Today’s Thoughts: Jan. 24, 2014 – Bust

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We have a problem.organ grinder pic

Donations – the thing that keeps EPautos afloat – are way down. Off by 75 percent compared with last month.

It is dire.

We’ve managed to secure a couple of advertising deals (Austin Coins and Valentine1) but we still rely on your support to make this a viable operation.

Our readership continues to grow. We now average around 100,000 people visiting EPautos each month. That is pretty tremendous – especially for a “small potatoes” operation with just two full-time workers (myself and Dom).

I always feel embarrassed about having to shake the cup at you guys, but the fact is that until we can secure six or seven solid advertisers this is the only way we can keep the site going. That’s the downside of having parted ways with the Google colossus. We’re free of them – but the price of that is having to find some other way to make this work financially.

I recognize that times are tough all around. I assure you they are tough here.

Hence these occasional appeals. I try not to bring up money unless it becomes absolutely necessary to do so. It has become absolutely necessary.

We need your support – badly.

As always, if even 10 percent of the site’s regular readers tossed us $10 or so a month, these appeals would not be necessary.

Please be one of the 10 percent.

You can donate directly using this button or via snail mail, in which case the address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE

Copper Hill, VA 24079

Once again, thank you for your support – for making all this possible. One day, I hope to be able to host a get-together at our place to express my thanks in person. With any luck, that day will not be too far off in the future!


  1. There’s a lot of domain owners here, it’s free to sign up for googul adsense buttrape(not sure if that’s it exact name). You can even just set up using blogger it says?

    You will need to give them the address that your bank statement is sent to, for whatever ominous reason. Take care to ensure you are at the official site, there are fakes that will rob you while promising to help you join adsense if you leave the domain.

    Need for edumacation – Larken Rose

    Forgetting the lie – Larken Rose

    Who wants to be the googul guinea pig. don’t be evil. skaweeel. deliverance.

    • Minimally, I expect anyone I do business with to be willing to %$#@!!! discuss the relationship – and any problems that arise. Google is unwilling to deign to communicate with us hat-in-hand peons. Massa in de great house, countin’ out his money… and you don’t get to see Massa, or even talk to him.

      But it’s worse than that.

      The payment structure is opaque and inscrutable. No definition of terms. No “you get X dollars for this ad each month based on X amount of traffic or clicks.” They simply toss a few pennies/nickles/dimes/quarters (and even the occasional dollar) your way, according to their whim.

      F ’em and feed ’em fish heads.

  2. I hope everyone is doing what they can. What they know is in their best interests. Worst case scenario, you increase the freeloading elsewhere, the better to afford shouldering some of the burden, greasing the skids, putting your back into it, and really launching this sucker off this spherical gravity asylum and putting it into a stable orbit the way it deserves.

    I see this blog slipped from number 32,000 to number 48,000 on Alexa as of late. Mostly due to illness and seasonal variance, I imagine.

    I see another Lew Rockwell hosted author, James Altucher out of NYC, is ranked at 8,000 by Alexa. False comparison of the Big Apple and the Big Dominion, I know, but still.

    James’ writings cover the usual topics megalopolis freedomistas enjoy. But he is also willing to open a vein and begin profusely bleeding all over the page.

    That’s inevitable when you try to be candid, real, and selfishly reach for the truth. You expose yourself and all your imperfections. As a consequence, the average mundane swine still refuses to examine itself personally, and instead attacks and tries to trample you for daring to make the attempt of being honest.

    I’m more imperfect than the average, I imagine, but I remain determined to obtain the truth, no matter how awkward. Normally, I try to limit where I go to do that. I doubt I’d get very far getting really existential on the Ice Road Truckers Forum, but who knows?

    Maybe I start opening some veins here myself. Maybe some of you join me. The car guys and political junkies might find even more reasons to squirm if they don’t step up and act soon.

    Once readers each start opening a few veins, who knows where that will lead? Anyways. Thanks for reading this, go ahead and return to Top Gear, Judge Napolitano, or whatever it is normal ancaps and libertarians entertain themselves with. You’ve been warned.

