After only 8 months of existance, Andrew and I have decided to see if we can sell off our joint ventureDashboard Themes. There are many factors that lead us down this path, but the big one is time. Neither of us have the time that’s required to take the site to the next level. It’s been doing well and steadily ramping up traffic to the point where we’re pulling in half a million page views a month, but the fact that it brings in hardly any revenue and the time we’d need to put in to improve that and/or add new features is significant, has detoured us entirely. With any luck, we’ll be handing over the reigns to someone who has the means to keep it going and moving forward.

Wait, That Can’t be the Only Reason

Oh, a clever one you are! No, time is not the only factor here. This site has always sat kind of awkwardly with me. As much as I’m proud of the work I’ve done and the service Andrew and I have brought to the community, I’ve always had this negativity surrounding the whole ordeal. Think of why we built this site to begin with. Because Microsoft has a store with invisible products that you can’t return if you don’t like them. The fact that we’re nearing the two year anniversary of the Xbox 360 and there’s still no way to preview themes on the Marketplace makes me fucking irate! Where else is this sort of scheme acceptable? It’s bad enough that we have to pay for what is essentially desktop wallpaper which is freely available on every other platform that makes use of them, but we can’t even see what we’re buying until it’s paid for. And finally – there’s absolutely no refunds for dissatisfied customers. Now that’s a great commerce model. Yes, I am bitter – we’ve been through this.

Busted Consoles Take Their Toll

I tried to take the death of my Xbox 360 lightly. After all, I absolutely love the Xbox 360 and will defend it in the “this console is better than that console” debate any day of the week. But I will admit, that having two consoles die on me within a two week period definitely took a toll on me. Having a shiny PlayStation 3 in my living room helped ease my nerves, but also leveled the playing field quite a bit. I never thought I would own a PS3. Not to mention, be stoked to own a PS3. But I totally am. And because of that, I think I’ve lost a lot of my enthusiasm toward Xbox 360. You have to admit, it’s fully ironic that the only reason I even own a PS3 is because of Microsoft and their shitty hardware.

Oh, and There’s Also That Other Thing…

Unless you follow me on Twitter or Flickr, you may not have caught wind that my wife is pregnant and we’re due at the end of January! This has given me good reason to really shape up and clear some things off my plate. I’ve had a couple projects lingering for months and I’m finally motivated to do something with them. Passing them off to someone else is ideal, since I won’t have to deal with them at all any more and the extra income from the sale(s) could definitely be put to use – doing a baby’s room is not cheap! Most importantly, I’m going to need time. Currently, I’m busy from the time I wake up until I go to bed – which is normally around or after mid-night. I’m simply not going to be able to do that in a few months, so I’m making an effort to tie up those loose ends and get my shit in order.

Interested in Buying?

If you or someone you know is interested in taking Dashboard Themes off our hands, be sure to head over to the auction for all the details. We’re really not sure how we’re going to do here and are totally open to negotiations.

As of now, we have two full weeks left with the site. That’s if it sells. In the mean time, I’ll continue to update it with new themes. We haven’t discussed what we’ll do if it doesn’t sell and I really have no idea at this point.


Woohoo, first comment..anyhow, I think it’s what you have to do.

Good luck, hope you find a dedicated owner!

@PS: Sorry about the Xbox Elite thing I was talking to you about.

Why not just offer it to someone big than just opening it for bidding. Or while your site’s waiting for someone to bid on it, you can offer it in between. Too bad it will not be run by you guys anymore.

About your PS3, you can’t connect it using a VGA cable to the regular computer monitor right?

If not, what definition do you have on your tv and how does that look?

I’ve only seen PS3 on a full HD 1080p.

Great to hear about the baby mate! Really great to hear!


Yes, but it’s a bit tricky. You can buy converters to go from HDMI to DVI to VGA. Personally I use HDMI to hook it up to an HD Ready screen (720p) and it looks absolutely smashing.

Congrats on the baby Matt and good luck on selling DBT!

I don’t mean to bash your project nor try to take away work you’ve two done, but I have a question…

Don’t you think that there’s a possibility that this huge traffic comes from people who just want to download pirated dashboard themes for xbox and found your site via Google?

@Timothy: I’m not sure I’m following you. Are you suggesting that we have a "buy it now" price on it so someone could buy it outright if they want to? If so, we’ve definitely thought about that, but not sure what would be a good price. We wanted to get a better idea of how people are feeling about the site before putting a price on it.

@Ben: Thank you sir!

