The Future of Neon Dystopia

Where have you been?

Many of our readers have noted that Neon Dystopia has been on a hiatus for more than a month. This is true, and I want to apologize to our readers, fans, and the cyberpunk community as a whole, for not addressing this earlier. You deserve an explanation. To begin, I’d like to provide a brief history of Neon Dystopia and a peek behind the curtain. Neon Dystopia was founded in late 2014 by myself and Zymepunk, our web developer who built the original site. We started with a heavy focus on reviews and synthwave music, but quickly we started to break into providing historical insight into the cyberpunk subgenre and subculture, philosophical discussion, and ruminations on technology too. In order to keep up with our growing field of coverage, covering all cyberpunk related topics, we brought on other writers to assist us on a volunteer basis. It is our goal to eventually become a paying venue, but because it is challenging to turn a profit as a media outlet and I am not independently wealthy, this has not yet materialized. That being said, we have never expanded our support staff and I run the everyday operations of the site, social media, content generation, editing, updates to the database, and do anything else that comes up. In the last 3+ years, we’ve built Neon Dystopia from a hobby project into an important part of the cyberpunk community organically and have an international cohort of writers. In late 2017, Zymepunk left Neon Dystopia to focus on his own work, leaving us without a developer, thus some of the technical hiccups that I’m sure many of you have noticed.

Besides technical support, Neon Dystopia has been, and is, single-handedly run by one person with basically no funding. I’ve been resistant to implementing classic monetization strategies on Neon Dystopia for various reasons. Here is my basic philosophy on monetization: if we are going to monetize Neon Dystopia, it has to be in support of building a cyberpunk community and not at that community’s expense. We don’t want to turn our readers into a product. This means we don’t want to implement invasive ads that track you across the web, like so many other sites do. This takes away from the site aesthetically but also flies in the face of the punk ideology that is ad-averse. We’ve implemented Amazon Associates on the site, although we acknowledge this supports a megacorporation and that the community may also have qualms about this. We decided to go forward with this strategy because we know that most people now utilize Amazon for a great deal of their media purchases anyway, and we thought we would provide people a way to support Neon Dystopia in a non-invasive fashion if they were going to use Amazon anyway. This doesn’t bring in much revenue, but a little is better than nothing. We do have a store, and we have and want to continue to use this as a vehicle for supporting cyberpunk artists in the community. The store has brought in some revenue, but from the perspective of upkeep, worked hours, and endeavors for growth, the shop falls short of supporting the site financially. Everything else is out of pocket, paid for by my day job.

This brings me to the last month. I had to take a long look at Neon Dystopia and decide its future direction. I have decided that because no matter what course I took, I would end up writing about cyberpunk and engaging the community, and I see no better way to continue to do that than to augment Neon Dystopia and to elevate it.

Where do we go from here?

This means that I need to pull out all the stops and really push the site to what I have always intended it to become: a strong cyberpunk resource and community. To this end, I have hired a developer to implement the many features and ideas that I have had mulling around in my head for the last few years. This is likely to be a slow, expensive process, but the first major addition to the site that I wanted to add was a social component that would allow Neon Dystopia’s community to interact with each other outside of the regular social media channels and in a dedicated environment. You can visit our test site to see how this endeavor is coming.

I’d like to encourage the Neon Dystopia readership and cyberpunk community to visit this site and provide feedback on what you like, don’t like or would like to see. Neon Dystopia is for all of you, as much as it is for me. If you’d like to support us financially in this project, you can do so on our donation page here, or purchase something in our store. If you can’t contribute financially, then I encourage you to engage in the conversations on the site, volunteer to become a writer or reach out to me to become a collaborator in another way at hello@neondystopia.com. I have grand plans for the future, including improving our databases, a larger focus on cyberpunk fashion and subculture, publishing short fiction (not yet, but it is coming), new cyberpunk resources, a podcast, an active YouTube channel (probably the furthest off) and collaboration with cyberpunk artists of all stripes. Join me for a discussion in the comments about what you’d like to see from Neon Dystopia in the future, because it is going to be bright neon in the darkness, and I want all of you to be part of it.

Share This Post
Veritas is a cyberpunk and writer who enjoys all aspects of the cyberpunk genre and subculture. He also journeys deeply into the recesses of the dissonance exploring his nihilistic existence. If you'd like to contact Isaac L. Wheeler (Veritas), the founder and editor-in-chief of Neon Dystopia, you can do so here: ilwheeler.founder@neondystopia.com
32 Comments
  1. Glad to see you back. I was wondering where you’d gone.

    Reply
    • Thank you Gorebag, we are glad to be back too!

      Reply
  2. Hey man great to see you back. Started to get a little worried because i read like 90% of the stuff on this site but im glad to see it moving foward.

