Back in October of 2011, I opened somethingtotallyoriginal.com. With my buddy Tom at my side, I dove headfirst into the realm of running a website, advertising, creating content on a weekly basis, and building a brand. We came into it with little knowledge and no experience. All we had was a lot of ideas and a ton of motivation. Before long, I found myself consumed by it. The first thing I did after waking up in the morning was hop on the site and make little changes here and there. I’d go to work thinking about what I was going to do with it after I got home, I talked about it throughout the day, and I worked on it all through the night. I found myself staying up until four and five o’clock in the morning on days that I needed to wake up at six. I’d call or text Tom every time I had idea and we’d have regular meetings where we’d get together and work on content or tweak the layout. We talked about it at parties and compared it to other websites. We were living in our own little world. STO had taken us over.
We recruited a couple more of my friends and had talks back and forth about bringing even more people on board. When I checked the site in the mornings, I was starting to see new content posted. The site was starting to take on a life of its own. And watching it grow was turning into the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Before we knew it, our articles were starting to get clicks. We were getting traffic, some of it by regular visitors. Our small advertising stints had brought us in some random hits, but certain articles and images we made were shockingly high up on Google search results for a handful of terms. It’s like a dream come true. My baby was becoming something.
And now, as Something Totally Original is seeing its most consistent levels of daily traffic, I am about to pull the plug.
For the last few months, I’ve grown increasingly unhappy with STO. The original idea was to create a network for original content, with a heavy focus on music and reviews. To some extent, we have achieved that goal. But there are a lot of issues I have with the general direction (or lack thereof) that it’s gone in. I find myself debating whether or not our content can be considered “original” in any way at all on practically a daily basis. The length of the URL and the fact that I don’t (and can’t) own sto.com is also a big issue for me. But as the name itself started to lose it’s meaning to me, so did the existence of the site itself.
There are a lot of other projects I want to pursue and a lot of things I feel like I can do with a content driven website like this one. There are a lot of other projects I want to pursue and a lot of different avenues I can take to make them a reality. And among all of these ideas, I have a hard time finding a place for STO among the mix. At this current point in time, I feel like STO is only going to take away time, energy, and traffic from my other projects. I’ve put a lot of thought into this subject, and I’ve finally come to the decision to close the site.
I’ve learned a lot from this website. More than I could ever possibly put into words. It’s been the single largest growing experience I’ve endured and it’s brought about some of the coolest things that have ever happened to me. And to top it all off, I’ve had a blast working on it. It’s been an experience more amazing than I could ever hope to describe. It’s sad to let it go. It almost feels like I’m giving up on it before it’s really reached its true potential. But I also feel like there are greater things across the horizon that I should be focusing on.
I want to thank everyone that helped and encouraged me along the way; especially Tom, Stacey, and Trevor. All of your contributions, whether big or small, did far more for me than you could ever imagine. And I also want to thank everyone else who’s supported over this almost-year-and-a-half. And a big thanks to our fans. You may be small in number, but simply knowing that there were really people out there who read the stuff we spent hours, days, and weeks working on… You guys made it all worth the while. You gave me faith that even if STO isn’t the final destination, I will one day be able to make my dreams a reality.
That said, Local Vandals and Crooked Cartridge are not going anywhere. In fact, I think Tom and I will have a little more time to work on those projects. But we have new endeavors as well. I’m not ready to talk about what I have planned just yet, but I think what I have in store is going to far surpass anything I ever did on STO. Wailing Sashimi and RALF will still be around as well. We’re all still best friends and we all still have plenty of fresh ideas. Who knows, STO may even come back some day in a new and improved form.
And on that note, it’s time to say goodbye. It’s really been a great experience. Thanks again to anyone and everyone that ever viewed this page, read our articles, and gave us support or inspiration. I’m sure we’ll meet again.
- Joseph Monticelli