As we announced late last year, we are winding up Real City Network Limited, the company behind REALBrighton.com and the other REAL branded city guides.
It has been a difficult decision taken for a number of reasons.
Real City Network has been feeling the pinch of tighter budgets as businesses increasingly turn to Facebook and other free social media tools to promote themselves. Whilst most people who have seen REALBrighton agree that it is a useful, entertaining website – dwindling business membership of the site has made it difficult for us to continue running the site in its current form.
As well as diminishing cash flow, ten years of late night photography has taken its toll on me, and James’ square eyes need a break from the tens of thousands of event listings that he has been pouring over month after month.
Our intention is to keep the website ticking over on a voluntary basis. Whilst we won’t have as much time to devote to photos and listings, we will be updating the directory and trying to keep things looking lively. We will still monitor comments made through the contact form on the site – which is the best way to alert us of inaccuracies or other issues.
Over the last ten years I’ve shot well over a million photographs of the Brighton scene. Edited down, and added to thousands of pictures from other REALBrighton contributors, there are almost 500,000 carefully indexed photos of the scene spanning the last decade. We have moved this archive to a new lower cost server with the aim of ensuring that they remain online for the foreseeable future. Click “photos” from the REALBrighton homepage to take a look.
REALBrighton’s business members and community groups can request to have their accounts reactivated for 2013 at no cost. Through their free account they can continue to publish details of events and to post event photos – which they can shoot and then upload themselves. Huw Edwards’ fabulous REALBrighton iPhone app will also continue to be available (thank you Huw!).
I will now be concentrating on my web design business, www.gardenshed.net, along with REALBrighton’s senior technician Tim Faulkner. We will be taking responsibility for keeping REALBrighton on its feet, as well as fully supporting those business with Real City Network powered websites.
James Brooks is focussing his energy on his PR and design business, jamesbrookspr.com, and is also working on a food-related project!
From a simple photo gallery, REALBrighton became a place where LGBT businesses and community organisations could promote their venues, organisations and events. We have always tried to show the best of Brighton LGBT scene wherever possible and with luck we have contributed to bringing in some pink pounds to the city over the last ten years.
I’d really like to say thank you to everyone who helped make REALBrighton sparkle. James – it’s been a bumpy ride but thanks for lending your brain and braun to the project for so many years… far too many things to list here obviously! Huw – thanks for all your enthusiasm and support (everything from carrying camera bags to tech support for our internet café venture!), Tim – thanks for bringing social media to REALBrighton three or four years before Facebook had been invented! Thanks to all our photographers over the years. Thanks to friends who have helped paint banners, build floats and run around in red hot pants! Thanks to everyone who smiled for a REALBrighton camera and thanks to supportive landlords, business owners and advertisers for helping make it all possible!
Expect an exhibition, a photo book and a get-together sometime in 2013!