The history of DV Hardware

DV HardwareOne of my biggest projects online is DV Hardware, a hardware and technology news and reviews website. I’m basically the main force behind it, I post all the news, reviews and do all the other work. I started DV Hardware in 2002 together with one of my best friends when we were still in high school but he quit working on the site after about a year.

DV Hardware was started as a hobby and while we did want to make a bit of money out of it we didn’t aim very high. We hoped the site would eventually generate enough money to pay for the hosting costs, which would be about 100EUR a year. That was a lot of money so we decided to start with free hosting. By the way, I believe it’s a lot easier to make 100EUR with a site these days because lots more monetization options are available now, when I started DV Hardware things like Google AdSense didn’t even exist yet.

The site was first launched under the name DarkVision (I came up with this name after a brainstorming session) and actually it didn’t really focus on computers at all, we posted all kinds of news, including funny and even sports news. But after a while the focus of the site shifted to computers and technology and besides news we also started doing reviews to get more traffic. It was a hobby and one of the goals was to get a lot of traffic, not to make money but just to enjoy the feeling of having a popular website.

I can’t really remember the name of the first host of DarkVision but it was a hosted solution and offered very few customization options so after a few days I started looking for a better host. I ended up with some free hosting from Lycos. They offered webspace with PHP and MySQL but the biggest downside was that they served lots of ads and were sometimes extremely slow. So after some weeks the site moved to a pretty good free host called F2O. They were really one of the best free hosts you could find. They were very fast, very stable, offered PHP, MySQL and about 5GB of bandwidth per month. I used them for a couple of months and during these days DV Hardware got its first Slashdot with a story about some kind of patch for the leaked Doom 3 alpha. This resulted in a huge influx of new readers and I remember that we were running a poll on the mainpage which asked our readers what they though of our layout. One of the guys which found the site on Slashdot offered to create a new banner for us and I gladly accepted the offer. Back then the site was still called DarkVision and to my surprise he created a banner with the name DarkVision Hardware on it. I liked this name and started using this as the name of the site, although I later abbreviated it to DV Hardware because the domain name would be a bit too long.

After a while DV Hardware switched hosting once more, to a Hardware & Gaming network called HWGN. These guys offered free hosting to hardware and gaming related websites and were once the home of some fairly popular sites like OCAddiction and Viper’s Lair. I’m not sure but I believe that when I made the switch to HWGN I also registered the domain name, which was in November 2002. When I look back it seems that 2002 was a really bumpy road for DV Hardware, I changed four times of host in only five months time .

In October 2003 I changed one last time, to a paid hosting solution from Priorweb, and I’m still using these guys. They are a tad expensive but they do a pretty good job. In the beginning I hoped DV Hardware would get a few thousand visitors a month but the site very quickly jumped to thousands of visitors per day And just like the number of visitors, the income from the site quickly increased to more than I could ever have dreamed of.

Currently I still do all the work and this sometimes causes lots of workload. Last year I had hired 3 guys which did a couple reviews for me but we got a bit out of touch as my focus temporarily switched from DV Hardware to a couple of short-term projects which generated a shitload of money. Some new reviewers on DV Hardware would be very welcome but it’s hard to find good ones. Not only do they need a lot of knowledge about hardware, software and technology, but they also need good writing skills (preferably better than mine ) and be able to take nice photographs of products.

Currently I’m having a couple of slow weeks. When I got back from Rock Werchter I still had a lot of work but currently it’s getting harder to find interesting news to post on my site. Additionally I also noticed traffic to DV Hardware has slightly dropped this week. I believe the summer months and the Fourth of July celebrations in the U.S. are probably to blame for this. For reviews it’s also a slow month. A few months ago I made it my goal to publish at least one review per week but it’s already been three weeks since I published the last review on DV Hardware. And this isn’t likely to change soon as I don’t have any new products to review yet. But I hope to get my hands on a new case from Cooler Master and some new Logitech products soon .

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