Letter From The Editors – Why we’ve left Watchville
If you’re a user of the Watchville app, you may have noticed that content from Fratello Watches is no longer available. We feel compelled to offer you an explanation on this development and while we’re at it, let’s talk a little about the watch blog “industry” as well.
When Watchville was introduced earlier this year, it seemed to be a real boon to watch blogs that, up until that point, lacked a convenient method of publishing their content on a simple, easy to use “app”. Like in most industries, when one “company”, or blog in this case, joins a trend, most others jump in as well. We’ve been no different. If you’ve used Watchville, it’s convenient and aside from small start-up bugs (who doesn’t have those!?) in the beginning, it’s stable and “just works”. Furthermore, at least through now, it’s been a free offering from the creator/owner of the app, Kevin Rose. So far, if you’re following along, you’re probably wondering, as the user, what’s the issue?
We’ve seen a couple things happen over the last several months. First and foremost, Watchville merged with Hodinkee. We have the utmost respect for both entities and what they have brought, and continue, to bring to the watch world as far as content and creativity. Frankly, as one of the earliest watch blogs on the planet, Fratello Watches has grown up alongside Hodinkee and despite the fact that we compete, there’s a serious element of mutual respect from both sides: at least that’s how we see it. However, we do compete and while we think we appeal to a slightly different audience than Hodinkee, our site supports itself on the basis of great content and advertising.
We have not and never will publish anything written by our current team of 6 that kowtows to a current or potential advertiser, but we do depend on advertising to support the expenses of our site. What we’ve noticed with Watchville is that while there are counts of “views” on our articles as seen on Watchville’s physical website, the reality is that we don’t see much of the traffic on this website when the app is used. This causes a couple concerns. First, we actually do look at how our articles perform and tailor future content based on the results. Second, an incorrect, or underreported, count of our traffic makes discussions with potential advertisers far less effective. In effect, Watchville, if used in app form, is monopolizing a decent amount of traffic for our site and for other participating sites. Watchville started to take aboard advertisers as well, based on content of others (and Hodinkee). A clever business model, but something we can hardly justify to our own advertisers who do not see their ads shown in our content on Watchville.
Thanks to you, our readers, the traffic on our site continues to grow. We will almost double the numbers this year compared to 2014. We think and hope that’s due to our increasing quantity and quality of content. Our features such as Speedy Tuesday, Watch Reviews, #TBT, and Accessories have gained a loyal following. We are a group of real watch enthusiasts and we do our best to communicate with you by offering candid, insightful views of interesting timepieces and accessories: no matter the price. We limit our coverage on press releases because, frankly, this content is available everywhere and republishing these stories limits our connection to you. The connection piece is key: we enjoy the personal “1:1” relationship that we have with so many of our readers via e-mail, the Disqus commenting system we use and other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Fratello Watches feels it is this responsiveness and approachability that truly sets us apart from many other sites. Alongside our focus on outreach, you can expect us to continue to rely on non-stock photos and to put in the hard work to show you unique angles and settings for the pieces we discuss.
In the meantime, and as always, feel free to contact us directly or to leave a comment below. Above all, enjoy the reading.
The Fratello Watches Team