By Mathias Eichler
Dylan Bowman in a ‘state of the union’ blog post:
Chapter 2 coincides with the re-launch of freetrail.com, our home on the worldwide web. To this point, Freetrail’s web presence has been mostly non-existent, instead emphasizing third-party content platforms like YouTube, podcast players, and social media.v
Wherein the Freetrail folks discover the web. Okay, that sounded snarky, sorry. I’m actually excited and glad that more folks are coming back to open web and realizing that while social media creates instant hype it doesn’t build long lasting brands and communities around it. (That’s why Electric Cable Car is a website foremost. And that’s why Singletrack has a proper website at and a sharable blog entry for every episode I post.)
More announcements from Freetrail:
The site will be home to our media content and eventually Freetrail Experts – a marketplace we’ll be announcing in the near future.
This sounds like a “niche LinkedIn” of sort. Which is a good idea and others have tried something similar. Basecamp for example is a really big niche, covering the entire outdoor space, and currently only on Facebook).
The third and potentially most significant development in Chapter 2 is the eventual folding of the Freetrail app and the launch of Freetrail Pro – a membership community of like-minded trail runners around the world.
The community is now on the open web, not on social media, and not in a dedicated app. All good developments. Freetrail positions the community as the product. Subscribe and be part of the team. You get tons of benefits worth the ~$100 easy and Freetrail gets a chance to build a business. Media is a tough cookie and in today’s world not many have succeeded in finding a new business model. If you put too much of your A+ content behind a paywall you run the risk of not being discoverable anymore. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
And one final observation: Dylan doesn’t mention sponsors or advertisers at all in his “state of the union” post. That’s quite fascinating to me. Media used to be funded by advertising. That created the solid backbone for seemingly free news and content for everyone. We lived with ads, endured them, and sometimes even appreciated them. In some respect I’m surprised the companies aren’t stepping up and wanting to be part of that story in a bigger way.
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