Today’s Thoughts . . . Aug. 27, 2013

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I wanted to give all of you an update on The Situation:

EPautos is not Deay-ud!

In the roughly ten days since we threw Goo-guhl in the woods – removed all their ads from this site after they de-listed us and reduced site income from Adsense to almost nothing – readers have generously made up most of the shortfall. We’ve just about covered our nut for August. If we can maintain the level of support we’ve received thus far, we’ll get there. Without Goo-guhl. In spite of them.

A heartfelt thanks to all of you!

Now, two questions – or things I’d like to bring up:

First is whether we accept any ads at all. Personally, I’d prefer to keep this site free of advertising. I’d like to have nothing but commentary (and comments) and news. No one trying to sell you anything. If we can maintain an adequate level of reader support, this is absolutely doable. We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks.

If we did accept ads, I’d like to know how you feel about – for instance – “sponsored” articles. Nothing bylined by me or presented as my work. But, the occasional (once a month?) article that is clearly a pitch for some product or service – and clearly identified as such. You’d see something like: Sponsored Article – or the thing would be highlighted or otherwise marked out as an ad.

Would you guys be ok with this? Or would it be  turn-off?

Dom and I are trying to strike a balance – and as this method of running a web site is terra incognita to both of us, we’d appreciate as much feedback as possible.

Meanwhile, once again, THANKS! to all of you, especially those who threw some coins in our cup! You’re the reason EPautos (also now is still alive and kicking.

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    • Indeed Delbert is.

      Blues Bros doing Delbert’s “B Movie Boxcar Blues”

      Caught a ride into south dakota With two girls in a light blue desoto One’s name was jane, the other was plain
      But they both had racing motors

      Next I caught a ride with a gamblers wife, she had a brand new lay down rambler She parked t’other side of town
      She layed the rambler down She said she could dig if I’d knew her

      Doing my best to get back to you
      Ain’t nothing I’d rather do
      Look for me sunday, gonna be there honey
      Something special just for you
      Special just for you

      Made a truck stop, toothpick and water Got a ride from a fruit pickers daughter Drove her through the night, let the fruit just rot. Said all I could eat for a quarter

      Next,I hopped a train with a hobo woman Said she’s from Texas too The way that she did, what she did, when she did what she did to me Made me think of you Yuh, Honey made me think of you

      Doing my best to get back to you
      Ain’t nothing I’d rather do
      Look for me sunday, gonna be there honey
      Something special just for you
      Special just for you

      Yeh honey something special just for you

      • She got a roof that don’t leak,

        When the rain’s pourin’ down,
        She got a place I can sleep, y’all,
        Where I’m safe and sound.

        She got a lock on the do’
        But she gave me the key.

        She don’t walk the floor.
        But she worries about me.

        Her love has no strings,
        shackles or chains,
        but I’m holdin’ on for dear life.

        She’s like rollin’ a seven, Everytime I roll the dice.

        Opening for the king of Blue-eyed soul is The Bishop of the Blues, Paul Plumeri. The event is the 1st annual Brewfest and Barndance, featuring local Virginia craft breweries Starr Hill, Legend, Hardywood and others.

  1. Today’s Thoughts Turned To Hippie Quotes:

    A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do

    It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves

    Always trust those searching for The Truth, never those who have found it

    This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway

    A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take away from you

    Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts

    It seems to me that love is the most important thing in the world. It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect

    The birds they sang – at the break of day – Start again – I heard them say – Don’t dwell on what – has passed away
    or what is yet to be – Ah the wars they will – be fought again – The holy dove – She will be caught again – bought and sold – and bought again – the dove is never free =
    Ring the bells that still can ring – Forget your perfect offering – There is a crack in everything – That’s how the light gets in =
    We asked for signs – the signs were sent – the birth betrayed – the marriage spent – Yeah the widowhood
    of every government – signs for all to see =
    I can’t run no more – with that lawless crowd – while the killers in high places – say their prayers out loud – But they’ve summoned up a thundercloud – and they’re going to hear from me =
    You can add up the parts – but you won’t have the sum – You can strike up the march – there is no drum – Every heart, every heart – to love will come – but like a refugee =
    Ring the bells that still can ring – Forget your perfect offering – There is a crack, a crack in everything – That’s how the light gets in

    When we heard about the hippies, the barely more than boys and girls who decided to try something different … we laughed at them. We condemned them, our children, for seeking a different future. We hated them for their flowers, for their love, and for their unmistakable rejection of every hideous, mistaken compromise that we had made throughout our hollow, money-bitten, frightened, adult lives

    Old Hippie – Bellamy Bros

    Old Hippie – Sequel – Bellamy Bros

    Old Hippie 3 – Bellamy Bros

  2. Eric, I’d be more than happy for you to add to your income base with advertising. You’ve demonstrated your principles and good judgement. I have no problem with seeing you rent out what has become valuable web space. That’s what the free market is about. The only problem I have is when your advertisers try to hold you for ransom like goo-gul did. So keep up the good work. And I give accolades to your site admin too! Maybe sometime I’ll come back to the Old Dominion to visit and lay eyeballs and a handshake on you and Dom both on my way through.

    • Thanks, Boothe!

      If this all pans out – if we can keep the fires lit – and other such descriptors – a pig roast and firearms fun at my place could most definitely be on the docket. We’ve got the space for a party and no worries about HOAs or on-street parking, either. Just trundle down to the field, park, set up camp. I’ll have the wife haul the necessaries down from the house!

      • Tor wrote, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do”

        TCB, that was a pleasure to read. Thanks for writing it.

        eric wrote, “a pig roast and firearms fun at my place”

        That sounds like FUN! [Wish I could attend.]. They used to frequently do that in my neck of the woods in the 1980’s. I wonder if they still do now? It’s probably considered a terrorist activity these days?

