Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Blog feedback wanted - how am I doing?

Hi y'all! Hope you're all enjoying my little corner of the blogosphere!

I just wanted to make a few things clear about the purpose of this blog. There seems to be no lack of Hobbit Rumours blogs around - I'm currently subscribed to about a half dozen or so. The big one of course is TheOneRing.net (or TORn, to the initiated). You may have noticed that I've put their headlines into the side bar of this page. I'd be a fool to try to compete with them, and that was never my intention.

However, I've noticed that most of the other blogs seem to delight in reposting TORn's items on their own pages. This seems a bit pointless to me, as I'm assuming that most Hobbit fans will already have a permanent link to TORn anyway, so the link (and soon after, the blog) just becomes noise in an already noisy world.

Which brings me to the purpose of my blog. My blog isn't a high-volume one. Sometimes I'll not hear anything interesting for a week or two, other times I'll suddenly have half a dozen items in one day. In general I try to only write about local Wellington related news that I've come across myself. I have a good network of spies out there, some of whom have little or no access to the internet (I know, who'd believe that!... ((you know who you are, B&M))) :)

I always copy my entries to TORn's spy report email address - sometimes they think it's worthy of spreading further; sometimes they don't. That's cool - I'm always honoured to be mentioned by them. However, since they don't always feature all my entries, it's worth adding my blog (or my RSS feed) to your newsfeeds, if you want to stay up-to-date with the latest local rumours and news. I'm fully expecting to have a big increase in cool news in the coming months - that's the whole reason I started writing them up in the first place!

I'd like to ask a favour of you all - can you tell me what else would you like to see? Should I add a Facebook group you can become a fan of? A twitter feed? A usable email address? Something else? Leave me a quick message here with suggestions - I'd love to hear from you!

One request I've often had from my tour guests is why I don't sell t-shirts or other merchandise, either on the tour or here online. Simply put, I've generally concentrated on being a tourguide rather than becoming a retailer, and let's face it, there's already plenty of online shops to choose from.

Having said that, I've recently been playing on zazzle.com, and I've designed a basic t-shirt that I think looks quite cool. Would there be any interest in stuff like this? Do you like this one? Do you think it's the most awful design you've ever seen? Should I stick to guiding and blogging? Don't hold back! Tell me!

Get off the road, Wellington, NZ shirt

I often have access to local items that Weta Cave can't sell online for legal reasons (some of the LOTR related stuff can't be sold outside of NZ - please don't ask me for a legal explanation but that's what they've told me). I'm quite happy to buy off Weta Cave at their retail prices and pass them on to anyone out there, if there's interest in that. For instance, they've just started selling an ultra cool Sauron t-shirt designed by Daniel Falconer that they can't sell online - let me know if anyone is interested in one.

One cool shirt - it's just under $nz50.
Get in touch if you're keen on one
(I'll add a small fee for p&p and my time).

The floor is open - let me know your thoughts!

  - Jack M.


  1. Gidday,

    Just some words of support. As you say there are lots of rumour sites out there and I like the more personal nature of your entries... most sites do seem to be passing on news where as with this site, it's always from the horses mouth (so to speak).

    Personally, as a Lower Hutt resident, I'm looking forward to visiting a few filming sites over the next few years. As a local I'm probably not going to be taking any tours or looking for merchandise but it does seem to me to make sense to have things like a t-shirt or two available so people have a bit more than memories and the odd photo to remember their tour.

    In terms of other media formats like twitter and facebook I'm all for it. A facebook page makes sense for business purposes (extra exposure, you'll get more feedback on facebook compared to the blog). Twitter is a good idea as well, its a good way to draw people into your site.

    Personally I use my twitter account to get up-to-date links and news and its good for the odd competition. Whenever I do a new blog post I push out a twitter update. Different people prefer different methods of getting info so having a blog with rss, updates on twitter and maybe also facebook if good for getting the information out there.

    Sorry for rambling, hope that helps ;)

    P.S. Went to the John Howe signing on the weekend, such a gracious man. He hinted that the newly built Hobbiton might not be destroyed after filming is completed this time, we can only hope! Photos and write-up here: http://2kiwis.co.uk/?p=1735

  2. I think you do great!

    I follow you on RSS, and sometimes use you as an alternative source to all the major sites on my own Hobbit-blog (unfortunatley in Swedish).

    It's quite cool to hear things from some one right in the middle of things, at least more than many of us others. You also blend personality and opinions with exiting news in i nice way.

    Twitter is great in some ways, and you maybe could use it as an alternative RSS-feed to get more people to find you. Facebook I'm no fan of since it is so closed to those not already in (I'm one of them myself).

    Keping this site posted with interesting stuff is the most important thing, I think. And of course surfing the web sometimes and leaving comments in other blogs, forums etc so that people can find their way here.

    So, keep up the good work!

  3. Jack, first of all let me say that I love the format of this blog. As you've said, there is no point to reposting information that's available already on TORn. I always check both TORn and the your blog (pretty much every day, actually) because I know that the news is likely going to be different.
    As far as other media outlets go, accounts on both facebook and twitter would probably help you garner a larger audience, I just hope it doesn't cause the blog to lose the personal feel it currently has. One of the reasons I like this blog is that it feels like I have a secret source that not many people know about, but I wouldn't blame you for wanting to expand.
    I would like to see more consistent updates. I understand that you don't get new info every day, but even the tiniest scraps are enough to appease me.
    I think I speak for all of your readers when I say that overall you do a great job, and your have my hearty thanks for your contributions to our community!

    Chris O.

  4. Hi, Jack

    You're doing fine. I check your blog several times a day (really!!!) and, as ChrisO said, I'd like to see more updates here. Maybe when filming starts, eh?

    I'm not a fan of neither Facebook nor Twitter (no time), but I believe they could increase your audience.


  5. I'm definitely interested in the T-shirts-
    and by the way, TheOneRing was the source that led me to your blog anyway

  6. Twitter, Twitter - go go go :-)

    @MiramarMike ... guess where I live folks :-) AND, the new sound stages are coming along a treat - must be for The Hobbit eh!

    We must have a coffee one day Jack - when's good before next Tue or post mid-Jan? How about Polo Cafe

  7. Let me tell you that you are one of my daily websites. I have four (not including email) and I always look forward to hearing about what's happening around there.

    That's an awesome Sauron shirt!

  8. Hey Jack,
    I live in Portland, Oregon, USA and really appreciate your close proximity to what's happening in all things LOTR and Hobbit. Keep up the good work and I'll keep hopping by.

  9. Hi there...yes, more thumbs up, keep doing what you're doing! I've just signed up to follow you on Twitter because, when I look at your blog, I see all the cool stuff I missed just this past month.

  10. You know what I'd like to see... Just out of curiosity, I think it'd be a cool if you made a post inviting readers to post their own names and locations, and maybe how often they visit. Kind of like a little sound off. Might help some of us connect, or even just foster community. Keep up the good work!

  11. Jack, as far I'm concerned you have a great thing going here, a real "man on the street" feel along with the fun prospect of getting "secret" or advance information. No one else can provide your special perspective. Keep up the good work!

    Jenifer, however, would like the vegetarian sandich! :-)

  12. Hey Jack, as you know I love your blog. It's informative and fun. Keep up the good work.
    As I told you I would be interested in your t shirts and I really like the 'Get off the Road' one.