To Goo-guhl or Not Goo-guhl

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That is the question.google pic

I’ve posted before about our dilemma.

We “divorced” from Goo-guhl last fall – after they summarily and unliterally del-listed EPautos and crashed the revenue the site had been earning from Adsense without ever telling us – specifically – why they did this to us, much less what they wanted us to do to get back in their good graces.

So, we went to a reader-supported model – along with trying to sell ad space directly.

We have had some success with the latter – but it’s not enough to make up for the erratic and fluctuating reader support. We have had a few good months – and some very bad months.

If we could land three or four more advertiser like Austin Coins and Valentine 1, we would be ok. But I’m a writer – not a marketing guy – and I haven’t been able to pull that off. I’m not “networked”  enough, I don’t know the “right” people. Sending inquiries to the “contact us” public e-mail addresses of potential advertisers has gotten me exactly nowhere. I’d be grateful for some outside help – for someone who knows how to get advertisers/market a web site. This site has value – a readership that’s averaging six figures a month. Even if you cut that in half, we have as many people coming here every month as a decently successful print magazine has paid subscribers.

The key is convincing a consistent 10 percent or so of those readers to support us each month.

We have had an uptick this month – but we’re still only halfway to meeting expenses. (See the “thermometer” on the top right of the main page.) What happens over the next ten days will probably determine whether we do the abused spouse shuffle back to Goo-guhl.

Having to do that would be – for me – right up there with a daily root canal. I hate the idea of it, of having anything to do with them.

But the pressure is real – and constant.

It’d take a load off if we could at least break out of the red for this month. But that’s up to you guys.

Our donate button is here. For those not Pay Pal-inclined, you can mail us at the following:

EPautos
721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

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13 COMMENTS

  1. It is the job of the government to provide you with service. It is the job of the[mainstream] media to supply the Vaseline.
    —L. Neil Smith

    Lately, a more subtle, but equally deadly threat to freedom of expression has arisen with various individuals and groups asserting that anything you happen to think of, write down, attach your name to, and send out into the world, from articles and columns to whole books, is up for grabs. There is no such thing as intellectual property rights. You have no right to claim what you’ve created as your own, and exclusively derive income from it, while anybody else may copy it, make any alterations they wish, remove your name, and replace it with their own. Or simply present it as if you approved of what they’re doing.

    Of course they claim that what they’re advocating is a new kind of freedom, that copyrights and patents have become oppressive mechanisms of the state. One of them told me he doesn’t want to live in a world he feels is shackled by intellectual property rights. I’d rather not live in a world shackled by gravity, but both are features of natural law. I do not regard a lock on my door as a limit to anybody’s freedom.

    But when you argue with them, the real shape of what they want eventually emerges. Most of them appear to envy and hate the creators of intellectual property, and relish a future they imagine in which it’s impossible to earn a living by writing.

    There can be, of course, no moral distinction between physical and intellectual property, and just because advancing technology makes something easier to steal, that doesn’t make stealing it any less immoral. Opponents of intellectual property rights are nothing more than thieves, and, no matter what they may claim, neither are they libertarians.

    The Medium and the Message – by L. Neil Smith – The Libertarian Enterprise
    http://ncc-1776.org/tle2010/tle583-20100815-03.html

    Schulman: “If you copy my novel, I’ll kill you”
    From a facebook discussion, IP libertarian and novelist J. Neil Schulman says to Stephen Kinsella:

    You and your ilk have a problem with me and L Neil Smith that won’t disappear with the death of the State copyright laws. Make copies of our creative works without our permission and we’ll kill you.

    Anyone who attempts to violate MY property rights of MY writing should expect to hear from the legal firm of Smith & Wesson.

    Schulman: “If you copy my novel, I’ll kill you
    http://c4sif.org/2012/06/schulman-if-you-copy-my-novel-ill-kill-you/

    Later on, J Neil Schulman said:

    Of course I wouldn’t kill someone for a copy violation. I’ve never killed anyone and I pray to God that I’m never put into an actual situation where I have to use deadly force against an attacker.

    I apologize.