    Why Do I Expose Myself So Much In This Blog? – J. Altucher

    Naked Girls Astral Projection and Achieving Nirvana – J. Altucher

    I’m James Altucher and This is How I work

  3. I am hugely negligent on this score, and I apologise. I keep promising to send you the moneys and not doing it. This time for sure: I’m on solid ground again, so I’ll send you a cheque for $10 for this month and the $10 I promised you last month and never did. Hell, I’ll even throw in an extra $10 to cover David so you don’t have to go to a subscription model and he gets locked out. πŸ˜‰

  4. Done.

    Amazon has a donation system similar to PayPal, but less evil. πŸ˜‰

    One thing that came to mind about why you got on Google’s ban-list is that you have different URLs that redirect to the same content. This is normally a sign of spammers and get-rich-quick scam artists, so Google frowns on that. Can you look into getting the old domains to return an HTTP 301 (permanent redirect) to the new URL so Google knows which one is the correct address?

    • Hi Chip,


      But, we’re done with Google.

      Leaving aside past experience, there is their current way of doing business. Would you do business with someone (or a company) that literally wouldn’t deign to even communicate with you directly to resolve a problem? That merely sent you non-specific form replies?

      How about not being clear about your payment structure. You just accept what they decide to pay – “adjusted” at their whim?

      Screw Google.

      I just wish more people would feel the same way – and act on it.

      There is no upside to working with them unless you’re already a huge player.

      Their model is the Company Town. They issue the rules. There is no appeal. You accept what you’re given, else even that pittance will be taken away.

  5. I’m more in the “politics” camp as well. Probably more because I don’t generally drive than anything else.

    As for support, your stuff is definitely worthwhile, I just frankly don’t HAVE the money. Every dime I have is pretty much going toward college. I don’t have a regular income, and still live with my parents, and such. I hope that changes at some point, but right now that’s where I’m at.

    Even ignoring the positive effect it has for me, I definitely believe that making payment optional is a good thing. For one thing, the kind of people that you need to reach with the libertarian ideas are not the people who will pay to read them. If you ever required payment to read posts, I’m pretty sure only those that already mostly agree with you would pay to read them, which would lose some educational influence.

    That said, you’ve got my moral support, and my comments when I can. Keep up the good work.

  6. I’m the opposite. I read the political editorials and skip the car stuff. Cars now-a-days are boring, cookie cutter, over-regulated safety cages on wheels.

  7. To occupy the same editorial stance as C&D once did is a great idea. They however, lampooned the jackboots with more humor and originality, and much less redundancy than what I read here.

    Be that as it may, the check is in the mail. But I’m supporting THE CAR PART ONLY. If the percentage of car content ever increases, the frequency of my contributions may increase too. Not holding my breath.

    Hope you keep it afloat. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Mike!

      And, please keep in mind: C&D had a staff. As far as content, there’s no one but me here. I’d like to be able to hire quality writers, but – here we go – that takes resources. People tend to not want to work for free (me included).

      I’d really like to find a good old car writer – and someone who can write well about motorcycles. I do my best to cover the bases, but I can only do so much…

  8. Some of us don’t care for paypal.
    So, should checks be payable to “EP Autos?”

    Can’t help but mention again that your bifurcated content makes it harder to draw reader support. Your hardcore anarcho-libertarian base probably isn’t too interested in supporting the “car review” part of your site. Some of us really enjoy the car part. We don’t necessarily disagree with your political posts. But we hardly feel like paying to read them, since the same basic ideas can be found on countless other sites.

    So most of your readers are only interested in supporting about half of what you post. Don’t know how you’re going to solve this.

    • Hi Mike,

      Yes – checks can be made out to and addressed to:
      721 Hummingbird Lane SE
      Copper Hill, VA 24079

      I get not liking PayPal; I’m not a huge fan, either.

      As far as the rest: I disagree. Cars – mobility – is an inherently liberty-minded topic. It’s a natural cross-pollination. The old Car & Driver was a lot like EPautos is now. They were interested in the freedom cars represented; both in terms of design and what you could do with them. They loathed – and openly mocked – the ninnies of the EPA and DOT, abused the “Mom” culture and all it represented.

      The current C&D (and all the rest of them) are very different. They effete, pro-DC. As “corporate” as it gets. They never mock the poltroons in DC. Embrace “Mom” culture. Cue upsurge of bile….

      EPAutos, on the other hand, one of the few car (and bike) sites where you won’t be serenaded with paeans to “safety”…

    • Hi Rich,

      It does – and we have that option. It’s just a matter of numbers… getting enough people to toss in. I know, of course, that times are tight. And that anything that’s optional when it comes to spending money must be scrutinized closely as to merit (as well as cost-benefit).

