MexConnect – The next twenty years

articles Living, Working, Retiring

Tony Burton

MexConnect is the oldest and longest-running content site about Mexico.

Now more than 20 years old, with, at last count, 3772 articles, over 8000 photos (including 597 photo galleries) and 687 recipes. Even if you could read an article a minute, it would take you 63 hours to read your way through the site, and that’s not allowing time for the recipes or photographs.

David McLaughlin and his first wife, Dona, sank their retirement savings into MexConnect to make it the number one Mexico-related site on the web. His love and passion for Mexico and for MexConnect have never ebbed.

MexConnect started at the forefront of webdesign, but technology has changed so rapidly over the past 20 years that we have never been able to completely keep up with the latest and greatest.

In all other respects, MexConnect has consistently been ahead of its time. We adopted a subscription model, and incorporated some unobtrusive advertising into the site from early times, but discarded that model as more and more sites entered the fray and tried to emulate our success.

We had the earliest Mexico-related forums on the web, and our early search system remains far more powerful than most (excluding that young upstart Sr. Google, obviously).

MexConnect’s success has been due to our truly amazing contributors. Apart from the hundreds of authors and photographers whose work is showcased on MexConnect, we have had dozens of extraordinary forum contributors, including the incomparable Rolly Brook.

Our moderated forum discussions have been among the most informed on the web. MexConnect has attracted the very top writers and photographers, whose wealth of knowledge and willingness to share are evident throughout the site.

We were among the first sites to introduce interactive maps; their cartographic integrity has led to them having an enduring presence on the web, even if they have been frequently ripped off by other sites.

Our hand-coded, human-edited, pages are now competing against automatically-generated and openly-copied content being pushed out to potential readers, regardless of its veracity or credibility. It is sad to see how many other sites have come so far in terms of technology but have taken giant steps backwards in terms of the quality of their material.

Conspicuous by its absence throughout the first 20 years of MexConnect has been any government or tourism department support or funding. The ultimate insult in this regard came a few years ago, when a tourist promotional program for websites during the last Mexican federal administration threw thousands of dollars in commissioned articles and adverts at newer, smaller, and less well-run sites, completely ignoring MexConnect. Where are those sites now? Most are long dead. While some published excellent articles (albeit for a limited time) many others made little or no attempt to perform even basic fact checks on their material.

The sheer overwhelming size of MexConnect means that it is almost impossible for newcomers to fully appreciate the true range of valuable information available on the site. Unfortunately our Jurassic front page fails to signpost adequately the incredible wealth of contents inside the site. Even our Index pages, and Map index offer only glimpses behind the doors of this massive library of information.

Happy Twentieth Birthday, MexConnect.

While Mexico-related sites may come and go, MexConnect goes on for ever.

The site may be getting old, but it is not going to lose its memory or forget its roots.

Here’s to the next twenty years!

Published or Updated on: January 31, 2016 by Tony Burton © 2016

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