        Ed wrote, something about country music.

        SOme of it is O.K., but I’m not, “into it”. Some Bocephus , or Johnny Cash I can stand, but when they get bluesy,… as you say, meh.

        Anyway,… “The next 72 hours”.

  3. Hi Eric,
    Personally I am a fan of links within an article such as when a book or piece of hardware is mentioned there is a link embedded to Amazon or such like.

    They tend to be the only advertising I would personally click on as they are relevant to the article.

    Other adverts tend to get blocked by my browser configuration.

    At the end of the day, I like your site and its content, if you need advertising to continue to deliver, then that is a small price to pay.


    • Thanks, FL!

      If reader support continues at the level we’ve seen over the past 10 days or so, we will be able to pay the bills without too much ad clutter – which I think would be ideal. Not only from an aesthetic point-of-view but also from a functional one. The site loads a lot faster now – and of course, we have more room for non-commercial stuff, the articles as well as the comments.

      The main thing, though, is surviving without Google.

      So far, so good!

  4. Normal ‘newspaper’ like ads don’t bother me. Neither do sponsored articles so long as they are labeled.

    What bothers me are autoplay audio and video, pop ups, and anything that tries to get in my face and force me to ‘dismiss’ it or sit through it.

  5. I’m fine with either, Eric. In fact, I *like* the Amazon ads on — they’re often relevant to the subject, and it’s nice being able to go directly to a product on Amazon from the article. And when I buy an item this way, Lew gets a small commission — which is very cool.

  6. I’m fine with ads.
    No problem with “sponsored” articles, either.

    Why wouldn’t you have one bylined by you?
    Maybe a product or service you use, and like, with a link at the bottom?
    You guys already kind of do it in the comments, so why not make a buck?

    For instance, I found dom’s opinion about acid staining concrete to be interesting. A link to the one he liked would be ok. Maybe say, why, and what he liked best about it?

    Another example that comes to mind is when we discussed torque wrenches. eric’s top choice was not Harbor Freight.

    Maybe do short write ups the size of ‘Today’s Thoughts’?
    Something like, ‘Shit We Liked That Didn’t Break’?

    • Thanks, Downshift!

      I’ve got no problem putting in a word for a product or service I’ve used (and bought on my own nickle) that I can honestly recommend. But that’s different than taking money to recommend a product – which implies I would not recommend it unless I’d been paid to do so. It’s just hard to maintain credibility as a not-shill.

      Now, if a company wants to send me their product on the “car review model,” I’m open to that. By which I mean, they send me whatever it is to try out – and I tell you my honest opinion of it afterward. No money taken by me from them. I just try the product, see how it works – and report. With the clear understanding that I will not do other than convey what I honestly thought about whatever it was. That’s the deal with the cars. They drop ’em off, I get to drive them around for a week – and then I tell you what I thought.

      • Mr. Peters,

        Sir, I think you are on the right track with your review idea. There is nothing wrong with sponsored content itself, as long as the sponsorship does not become the content. I have read your site for several months now (first found via LRC, which I have read for years, and which contributed to my moral awakening), and I have come to respect the manner in which you examine the ills of this caricature of society through automotive-related issues. The effusive commentary on your articles is also as informative and thought-provoking as it is entertaining! I love to see such commenters as T.G. Sammons (especially!) and methylamine, as I know their contributions tend to bring out the most heated discussions.

        The point of this, aside from expressing admiration, is that you have in my opinion created a reputation that is your own recognizable “brand” and which is vital to the continuation and expansion of your readership (and hence CPI and CPC ad revenues). I’m sure that you and your webmaster are more familiar with the technical workings than I, and that since you are accustomed to writing reviews on provided examples of merchandise, you are conversant with current journalistic requirements; I would, however respectfully point out the necessity for an explicit disclaimer vis-a-vis financial interest on your main site and within any sponsored article itself.

        If I recall correctly, in 2011 the FTC established new rules (worth railing about in itself, in another venue!) regarding the disclosure of financial gain in any form by journalists. Although they claimed at the time that this would not affect bloggers or similar private writers, they have since levied disproportionate fines and taken other punitive actions against people who create content in a manner similar to yours. Since you already appear to have crosshairs laid onto your site, it may be in your best interest to check into this, and perhaps include such a disclaimer as appropriate.

        I am not recommending this from the standpoint of any sort of “proper compliance”, but rather as a way to remove one more excuse for your antagonists to harass or silence you. While I am not currently in a financial position to directly support your site, I very much enjoy your content. Seeing advertising and /or sponsored articles would not detract from that enjoyment, but seeing a “404” or clearinghouse front on would. I wish you success in your journalistic endeavours, and thank you again for continuing to express opinions uncomplimentary to power in the face of adversity.

        Until the day when “they” are thrown in the woods,

        Mark Thomas

        • Hi Mark,

          Thanks, first of all, for the kind words – and, welcome to our campfire!

          We’re hopeful we can reach our target via individual support while we continue to grow the site and then, perhaps, work out some advertising deals with companies whose products or services we think would be of interest to people here and which we can personally vouch for.

          I’ll give you an example:

          I bought a custom-built high-performance transmission a few years back for one of my cars. I have been very pleased with it. I know the company is solid. I’d therefore happily work with them as an advertiser.

          That’s the ideal.

          PS: One very relevant upside to remaining reader-supported is that the site loads a lot faster and we have more room for the stuff you come here for – the comments and commentary.

          So, we’ll see!

  7. No issues with either. Sure, I’d prefer ad free, but I’d prefer not to write you a check more. Assuming you have come control over the content of the ads and any sponsored content so that the ads are related to the topics on your site, I’ve not got a problem.


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