Some might know but many do not know that I’ve been the guy behind RedRival Internet Services. RedRival is closing its doors after twelve years of existence. We were on the market in the twentieth century. How many can say that? There has only ever been myself operating RedRival but I do owe many thanks to people who have helped me over the years.
One of those people is Hugh Buchanan who managed the hardware in RedRival’s early life. I owe Hugh much for the trouble I caused him and I can’t thank him enough. He started me out on shared hosting and then moved to a dedicated server when RedRival exploded. It was on a Celeron 366mhz that we transferred our first terabyte of data in a single month. That was the first and only time we ever did that.
- Oct 13, 1999 – the earliest snapshot available
- Dec 16, 2001 – the portal homepage craze
- Nov 26, 2002 – tweaked a little more
- Nov 22, 2003 – pretty much the most recent
That was a walk down memory lane for me. The portal homepage was the funniest of them all. Talk about your bandwagons.
RedRival was big at one time. Alexa tracks website’s traffic and is a decent place to find out how you compare to others. Their data no longer goes back very far for RedRival but at one time we were in the top 10,000 websites online by reach. RedRival was definitely big. We had 30,000 members around 2000/01. Unfortunately I accidentally lost our entire user database at one point. RedRival never really hit that peak ever again. I think by the end of 2009 we were somewhere around 15,000 members.
Of course, fads come and go. In the beginning, RedRival was a response to Geocities‘s shoddy free hosting. Nobody liked it. Crosswinds.net was the only other ad-free, free hosting service at that time. They had their issues too with scaling. So RedRival entered the market to take on Crosswinds. To her credit, RedRival remained as the last major free web host before making the switch to an ad-supported model. Not only that, but we also were the last major free web host to implement popups. We held out as long as possible.
We definitely held out as long as possible. I didn’t like forcing ads on anybody’s pages. I tried so many different methods. There were text ads, banner ads, footer ads, side-bar ads, framed pages, popups, popunders, etc.
In the end, what really killed RedRival was the inability to get any serious money making advertising. It was all CPC mostly and didn’t pay nearly what would constitute a decent revenue stream. RedRival never really paid her bills. RivalPro, her sister providing pay hosting services, covered the bills of both for a long time. When I say covered, I mean paid the hosting bills and nothing more. I never made much money at all.
Speaking of advertising, in the wild west days of the internet, advertising networks were willy nilly and anyone could start one. I forget the name now but I got onto one and earned quite a bit of money. When it came time to pay they canceled the account and claimed fraud. Over a period of months I harassed them on forums and warned anybody away from them. One of their guys frequented the same forums I did. Eventually they showed me proof of fraud…a list of 50 IP addresses with no other information. It was lame. So, they eventually agreed to paying most of it back.
RedRival was a labour of love. The last few years of her life saw a largely ad-free existence for anyone actually still using the service (which wasn’t many, but I still had a lot of visitors). I paid out of my own pocket. I liked having a hobby to work with technologies so I paid the bills out of pocket for a long time. Eventually, though, having more work to do after your full time job gets old. I play on the computer far too much anyway.
I’m really glad to be able to shutdown RedRival and not have to manage it or support its users. My users and clients were some of the best, most gracious people I’ve met. RedRival closing its doors is not a reflection of my end-users. It’s just simply the circle of life.
I’m also really glad to be able to free up some time for hobby projects online. I always have all these crazy ideas and it frustrates me to no end that I can think of a million things that could be a success but I don’t have the drive to get them done. Maybe I’ll be able to relax a little more anyway.
It has really been a tremendous experience and journey for me to have done RedRival for this long. It got me into RivalPro, iDotter and NewsX, and has given me the skills to excel in college and given me a leg up on the competition when looking for jobs. All of that work continues to be of value to me and my employers as I go forward. It was trial by fire but it was a great learning experience.
So, I’ve spoken a lot and there’s really only one thing left to say.
So long and farewell, RedRival!
Update: I would like to thank many more people. My family, my father, my mother, for putting up with me for so long on this project. My sister and brother for encouraging me with it. My extended family who made use of my services and that helped me to keep going. Andrew Elford who setup inconceivable.tj in 1997 or so on a beast of an old machine on a dead slow cable modem. That didn’t last but he helped launched the dream that became RedRival!
William X. Walsh (wish I had a url) who helped me in many things (too bad we don’t see you around anymore!). Ryan Brown, of TBNS.net, whose friendly and fiery competition always kept me interested in improving my service to compete with him! All of the people from dalnet and hypanet irc channels #vr-oasis, etc. That group of people has remained for 12 years migrating to a new network and moving from channel to channel.
My users and clients, some of the best, most gracious, most passionate people I’ve been blessed to work with. The MyRival.com team, which consisted entirely of RedRival members. Apologies to the rest but I can only recall Phzzz right now. Thank you to all who worked on it. MyRival.com was something special.
God, for blesssing me to even be here and to have the opportunity to try all this out, and who blessed me with it for all this time, through the highs and the lows. Thank you.