It’s all Magne’s fault anyway, telling a crew discussion should be turned into an article. So, that I’ll do, as I like to think (and do a lot) and write about this kind of thing. This thing being, how to profile ourselves, as a site, in general and amongst other(s) (sites). We internally struggled with that a little lately. Navel-gazing is the word, be warned.
Niche [nĭch, nēsh], -noun:
- An ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
- A place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: “to find one’s niche in the business world”.
- A distinct segment of a market.
- Ecology. The position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
Now, it’s not Habborator entered the world of fansites without a program. The .org extension is there, with reason, from start. And while I started it alone, I knew I was gonna invite people in. Had the statutes ready, with stuff like “There are no dumb questions, there’s ignorance, and that can be helped out of this world in a friendly way”. There were not gonna be ranks and internal competition, and it was gonna be different. That holds true till this day, our relations online changed over time though.
Well, at first we had no relations at all. Some people like Emmerrrrrrr and Laurensh1 came over knowing Dutch pre-decessor to Habborator, global people entered when I posted some badge finds on habbos.net. That’s what we became known for, badge finds. At the time, that was a unique thing still, being able to find them. I sorta forgot how, but I think it was the guys at Puhekupla, Logic and Koetesti, themselves that started sending us some other finds, must have been end of 2007. Star-Fighter: “I find it rather amusing how Puhekupla used to be only a small Finnish ‘inside’-page, where a couple of lads did what they liked without really caring if other people liked it. Well of course, new furniture finds and all that was quite a hit back then but nowadays… not so much.”
The Puhekupla people, finding themselves some attention worldwide, started posting in English too, and became a main resource globally. They could have put some attention to badges, but just left that to us, and we sorta grew into a ‘partnership’, never officially or something. Our trax page is there because Logic just got us the sounds and said we should do a page on it, for instance. In our perspective, there was Puhekupla (finding things), there was Habborator (archiving things), we had some good connections with some local, small, community focussed sites, and there were other sites. Not saying we were better or something, great sites around, but that was our small neighborhood. Sites like Habbox and Habbotimes in Germany, but also other popular, local sites took the big public, we just added our own stuff in the sideline. But it was fresh, and we were perceived as being on top of things, also by ourselves. In reality, besides the badges, the buzz was factually only discovered and created by Puhekupla, though we did cover it like many sites, and we (not I) did a great job on delivering news fast.
I like being a bit ‘underground’. It keeps you out of the wind when it comes to competition and other fights. We managed to keep it that way for a long time. Mind you, we got the hits, recognition, but it was a select group of people interacting here still. Early 2009 Puhekupla went down, later returned with new crew. At the same time, new news sites came up who did the same thing. Lots of those. A battle on being the first to have found something, and who the credits belonged to, started (and still is raging). People figured our msgboard was a good place for that, we now had to actually moderate it. A history of unsuccesful banning some people began, even. We sorta got it under control, though lost some innocence. Posting news wasn’t as much fun as it used to be; people had new sources and it always involved crediting and posting links to own sites. Which is fully allowed, mind you, but reading 100 times habbid found a picture first gets boring (that site just must pay people to post it all the time :p). It's still being done in a seperate section on msgboard, but we also backed out on news & finding badges, and nowadays trying to be even more your random cool find again, stay away from ‘the competition’ (why compete anyway). We add some resources and background to the Habbo universe, that it (and enjoy). Actually, that has been core and mission of our site all the way. We just had a period where we were in lucky circumstances to add some buzz. Those days are over, not regretting that.
Even more there’s a desire to keep things a bit.. private, intimate. Being known is ok, being part of a competition only gets you little pricks looking for holes in your defenses (as we also found out), while you didn’t see the need for defences in the first place. I’ve seen us characterized as what is called a ‘resource site’ these days. Resource, as in, if you need anything Habbo related, we might well have it in our archives. Well, we might, though I tend to think we do add a little more (or, I so totally disagree). Background, understanding, something more indepth is what we strive for.
So, our ‘niche’ ? Well, none, or we’re our own. With a great dislike of big mouthed competitors, but also a firm liking of colleagues with sane minds and great skills (think habbies.nl), or anybody adding something original to the Habbo universe. We’re fine where we are, and sorry for rambling.