Thinking About the Future of Planet Geospatial

Planet Geospatial has been around for over 7 years. It started on Planet Planet, moved to WordPress, then back to Planet Venus platform. I’ll be honest, it really doesn’t cost me much in time or hosting fees. It runs as it always has, an hourly CRON job that builds the simple HTML page. Formatting gets wacky sometimes because most GIS bloggers can’t bother to close all their HTML tags, but that’s another story.

So even though I spend almost no time running it, I still think about it. I get about an email a week from someone who wants their blog added, wants to know why their blog isn’t updating (spoiler: stop using Feedburner), or even that they’d rather get their Esri news elsewhere.

I’ve enjoyed working with Planet Geospatial and I still have it as a tab on all my browsers. But what to do, what to do?

I’ve decided there are three ways to go:

  1. Sell
  2. Take donations to fund a new resource that has more value
  3. Let Planet Geospatial die a quiet death in peace

Sell Out


I’ve gotten an offer from someone who wants the domain to probably throw ads all over the place and probably destroy it for most users. They know that this is the case, but they don’t really care. I’m not emotional about it, if selling makes sense, I’ll do it. I would have rather had someone else offer money for the site and continue it as a GIS resource. But I’m not sure anyone really wants to do that.

Let It Die


This is easy, I just keep doing what I’m doing. Add/remove blog feeds as emails come. Honestly, if I spend 1 hour a year doing this I’d be surprised. Since this is how I’ve been running Planet Geospatial for the past couple years so you can tell I don’t find it rewarding.

Fund a New Planet Geospatial


The last option as I see it is to get some donations from readers to give me funds to hire a developer to create a new aggregator built for how we use the Internet in 2012. I thought about taking people’s time donated (GitHub style) to create something, but I think if I went this route I would want to pay someone to get it done. This seems possible as I don’t think I need that much money to get it done, but do people even donate money to niche web projects anymore? I know I do, but my gut tells me I wouldn’t get more than $10 bucks.

Why Not Just Sell Ads?

Well, ads suck these days, they don’t get enough revenue to justify their existence (note to self, remove that stupid Google ad on the right). Plus, the core of Planet Geospatial is not my work. I don’t like the idea of selling ads around other people’s work. Plus, 99% of them would just be for the 2013 Esri UC, right?


So what is next? I’m not sure, I’m not going to make a rash decision here. The offer for the domain is still valid so that’s got at least another month of life left. For every person who says they’d donate, 10 tell me that I’m crazy (but they don’t say if they’d give a buck or two). I’m curious what you guys think?

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