Reno Baby! is officially dead. After a broadcast message a few weeks ago in which I asked if anyone wanted to take it over—and understandably, no one did—I killed it last weekend.
Just about everyone who reads this site was a member of Reno Baby! It was a network on Ning that I began with Jim Scripps in November 2007. We were chatting and he asked if I had ever heard of Ning. I hadn’t, so I went to the the site. As is pretty natural when something intrigues me, I just signed up. It was so easy to “create your own network” that in five minutes I had Reno Baby! up and running.
The name was even simpler. For some reason, I had “Vegas, Baby!” stuck in my head from a recent flight on a plane where some passenger was saying it. So, kind of ironically, I threw Reno Baby! out there as the name. I never had the desire to change it after that. The URL (renonv.ning.com) was intended to be reno.ning.com, but you had to have five or more characters in your URL unless you paid Ning. So it wasn’t perfect, but it worked.
The timing for Reno Baby! was good in some ways. MySpace was really hitting the lame meter hard (and was something I never thought was worth the time) and Facebook was still pretty niche-y. Not many people were hitting Facebook like they do today. Something local, which was always my bag, was needed. And so it began. I had no idea how to get the word out, so I did what everyone does—I seeded it with my friends. I told my friends, my wife’s friends, and some of my close friends told their friends. Soon we hit 50 members, and then it started to spread. Over the first few months, we’d get a few people a week joining. Then after a few months we’d get a few people a day. Unfortunately, after about six months was when Facebook decided to be the ultimate behemoth in social networking. Groups became less geeky and more mainstream, and the local stuff was born. The ultimate demise of Reno Baby! was set in motion.
Over the 2+ years of its existence, Reno Baby! attracted some pretty cool conversations. We had threads with pages of responses to topics like “Best Reno Dive Bar,” and “Best Place to Get a Cheap Meal.” Those were the best because they captured the essence of Reno—cool local bars and cool places to eat. It contributed, in a way, to the RSCVA’s branding campaign—which was dead right, by the way. Those of us who live here wanted to show off the cool spots to out-of-towners, and there’s a lot to be said for a community that does that. It’s a community that gives a damn.
Also coming out of Reno Baby! was the group Reno Bloggers. We formed it on that site and even had a few meetings over the course of a year. It got a lot of us (which if you’re reading here you’ll know this is my first and greatest online passion) to know each other and become friends. We enjoyed cheap chicken wings at Imperial, beers at Buenos, and a lot of conversations. A product of those meetings eventually became the team of volunteers involved with This Is Reno. That site, being more news and content than networking, is sustainable to a greater degree than Reno Baby! ever was.
Ultimately, Reno Baby! became too difficult to keep alive. The spammers were destroying it’s ability to sit there unmolested and living in eternity. I wanted very much to keep the site up simply because we had some outstanding information there. But with double digit numbers of spammers hitting it each day with new accounts and blog posts, it wasn’t easy to do that. I was spending far more time than I ever wanted to deleting posts and accounts. It isn’t fun.
My goal of keeping the good threads alive isn’t failed yet. I have the network closed but still alive until I can figure out a way to move the content over. I doubt Ning wants to make it too easy, but perhaps we’ll get lucky here. I think they’ll wind up on This Is Reno if I can get them out of there, and that will just add to the goodness that site is becoming. So if you’re looking for a sort of Reno Baby! fix, check that site out. To the rest of you, thanks for being a part of what was a pretty fun time.