You probably noticed that SCI FI Wire turned into Blastr today, along with a whole new Web site. And you're probably wondering what's going on. Here's the deal.
SCI FI Wire was a great name when we came up with it during a two-minute hallway conversation in 1997. At the time, we were just finding news stories about sci-fi, fantasy and horror at traditional sites like CNN and Variety and collecting them in one place. Wire was a name that harkened back to old-fashioned news wire services, and when no one else was seriously covering sci-fi news online it got our point across nicely. "You will find sci-fi news here."
Today, "Wire" feels old-fashioned and stodgy, only slightly better than if we were called SCI FI Telegraph. And there are now millions of sites that curate sci-fi entertainment news, so there's no need for us to be shouting "Look! NEWS!!!! Over here!!!" Also, in the last few years we've grown well beyond news by adding things like the Bruce Campbell's Soup Labels, the Image of the Day and the Periodic Table of The Empire Strikes Back. As we've tried out new stuff we've listened to your comments and kept track of what stories were most widely read, and it turns out people like fun stuff along with their news. Really, really, really like, as in it's the most popular content on the site.
You like it so much that our traffic is going bananas. In May we set an all-time record for unique visitors and page views, then in June we shattered that record by another 40 percent when nearly 1.5 million people came to the site. (That's all thanks to you, by the way. We know that, and appreciate it!) News continues to be a big draw, but so are things like "Image of the Day: Wonder Woman's new costume improved by a fan."
As Blastr you'll start seeing even more new content, including guest writers like Jewel Staite from Firefly and Stargate: Altantis and (most recently) Warehouse 13, along with a fellow Atlantis favorite, actor and director David Hewlett. We've also talked astronomer and Discover Magazine writer Phil Plait into guest-blogging for us, to help us understand the science behind sci-fi. (And believe us, we can use all the help we can get.)
Now that "Wire" doesn't really describe what we are anymore, we're changing to Blastr. Blastr, as in we're blasting out interesting stuff to you every day. Blastr, as in "Blaster: A term for a raygun in science fiction."
Along with the new name we've built a new site, modeled after our sister site DVICE. We've streamlined everything and put the emphasis on content vs design, made it easier for you access to all the various social features of sites like Facebook and Twitter, emphasized the biggest stories so they're easier to find and made it easier for you to comment. (Yeah, the old comment system was terrible, we know.)
Along with the new site we have a new Twitter handle, Blastr. We have a Facebook page, and the SCI FI Wire iPhone/iPad app will shortly be switching over to Blastr. And yes, there will be a Blastr Android app soon!
So that's the story. We're now Blastr, the next step in the evolution of SCI FI Wire. Thanks for already making this the best year in our history, thanks for reading our stories and printing out our fake soup labels, thanks for all your great, passionate comments, and thanks for sharing our stories with your friends. It's a blast to work on this for site for you. (Yeah, we'll try not to do that too much.)