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29/12/2009

That was the year, that was…

But we’re not going to do a ’roundup of the year’ kind of post. It is all searchably there and anyway, we’ve already linked to one (although it is probably subscribers only by now).

Instead, I just wanted to gaze at our collective navel a little and say a few things about the last year on NL. It has been quite a year…

First and foremost, of course, I must thank my illustrious co-bloggers -, in strictly alphabetical order: Chief, Dave, Francis and J. Not only is there the purely practical – without them, this blog wouldn’t have carried on – I simply have to praise their knowledge, insight, elegant styles and sheer commitment. It must be pointed out that they have done this for no reward whatsoever, not even CPD points. And let us not forget, they are mostly pseudonymous, so there is not even a practice building credibility at stake. Frankly amazing.

We’ve decided – those of us who are pseudonymous – to remain so, at least on the blog. It is one thing people finding out by word of mouth who is involved, as has happened; it is quite another turning this into a blog written by people from particular firms or chambers. It would change things too much.

However, I will take this opportunity to dispel some of the wilder rumours that have reached my ears. Nearly Legal – the individual – is not a barrister, let alone a senior one. I am a now 1 year PQE solicitor. Other writers certainly are barristers, and very good ones, but I am fairly confident that none of them would mind if I described them as not (yet) being QCs – again contrary to flattering rumour.

Readership over the last year has gone from strength to strength. Page views over the course of 2009 went from 17,197 to 24,522 per calendar month. At the high point in late November, we had over 26,000 page views a month, which for a specialist housing law blog is really quite a big deal. In addition, subscriptions by email and RSS to each and every post are now at about 560. Of course, we may well have peaked…

Readers come from every element of housing law practice and study: advisors, academics, law centres, other NFPs, RSLs and local authorities, solicitors (tenant and landlord acting) and many and various barristers. Plus we have been told that certain county court and high court judiciary are readers (big waves to the judiciary, assuming that they are actually reading). This extent and breadth of readership make us very happy and, frankly, astonished. I also must thank our commenters, who have provided much useful information, interesting questions, and good reasons to carry on.

Over the last year, I have received a hell of a lot of requests for adverts, paid for text links, or remunerated links, involving would-be advertisers of greater, lesser or no repute. While I would like to recoup my costs for actually running the site, we haven’t carried advertising of this sort and don’t propose to do so. We are not going to give our imprimatur to claims managers, PI jockeys, conveyancing factories and DUI defenders. No aspersions cast on others who do carry ads, but having started ad-free, we feel it is best if we try to remain so. It is our choice entirely, helped by the fact that relevant advertisers for a specialist housing law blog are few and far between.

That said, I must confess I am considering possible ways to try to recover something of the increasing server and bandwidth charges. These aren’t huge but are getting larger. We have gone beyond our bandwidth and content limits quite often lately and may need to change/upgrade servers. I’m toying with a few ideas, but I assure you that these will not include a) begging, b) charging or c) ads on the main pages.

And for the future? We’re not sure yet. I’m toying with a couple of potential additions and some other small changes, but nothing yet certain or large scale. The main work of the blog will carry on. All in all, it has been a very good year for Nearly Legal and I hope you all have been happy with what we have produced. Although frankly whether you have been or not, we intend to carry on in pretty much the same way regardless, because it makes us happy.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

13 Comments

  1. Tessa Shepperson

    Its a great blog, and many congratulations to you all for all your hard work on it.

    As regards funding, I don’t see why you shouldn’t have a paypal ‘donate’ button somewhere. I am sure many people would be glad to donate a bit – particularly if your posts help them win a case which they might not have won otherwise. Its worth a try. I don’t think it would be considered begging, for example it is done by most providers of free software and blog plugins.

    And all the best to you all for a happy and successful 2010.

    Reply
  2. Jan Luba

    I am pleased to be able to follow Tessa with congratulations of my own.

    The blog is a tremendous amount of work for those involved but has contributed hugely to the dissemination and understanding of Housing Law.

    Long may it (and its contributors) thrive.

    Reply
    • NL

      Thank you Jan, that is much appreciated – and passed on to all involved.

      Reply
  3. The Dustman

    Someone told me there was a NL end of the year round up, so I had to find a phone box and put on my cor blimey trousers…and it’s f*****g cold out there, I can tell you…and then all it was was NL waffling!! That doesn’t bear comparison to Mr Luba’s closing speech at the Housing Law Conference,..ok I was nodding off a bit in the back row but it had been a long day!!
    Anyway big respect to you guys for the work you do even if occasionally some of you are talking b********cks. I think that is too many asterisks?
    My prediction is that I think something is happening around about May time?
    Anyway I must get back to my applications for gardening jobs….
    Dear Lord Scott
    I have a great deal of experience….

    Reply
    • NL

      I take it there was some sherry left over from Christmas day?

      I’ve had to do two round ups of the year already, albeit not here. I damn well wasn’t doing another one. And, as you rightly point out, Mr Luba QC is rather better at it, although I wasn’t even there this year (long story). But after 398 posts in the last year (which I now realise to my horror, is more than 1 a day), and having a little down time, waffle is allowed.

      Sheesh – tough crowd….

      Reply
  4. The Dustman

    Woooo, you took the bait, NL!! Just joshing you. What a great job you do.You are a star. Avanti!
    Damn, forced to be nice.
    Sherry? Yuk!!
    Anyway
    Dear Lord Hope
    My extensive butlering abilities…

    Reply
    • NL

      Bait? Despite the all too visible hook, how could I resist…

      Not sure if Lord Hope reads us, you may have to post your resume elsewhere.

      Reply
  5. simply wondered

    you have such a wide readership because its a bloody good and useful blog. (imho at any rate). and you insist on being polite and pleasant to us all – presumably even more effort than the blog!
    yes jan luba was indeed cool at the halpa conference (even at the end of a tiring day) but of course you were quoted, which is kinda cool too!
    keep it up. and like a comment above, a bit of begging to cover costs wouldn’t worry me – if people can’t afford it or just don’t want to give, then we don’t have to.
    all the best for 2010, when apparently something is gonna happen. I can hardly wait.

    Reply
  6. Cait

    My favourite phrase at work is ‘oh oh I know I read that on Nearly Legal somewhere’ followed by frenzied keyboard abuse ….

    So big thanks for creating such a ‘must read’ weblog

    Cait

    Reply
  7. Chris J

    On behalf of your avid readership at CLP congratulations to all of you on another year of your remarkable and invaluable service. I too am sure that some readers would be happy to make donations to assist with costs.

    Reply
  8. Marcin

    Congrats! May I suggest discreet sponsorship as a model, with a page identifying sponsors?

    Reply
  9. Jim Paton

    You’ve really gone from strength to strength in the last year and are providing an invaluable service, now available in every squat with an electricity supply. The former method of going drinking with housing lawyers on a Friday night was never so accurate or easy to recall at will.

    Many thanks and keep up the good work!

    Reply
  10. Ben

    To join the chorus above: thanks for all your hard work.

    As an ex-housing adviser now doing a few years of backroom work I’m fascinated and enlightened by the cases you highlight and the commentary you provide – you make me feel like I keep just enough in touch that I may one day find my way back into housing work.

    Salut!

    Reply

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