum — and all other contributors who have shared their thoughts and musical recommendations at our site.
Of course, we are also grateful to those of you who visit NCS and to all the metal bands and visual artists whose creativity is the reason for our existence
And now for the annual round-up of boring statistics!
Since we launched NCS nine years ago, we’ve published 10,311 posts, including this one — and 1,096 of them appeared in the 12 months since our last birthday, which is a smaller number than we posted in our eighth year of existence but still averages out to 3.0 posts a day, including weekends.
At this writing, we’ve received 79,279 comments since NCS began on this day in 2009, not counting spam and not counting the very, very few I’ve deleted because their toxicity exceeded even my usual hands-off attitude about comments. I don’t reply to comments as often as I used to, but I read every one of them, and continue to be grateful for the insights, the recommendations, the humor, and the support — and for the fact that our commenters have almost always been civil to us and to each other, which continues to be a relative rarity in the realm of metal blogdom.
According to Google Analytics, as of yesterday we’ve had 367,434 individual users over the last 12 months from all over the world. In keeping with data from past years, over the last 12 months less than half of those users (37.11%) live in the U.S., even though NCS is based in the U.S., with 5.97% coming from the UK, 5.07% from Canada, and the balance from more than 100 other countries around the world, with Germany, France, Australia, Italy, Poland, Brazil, and The Netherlands rounding out the top 10, in that order.
Since this time last year we’ve had 1,783,901 page views, which is a decrease from last year, which is perhaps a result of the decline in the number of posts we made this year compared to the one before, or perhaps a result of Facebook tweaking their algorithm so that a miniscule percentage of our FB followers see the posts we make about new articles appearing on the site, or perhaps because more people think we suck.
Speaking of Facebook, the number of “likes” for our Facebook page has grown from 36,148 at this time last year to 38,551 today, which is an increase of 2,403 — compared to an increase of 10,126 in the preceding year. Like the significant reduction in the reach of our FB posts, this dramatic slowing in our growth rate is most likely the result of Facebook’s continuing efforts to squeeze us for advertising dollars, still not having figured out that it’s like trying to get blood from a stone.
A lot of things have changed in nine years, but the fundamentals of NCS haven’t: We still only write about music we enjoy and honestly want to recommend; we still don’t take money from anyone for anything; we still don’t take ourselves too seriously; and we still have a knowledgable, respectful, and almost completely troll-free community of readers and commenters.
As we now begin our glorious 10th year of survival, I’ll once again paraphrase Blade Runner: I don’t know how long we’ll have together… Who does? I hope we’ll still be here at this time next year to celebrate the end of our first decade, and I hope you’ll still be here with us.