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Posted on Sep 3, 2004 in History News


Jim H. Moreno

What current and future work can people expect to see on


Adding more, more, and more of the magazines. You can see our track record–click the "what’s new" link off our home page of Once inside, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can click on additional links that take you through "what’s old" in our archive. It doesn’t list everything, but it does go back to every issue we posted since 1998.

We also have a couple projects in the works, which I will politely decline to discuss, but every year we do one "extra" thing. One year we produced a CD of original battle music–hired a composer, hired a graphics artist, and turned them loose. Another year we sponsored a national War College lecture series within a national convention. Another year we sponsored the lecture series at the Borodino wargame convention.


The first challenge was getting people to pay for web items with credit cards. People had to be assured of security, that the company was stable, and that they were likely to receive what they bought. Slowly, that occurred, and now people do indeed do e-commerce every day…and it’s growing.

The next big challenge is to convince people that content is valuable and worth paying for on the web. That’s a tough sell, too. But remember, if I told you 25 years ago you’d be paying for TV, you’d have thought I was mad as a hatter. And yet, 90% of the country pays for cable–even basic cable.

Will people pay for content on the web? So far, it’s a challenge. But it was a challenge for TV 25 years ago, too. I’m not saying everything will be subscription fee based. Certainly there will be company-sponsored sites paid by marketing dollars, or "free" sites paid for by banner ads, but there will be a larger number where if you want information you can use without banner ads or other marketing target reticules on your forehead, you’ll go to subscription-based sites.

Fees are based on a time period: $10 for a week (good for a look around or a one-shot project) to $75 for a full year (for real military history buffs!). We also give a 10% discount when you renew your membership (a way of saying thanks for your support). At 300+ issues a year, that runs about 25 cents an issue (less with renewal), which means it’s literally pennies per article. And I suppose if you calculate it out for the entire archive, take $10 and divide by 40,000 articles, and you get…um…0.00025 cents an article. And no ads to spoil your session on

And I want to emphatically state that does NOT sell, trade, give-away, or pass along any of its customer data to anyone. We treat our paid customers as valuable members, not marketing opportunities!

The key to any content site is breadth and depth of information and the speed at which that information is delivered. continues to bring ruthless efficiency in coding up articles (tighter, smaller file size means faster downloads) and remains committed to growing the archive.

Why do you study military history?


I’m a history buff in general, because I believe that you have to understand where you came from in order to understand where you’re going. The military portion represents pivotal turning points, where ideology and civilizations conflict with each other. War causes tremendous upheavals, and if we can learn about previous triggers, we may be able to avoid pulling future ones. That’s not to say all wars are avoidable–sometimes you must fight–but you better understand why, and you better understand the last war’s lessons, and you better understand how to use those in the next one.

With every shift in power comes great opportunity and great challenge. Technology changes. Society changes. Culture changes. Pitfalls abound in history. If you don’t understand them, you can’t avoid them. If you do understand them, you can not only avoid them, but use them to build a better future.

History may not necessarily repeat itself, but similarities do occur. If you think not, consider one story of the Gulf War. The famed "hook" of VII Corp came about, in part, because a professor-consultant to the Pentagon was reading British accounts of WWI and maneuvering in the same spot of desert. Up until that time, the plan was pretty much "power up the middle." Fortunately, the initial scoffing turned to inquiry, and with additional forces, a better plan was crafted.

Again, it’s not chiseled instructions, but historical guidance in creating future plans.

What else should visitors know about


If I can mention the three "policies" we try to follow at

1) Pay attention to customer service. I know it sounds silly, but people are pleased when we answer e-mail on the same day or next, especially if it concerns payment and access. It’s our top priority. Members are also a great source of direction for additional features–not always, but you can pick and choose from among the suggestions. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, and sometimes you don’t want to, but suggestions from folks who use your service is better than you as creator.

2) It’s OK to inject a little humor and personality in a site. I happen to like to read, so I do a lot of book reviews. You may or may not agree with my assessment of a product, but you will understand what I like or dislike, and hopefully, get a chuckle from time to time. I can get away with it because I have a consumer-oriented site.

3) Always strive to add value. You are on an uphill course when it comes to paid content. It takes time to change the current conventional wisdom that the Web should be completely free, and that if free is the only way to get content, soon there will be no good content. The way to combat this is always adding value–in’s case, always increasing the archive, adding that extra magazine, picking up that extra review. It isn’t necessarily size, but value matters.

When we cross 50,000 articles, we’ll do a press release, and though it’s a year+ away, we’ll have to do something to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I will consider it a moral victory to survive 10 years on the Internet, which is something like 70 dog years, or 700 web years. So many of the IPO-fueled sites withered and died, and much as I sometimes envy what the resources could do, I also believe survived precisely because we learned to live on a tight budget that came from our bank accounts and on-going revenue. If history teaches us anything, it’s that perseverance survives.


Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

Jim H. Moreno

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