April 17th marked the end of an era, of sorts. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) published their final Hit List. The Hit List was IMDb’s daily dose of fun and interesting movie and TV news, their way of “sharing interesting stories”. I can’t even guess how long they’ve had the Hit List, but it’s probably been at least ten years. The current statement on the Hit List submission board explains the discontinuation. They plan a progressive use of social media as an alternative means of distributing interesting links moving forward. The full statement may be found here.
My obvious reaction:
It’s hard not to be disappointed. The Hit List has consistently been a treasure trove of humorous and informative film and TV writing from around the world. There are loads of items from previous Hit Lists that I still reference, months and years after their initial appearance. And the Hit List has introduced me to a lot of excellent film sites. For many cinephiles, a visit to the Hit List has been part of a daily ritual. My friend Marty turned me onto the Hit List about four years ago. At the time, he said, “Haven’t you always noticed that I tell you about these movie articles around 3:00 p.m. every day?” That was his daily ritual, a welcomed break late in the day.
Along the way, IMDb used the Hit List feature to bring loads and loads of traffic to sites just like this one, sites that otherwise would have languished in obscurity. I’d like to illustrate just how much of an impact the Hit List can have on a site’s traffic. TDYLF has been in operation for a little over two years. 36% of all of my traffic has come directly from IMDb. Two months into TDYLF’s existence, I was fortunate enough to make the Hit List with this article. At the time, I had 4 or 5 subscribers, and my daily traffic floated around 12 hits a day. Then I made the Hit List, and I got approximately 13,000 visitors in one day. For days afterwards, my traffic was considerably higher than normal. Then I was featured on the Hit List again in early October 2010, and several more times throughout the rest of October and into November. By the time the smoke cleared, my daily traffic and subscriber list had grown exponentially with each subsequent listing.
The Hit List is now closing, and I can claim to have been featured on there 21 times (humble brag!). Site visitors are imperative to any site. It’s what keeps us all going, along with our passion for the topic at hand. I would never, ever have approached the amount of traffic that I’ve had if not for IMDb generously featuring my content. If I’d never had an article picked up by the Hit List, there’s a very real chance that this whole site would’ve died on the vine. You wouldn’t even be able to read this article right now. But the exposure they provided to my site helped keep it going. And for that, I am extraordinarily grateful to them.
Moving forward, their focus will now be on sharing Hit List-worthy content on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. In other words, it’s not all frowny faces and drastic overreactions by Darth Vader. There’s no doubt that I’ll be more attuned to their social media now than I was before, and I’m honestly a little excited to see what they have in mind. As for the Hit List, so long and thanks for all the lists.