    That being said, you make me seething mad and that’s why I wrote such emotional rot. The way you toss around the word fascist at lights in the world such as Ayn Rand and Brad Linaweaver is awful.

    I think your principles are truly fucked up and I will continue to argue against them. Just more civilly.

    J Neil

  2. I’d be more than willing to subscribe via Coinbase. Hell, even Stripe does Bitcoin now, if I recall correctly. Posting cash or checks is just too insecure for my liking, and PayPal’s track record is not too reassuring either.

    • Hi Joseph,

      I’m not all hip to Bitcoin. Is it real money? Does it become money somehow?

      I understand the leeriness about PayPal – but you could also send us a check or money order!

      • By my understanding, a vendor using Coinbase, BitPay, or Stripe needn’t worry about Bitcoin’s status. Those services handle the Bitcoin, and you (or any other vendor) are paid in whatever currency you prefer (usually USD), enjoying the low(er) transaction fees.

        You can, of course, handle your own Bitcoin, but this is less convenient for people who aren’t “hip” to it, as you’ve explained, as one must log transactions and such due to new IRS rules. If you don’t plan on holding and spending Bitcoin, a service would probably be preferable.

        Personally, I’m a fan of BitPay, just because the payer doesn’t need a Coinbase account (and I think Stripe’s Bitcoin service is still in beta), but I don’t know if it will handle recurring donations.

        • Thanks, Joseph –

          I am going to look into it. From what I know of Bitcoin (which isn’t much) the apparent principle behind it (end-running the Fed and its funny money) is worth supporting.

          If only people could freely transact without having to deal with this thing called government . . .

          • It won’t be much longer. Zerocoin and Ethereum will finish what Bitcoin started.

            In any case, good luck getting one or another service set up. I hear it’s pretty easy these days.

  3. I still think the original problem with google was how epautos.com and ericpetersautos.com would sometimes diverge from each other. One would update and the other didn’t. It is my belief that is what angered google’s bots.

    The bot can’t think. To the bot that looks like a method of gaming adsense revenue. To any human it was a temporary glitch, but not to a bot. Google is run by bots.

    With epautos.com now resolving to ericpetersautos.com, there’s a solid chance that all will be fine with google. The bot will see it is being referred, and that’s something untold numbers of websites do and it will be accepted as normal.

  4. We’re starting to see the rumblings of Internet 3.0. People are beginning to realize that “free” has an enormous price associated with it. As we’re assaulted with more and more Native Advertising (thinly disguised marketing in the form of news stories and blog posts), as media sites of all types chase after finite dollars in an ever expanding digital universe, as more people realize the value of the 4th amendment (and that it can be applicable to more than just the Federal government), there will be a day of reckoning for sites that depend on constant monitoring of users. Sites like Kickstarter and Fund Anything show that the value for value model is viable for many endeavors that aren’t seen as such by traditional investors.

    Like the real world, most ideas aren’t worth the time or effort. Those that are may not be able to sustain the kinds of margins that investors would like (just like you, they have finite resources and want to put them to work in the most effective way). The beauty of the value-for-value model is that the outlay (risk) for an individual is quite low, and as long as there are enough individuals, the risk for the producers is even lower. Yes, a producer is dependent on far fewer individuals’ payments than actually utilize the service (I’ve heard as few as 1% actually), but as the model becomes more prevalent and that 1% increases, there will be an inflection point where producing content becomes extremely lucrative for the producer, and they won’t be beholden to any of the new gatekeepers who have weaseled their way into the transaction. Note that there will be many different business models and plans, some may be better at execution than others, and some will be ripped off by their “suppliers.” None of that should matter to the end user, and we can all think of good service providers who went out of business because they had bad plans. Such is the marketplace.

    It all comes down to mindset of the end user. In the ink and paper world, we paid (a lot) for content, then someone started giving it away. Much like high school boys aiming for 3rd base, once word got out who was “easy” and who wasn’t, guess who got all the attention. But as we all learned, those girls usually aren’t “keepers.” The modern Internet has only been here for a few years, a toddler in mass media years. As it matures we users need to decide, do we want to stay with the slutty girls and catch the clap, or do we want to nurture a relationship with a “nice girl” who we know and trust?

