A reader wrote to me the other day asking, "Derrick, I'm wondering why you stopped doing 'photo help desk'? It was a great idea!"
Even though I appreciate his comment, as it turns out, Photo Help Desk was a fair idea at best. My original concept was based on the notion that if one person had a question, that hundreds of others were wondering about it too. So by posting and answering these technical queries, we could build an audience who were interested in photography problem solving.
Plus these questions and answers would appear in search engine results, bringing new people to the site. And if things really got cooking, readers would add their wisdom via the comments, thereby making Photo Help Desk a valuable online resource.
Unfortunately, none of that happened.
The reality was that people were generally only interested in their specific questions, and not the site as a whole. So the exercise devolved into the very interactions that I was trying to get away from, which is me answering emails one-on-one about specific photography problems.
And with no measurable site traffic, there was no hope for any sustainable revenue model to support it. Things being the way they are, if there's no revenue, I can't afford to do it.
I have left Photo Help Desk online, at least for another year. There's a lot of helpful information there that I want to continue to make available. And I will still answer questions to the site as I have time. But for all practical purposes, we're closed.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still glad I tried it. Every new venture teaches me a bit more about the online business world. And I certainly gleaned a few lessons from PHD. The most valuable being, that tech support is a very personal matter.