After having written more than 300 articles over the last four years — none were as hard for me as this one.
FishDuck.com … after having many false stops and starts in the past is finally downsizing – as we have attempted many times. The more than 50 writers and editors are now gone (at one time we had more than 100 volunteers in six departments), and it will simply be a personal playground for my own writing and analysis — a true blog, if you will.
The site will remain up so that coaches can still find older articles, and writers can post links of their work from these pages. After an extended break, I will be returning to do what I originally began the site for – personal learning about our beloved Ducks.
The original videos made in 2011 have been viewed more than 1.3 million times, and after four years? They are still being viewed every minute of the day on average (12,000 times in November)! The exposure for Oregon football was truly international, as I had coaches from most of the states in the nation as well as a ton of countries contact me.
I was asked by a coach in Brazil if I knew of any Club Football Coaches in South/Central America who had installed the “Oregon Spread Offense,” and I was able to give him the names and e-mail addresses of three — right there in Brazil!
I was told we needed to have content, or articles every day, and thus I put the word out that we wanted writers and editors who wanted to be a part of an All-Volunteer site. The photographers that joined us such as Gary Breedlove, Craig Strobeck, and Kevin Cline gave us unbelievable work for free (View the pics of amateurs and you quickly see the difference). I enjoyed the banter with these fellows, and they were professionals who donated their time for the site, for the readers.
The writers embraced our mission statement of “to inform, to entertain and show the love of our beloved Ducks!”
Since we began in August of 2011, the site has had nearly five million visitors, and the articles have been read over 9.7 million times as well. Last month our global ranking among active sites put us in the top 1% for hits/visits and we have had Duck fans from more than 50 countries come to this site to learn more.
Nothing happens without superb editing and I will forever be indebted to Mike Merrell, Dano Dunn and Natalie Liebhaber. Their expertise was amazing, and those three were here a very long time helping writers, and making the finished product on the site polished.
I am grateful to the UO Athletic Dept of Communications for granting FishDuck.com Media and Photo Credentials, as we could cover the Ducks unlike anything I had imagined.
What is interesting is that we had a writer in the press box for every home game over the last five seasons, and yet I never got around to going up there even once. Why? I know my limits, and I wanted real writers up there who would give our readers observations rarely found elsewhere.
We wanted a site to make people ponder, and I would like to think we achieved that, as there are so many writers and articles from whom I have learned. Ultimately my happiest times with the site were with the “Grizzled Ol’ Coach” Mike Morris as we would have our two-hour “Skull Sessions” in the ManCave that left me overwhelmed from so much football.
Why are we fading or downsizing?
There are a million details to managing a good site, and having volunteers makes it more difficult at times. In the end — it took too much of my time. I enjoy the investment business and the Planned Giving Workshops that I do, but all of my spare time was spent on the site, as there always are emails and phone calls to make, and details to quickly plan.
It was not hard, but it took all my spare time, and I would like to make the site a hobby again as it was originally intended. Forty hours of work in the office and another 25-30 hours a week with FishDuck.com became too much after four years. Forget about vacations; I have had three weekends off in three years, and I would like to have a normal life again.
We broke ground in a number of areas, and I believe that some Oregon fans are more informed than before because of all of us on the site.
After a good rest I do have a new analysis surprise that will surface on this site — that I promise has never been done with any Oregon Sports Media in the past. I look forward to having the energy, and the time to learning more about our beloved Ducks, and sharing it with so many people that I care about.
It was a great run, and I thank you all for coming to the site — and I cannot thank all the writers and editors enough for making this a fun adventure for us all.
Do check in about two weeks after the bowl game, as this site will be breaking new ground — again. Because ….
“Oh how we love to learn about our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Oregon Football Analyst for CFF Network/FishDuck.com
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