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State of the Blog and a Surprise for Neatorama Top Commenters!

Hello everyone! It's been a few months since our last "State of the Blog" post here on Neatorama - so I figure I'd take a few minutes to update you on the status of the blog.

Neatorama got a new look a few days ago - it's still the good ol' boring gray theme (the focus, after all, should be on the posts), but we'd like to think that it's a more, um ... sophisticated and cleaner boring gray. There are minor tweaks here and there, and some of you may notice that Neatorama loads a little bit faster (those of you still browsing with IE, you'd be surprised how much faster Neatorama loads on Firefox).

We put in a new "We Recommend" section in the right-hand navigation (under the Don't Miss these Neatomonkey; click to see the list) - these are links to past articles that we think are pretty cool. I'll keep these updated on a weekly basis or so, so please check it out.

If you have a hankering for mental_floss, Bathroom Reader and exclusive Neatorama articles, please check out the Archives - click on the year links to see all of the articles posted on Neatorama (for example, this year alone we have close to 150 articles so far).

We had the pleasure of being featured on Yahoo! front page back in August (it was Stacy's Five Hoaxes That Fooled the World). The valiant Neatorama servers fought hard against the unleashed horde of Yahoo! visitors but they finally knuckled under after 3 hours. In that short time, we got over 300,000 visitors (that's about 280 visitors per second!). We thought we had good servers but the experience led us to completely revamp the hardware (which took a lot of our time and caused a few hiccups then). It's been a costly adventure, but I think we're now much better positioned for growth and traffic spikes.

We had our first Mystery Sale on Neatorama's Online Store in September and it was a blast!

We'll have one again soon (yes that's a hint) but it's not going to be announced beforehand, so you have to visit Neatorama daily to find out ...

In October, I got an email from Mitch Wilson of Hungry Hollow Art about how he discovered Neatorama one day and decided to read the entire blog. That's nearly 16,400 posts (at the time - we're now closer to 17,000 posts). When I posted about his story, it turns out that a lot of you have done the Neatorama pilgrimage! I'm impressed :)

And lastly, a surprise to three of our top commenters on Neatorama for October 2008 (see screenshot above) You guys each got a free Apple iPod Shuffle as an early Christmas gift. It's our way to say thank you for participating and making the blog better by commenting.

We've done this a couple of times before and we'll surely do it again, but we won't tell you when. Like last time, you do have to be a registered user of the blog (Register here - it's fast and easy)

Every time we did this, there was a brief spike in people commenting, which then leveled off. Note that you wont' be rewarded for swamping the blog with stupid comments (someone did try this in the past). And yes, everyone has an equal chance of winning - the top commenter list is reset on a monthly basis.

Thank you for reading Neatorama and please tell your friends about the blog!

i like it too - but you should do "best Commenters" not "most commenters" - it's about what they say, not how often they spout off... otherwise I'll build a bot that comments on every post and win a prize every time
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i dont usually comment because i dont feel like adding to the, uh, "discussion", but i will say that im glad i discovered this blog that one fateful day at work 2 years ago.
keep up the good work.
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Wow! And I thought I was commenting less lately.

Notice how Ali S. and I are head and shoulders above the rest... must... stop... spouting off...

Thanks, Alex!
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It took me a minute to find a few things after the re-design, but nothing too difficult. Maybe one day I too will make the Neatorama pilgrimage, but then again, I haven't even finished the latest Uncle John's Bathroom reader (another way Neatorama has led me to spend my spare time). Can't wait for the next mystery sale as I skipped the last one. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the update.
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@ ted

I can't believe I talk so much. O_O

Alex, if possible please send my gift to the next person in line. :)

Wouldn't be fair if I post, comment AND win, right?

Besides since I post up stuff on the site every now and then and you neatoramanauts seem to enjoy that a lot I can consider that as my reward! Mwahahaha! :)
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I'm going to start tossing on comments. I think I registered last year after seeing the give-away, but dropped off with the rest. This year I'm determined to drop useful comments. I really love neatorama!
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Last time my name was on that list was when things were *really* slow at work. Times have been good lately.

As for the site redesign, i noticed over the weekend things were looking much cleaner and loading faster. When I visit the site it's usually with my trusty G4 PowerBook, and a busy site will cause the processor to go a little wild, eating into my battery life.

Nice work, Alex!
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@gtron - you're right, but it's hard to do since 1) there are a lot of worthy comments on Neatorama and 2) there's no easy way to keep track of them. Someone has tried spamming the comment (with stupid, inane comments) to try and game the system, but since I look at them manually, it didn't work.

@philosophile - thank you for the referrals! I truly appreciate that. If I ever find out how to keep track of them, I'd definitely have a "top referrer" prize ;)

@Rhea - well thank you for the kind compliment about the gray! I think the official name for this kind of gray is either bureaucrat or boring gray. If not, then it should be!

@Ali S. - that's nice of you! I'm sure Johnny Cat appreciates it.

To ted, Christophe, and Johnny Cat - congrats! I'll be sending you emails.

Thank you every one for reading Neatorama!
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I didn't think I was commenting that much. It would've been cool to get a prize for reading this great blog, but I don't know what else I would've commented on.

Since I'm here enough, maybe it's time to get an avatar...
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Yaaay! Nice surprise!
It's like going on vacation and winning a free trip there ;) Thanks!

I often recommend Neatorama as well and I apologize for all the trafic/hardware/servers problem I may have caused ;)

Alex and team, thanks again for the daily pleasure of reading Neatorama.
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This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I've joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!
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