Pack It In – Updated

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  • Things are not good.I’m not sure why, what’s gone south, but we are losing ground. Not traffic, not readership. The articles are getting picked up by major media feeds (including Info Wars, which republished the Smokey & The Bandit piece; it went “viral,” they tell me) and I’ve been getting asked to be a guest on various radio shows – including NPR in Chicago – regularly.But financially, things are bad.road 1The month is two thirds gone – and we’re two-thirds in the red as I type this.

    Update: Were only about a third in the red now, as of July 26. But still have a lot to make up with just five days left in the month.

    You may have read about Fred Reed (see here) who, like me, got “googled” and lost most of the advertising revenue his site used to make via Adsense – because he (so saith Google) violated some secret clause regarding the orthodoxy of content Google permits guys like Fred and me to publish. Deviate from their PC code and Google withholds – pulls – their advertising. Which amounts to a financial kneecapping because there is essentially no other way to generate meaningful revenue via advertising – because Google has a functional monopoly on online advertising.

    Which leaves direct reader support.

    Which could work beautifully.

    The math is extremely favorable. Say a site has 10,000 people who regularly read/visit the site each month. If half of them chip in a buck – a single dollar – each month, the site is economically viable. It can pay expenses, including the living expenses of the poor dumb bastard who publishes the thing and produces the material. EPautos (and Fred’s site) have much larger readerships (the high water mark here was 120,000 something in a month) but – unfortunately – far fewer than 10 percent support the site. The actual percentage is probably around 3 percent. Fred has the same issue.

    This is a disaster.

    And it gives Google just what they’re after: economic control of the Internet.

    If people cannot survive as reporters/editors/columnists/authors without bending knee to Google… they will bend knee to Google.

    Or quit.

    The bleak irony is that Libertarians – of all people –  seem to be unable to grok this. All too many expect contrarian news and opinion to survive … somehow – without supporting it financially. How this is supposed to work, I do not grok.

    I love publishing this site; love the editorial freedom to openly write about the Unmentionable Things. And I love the interaction with you, the readers – most of whom are smart, thoughtful people from whom I’ve learned a lot. But I cannot make a go of this without your support.

    And right now, that support is in short supply.

    I will never bullshit you. That pie chart is dead-on. It is kind of like a heart monitor – and right now, we’re defibrillating.

    Seriously. Things are bad.

    Please help, if you want this circus to continue… .

    Our donate button is here.

     If you prefer to avoid PayPal, our mailing address is:

    721 Hummingbird Lane SE
    Copper Hill, VA 24079

    PS: EPautos stickers are free to those who sign up for a $5 or more monthly recurring donation to support EPautos, or for a one-time donation of $10 or more. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)EPautoslogo


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  1. Eric: I’m also in for a recurring $1 per month. Found your site from and the Refreshing that someone is willing to call the anti-liberty statists with their costume wearing goons out on their infringements on individual liberty and responsibility.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Actually, I think Nick has a good idea.
    Example: I had a headlight out in the 2011 Kia Soul.
    Got new lamps, went to install.

    OK, I need to remove three top bolts, and one side/bottom mount screw (in the wheel well.)
    No Big Deal, Right?

    No, no, no… Never THAT simple.
    To replace the headlight – an offence to have the light out, BTW, as we all recall, and you can be ticketed until it’s replaced…?
    Yeah, to replace the headlight, you must remove the light fixture. To remove the light fixture, you must remove the bumper.

    I said, “F* it, I’ll just never buy another one.” If I have to take the vehicle to a service station to do things like change oil, swap light bulbs, change fuses (many are deep inside the engine now, WTF?)… I don’t want to buy that PoS in the first place.

    Example, Hellcat. Great car from Eric’s review.
    Can you change the oil? Change the tires? Change the bulbs? Etc. WITHOUT disassembling the car (per articles here, illegal in many places because most of us don’t have “mechanic’s license” or whatever “permission slip” they want to force us to buy. For our own safety, of course. (See my rambling rant with 8South elsewhere.)

    To add insult to injury, BTW: the a-hole mechanic only replaced the bulb that was OUT. I bought two bulbs for a reason, jackass. And the woman insists on leaving the headlights in the “on” position, and given the lifespan of these bulbs is measured in HOURS… It’s last about a month the way she does things. I can’t afford $50/month on MY things, let alone her fat stupid @$$….

  3. For whatever it’s worth, I think you have to continue to try DIFFERENT things until you find a business model that works.

    On the surface, my statement may seem pedantic or cliche, but let me give some specific ideas:

    If you have 10,000 truly distinct visitors to your site, you should first decide how to monetize them beyond “Google”.

    Whether that’s considering even a flailing competitor like Yahoo!, etc., or even more directly though and to you point how you get someone to pony up just $1.00 a month.

    $1.00/month x 10,000 visitors is a decent living.

    Will you ever have a business model that successfully monetizes all your visitors every month? No.

    BUT, if you can capture half of them it’s a start…and if you can supplement with ad revenue from sources other than Google it might be enough to allow you a living in doing something you enjoy.

    So along that vein, allow me follow this line of thinking a little further:

    What else can you give someone for $1.00 a month on your site?

    Special Avatars that a non-subscriber doesn’t get when subscribers log on.
    How about a login with “ad free” reading?(no popups, etc.)
    Is there a car related service that your readership could have access to if they subscribe?(I don’t know what that might be, maybe it’s a carfax type report, something/someone you could partner with)

    Those are just some ideas….but really my point is this:

    Don’t sell “milk”…find a way to differentiate yourself and provide more value to your customers. I’m not saying that this would be easy or possible…I’m just saying that if you continue to do more of the same the results will probably not change.

    Btw, I selected a $1.00/month based on what your readership might spend on a typical Motor Trend type subscription for one year….

    Anyway, best of Iuck- I do appreciate your writings.


    • Thanks, Nick…

      Several of your suggestions are good; it’s to a great extent a question of implementing them. Cue Dr. McCoy voice: I’m a writer, Jim… not a programmer!

      • Another idea:

        Automotive product reviews with Amazon links a la “LRC” where you get revenue….

        Oil, tools, etc.

        I’m donating a small amount today anyway, but it’s the bigger picture you need to address obviously.

        • Thanks, Nick – I appreciate both the advice and the support!

          PS: We’re almost there… people have stepped up and I’m hopeful we’ll be out of the red before we reach the end of the month!

          • Eric:

            Please check out this website for ideas on how to monetize your efforts: This guy has some pretty good ideas on how to do it, or he’ll at least show you some of the ways he’s doing it which might inspire you. You’ve got a pretty good product here, but I think you’re just missing the mark from an internet marketing standpoint.


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