Another freelance writing site bites the dust. First, Upwork took over Elance, which was and continues to be a huge disappointment. Now Suite, formerly Suite 101, otherwise known as Suite101.com Media, has taken its last gasp.
Suite 101 was my first exposure to online writing. Ecstatic when my application was accepted, I began as a contributing writer in March 2010 and stuck with it through the ebb and flow as the platform struggled to succeed. Articles were grouped by topics, coined channels. When I joined the site, I was a circuit trainer with a women’s gym, so I wrote about nutrition and fitness. Editors had oversight on word count, style, format, image uploads, resource credits, external links, backlinks and pingbacks. With editorial feedback and some compensation, I reaped the benefits of learning and earning. The site’s writer forum buzzed with interaction, generating camaraderie, insight and sometimes inspiration. Then the revenue sharing program changed, the editorial feedback stopped, the forum shut down and many members walked.
The new concept that replaced the legacy platform interested me though. The powers that be enabled each contributor to create their own suites. We could essentially publish our own online media column. Rather than informational articles, which included research and references, Suite encouraged contributors to share stories.
At that point, I had migrated from the gym back to the office, and launched a series of articles under the name of “Stories From the Corporate Suite.” Collecting all the memories of my personal work history and transforming fragments into stories was cathartic and great writing practice because it came from the heart. As each story unfolded and rolled into the next, blurry moments in time crystallized. Do you know that feeling when you read someone else’s story and think, “I could have written that. It’s about me”? Well, that’s how I felt when I read these stories back, except they were about me. I just never previously thought about harnessing all those disconnected moments to construct a story.
Michael Kedda, Suite’s CEO, seem to earnestly try his best for a while, but the Google Panda release in February 2011, which dramatically changed search results ranking, had a huge negative impact on the site, essentially associating it with content mills. What is so strange is how Michael became less and less communicative with the contributors until finally it seemed like he slipped away in the middle of the night. Efforts to obtain information and get technical help were futile. After April 2015, I finally gave up trying to get responses via the help desk and email. The company did not provide a phone number, but the headquarters were in Vancouver and I was not about to start calling Canada anyway. Also, it was frustrating that the site required membership to comment on articles, though the members pleaded with Michael to enable public comments and followers. Worst of all, Suite was no longer showing up in search results.
A few weeks ago, I logged on to see if anything had changed, and was greeted by the following image:
The same thing happened when I tried to navigate directly to my articles. I thought this might be a temporary shutdown since that had happened before, but apparently Suite is no more. It was fun in its heyday. I hope my former Suitees, as we used to call our fellow members, are productively writing in whatever new home they found. All good things come to an end. Such is life.