Apologies — I’ve Failed You

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cleantechnica-logo-nice… but I’m about to justify (or at least rationalize) the failure.

Two years in a row, our CleanTechnica reader surveys indicated that most of our readers (or at least most survey respondents) didn’t want us to publish 10+ stories a day.

Unfortunately (but fortunately), there’s a ton of big cleantech news to cover every day. As such, we just haven’t been able to keep below 10 articles very often.

Since I’m feeling a bit guilty about that, I just want to ramble a little bit about why we’ve defied this reader preference. There are a few reasons.

  1. Cleantech is hot. As stated above, there are simply too many big stories that we feel we need to cover — that we think more people need to see and read. This really the main reason for our “overpublishing.”
  2. Everyone’s doing it. Well, not everyone, but look at the biggest news sites in the world, and the biggest sites in particular industries — they all publish a large number of articles every day. It’s how it’s done. If you want to be the go-to source for news in your industry, you’ve got to publish a lot.
  3. Just skip over it. If it’s really too much to read, you can always skip over it. Pretty easy to do.

There are plenty of subcategories below each of those, but I don’t think I need to overdo it — those are the key points.

Of course, as I’ve noted several times before, one of the hardest things about this job is that I can’t (or we can’t) get to all the big stories that I’d like us to cover or create. For now, the daily roundup posts I do are keeping me pacified enough, as well as this daily story dump for cleantech news hounds like me. And enough people are checking those out that I can tell that we do have a good number of readers who want as much as we can provide…. which would be point #4, I suppose (a pretty importent one).

If you voted against obsessive coverage in the past, I hope this presents our case fairly well and satisfies you. Feel free to chime in below.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7127 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan

35 thoughts on “Apologies — I’ve Failed You

  • People are seriously complaining that there are too many posts? seriously? I could understand if they were of low quality or something, but each one has been interesting and informative and it would be a shame to hold out on those of us that actually enjoy all these stories just because some people have some kind of problem with you guys posting so many things… which no one is forcing them to read it so I still can’t even understand why that’s an issue.

    • Agreed – as a reader, as long as the quality doesn’t suffer the more articles the better. The most interesting ones I’ll read every word, the rest I skim to get the gist of it… if I really couldn’t keep up, I could overlook some that are less important to me personally.

      From the point of view of a site manager – if the number of articles you publish grows faster than your revenue, you will have to take a cut somewhere. If you cut the writers pay though, they will have to write more articles to keep even and you’ll get a bunch of short, poorly developed articles. If you cut editors pay, they will have to edit more articles even faster and will miss more editing mistakes, etc, etc. BUT, if you could cut margins somewhere to get more articles up faster, your readership would grow and increase revenue – like many of the articles here recommend it’d be self investing.

      So overall I would say publish as many articles as you can without putting your staff in a difficult position.

      Just my 2 cents.

      • Yeah, that’s basically been our approach. However, I did go a little too fast on the output increases in January & February. Probably not so much that a normal reader would notice, though.

  • No, don’t change anything. The articles on this site are very interesting and fun to read. I am glad you guys add articles daily. Keep it like this.

  • I find myself wishing there were more good articles. Thought provoking articles with good references…

    • We do have a plan to increase our ‘in-depth’ articles a lot more. Stay tuned. 😀

  • Part of the problem is that if you just reach the energy geeks you are probably preaching to choir. I always wanted to reach the 100,000 people in my town who go to the ball game every Sunday and not just the 100 who come to EV club ride and drive. Keep up the good work.
    For perspective here is a site you should watch (depressing as ot it is)

    • Yes, completely agree. A top goal of the site. A constant struggle to determine the best way to do so.

  • No apologies necessary. The world’s environment is in big trouble and fortunately there are sources like Clean Technica to keep us informed on the latest developments. I would think people would have been grateful for the extra news coverage. I know I am, Clean Technica is one of my primary sources of environmental news. Forget keeping count, do what needs to be done!

