Site Update 01-28-2012: Design Changes, New Game Page, and Some Bad News
We've made some exciting updates to cover up a less fun note on International shipping...
Hope this update finds you doing well and enjoying a stellar 2012 thus far! As you may be able to tell, we've made a few design changes to the site, as of this article, in an effort to increase usability and functionality. These changes are listed in detail below, along with a note about Item Shop orders (sad face):
- The biggest change in this update is definitely the restructured Game, Movie, and TV Show profile page. We've taken most all of the interesting information about a Game and placed it in a new section at the top, detailing the number of Followers, Favorites, etc. You can add the item to any of your lists, as well as review it from this new section by hovering over the relevant box. (We plan to start adding profile images to all items that are without them in the near future).
- We've updated the design on most all of our lists to give each list item a bit more depth. This includes article lists and lists of Games, Movies, and TV Shows.
- The "Featured Articles" slider on the main page has been updated to make the title of each article easier to see and read.
- Most all of our link colors have changed from blue to a dark gray/black color. This was done to create a greater level of consistency across the site.
- The platform icons have all been standardized to a light gray color to again increase consistency.
- The section headings have been changed from blue to a darker gray/black color. This was done to make the text in the header a bit easier to read.
- Comment ratings should now be easier to see and identify.
- Also, we published our picks for the Best and Worst of TV in 2011. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think.
International Item Shop OrdersNow, on to the less savory part of this update. Let me begin by apologizing for the woeful delay in delivering Item Shop purchases this past month; there were a number of reasons for this, with the primary being purely financial. Basically, we discovered that we will not likely be able to afford to ship any more items internationally in the near future. You can certainly continue to purchase items, but we can't guarantee they will be shipped (we'll have to evaluate the cost of each item - any items not shipped will of course result in a full GEP refund).
For some context, the last shipment, which was sent out on Tuesday, cost us $127 for five packages. And these were small, light weight art prints. On average, the shipping charges were roughly 2.5 times the cost of the item. We would absolutely love to ship world wide, but as we're offering these items at effectively no cost, our deficit is rapidly rising. Couple that with the fact that Google has unscrupulously disabled our AdSense account (which was our only source of income), and the situation becomes a bit more dire. Sorry for venting here, but it's just an unfortunate confluence of events that has brought us to this point.
We're currently looking for cheaper shipping methods and re-evaluating how we ship items in general. One potential option is to have prints sent directly to you from our supplier, but they are limited to US and Canada. The other option is to allow you to pay for the shipping, which we hate to do, as offering these items for GEP is a staple of our system... But we're not sure how sustainable it will be going forward. If we can get our AdSense account back (or find another quality source for ad revenue), we'll be much better equipped to handle shipping charges.
There is a Beacon of LightSo, amidst the morose tone of the last section, there is some good that will hopefully come of this. For starters, we're going to be introducing Limited Edition Virtual Items in the next month or so. These will be available for purchase in the Item Shop and will be in limited supply. The idea is to create more exclusivity for certain items, and to create a real economy around the Virtual Item section of the store.
As well, we soon plan to implement an actual sub-game for everyone, effectively allowing you to actually use your Virtual Items in a "Battle" against other users. This is something we've been thinking about for a very long time, and can't wait to implement. We also want to give a shout-out to Merfyz for offering some great suggestions for this system. We hope to have this implemented by the end of April as it will definitely take some time.
Other Forthcoming FeaturesSo, with all of that business out of the way, here is what we're planning to work on in the next month or so:
- Ability to reference other users in Comments and Status updates with the @<username> syntax.
- Ability to reference Games in Comments and Status updates with the @<GameName> syntax.
- Updating the User Profile page to offer more summary information regarding your XP Ranking, Number of Followers, Articles Written, and more.
- Add a notification for when someone comments on an article that you wrote.