JOB OFFER: Web programmer for veteran news site

  • MichaelHinman
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  • MichaelHinman
  • Posts: 1
  • Loc: Tampa, Fla.

Post 3+ Months Ago

SUMMARY: SyFy Portal ( is seeking a lead programmer to properly return the 8-year-old entertainment news Web site back to the way it's supposed to operate. Compensation is 20% of net ad proceeds (estimated to be about $1,600) in the first year, and negotiable after that, as well as a chance to market any external programming services you may have. Please send a letter and work experience to Michael Hinman at Hours are basically around your existing schedule, but we do have some expectations on main project completion.

Hello! My name is Michael Hinman, and if you're a science-fiction fan, you may have heard of me, or at least the Web site I own, SyFy Portal.

When SyFy Portal was first founded (as SyFy World) in 1998, it joined an already crowded field of television and movies news Web sites, and really had no chance to survive. But not only did we survive, we thrived, and up to about a year ago, we were one of the primary sources of news and rumors.

But we have fallen on hard times. Not financial ones, but more from the lack of having consistent programming. We did have who I believe to be a very gifted programmer, but the problem was, he was just never available to complete the things he committed to do. We took on a very ambitious project in 2004 to redesign the Web site, using an award-winning graphics designer we have on staff. Unfortunately, our programmer was unable to complete the work needed to program the new design until the end of 2005, where we decided to take the site offline for two weeks over Christmas break, so that we could come back at the beginning of January with something new and exciting.

We didn't come back in January. In fact, we didn't return to the Web until March when I had to bring in a friend who had limited programming experience who put the site up the way it is right now (and it's not very good unfortunately).

After two years of trying to fit into our lead programmer's schedule, I recently decided it was time to part ways. I know very little about programming (and that's just limited to basic HTML) as first and foremost, I am a journalist. Not just eight years with SyFy Portal, but nearly 15 years in newspapers and radio. We separate ourselves from other sites because we use professional journalism, not the amateur-type you find at other sites.

I feel that anyone who decides to join SyFy Portal as a programmer would have a very easy job. Yes, the initial work will be time consuming because you basically have to program around an existing design and to help us get a better Web-based news posting program (of course, we all know there are a lot of open-source posting software out there). All the graphical work has been done, and can be modified if you need it to be. Other than that, there may be maintenance work here and there, and help on smaller projects that come up from time to time, including the SyFy Genre Awards as well as at least one planned site expansion that likely won't happen until 3Q07 at the earliest.

All of the people who are part of SyFy Portal's team are volunteers, HOWEVER (and please don't stop reading, as this is very important), I know that programmers can no longer do that. So, for the right candidate, this is what I'm offering:

SyFy Portal's lead programmer will receive 20 percent of the net profits that the site earns through advertising through his or her first year with the site, with future years being negotiable depending on what projects you would like to take on. The programmer also will be able to place his or her name and a link to a Web site of his choosing that advertises their programming services, if they choose.

That might not sound like a lot, but SyFy Portal uses Gorilla Nation as an ad sales representative. We were recently projected to earn about $8,000 in advertising in our first year with that company, but if we can get the programming up to speed, it could be even more. So even just above our current state, 20% would equate to $1,600, if we netted that amount. You also would be privy to ALL of SyFy Portal's finances, so you don't have to trust me on your amount, you will receive a full accounting. Not bad for simply getting us back up and running the way we're supposed to be, and just doing maintenance here and there.

As far as advertising your services, our lead graphic designer Bryant Griffin has seen tremendous success simply from designing our logo. He has since received a tremendous amount of freelance work, including becoming one of the exclusive graphic designers for the Roddenberry family - yes, the same family where "Star Trek" came from.

Our staff is a family, and we treat everyone as such. We don't have employees or even slaves. We are all working toward a common goal, and we just want to be successful. Working for SyFy Portal opens up a lot of other doors, and being the programmer is the most important part of the site, even more important than what I do.

You can visit our site at, see what we are using to program the site, and how much work it needs. You can either take over what has already been done, or you can start from scratch. All we ask is that at the very least, some visual elements - the parts that readers see when they visit the site - get completed as soon as possible, and all other background elements can be done on your own time schedule.

Please send me a note and a resume (even an informal one) to I am not setting a deadline for applications because to be honest, if we find someone we think would work well with our team and accomplish the goals we have, we're not going to waste time in bringing that person aboard. So please make contact as soon as you can if you're interested.

Of course, if you have any specific questions about the site, the position, or anything else, please feel free to contact me at the above e-mail address.

Thanks for letting me post, and thanks for all of your great work in making the Internet (and computers) a fun place to be!

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