      I hope this site makes the cut. So far, we’ve done ok – but this month has been bad. The first bad month we’ve had, post-Google.

      It might just be that everyone’s hunkered down/dealing with the Deep Freeze. I know this winter has put the arm on me.

      Thoughts of tropic islands and grass huts flit through my head….

  9. Let’s say that the donations thing just isn’t working, and that you don’t get enough advertisers. Then what? Will you migrate to a new site, under a similar but different name, so that google will advertise with you? For any content that may be too libertarian for google, you could send users an E-mail article, and have a place on the site where we can talk about the article, without actually having it present. Is the regular forum just as costly as this site? We could go back to the forums. Other alternatives?

    • No, I’m done with Google.

      If we can’t make a go of this, I guess I’ll have to devote more time to other work – whatever pays. I used to do a lot of ghost writing for a conservative think tank. I hated it but the money was decent. So, there’s that.

      The Catch 22 of the Internet is that while on the one hand it makes it possible to disseminate ideas to a mass audience in a way that was inconceivable just 20 years ago, people also want everything accessible for free.

      The MSM – and the big players on the Internet – dominate because they can afford to saturate the public with their point of view. They are backed by major corporate interests, have staffs of well-paid people.

      The opposition, on the other hand, has to struggle just to keep its head above water. I, for example, am not looking to get rich doing this. But I do need to earn a living. So does Dom. We don’t need a lot, but we do need something. The tragedy – the frustration – is that a site like this, which has tens of thousands of people regularly visiting every month, ought to be financially stable. As I wrote in the appeal, if only ten percent of the visitors sent us $10 or so each month, our expenses would be covered.

      Our long term goal is to acquire sufficient advertising such that we do not have to rely on reader support – at least, not for the most part. But that takes time – and in the meanwhile, we’re utterly dependent on individual reader support.

      We appreciate everything people have done for us – and will strive to be worthy of that support in the future.

        • Good call Brent. We tried all of these over the past few years, but canned them because adsense beat them all out. I think it’s time to revisit. I’d also like to try the Amazon thing to.

        • We have looked – and they operate on the same model. I have to give it to them. It’s a genius way to capture the entire market (or most of it, which has the same effect) and funnel almost the profit to mega corps by making it almost impossible to obtain advertisers outside of the pennies-per-click Adsense model.

          It is killing independent media – which coincidentally serves the “company town” consolidation we all complain about here.

          Before Adsense, ads cost the advertiser an amount commensurate with the “eyes” on those ads. I’ll give you a specific example (and all of this is based on my personal experience within the newspaper/magazine publishing industry):

          A daily with a circulation around 80,000 or so would typically charge around $5,000 for a quarter page ad. Today, courtesy of Adsense, a quarter page ad on a site with about same circulation earns maybe $20 or so.

          It’s the “e” version of labor arbitrage. Big corporations leveraging out everyone except the handful of top people who profit by reducing everyone below them to penury.

          The entire economy is being restructured along these lines. And the really sick part is we’re all complicit. From buying the slave market crap at Wal Mart to pirating “free” music and all the rest of it.

          I hope enough people realize that it’s worth supporting what you value – especially when you cannot be forced to support it.

      • Ten bucks. That’s one more Dollar than it cost to go through the automatic car wash in my town.

        I tried to beat that cost by getting out of my truck and doing it myself.
        No dice, still cost me nine bucks.

        I could skip a few car washes.

        • Thanks, Panarch!

          My hope (and not just for this site) is that people will support the online media/commentary outlets they regard as enjoyable/valuable. It’s the only way the not-co-opted, not corporate outlets can survive, chiefly because of the evil genius of Google and the way they’ve all but eliminated the profit from advertising for less-than-huge web sites. Adsense subsumes almost every major advertiser; but they pay the web site literally pennies per dollar (if that). A major corporation can seed the ‘Net with its ads, but pays next to nothing to the publications that host the ads. Meanwhile, it is very, very difficult to get advertisers to work directly with a web site – because they’d rather use Adsense as their middle man and pay a site $7.50 a month for an ad that would otherwise cost them $200 a month.

          I have a background in print media and know, firsthand, what advertising used to cost (based on circulation and other factors). Like so many other things, they have jiggered it so that their costs are almost nil but their profits are higher than ever.

          It’s a spiral toward the bottom – and the only people benefiting are not even people, per se. They are mega corps like Google and all of Google’s hangers-on.


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