It’s been a while since we last spoke, and unfortunately, I don’t have good news.
Protagonize will be shutting down — permanently — effective June 3rd, 2017.
We’ve reached a stage where the site’s income has deteriorated to a point where it’s nowhere near supporting the cost of operations. Personally, I haven’t been able to actively maintain or upgrade Protagonize beyond the absolute bare necessities for the last 3+ years.
The site has been kept operational for the last year-and-a-bit partially based on the kindness of a handful of very generous individual Protaggers (to single one out in particular, Sharon, a.k.a.: moonwalker), but primarily out of my own pocket. However, we’ve hit a fork in the road of late, and the auspices are no longer favourable.
My wife and I came to a decision earlier tonight to shut the site down for good. We have three children under the age of five, and live in an expensive city, so every dollar we can save matters. We can’t afford to keep Protagonize running on our own dime any longer, and donations have dried up in the last few months. User growth has been stagnant for years and advertising income has dwindled as usage has dropped (not that it was much to begin with, although it did cover our costs.)
For me, personally, this is akin to a dagger in the chest. Protagonize was a great hope to me for several years. It did a lot of good in my life. It taught me a lot. I won’t go into it too deeply, but I don’t take this decision lightly, and have likely been putting it off for much too long.
I have investigated moving Protagonize to other environments or trying to get our ISP to lower our monthly hosting fees as the site is running on severely outdated hardware, to no avail (thanks for nothing, Cogeco Peer 1.) Moving to another lower-cost hosting provider may reduce our ongoing overhead, but it would cost us a significant investment of time and money that we just don’t have to complete the migration. Even then, the costs were not insignificant on a new provider, and the performance of the site may actually have been worse than it is currently.
I feel the need to apologize to you all for the short notice of this pronouncement, but it seems that while the spirit of Protagonize lives on, in its current state and outdated technology stack (developer speak for “it hasn’t been updated in a while“), it’s just not cost-effective in the least to keep operational. And I need to consider the well-being of my family over keeping our remaining users happy. I hate that this is purely financially-driven, but it’s not a great spot to be in, so here we are.
I hope that I don’t come across too harsh in this, and that you all understand that I’ve been (primarily) footing the bill to keep Protagonize operational since its inception. I had aspirations to build a successful business from it, and was encouraged by many to do just that, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I recognize my mistakes now, and accept that it’s time to close up shop and learn from the experience.
I’m still humbled by the fact that many of you grew to adulthood (or a reasonable facsimile 😉) here — over the last near-decade, just a few months shy of our 10th anniversary — reading and writing and contributing to our once-vibrant little community. I hope that you were able to harness a little of the creative energy found here and use it in your lives, both inside and outside of writing. But at the end of it all, I just hope you enjoyed your time here and made some long-lasting connections with other peers, both authors and readers.
I hope you’ll all accept my humble apology and move on to your next writing community with fond memories of your time here — and hopefully of your growth as a writer and community participant. I know that I’ll always remember you all for your contributions.
If you’d like to get in touch with me with any questions or feedback, you can email me here. I can’t offer you any new ways to export your works aside from the existing methods — PDF, RSS, Kindle export, or saving a full story as HTML.
Good luck to all of you in the future. Maybe we’ll meet again, someday. Keep writing. Keep providing constructive feedback. And obviously, keep reading!
Founder, Protagonize (Dec 2007- June 2017)
Addendum: Exporting your works
Protagonize doesn’t offer any sort of mass-download functionality, but you still have a few options for exporting your works from the site. However, they’re all going to require some legwork on your end:
- Author or Story RSS feeds: Click the “Author Feed” on your author profile to get your recent posts, or the “Feed” link in the top right corner if any of your story pages to give you an RSS feed of the entire story:
- Export options: On individual stories, poems or other works, you can use the Story menu (the little gear icon) to export the whole thing to several different formats, including PDF, Kindle, and HTML:
The View entire story option shown above will export the entire work to a single saveable/printable HTML page, and also lets you copy-paste the whole thing out elsewhere if that’s what you’re after. The Export to PDF and Send story to Kindle options will let you export to other formats.
Sorry that there is no way to export everything you’ve posted in one go — I wish I could offer this, but I just don’t have the capacity to add new features to the site anymore.