    • 😀 I was surprised, 2 years in a row. Been getting a little bit of heat/feedback lately, but guess that you can never please everyone, and the more eyes you have on you, the more critics you’ll have.

  • I dislike Ceantech’s “10+ more stories” headlines.
    Can’t immediately see if there’s something interesting in there or not.

    • Hmm, that’s basically my lifesaver for the articles I *really* wanted us to get to but we couldn’t. But the click-through rate on those is certainly not the best. The other options are to simply completely skip those stories or post them as super quickies (but then we’re flooding people with more posts *and* many of them are short posts that look like fluff). Thoughts?

      The surveys have always shown good support for these, but as I said, the CTR is not as good as with the average post.

      • There is this saying originated from William Faulkner: kill your darlings

      • No, just keep them. I’m getting used to them.

  • This is a funny kind of “failure”. Keep’em coming thick and fast.

    • Thanks. 😀 I was hopeful the first survey was a fluke, but then got the same response the 2nd time. Well, another one coming in a few months…

  • I specifically come here because you have so many posts than other green tech sites! I wish you would cover more so I don’t have to bother going anywhere else!

    • Thanks! That’s 100% my train of thought. But also trying to do something a bit different by listening really closely to the majority (of our readership). Maybe the tide will turn in the next survey. 😀 Or maybe I’ll finally switch from a democracy-style system to a dictator-style one. 😀
      In the meantime, hope the roundups and such are at least useful..?

  • It is a wonderful site, I visit daily and always find great, often original reporting. Impressed and grateful for the amount of work done to keep it going. It is bad mental hygiene for obsessives to try to rein themselves in. It creates much more stress than just going with it…

  • I hate press releases from some lab that say “Game Changing Breakthrough” that turn out to be years from retail sale, or outright scams. Then they give absolutely no technical details, except the usual “fossil fuels bad, Game Changing Breakthrough good”. I hope you look at them sceptically and cut through the BS.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people like those pieces. (I’m not a fan, personally.) But we can certainly try to be more selective there.

      • As you could expect from our previous encounters, I agree with James. 😉

  • Zachary
    I have no idea why anyone can say that you supply too much information.
    To those of us truly interested in the topic of alternatives, your site is truly refreshing. We serious readers realize how much hard work it takes to publish every day but we appreciate it and would love to see more not less.
    The world is changing and we want to be able to watch it happen through sites like this.

    My message to the complainers……. Don’t read what you don’t want to read!!
    More info please and thank you.

    • Thanks! Appreciate it. Has always been my opinion that it’s super easy to simply skim the headlines and read the stories that most interest you.

    • “The world is changing and we want to be able to watch it happen through sites like this.” — Definitely, and that is one of the most exciting things we offer. When I started writing here nearly 4 years ago, cleantech was picking up steam, but it’s really starting to move fast now. There are so many big announcements weekly or even daily. I like to at least make sure we are covering “the biggest” and giving a good overall picture of how different industries (solar, wind, EVs, smart grid, etc) are progressing (or, in some cases, facing roadblocks). Anyway, yes, super exciting, and happy we are able to share that as much as we are!

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, seriously, hamstring the top go to “clean” resource and library??

  • This is like those yahoos who complain about all the trash on TV, but never change the channel.

  • Every article is a like another tiny glimmer of hope on a pretty bleak horizon.

  • To my taste there are too many articles that are just rephrased press releases. If it where up to me these kind of articles would be cancelled completely, and replaced by a few well-researched articles. Articles that include multiple sources, fact checking, context and feedback of experts. The internet makes lazy copy-and-paste journalism easy, but it also makes good journalism easier: Google makes it easy to find reports, articles, opposing views and contact data of experts. Interviews can be carried out via Skype or email without leaving your bedroom.

    It would also be a good idea to invest some time in studying some technology basics, it helps for your BS-detector.

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