Hey there Suns fans!
We may have spent the past year watching a trash product with a bad reputation among players, coaches and front office folks - not to mention media - but right here in Bright Side land we are chugging along just fine.
Why? Because fans outlast everyone. Fan outlast good teams and bad teams. The nature of the fandom doesn't change. It's just the rhetoric that vacillates wildly.
In the wake of news that Lon Babby is leaving the organization, our own Scott Howard went off on a particularly poignant rant. So let me steal liberally from Scott's timeline.
The Lon Babby era in Phoenix was 6 years long, entirely lacking in playoff appearances & saw a dramatic rise in fan apathy. He'll be missed— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) May 5, 2016
This is the official photograph of the Lon Babby era in Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/LJsiOXsLHb— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) May 5, 2016
Never forget, there was a time when Steve Nash was so good that Suns fans drank "Suns can win 50+ games with Hedo Turkoglu at PF" kool-aid— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) May 5, 2016
It's also very important to remember the Suns pitch to Eric Gordon "cornerstone" https://t.co/knELW57kAj— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) May 5, 2016
Scott echoes the thoughts of many Suns fans at once, but not everyone's. Even Scott has had to avoid the comment sections of BSotS at times due to the lack of self-control we all feel after a particularly embarrassing event.
In fact, after being one of BSotS most frequent commenters for years, as well as an occasional contributor, Scott Howard has dedicated himself almost entirely to his own 140-character blog called twitter. This way, he doesn't have to suffer through reading anyone else's takes on a Suns topic.
But here on BSotS we commonly offer the occasional hot take for your consumption, and for the consumption of a lot more people than you might think. Suns players, coaches, front office staff and even executives read our blog on a regular basis. I've been contacted about our work by the managing partner, president of basketball ops, general manager, coach, and players over the years. And many folks from other teams and media - both local and national - have recognized and praised our work as well.
Sometimes we get called out directly for our hot takes right out there on social media.
@BrightSideSun foolishness— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) January 4, 2015
@BrightSideSun crazy....— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) April 1, 2016
But even more often, we get into heated debates over players that seem to devolve into arguments over whether one of us even deserves to live if we don't see the other person's side.
Some of these ugly arguments end up with the use of the...
Some times our wonderful readers have even begged me to ban them. I'm not kidding. As if threatening me would scare me somehow. Or would make them a martyr. Nah, this is how we react to threats...
Of course, sometimes they try to come back (looking at you, Jan!) and pretend they are someone else, but they are usually pretty easy to spot and ban again. And frankly, if they DO come back and are not easy to spot, I really don't give a damn because... well, it's the old persona that was banned so why should I care? I ban the BSotS persona, not the person.
Since taking over this little blog, the Suns have had two of the worst seasons in franchise history. The league's fourth winningest franchise ever, sporting a nearly 60% winning percentage over 48 years, has... well... fallen on hard times to say the least.
But the Bright Side continues to flourish anyway!
A reader lamented recently that there's fewer people around these days than there were a couple years ago when the Suns were riding high and fighting for the playoffs. Except that's not quite true. Our highest readership was LAST year (2014-15). People love train wrecks. But we are bigger now than 2013-14 or any year prior to that. Just a bit smaller than 2014-15 when the stories wrote themselves and the trolls were trolling hard. Thanks Lon and Ryan.
Our readership this spring, while the franchise melts down around us, is actually still going strong! We've still got a TON of you reading and consuming on a daily basis.
Per our google analytics page:
- Since January 1, we've had 412,00 different visitors (IP addresses)
- These visitors are from 202 different countries, including places like the Falkland Islands, Monaco, Uzbekistan and Yemen. No sign of North Korea yet, but I'm hopeful...
- By the way, Slovenia is STILL #7 on the Big Board of visitors since January 1. Apparently Kat. has almost 9,000 friends. Or we have 9,000 trolls.
- Lest you worry, 'Muricans, the U.S. is still #1 on the Big Board with 78% of our overall readership
- One third of our viewers have our page bookmarked, or just go straight to the page without any googling first
- Two-thirds of our traffic is referrals from google searches, twitter, facebook, SB Nation (parent), Bleacher Report, Yahoo, etc.
- On social media, our Facebook page has ballooned from a few thousand followers to more than 61,000 today. In the past year alone, we've added 18,000 new followers
- And all this without any star players to draw in the readers. Our most popularly linked/shared stories are about Devin Booker (a rookie), Mirza Teletovic (a sixth man) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (not even a Phoenix Sun yet!)
- Our most popular story (28k views) of the spring was the Archie Goodwin/Markieff Morris fight, but within this entire season the most-read story was a little short story on Devin Booker's hot start in the NBA (76k views).
Imagine if we had a good, fun team to follow and/or a magnetic player or two to bring in fans across the globe? And I'm not talking Markieff Morris. Maybe we are seeing a bit of that with Booker and Bogdanovic. Let's see what happens as time goes by.
In the mean time, we are not only gnashing our teeth over the current team, we are reaching out to the community in a way that's special and somewhat unique. We as a blogging community are actually donating our own hard-earned money to create new Suns fans!
So the Bright Side will continue to shine brightly. Last year, our little community raised enough money to send 700 kids and chaperones to a Suns game on November 14. Next season, we plan to double that and I expect you'll be right there to make sure we reach that goal.
We wouldn't be where we are without you guys and gals in the community.
Keep on trucking, no matter what happens with the team.