Fifteen years. It has been 15 years since Spin Sucks launched. It’s kind of crazy to think that I started a blog about communications when I was just 15 years old! Just kidding! I was 20. OK, that’s also a lie.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years. Heck, I’ve been married to the same man for nearly two decades. Where does the time go?

Fifteen years ago, Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, Saddam Hussein was executed, Google bought YouTube, and the Nintendo Wii was released. 

There were no iPhones (that was the following year) and we were all using a flip phone or a Blackberry to text one another. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and more weren’t household names yet. And, of course, we were all 15 years younger. 

On our birthday, let’s take a walk down memory lane and talk about what’s changed in the last 15 years—and how far the blog turned book turned podcast turned professional development site turned PESO Model Certification has come since then.

Everything That Happened 15 Years Ago

Fifteen years ago, the former Enron executives were found guilty. The Crocodile Hunter was killed. That one blows my mind because I see his kids following in his footsteps and I think, “They can’t be old enough yet to be doing this.” And yet, they are.

Brokeback Mountain won best picture, Walt Disney bought Pixar, the Super Bowl was in Detroit and the Steelers beat the Seahawks—and the Rolling Stones performed at the halftime show. John Legend won a Grammy, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant were hogging all of the NBA headlines, and Florida beat UCLA in the NCAA men’s basketball championship, breaking my poor husband’s heart that Kansas wasn’t even in the running.

Tiger Woods, who was only 30 at the time, became the youngest player to compile 50 PGA Tour wins, toiletries were banned from your carry-on luggage on flights, and “New Moon,” the second book in the Twilight series was published.

WikiLeaks was launched, 30 Rock first premiered, and B.B. King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was the number one movie of the year. Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” was the number one song. And WordPress was beginning to gain attention for this blogging thing they made as easy as writing in a Word document. 

Which was great timing for us because a little blog called Spin Sucks launched on a WordPress site in 2006. 

And, as I do every year on our birthday, I’d like to share with you the very first blog post we published

It’s really bad. And I’m not just saying that because it’s a far cry from the type of content we produce today. I mean, it’s really bad.

The Very First Spin Sucks Blog Post

Here we go…

Skilled spinners manipulate the facts and deceive the public, pushing their own agendas and clients with a complete disregard for journalistic integrity and common decency. We have had enough of destructive spin, and we are putting an end to the strategic deception and outright lies.

Spinners have tainted the reputation of public relations with their tall tales and twisted lies, but they are not alone in stripping away the integrity of our field. Hollywood has imposed itself on our industry, using party planning bimbos and political hypocrites to portray our profession on “reality TV”. But these shows don’t represent reality, and they’re tainting our reputation one half-hour at a time.

FADS is committed to improving the reputation of our industry and educating the public. PR is misunderstood, so FADS educates the public about what we do and the important role we play in society. We disprove the Hollywood hype and expose the “reality” as fiction.

Okay, so we might be dreaming. I mean, “you never get rid of roaches no matter how much you spray,”* but we’re going to keep trying so the number is small and less influential among our peers (thanks Ray!).

We are proud to be PR professionals.  We love what we do, and we want to restore the integrity of our profession.  Join the Fight Against Destructive Spin today.

Who we are:

We are a group of PR professionals concerned about the reputation of our industry, committed to raising the level of professionalism in public relations and putting an end to destructive spin.

*Dominick Rosario – Insect terminator and philosopher

The Numbers Today

Yep. Terrible. But there are a few things I think are important to point out:

  • We did not have categories so it’s impossible to search.
  • There aren’t any links to other articles, not even to the quote by Dominick Rosario.
  • Who the heck is “Ray” in the parenthesis? I have no idea, which means our readers don’t know, either.
  • We didn’t have an editor
  • The “author” is Arment Dietrich and there isn’t an image of said “writer.”
  • There isn’t an image in the article, it’s only 200 or so words, and there’s no real formatting.
  • SEO is non-existent…and so is social media (in our defense, social media didn’t exist when we published this).
  • It’s a complete and utter hot mess.

BUT. We hit publish and we took a stance. Over time, we evolved from FADS—the Fight Against Destructive Spin—to just Spin Sucks. And we got much, much better at blogging, as a whole. But yeah…it didn’t start out so well. It’s a wonder we kept it up.

I’m thankful every day we kept it up, however.

Here’s why. Today we have:

  • 5,351 published blog posts (2,616 of those are mine)
  • 3,202 Spin Sucks students
  • 1,035 community members
  • 3,079,252 visitors (we started tracking on March 25, 2009…and there were only 32 visitors a day at that point)
  • 444 speaking engagements
  • Two published books
  • 65 percent of our traffic has come from search
  • 16 percent of our traffic has come direct
  • 9 percent of our traffic has come from social
  • The rest of the traffic is a combination of referral, email, and paid search

And, because I wouldn’t let any of you get away without measuring revenue, I will hold myself to the same standard.

What started out in 2011 as a gigantic loss, slowly built to $239,000 in 2015. In 2019, we surpassed the low seven-figure mark—and surprisingly maintained that through a pandemic.

The Very Best Community On Earth

But our biggest success is the best community on earth, which started in the comments of the blog, then moved to a Facebook group, and now lives as the Spin Sucks Community on Slack. 

We have hands down, the best community of communicators on the internet. And, for that, the thanks go to each and every one of you. Some of you have been with us for a decade and others have just discovered us.

You have met one another in person and formed real-life friendships or business partnerships. You have helped people halfway around the globe with their business challenges and you have lifted one another up in ways others couldn’t. Two of you even met in the comments here and ended up getting hitched.

I know I speak for myself and the entire Spin Sucks team when I say thank you. Thank you for coming along on this wild ride with us. Thank you for being part of this crazy community. And thank you for trusting us to help you change the way you do your work, day in and day out.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich