"I Am Not A Blogger" (My farewell to PropertyOfZack)

PropertyOfZack will cease to update after this weekend. It's a sad thing, but not a bad thing. POZ has done a lot for the scene. It's nice to read and contribute so many words during its victory lap.

I’ve been aware of Zack Zarrillo since 2009, which is a testament to all that he had already achieved before 2011, when we met on Twitter, and 2013, when we met in person for the first time. Now, six years removed from my first visit to PropertyOfZack, Zack is shutting his namesake down. What’s wild to me is that I, like Zack, am 22 at the time of writing, in this, the year of our Lord Tom DeLonge, 2015.

Zack and I have only worked together in any official capacity a handful of times. In fact, I wasn’t published on POZ until this year. Instead, our relationship has been more a collegial one, with frequent check-ins and comparisons of ideas and workflows. I consider us friends, in the way I refer to most in my online circles as friends. It’s hard not to cultivate friendships when so much time is spent writing about similar topics on weblogs visited by roughly the same demographic.

From the start of my writing career, I selected Zack as a challenger. In a lot of ways, we came up in tandem. We’ve obviously traveled very different courses within the industry, but initially we learned and grew together, apart. We both started young, very young. If the standard starting age in the music industry is 20 or 21, we each had a three-to-four year head start on most. Call us high school kids with laptops, smartphones and quick fingers. Getting news out quickly was the goal. Much like Thomas (as he mentioned in his farewell), I too saw Zack as a competitor – an all too fast competitor. Jealousy and admiration are both accurate descriptions of the feelings I harbored towards ZZ before I figured out that none of that competitive stuff matters.

In 2012, POZ and Under The Gun Review (the blog I was running with James Shotwell at the time) joined a collective called AbsoluteVoices. We, along with Alter The Press and Punk News, “teamed up” with Absolutepunk in an effort to push the scene into a bigger demographic and make some money doing what we loved on the way. Ultimately, all of it failed in 3 months’ time. The aftermath took the shape of several years of hardship for those of us now involved with a company hemorrhaging staff and money. BuzzMedia became SpinMedia, which became SpinGroup in a whirlwind of CEO swaps, questionably legal buyouts and bankruptcy scares. It’s amazing that UTG and POZ made it out but, as of this year, they both have. James hasn’t decided the fate of UTG just yet, but this weekend, POZ dies free.

POZ has done a lot of cool stuff over the years. I was very excited for the rebrand last winter and I’ve enjoyed the new focus on commentary and long-form features. The site has played host to a number of talented writers, all of whom have bright futures beyond the blog. In the end, when Zack signs off for the last time, it won’t be the number of news posts or sponsored tours that I’ll remember. It will be the way Zack cultivated his brand and handled business, even through difficult situations. His abilities as a businessperson have developed impressively since 2009. A bright future lies ahead of Zack. His label (which gave me a bunch of Mansions records and Phantoms on wax), the fortunate roster of bands he manages and all of the future endeavors he chooses to pursue will undoubtedly be met with success due to the willpower and determination he exercises, along with his sizable skill set and ingrained passions. The blog is done, Zack Zarrillo is not.

So #RIPOZ! The run was long and the journey was good. Now Zack has time to be a little more “normal” than he’s had he opportunity to be for a good chunk of his life. Some time to learn about video games and all of those things his friends keep asking him to get into; additional hours logged in Overcast; and some quality time with his friends, family and girlfriend are well deserved.