Notes to self
The days between mid-November and late-December are an admittedly busy time. There are potatoes to mash, turkeys to fry, cookies to bake and presents to buy. (Yes, I worked on that for all of fifteen minutes.) However, I am more than a little shocked by my own failure to write about one of the more joyous and eagerly anticipated events that recently took place in my world: the official launch of TasteStopping.
Since the end of May, 2009, I have been working toward the moment when TasteStopping would take that bold leap into the world of food blogging, lose the “wordpress” in its URL and start making me some hard-earned cash. I am happy to report that on November 19 (or was it 18?), 2009, my dreams came true. I launched the site, ditched the free hosting, and started raking in sums of money not seen around these parts since my days as a child laborer in Detroit.
All joking aside, the story behind TasteStopping is neither complex nor interesting, but I thought I might try to prove otherwise in a short Q & A session with myself, while also answering all of your burning questions about the new site.
Me: How did you come up with the idea of TasteStopping?
Me: I stole it. From myself. After TasteSpotting rejected a beautiful (read: off-center, white-balance-challenged, poorly composed) photo of Lemon Meringue Pie. In my defense, they had previously accepted a yellow cupcake with chocolate ganache frosting that was taken with the same camera. So I figured they loved my stuff. To find out otherwise was, in a word, mind-numbingly devastating.
Me: So your next step was to fire back with TasteStopping?
Me: My next step was to complain loudly and at fevered pitch to my husband, neighbors and the 1.5 people who read this blog.
Me: So what was the light bulb moment? The “aha” factor?
Me: It’s amazing what a Google search for “TasteSpotting pisses me off” can find. Turns out there were lots of frustrated bloggers out there who had been rejected for any number of random reasons (editor’s note: actually, between TasteSpotting and FoodGawker there are only three rejection commentary notes given. They refer to composition, lighting and the degree to which the photograph in question resembles each site’s founder).
Me: What was your marketing plan?
To beg foodies who had blogged (and later, tweeted) about being rejected to send their declined photos to me. Oh! And spamming commenting on blogs that had photos appearing on the big name sites. It seems to be working.
Me: Who sent in the first rejected photo? Besides me.
Me: Two names come to mind: Dorian (from food goes here) and Kate (from warm olives). Since then there have been a lot of great bloggers participating, although I suspect that there are about four hundred thousand that I haven’t reached, yet. Give me time.
Me: What are the biggest changes visitors can expect when they visit the new site.
Me: Certainly the biggest improvement is that now visitors will have a clear idea of how to lose belly fat.
Beyond that, the changes are somewhat behind the scenes. For instance, bloggers are encouraged to establish an account with TasteStopping, which then allows them to create their own posts (just as they would on their own blogs). Those posts wait in a queue for me to approve and post, which typically happens within 48 hours (barring any unforeseen bouts of H1N1). Bloggers who wish to continue to submit the old fashioned way now have a contact form on the Submit page, which offers a streamlined process for sending their photos. Those submissions can take up to a week to post because I am lazy.
Me: Any new features on the site?
Me: Yes, yes there are! First and foremost, visitors will notice the Drive-Thru on the right side of the homepage. It’s a scrolling index of outside posts that any blogger can submit as soon as they publish it on their own site. This way, visitors can come for the rejected photos and also find photos with links to the freshest food content out there. It’s kind of like FoodBuzz, except you don’t have to wade through 354 new messages and 716 friend requests in your inbox to get there. It’s just right there. On the right.
There is also a sorely neglected content area called Judge, Jury, Execution in the right sidebar which is supposed to get people talking. You know like, “Hey, why did this photo of my grandmother’s lebkuchen get rejected from every friggin site?” And then all of us chime in with helpful advice like: “Well, try some backlighting next time,” or “Have you ever heard of a light box?” or “Because nobody likes lebkuchen.” You get the idea. I’m sure once the goodwill and glad tidings of the season have passed, the gloves will come off in Judge, Jury, Execution.
Me: Why do you think the blogging world is drawn to TasteStopping?
Me: As food photography improves across the board, so will the criteria for acceptance at the elite sites become stricter and stricter. It won’t be long before they start ruling out photos based on color alone. You think I’m joking, but just ask Brown what kind of summer he had at TasteSpotting.
My point is, there will always be rejected photos in need of a second home and bloggers in need of some group therapy. Grab some tap water and have a seat in our circle.
Me: What does the future hold for TasteStopping?
Me: I’m taking TasteStopping on the road! In May I will showcase photos from the site at Camp Blogaway in Southern California. I expect this to snowball into invites from BlogHer Food 2010, FoodBuzz Conference 2010 (please disregard above comments) and next year’s Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Special, just to name a few. Sponsorship opportunities will be available on a first-come, first snatched up basis.
Me: Closing thoughts?
As you can tell, the whole site is supposed to be a very tongue-in-cheek experience. I deeply appreciate all of the bloggers who continue to submit and put their rejected photos “out there” for others to see and learn from. And I’m always open to feedback of any kind. Except negative. I’m just too delicate for that.
Me: Seriously, people…thanks for visiting and enjoy! :D