I hate to do this, but this Friday I am closing Threadwatch. I don't think the site died at any specific point, it has been more of a process, which I will outline below:
When the site was created it was designed to be controversial and push the edges. After purchasing the site, at conferences some of my friends pulled me aside and said they didn't pay attention to Threadwatch because it was too edgy. Sure the site is not for everyone, but that edgy feeling drives away new users and breaks down the community sense all functional communities built upon.
I thought I could make it more mainstream over time, but I just don't have enough time too and probably am not strong enough to move it that far from what it currently is.
Its All Shite!
No matter how hard you work on something, if you submit it to Threadwatch someone will call it shit. Charming for a while, but some people comment writing things they didn't believe just to stir up conversation or hijack the threads, while others proudly submitted fake news in an attempt to manipulate markets. There are too many hidden agendas for it to be a smooth community.
In response to this site's popularity, and the increasing competition for attention in a saturated market, many other sites became a bit more edgy. Sites that were traditionally mainstream started writing about stories they never would have touched, using titles they never would have in the past.
As more people used aggressive headlines and covered gossip news it meant that this site would need to be hung rather far off the edge to have that be its point of differentiation. So far off the edge that the site would be viewed as nothing more than a farce.
Many of the best members here started their own blogs, and contribute more on their own blogs and less here. I can't fault them for it, as it is what I do too, but after I got a girlfriend I started appreciating the value of my time a lot more than when I was alone, and simply do not have enough time.
Threadwatch would not be an easy site to hire a writer for either, and even if it was chuck full of high quality entries, those would be more valuable on a site that had a viable business model attached to it, so one could invest in growth and further improvements.
As more people started blogging, tracking everything got harder, and there was far less incentive to put 16 hours a day into reading RSS feeds to keep this site up to date and near the center of the search industry, especially when all my other projects were far more profitable and received much better by their target audience. Sure some people who hate me went so far as writing fake comments to promote their products, but that sort of activity was an exception.
The Digg Homepage
Automated community driven news sites further lessened the need for and value proposition of this site. What was awful though was when I invited a few friends to become editors here and they spammed the shit out of Threadwatch.
I felt embarrassed waking up and looking at the Threadwatch homepage knowing who wrote, submitted, and marketed each piece of Diggspam promoted to the Threadwatch homepage.
I am pretty easy to work with and would have had no problem helping spread a lot of the better ones, but when your friends spam your sites with low level junk it is time to change your position or get new friends.
Part of why I bought this site was because I felt there was a lot I could learn from the conversation that takes place here. I didn't mind the crassness or other stuff here as long as I felt I was learning, but as the best parts of the SEO market got more spread out on personal blogs and general crankiness of Threadwatch made some of the best members leave, the signal to noise ratio here suffered.
Unfortunately I was not a strong enough leader to make it work and/or my priorities were elsewhere.
Threadwatch has been a fun place and I will be forever grateful for some of the hard work done by editors like The Founder, John Andrews, and Graywolf, and contributions by other members like NFFC, RCJordan, Massa and the legendary Fantomaster.
For a short while it will suck for some (including me) that this site ended, but hopefully it doing so will help create an opportunity for something better.