@Alexander: What Freeply said. It’s a huge hassle.

I run my PS3 at 1080i via HDMI and it looks pretty incredible.

@Riddle: There’s no way to "pirate" Xbox 360 dashboard themes, and 49% of our traffic is made up of return visitors. So no, I don’t think that’s the case at all.

One thing I forgot to mention after all my anti-MS ranting was the reason my personal issues have gotten in the way of this project moving forward. Jon Christopher wrote a great article recently about improving yourself and keeping things moving forward. One of his 9 points is "remain enthusiastic" and I fully agree that being excited and interested in what you’re working on makes a world of difference. I’m neither excited not interested in the dashboard themes project any longer and I would hate to see the site suffer because of that. All it needs is someone that is enthusiastic about it to really turn things around.

Wow, it’s sad that is going to end. It is by far the best option on the internet to view themes. But if there is no other way, I just hope someone buys it and really takes off with it.

A $2500 starting price is a lot of money.

Why is the price so high?

If no one wants it and you don’t want to keep it then give it (for free) to someone that cares and will nuture it in the future.

@Chris: No, the starting bid is not a lot of money at all for what it is. DBT is a custom built app from the ground up. I would charge at least double that for the design alone and the development would run easily $10,000+ if you were to hire someone to build a site/service like this.

If no one wants it and you don't want to keep it then give it (for free) to someone that cares and will nuture it in the future.

Haha, ok. Think about what you just told me to do. This site took many, many hours to build. You think we’re about to just hand over all our work, for absolutely nothing? Who in their right mind would do that?

Why don’t you mail TechCrunch and tell the guy about the site sale??

He posts a lot about sites that are being sold, maybe some visibility will help you sell it for a good price and/or to someone that is really interested in going forward with the site

[…] Matt has posted a great entry about why we are letting this go. Bang on Matt – I don’t have anything to add to that, however I want to say that in the hands of the right person – I’m sure DBT can earn some decent revenue. I think the lesson Matt and I learned here is that we needed to set more financial goals before setting out to do a project like this. “Build it and they will come” worked for our users, but not that easy for revenue. All we wanted to do was solve a problem – we weren’t stoked on the idea of knocking on doors, preparing reports and long conference calls to sell ad deals. […]

Congrats on the kid! I just had my first one, and he’s a blast in a half. I’m still trying to figure out how not to abandon games and stuff entirely, but the kid is so much more interesting!

Matt, I’m happy to see that your site attracts real audience. To be honest, I didn’t believe that it can be fun and profitable thus I asked a question.

It’s fantastic that you and your friend managed to gather enthusiastic people, so big up for ya. Thanks for clarification and I hope DBT will find new owner who cares about community & continue to grow. 🙂

Man, I don’t even buy themes, but I’ll be sad to see this project go. It’s not even that it could be going away, by you guys selling it, it’s going to be worse than it was. So, thanks for the great run, and I hope someone will pick this up and attempt to continue what you’ve done.

Matt, if you don’t mind me asking, were game developers/publishers ever interested in advertising on DBT? With the amount of traffic you werere pulling in, you’d think so, but I can’t ever remember seeing any game advertisements other than from Google.

Good luck with finding a buyer. I’m pretty sure it will get snapped up 🙂

Congrats Matt! I can certainly relate — the birth of my baby girl earlier this year is what spurred me last year to sell off my side projects.

Now that I’ve adjusted I’m working my way back, but the extra time and money needed to have a baby leaves no room for wasting time and energy with side projects you’d rather not have.

So, no worries, I’ll never think you’re a sellout 😉

Matt, have you tried contacting MS about a possible partnership? If they could provide you with the MS Points to pay for the themes, it would be a great way to lower the cost of running the site…that or ask them for a refund for every single theme you’ve put up since it is absolute BS that we can’t preview the themes before we buy them.

Hey Matt,

I have noticed your sites for a few months now. You have great talent and skills and I’m sure you will do excellent in whatever you do. As far as Dashboard is concern: Let it percolate the internet for a while. I am sure if you strive and hold it for a while conglomerates like Yahoo, Google or some smaller outfit will take notice. Dashboard is very well worth MUCH more that. Remember the [dot] com days? If you let is go for $2500 right now and someone pick it up and turn in into a million dollar biz how will you feel later on?

Realize your full potential.

[…] you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve no doubt witnessed some coarse words tossed in Microsoft’s general direction directly at those mother bitches. I don’t enjoy […]

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