Art imitates life they say. In many ways, EVE too imitates life with its long history of virtual cultures evolving to compete, collude and conquer. It strikes me that New Eden's accelerated process of simulating reality's rise and fall of dynasties and cultural trends seems to be coming full circle and spilling back into the real world.
I speak mainly of the nascent media empires that are charging out from the folds of New Eden's digital space and gaining purchase on the very real interwebs that ordinary, non-EVE folk might frequent. Staffed by capsuleers who are fuelled by ISK and a desire to be part of something greater than the sum of their individual contributions, EVE players are spoilt for choice when it comes to EVE webzines/news sites/consolidated blogs, or whatever you want to call them.
Just as early EVE social structures aped civilisation by banding together in ever larger groups for protection, power and community, we are seeing a growing trend of EVE's vociferous but disparate wordsmiths finding new ways to unionise. Early writing groups and communities saw enduring forum tribes develop such as Scrapheap Challenge (now Failheap), Kugutsumen, Reddit's /r/Eve, EVE-Inspiracy and others.
If they represent the developing world, then surely the rise of the EVE blogosphere reflects the more communist all-are-equal Second World. Initially disparate bloggers became woven together by a network of web-links and lists, occasionally uniting in shared Blog Banter discussions now ably run by Kirith Kodachi of Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah. It's notable that of the hundreds of bloggers who have come, gone, or stayed; some burning short and bright, others still standing like lighthouses on an ever-changing coastline, perhaps the most successful, Ripard Teg of Jester's Trek, has just switched the lights off. Whether to you he was Lenin or Stalin, his community presence and contribution has left an indelible mark on the EVE blogosphere. But there are many more who will take his place (and, let's be honest, it'll probably take more than one, unless another cybernetically-altered robo-blogger drops out of a time vortex from the future).
Then came the more focused, editorially-led conglomerates of EVE's media First World, literary powerhouses marshalling the talents of of multitude of writers under a single banner. It's magnificent to watch as the rich community-sourced EVE content continues to adapt and evolve. Little wonder the likes of EON Magazine eventually fell on hard times and sadly faded.
Of course, the EVE webzine format is not a new phenomenon. Riverini laid down the template years ago with EVE News 24, delivering an independent source of EVE-centric news, gossip and controversy. His template saw little competition (we can't really count the well-meaning but under-served EVE Tribune) until the more recent TheMittani.com exploded onto the scene and shook up the status quo. It was a shot in the arm the EVE News 24, which has certainly upped its game since TMC's arrival. In recent months we now see the Crossing Zebras brand growing from a well-regarded podcast into a third player in the EVE media mogul arena.
The future of internet spaceship discussion is bright.
The Internet Spaceship Echo Chamber
Out of curiosity, I wondered how each of these sites was doing in terms of impact, reach and audience. I fed them into Alexa, a website analytics service, to see how they were getting along. Here's a brief overview of an assortment of EVE sites arranged in order of the global rank of all webpages in existence (with interesting factoids where applicable):
Global Rank: 58
Interesting factoid: *Alexa wouldn't accept a sub-Reddit as a valid URL, which is a shame, so this is fairly meaningless and just included for completeness (but somebody should tell Reddit they're not the front page of the internet any more, just page 58 apparently).
Global Rank: 10,318
Interesting factoids: Unsurprisingly, according to Alexa, '[r]elative to the general internet population, Females are under-represented at this site', US, Russia, Norway, Germany and UK are the top 5 visiting nations, most visitors head to the forums from here.
Global Rank: 82,610
Interesting factoids: Significant graduate school level readership, 2nd highest referring site is EN24, 3rd most popular search keyword is 'derptron'.
Global Rank: 115,152
Interesting factoid: More popular in Russia (43.7%) than US (13.0%).
Global Rank: 133,537
Interesting factoids: Popular with college-level readers, EN24 is more popular in Germany than the US, lowest bounce rate of the EVE media empires (33%).
Global Rank: 290,823
Interesting factoids: No data showing for anyone outside the US, top search keyword is 'noobmeter'.
Global Rank: 500,443
Interesting factoids: 4th most popular keyword search term is 'eve valkyrie release date'.
Global Rank: 1,426,524
Interesting factoids: Average reader time on site is 34 seconds, popular in Serbia.
Global Rank: 1,688,410
Interesting factoids: 3 of the 5 top keywords are looking for podcasts (and one is looking for zebras), search visits are up 879%, Alexa is a bit shy on data for such a young enterprise so there's not much more to tell.
Global Rank: 1,867,802
Global Rank: 4,850,298
Global Rank: 7,499,266
Global Rank: 8,681,399
Global Rank: 9,162,627
Global Rank: 12,672,781
Global Rank: 18,435,356
[Edit: Due to a request, I looked into including a couple of prominent Twitch streamers for comparison. However, like sub-Reddits, Twitch subdomains aren't accepted by Alexa, which instead simply outputs the data for Twitch as a whole. Sorry, video dudes. If you were wondering, Twitch has a global ranking of 252.]