Wow. One year. One year we’ve been doing this. One year we’ve been writing SNAPP Reviews. One year we’ve been bringing you the SNAPP Roundup. One year we’ve been drinking coffee and swiping our devices with you. One year we’ve been raising that fucking SNAPPZILLA flag as high as we can! One year.
I’m just warning you. Things are probably gonna get serious up in here. We’ve learned a lot in these 365 days. Some good, and of course, some bad.
I’ll start off by saying that SNAPPZILLA has been on the constant uprise since we first went live on April 14th of last year. It was a nerve wrecking day I do remember that. James and I had been secretly working on this project for around 6 months prior to launch. We honestly had no clue how people would react. With the mobile gaming industry already having two big websites out there, not to mention countless smaller sites, was there even room for us? People are funny sometimes. They don’t like change. They have their own sites that they have gone to for mobile gaming news and it’s been like that for years. What was a small 2-man team going to have that was going to break people from their normal routines? So, there was definitely a little panic involved.
(Fun Fact: We were actually supposed to go live a couple of times prior to April 14th, but we either chickened out or had some technical problems.)
Anyway, we decided to flip the switch and hope for the best. What we didn’t expect was the overwhelming support that we got right off the bat. I remember not being able to sleep that night. Between my nerves being shot and my phone going off every 30 seconds with someone else sending a message congratulating us, it was a long (and awesome) night.
Fast forward to now and I’m still amazed. We might not be one of the top sites yet, but I feel that we are getting there. I’ll be honest with you. Our biggest drawback is content. It is REALLY tough for a 2-man team to compete with websites that are fully staffed. On a good day, I can put out 3 quality articles. That’s nothing compared to other sites putting out 10 to 15 and sometimes even more! Granted, I could probably put out a lot more if I wasn’t worried about quality.
That’s where the struggles come in.
When you’re working 12+ hours replying to emails, working on several social media accounts, talking to readers or developers, building relationships, checking the App Store, etc., to make sure you put out the perfect couple articles that day, just to see that the competition has put out 15 articles in that time all based off a tweet or two. It can get pretty deflating. Now, I’m not saying any of these are bad sites. I’m just saying that it can get frustrating. I couldn’t tell you how many times I see other sites do full write ups on a single screenshot that they saw on Twitter when I’ve been actually playing the game for weeks! I know, I know. It’s all part of the business. But, it still sucks sometimes. Time is our only enemy. There’s only so much we can play and write in a day.
The other struggle is revenue. Yes, the almighty dollar. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this. Now, I could lie and say, “we do it all for the love of the games, man!”. Although, some of that is true, but not all. The truth is that I am doing this full-time right now. James is doing it part-time outside of his full-time job. The past couple years I’ve had the luxury of being a stay-at-home dad which gives me the time to work on SNAPPZILLA. (I lost my job a couple years ago and promised that I would “stay at home” until my youngest daughter starts school.) It hasn’t really bothered me that ad revenue was low because, I enjoy doing SNAPPZILLA and I had to be at home anyway. But, the time is eventually going to come where we will have to decide whether SNAPPZILLA is going to be a “full-time” website, or just a weekend blog. Only time will tell I suppose. But, that is why I try and push people to turn off ad blockers and to help spread the word about us. Yes, donations are great for the time being. (Psst! You can make them here through PayPal!) They definitely help with the costs of games and keeping the website up. But, I wouldn’t feel good about myself living off of people’s donations in the long run. Consider donations an investment in SNAPPZILLA’s future.
So, what lies ahead for SNAPPZILLA? The sky’s the limit I guess. The plan is to focus on our YouTube channel a little more this year. I know that I’ve mentioned it PLENTY of times before. YouTube is a whole different animal though. There are tons of gameplay video and “Let’s Play” channels out there, so it’s going to be another uphill battle for us. I would like to do a weekly “Coffee & Swiping” talk show. I’ve done some practice episodes over the past couple months, but didn’t end up liking them. Again, time plays a big factor. I don’t want to focus on one area and end up lacking in the other. Basically, I don’t want to lose the momentum we have with the site because we decided to switch media formats too soon. It’s all about finding the perfect balance. I’d also like to start bringing in some Android love. There are a lot of great indie games on Google Play that never make it to the App Store. We may start sprinkling in some Android games here and there in the coming weeks. So, keep an eye out on that.
This first year has been a crazy ride. SNAPPZILLA has gotten bigger than we ever imagined. If there is one thing that we’ve taken away from all of this is that SNAPPZILLA isn’t a community, it’s a family. That’s honestly the best way that I can put it. It’s not just us telling readers what games to play or what’s coming out. It’s this bonds that we form with everyone. SNAPPZILLA isn’t just James and I. It’s all of us. Every word that is written on these virtual pages is 100% truthful. And maybe that’s where SNAPPZILLA’s place is in the industry. Maybe “honesty” is what makes us a little different from the rest. I really feel that we do have something here with SNAPPZILLA. There aren’t many sites out there that do what we do for iOS.
Lastly, want to thank all of you for this first year. If it wasn’t for you readers, we wouldn’t be here. It makes my day reading tweets or emails from people thanking us for what we do. It feels like we’ve “made it” sometimes. A special thank you to “The Great” Laszlo for making us Coffee Sketches every week for absolutely nothing and Nik Mihaylov for always believing in us. Colin Lane, Josh of Crescent Moon, the list goes on. Last, but not least, a big thank you to all the game developers out there that are making games every week for us to find. Honestly, thank you all. If you guys keep supporting us, we will keep supporting you. SNAPPZILLA loves your indie faces.