Saturday, April 7, 2007

long strange trip

In 1999, I started a web site called SmokeFreeWorld.

I was living in California and playing bass in rock bands. The newish smoking ban wasn't much respected. Result: wheezing, smoky hair, smoky clothes.

So, I started a list of venues which respected the ban. This developed into a worldwide directory of smokefree venues - restaurants, bars, hotels, whatever, in any country where they could be found.

I tried to run it as a business, supported by subscriptions and ads. I figured, people who want smokefree venues should put their money where their mouths are. The site would also link to local lists. The more languages the merrier. SmokeFreeWorld failed in that respect - not enough subscriptions, and venues wanted basic listings (free) but not premium listings (paid).

It's been fulfilling in other ways. I've met nice people, and discovered smokefree venues. Meanwhile smoking bans have expanded to places I never would have expected - New York City, Ireland, Buenos Aires. I also received fascinating hate mail. Once I stopped updating the site, I received complaints (mostly from people who didn't subscribe). Such is life.

The web site now points to this blog, to which I will migrate old content as time permits.

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