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Mac Musings

Low End Mac 2000

A Look Back

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- 2000.12.28 - Tip Jar

LEM Origins

Low End Mac has come a long ways since I started The New Low End User Site on my personal site in April 1997. Over a few months it evolved to The New Low End Mac User Site and eventually the brief, descriptive Low End Mac.

By July I was being contacted by Jason Pierce, who wanted to host the site on his MacTimes Network and run some ads. I had put the site up as a public service, but the idea of making a bit of money was appealing.

I don't have site statistics prior to July 1997, but that month we served over 20,000 pages. Very impressive - or so we thought until we moved to MacTimes in November and jumped to almost 60,000 hits for the month.

Money came in slowly at first, but after a while we were past $1,000 a month. Not bad at all for a hobby site with almost no overheard.

The MacTimes Network began to unravel in December 1998. We moved to our own domain, lowendmac.com, in February 1999 and severed our relationship with MacTimes at the end of March. We were on our own with no ad income until September, when infiniMedia began to handle the site. Site traffic sometimes approached 400,000 pages a month.

Part of that came from new writers who joined the effort beginning in January 1999. Today we have ten regulars, a few occasional contributors, and several other pitching in on Mac Daniel.

Looking at 2000

We don't have exact figures for 12/99 through 2/00, but all indications are that January 2000 was the first month we broke past 400,000 pages. In October, we passed the 500,000 mark. In total, by the end of the year Low End Mac will have served over 12 million pages.

We teamed up with BackBeat Media, who has been hosting the site and handling ads since June. Site income is up significantly - so is the amount I send out to writers each month - and we'll have more comments on that in January.

I attended my first Macworld Expo in July, finally meeting a lot of people I knew only by articles and emails. I even saw His Steveness not ten feet from me in the Expo hall.

The Writers

Low End Mac used to be a one man show. I still write a fair bit and handle site design, but I'm also doing a lot of proofreading and editing for our cadre of freelance writers. I've discovered I enjoy that as much as any part of the business.

I also realize that a lot of our growth over the past year is due to these helpful individuals.

Our first regular columnist was Evan Kleiman, who wrote a column on the iMac Channel. Evan's interests grew well beyond the iMac; he is now a regular contributor to Mac Daniel and Friends, our advice column. Other Mac Daniel regulars are Chris Lawson and Michael Munger, with occasional contributions by Manuel Mejia Jr, Charlie Ruggiero, and Julie Fugett.

Paulo Rodrigues wrote occasional columns beginning in March 1999. Beginning in April 2000, we moved them all to the Tangerine Fusion column, which covers a broad array of topics.

Charles W. Moore brought his Miscellaneous Ramblings to Low End Mac on Sept. 9, 1999. To date we've published over sixty columns, as well as reprinting archive pieces that originally appeared on Mac Opinion.

Since September 1999, Eric "Zoltan" DeStefano has been sharing his conversion story in Mac Metamorphosis. Eric has gone from Windows to the Mac OS and is now working with LinuxPPC and Mac OS X.

I found Steve Van Esch as a regular contributor on osOpinion and asked him to consider writing for Low End Mac. His Mac Scope column debuted on April 26 and has covered a broad range of topics.

Brian Rumsey had his first Low End Mac Gaming column published in February. The series has looked at different types of Macs, which games work best on each generation of Macintosh, and some specific games.

We launched Adam Robert Guha's Apple Archive column on May 12. It took off quickly and Adam been one of our most popular columnists ever since.

One of our newest columnists is Jeff Adkins, who writes Mac Lab Report about using Macs in the science classroom. In addition to school-specific issues, he also covers a range of general Mac topics.

Our other recent addition is Tech Reflections by Chris Lawson, who also writes Mac Daniel columns, has been compiling profiles of video cards, and also publishes the pickle's low-end Mac FAQ.


Oops, I got a friendly reminder from Anne Onymus that I forgot to mention The Rumor Mill, our popular parody of Mac rumor sites. Our biggest event of the year was having Slashdot take Apple ditching G4 seriously and posting a link to it. ;-)

The Future

We have big plans for 2001, the first of which is incorporating the business on January 2. Thanks to the staff at BackBeat Media and plenty of links from other Mac sites, we are moving into territory undreamed of four years ago.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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