  5. I’d really like to see the word “overhead” defined before I would even consider it. I run a website and it costs about $150 a year beyond my own time. I’ve never needed to ask any of my readers for donations to keep it going because it only costs $150 a year!

    • Hi Oooorgle,

      This is how I make my living, for openers. It’s not a hobby. I also have a full-time tech guy (Dom) who is here monitoring the site and dealing with hacks, DOS attacks and so on. It’s not a hobby for Dom, either.

      We are here – working – just as the staff of a magazine or newspaper does.

      The problem with the Internet is that it seems to be “free” – which it is, because people can just access whatever they want. But it’s exactly the same – in principle – as “accessing” a magazine without paying for the thing.

      If people want other-than-corporate/MSM journalism – well, they should support it.

      That’s the bottom line.

      • I don’t expect to be paid to share ideas for a better world. Although you don’t have many root-striking posts anymore so I don’t visit as much, you roll the same line as many bloggers who think their content is worth a living, like Stefan Molyneux for example. It’s not. There are hundreds out there sharing these ideas for free. My website is just one. Perhaps write a book and I may buy that.

        It seems you would advocate the ability to maintain what you take on, like your cars. Yet you don’t seem to be able to find your own IP address. A website costs absolutely nothing to maintain above a few hundred bucks a year if that. I’ll have none of the pay services, perhaps you should make it a subscription only site. That would put people like me to rest.

        • I find it fascinating that there are people who believe in value for value yet expect some people to produce value at their expense and give it over for “free.” Chiefly because it’s uniquely possible (courtesy of the Internet) to access certain forms of value (e.g., written material, music) for “free.”

          And that it is ok to just take/enjoy/make use of these “free” things produced by the work (and talent) of others… and then (galling) these same people expect the producers to just keep on producing! You, for example, appear to enjoy coming here – or at least, come here. Regularly. I take that to mean you obtain some form of value from EPautos. Nicht war? Yet, you seem to resent my asking those who spend time here, who read the articles and comments, to help make it financially feasible to continue providing such. It baffles me.

          People have turned away from the mainstream media; from the press kit press, because they don’t trust it and have good reason not to. The bought-and-paid for mainstream press is compromised precisely because it is bought and paid for.

          So what is the alternative? To support alternatives!

          Or do you think journalists – writers and editors – ought to work for free? Why?

          How, exactly?

          Keep in mind, also, that this site provides consumer information as well as political discussion. While the latter can be largely ad libbed (provided one has a bit of talent for the editorial and some grounding in ideas) the former does require research and other honest work. Car journalism is riddled with shills who will not give readers the straight dope about anything, unless it’s by accident. Whether you agree with something I write or not, you at least know it’s an honest sentiment – and comes to you from someone who actually does have some background to talk (and write) about cars and driving.

          As regards web sites costs: Yes, you’re right – it costs not much to create a web site. But servers do cost money. A minor blog such as yours that does not get a lot of traffic may be able to get by with one of those $10 a month deals. But when your site gets as many as 100,000 visits a month, I assure you, a $10 server will not get ‘er done. When we had inexpensive servers, the site crashed routinely. It never crashes now. How much is that worth? Not to me. To readers… like you?

          As regards books: Unlike you, I am a published author. (Actually published – for money – as opposed to a vanity press “author”). I can therefore authoritatively inform you that the same forces that have made it almost impossible to earn a living as a columnist/editor have also made it almost impossible to make a living as a book author.

          Because – again – people expect “free.” Accordingly, publishers no longer pay.

          Yeah. I’ll spend six months on a manuscript; format and edit the thing myself. Then “e” publish it and sell it for $2. Better off working at Starbucks.

          Which you might recommend.

          Fine, but the day may come when decent journalism (and book writing) becomes as rare as decent music has become.

          You get what you pay for – whether you want it or not!

    • Not to be a jerk, but do you question the overhead of every business you frequent?

      Eric is supplying a service. It has value. That value is what you should pay for. Overhead shouldn’t have anything to do with it. If the value, as defined by the market, isn’t sufficient to maintain the business that’s a failure of the business, not the value of the product.

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