But the time has come, again, to say goodbye.
I want to focus my energies more and while the site requires little of my physical time it’s always there at the back of my mind. These days I get very little joy from maintaining the site and, I confess, don’t even use it myself. I’m sure a handful of people find it useful — with no publicity at all it’s averaging one sign up every day — but I’m going to put myself first.
When I launched Byliner it was more a “proof of concept”. I knew it was far from perfect — it only indexes a small number of pages on a small number of sites and misses out several stories on even those — but I thought it was a service that should exist. And I hoped someone would steal the idea and do it properly at which point I could close the site down. It now indexes around 200,000 stories and about 25,000 writers.
Recently Journalisted has started doing something similar. It only covers the British press but does so more comprehensively than Byliner. However, there’s still no comprehensive world- (or web-) wide way of finding out when writers you like write something new.
Of course, never say never. I can imagine starting the site up again, perhaps as an exercise in learning a new programming language just as I used it to learn PHP and MySQL all those years ago. If I found a way to fund my work on the site I’d be more inclined to improve it — there are many ways it could be better — but finding funding isn’t really my bag.
Many thanks to those who have given me nice feedback over the years and I hope you won’t be too disappointed. The site will stop updating at the end of September 2008. Let’s hope someone finally steals my idea and does it properly.