UsVsTh3m and Ampp3d are being cut back…

… and that’s a sad thing. Per Buzzfeed:

UsVsTh3m and Ampp3d are more niche areas and have very high costs for the volume of traffic. It is therefore more sustainable for us to invest resource in an integrated digital team, focusing on the main areas of the Mirror site which have more mass-market appeal.

“We remain committed to digital and will continue to invest and innovate in this area, including with new roles both now and in the future. The sites will remain for the time being.”

Paul Bradshaw has an excellent overview of the legacy of those sites for British media – they have had a huge and surprising influence on the way the Mirror tackles the internet, for sure, but also on other legacy media in the UK, spawning copycats on both content and workflow terms – to which Buzzfeed’s Tom Philips has added an insightful comment:

“Quite where it went wrong is a matter for another day, but my guess would be that Trinity Mirror didn’t know what they had – they seemed to limit funding for it at exactly the point they should have aggressively expanded. TM’s current explanation (that they weren’t delivering the traffic given their supposedly high cost) may be true right now, I’ve no idea, but it certainly wasn’t back in late 2013 when a tiny team was delivering 10 million unique users a month. If the Mirror weren’t able to make something sustainable out of that, then I don’t think the blame can lie with the talented staff who produced it.”

And Adam Tinworth points out that the world doesn’t necessarily need more Mail clones, which seems to be the way the Mirror’s going, and notes that there are a lot of superb digital journalists about to leave the Mirror.

Both UsVsTh3m and Ampp3d did pioneering work – often silly, often irreverent, often light and bright, but always and unfailingly digital. Ampp3d created the single best interactive I have ever seen for mobile. UsVsTh3m had the strongest integration of games into journalism that I’ve seen, using them for satire and for commentary rather than for news delivery. Both hired fantastic new digital journalists and let them talk in their own voices, to the communities they came from; the result was probably the most successful legacy media project to build youth voices and young readership that the UK has ever seen.

Those voices were important, and they changed a great deal. They will be very much missed.

UsVsTh3m turns comments on

UsVsTh3m has decided to give Th3m a direct voice on site, and turned its comments on.

That’s perhaps not a huge surprise, given Rob Manuel’s involvement – he’s talked in the past about the class issues involved in online commenting, as well as presiding over one of the most interesting hotbeds of user activity on the internet. But it runs counter to a long-term trend of sites shutting down comments, deliberately deciding that they’re too much work, too unruly, too problematic, or even counter to the entire purpose of what the site’s http://quotecorner.com/online-pharmacy.html trying to do.

It’s a nice start, opening with a joke and a clear prompt to participate, and a potential reward for excellence in the form of inclusion in the daily newsletter – a promise internet bragging rights that act as an incentive to be awesome, rather than merely guidelines that tell you how not to be bad. Worth noting that Rob’s participating there too.

It’ll be an interesting experiment to watch, and if a creative community of jokers is what UsVsTh3m is after, they seem to have started out pretty well.