A cautionary tale if you own an over-designed pop site and are desperate for readers.
Musician Toby Slater was surprised to find a plug for "cool" Web site Ammocity.com on the messageboard of his homepage. "Have you seen ammo city? It's great!!" And so Toby did just that. He then replied to the message, saying "I feel that the navigation of the site is painful and the content quite boring, the design's too clever-clever, too many barriers to getting into the site itself..."
But the plugger had clearly tapped into some kind of youth force because Toby was then deluged with criticisms. Not about the site being hopelessly over-designed and tedious, no, most were about his alleged bedwetting, castration, and stench of cabbage. Some posters even escaped the primary school to make abusive remarks about his musical talent.
Toby thought he'd check out the IP addresses of his visitors and, would you believe it, they all came from Ammocity. Having finally located its messageboard, he found similar gems of wisdom.
Unfortunately, it would seem that the people behind the Flash-based monstrosity see posting juvenile messages as more important than redesigning the entire thing to make it accessible or even getting some content to make it readable. Such confidence must underlie tremendous success, you think. Sadly not, we ran several checks over the site and it didn't register anywhere. To register, it would have had to manage 200,000 hits a month.
So why do you have a sense of déjà vu regarding AmmoCity when no-one's heard of it? That'll be because we chuckled heartily at it when it took a satirical story regarding the Spice Girls and reported it as true, despite several blazing hints that it was a spoof.
About a day later we were informed by two readers that it had then rewritten the piece (and history) and put a link to ourselves calling us something like "techy retards". Unfortunately, the link was to the front page and not our story.
Anyway, we just thought we'd keep you notified about the site's consistency. If anyone else has any tales about the hit-hungry site, feel free to send them to us.
By the way, we worked out why the NME bothered to mention the site a coupla weeks ago - one of its founders is an old NME journalist. ®