    Reply
    • I’m glad to be moving forward as well. On into the future!

      Reply
  3. Hey, Veritas. It’s so good to hear from you and I’m glad you were able to come to some conclusions about what you’d like to see in ND (i.e. the site as well as the community.)

    There were times in the recent past in which there were no new posts for a while, However, as this last pause grew longer, I started to worry. Then, when my browser flagged the site for having an expired certificate, I figure that was the end. It’s been a few weeks since I last tried to visit the site though I still kept a prominent bookmark on my browser homepage (I use Symbaloo – I was one of those people who lamented the demise of iGoogle.)

    I don’t have the slightest idea what prompted me to check in today but it sure was lucky timing. Unfortunately, I don’t have any web development skills to contribute, I’ve never done any formal or professional writing, and a monetary contribution is not possible at the moment. That being said, I’ll do what I can to contribute through participation with the community. Anyway, great to hear from you and I’m looking forward to watching ND’s development in the weeks/months to come.

    Reply
    • Clocutron, a frequent reader and community supporter is great support indeed. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Everything OK my friend!
    “Retreat is only for impulse”
    Wise words, definitely a human being who had all these initiatives, is a great human, and with every great human, there is a great work!
    Everything is happening at the right time!
    Greetings from Brazil, you are a reference in the world!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words!

      Reply
  5. Cool guys, I discovered a lot of things thanks to that website. I’m 100% for making a cyberpunk community, I think it’s a great idea. Most great communities died out or just discuss synthpop all the time.

    Reply
    • The death of Cyberpunk Review was one of the drivers for creating Neon Dystopia in the first place.

      Reply
  6. It’s great to see that you are back! I was worried that Neon Dystopia had gone forever. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • I’m glad to be back too. I was worried about that possibility as well, but then rejected it.

      Reply
  7. very good news!.
    greetings from Argentina

    Reply
    • Thanks, Miguel! Greetings from America!

      Reply
  8. Have you thought about Patreon? I’m sure direct donations are better, but with Patreon you could make them recurring and automatic. Might be worth looking into.

    Glad to see you back!

    Reply
    • We have been considering a Patreon. I think that it definitly a more sustainable model with more engagement. However, it will take work to set-up and to maintain. It certainly won’t be until the new site is up.

      Reply
  9. Reply
    • I agree. We are working on adding an offset to the background to make the text easier to read.

      Reply
  10. Reply
  11. Dude, Patreon. Peeps can pay 1$ a month if they want to support, or you can build higher tiers, implement Discord chat, etc.

    Love this site. Would pay.

    Reply
    • Hey Nakoda,

      A patreon is on my Radar and I think it is a good potential solution to our problem. It should be coming after the official launch of the upgraded site.

      Reply
  12. Yes! So glad this place isn’t dead! I can’t wait for all of the catch-up articles on Altered Carbon and Westworld (I read almost everything but I’m particularly fond of the media think-pieces). I’d also like to echo the idea of starting a Patreon (or even a Ko-fi). I can’t afford to buy merch but I’d be cool with parting with a few bucks a month to support my favorite site. Looking forward to seeing this place thrive again!

    Reply
    • Hey QzKills,

      Patreon is in the cards after the site upgrade launches, and I’ll keep in mind that you enjoy the catch-up articles.

      Reply
  13. Yes! So glad the website lives on. I bought a shirt to show support. I would back you on Patreon if you guys start one.

    Reply
    • I really appreciate that, and it will be coming soon.

      Reply
  14. I’m like three days late but fuck it. Glad to see you guys are still jacked in. was kinda worried that the site was either dead or on it’s way out so this update was a big relief.

    Reply
  15. I’m so happy that the site is not down, and dead. I’ve been worried for the last month that that was the case. Glad that you’re back! I stumbled upon the site in 2016 when I was doing some research, and have been coming back almost daily ever since.

    I’m just writing this to flag the patreon, or similar donation system, as well as an idea that I would be more likely to use than the current donation thing. At least for me, an automated deduction is something I can setup and forget, otherwise it will probably never happen.

    And again, happy to see you back!

    Reply
  16. Greetings from Australia ! So glad to check out the site on a whim and find it working again. Glad you’re back. Whatever support you need going forward I hope I can give.

    Reply
  17. Welcome back! I’ve missed your articles for so long! Like a long lost friend. ;-;

    Reply
    • We are glad to be back friend!

      Reply
  18. I know you are just trying to make a buck, but it seems like you have added some pop-under ads that are trying to take visitors (like me) away from this community and to another monetized news site. It looks like it originates from //go.onclasrv.com/apu.php?zoneid=1594340

    Reply
  19. Hi concerned citizen, the pop-ups currently on the site were not put in place by us and we are currently working to remove them.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>