Outbackers.com Change of Ownership
As many of you know, I have been struggling for some time now to keep the Outbackers.com community alive and thriving. About three months ago, the situation reached the tipping point, and the difficult decision to end any further personal investment was taken. At the time, it looked like shutting the site down was the only option, however it quickly became clear that this community was too strong, and not one to go quietly into the dark. A number of options that had not previously been on the table came to the fore.
Since that time, I have explored a number of different offers, weighing what was best, not only for the community, but for my family as well. In the end, one offer in particular stood above the rest. In March, I was contacted by the people at AutoForums.com, and it soon became clear that they had the manpower, experience and most importantly the resources to put Outbackers on a lasting and firm financial footing. AutoForums.com is an internet community management company and maintains over 200 forums similar to Outbackers.com. As I researched the company, and the communities they manage, I found them to be well run, friendly and very much in keeping with the vision both Vern initially, and later myself have used to guide Outbackers. I believe that the places AutoForums will take Outbackers.com in the future will both maintain the spirit of Outbackers.com and strengthen the community, In time, I expect to see many of the enhancements I had hoped to make, but was never able to bring to fruition.
As I have worked with AutoForums, I have also found them to be honest, straightforward and supremely patient. As you might imagine, this has not been an easy transition for me – it kind of like giving up a child – but throughout the process, the AutoForum staff have been understanding and patient with me. And I am sure I have tested that patience repeatedly! Moving forward, I know they will take good care of Outbackers.
On a personal level, to say that this is a bittersweet moment for me would be the understatement of the century. Over the past four and a half years I have tried to be a good steward of the community, and have invested an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears to that end. Not to mention time and money! To be in the position now where I must face the reality that I am no longer able to continue, and will not be able to accomplish all that I had hoped to do is tough indeed.
Over the last three months, as the reality of the situation has set in, I have repeatedly found myself going back to the old adage about the two happiest days in a boat owners life are the day they buy their boat… and the day they sell it. I have been telling myself that the adage is true for internet forum owners as well. And yet, as I sit here now, I realize that it is not true on either count. While the day I purchased Outbackers.com from Vern was indeed a very special day in my life, one filled with excitement and the promise of great things, it does not hold a candle to the day I pledged my life to my beautiful and loving wife, Shannon, or the days my two wonderful children were born. I could not ask for a better family, and I thank them for the patience and sacrifices they have made while I focused so much on this community.
I also know that while this is a day that brings a great deal of relief, and lifts a heavy personal burden from my shoulders, it is anything but a happy day. This is, however, a day that will breathe new life into our community, and a day that I can be proud of the work I have done here. A day I can be happy, knowing that in the end, I was in fact able to assure the Outbackers.com community will survive and thrive. And that has always been my number one priority.
And so, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome AutoForums.com as the new owners of Outbackers.com, and to pass the torch into their capable hands.
With this announcement, I’m sure many of you will be anxious about what this change will mean to the website and community. Obviously a change like this will always bring with it other changes as well, and this will be no different. What is more significant than the changes though, is how much will not change. The forums themselves will remain as is, as will the Moderating team and the basic rules, policies and vision that have guided Outbackers.com since it’s inception nearly ten years ago. I would also like to assure the members that purchased paid subscriptions that the benefits of your packages remain in place. As it has always been, it is the membership of this great community that gives Outbackers it’s life and soul, and it is us – the members – that will determine what this community becomes in the future. Beyond the forum’s themselves, hold onto your hats. I think you are going to see some really cool stuff in the future!
And with that, I sign off as the caretaker of Outbackers.com. It has been immensely rewarding to be in a position to guide this community for the time that I have, and I thank you all for your patience and support. The members of Outbackers.com will always be like a second family to me, and will always be with me.
Thank you all, and Happy Trails,