PETA Unleashed

Batman is a hater, just a big mean superhero hater… I’m just too choked up, have to end this post now.

But to really show Batman the error of his ways, the animal rights organization removed him from its list of Top 10 Animal-Friendly Superheroes. Ouch. There’s also some great lines in the rant: “They didn’t need to make Batman into a dogphobic man!” True poetry. Then PETA asks, “Doesn’t the man with the James Bond gadgets know anything about peanut butter treats and deflecting devices?” Um, PETA? Did you even see the movie or are you simply unaware of how dumb you sound?

[From PETA Has A Problem With Batman / Mollygood]

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I Can’t Drive 55

I don’t know why I should care… in the Bay Area you can’t drive more than 35mph most of the time. Actually, this isn’t entirely true, on most days you can whip up and down i280 at 65mph, which means you are in the slow lane because the average speed on that freeway feels like 80mph… which only adds further evidence to the notion that if drivers will routinely disobey 65mph then they will certainly disobey 55mph.

Mr. Warner may be willing to drive slower to save gas. The vast majority of Americans surely are not. The original 55 mph speed-limit law, enacted in October 1974 after the OPEC oil embargo as a way to save energy, was probably the most despised and universally disobeyed law in America since Prohibition. In wide-open western states, driving at 70 mph or even 80 mph on miles upon miles of straight, flat, uncongested freeways is regarded as a God-given right. In the 1970s and ’80s, the federal speed limit was a daily reminder of the intrusiveness of nanny-state regulation.

[From The Insanity of Drive-55 Laws – WSJ.com]

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Maybe Blogging Is Just a Loss-Leader?

But I doubt most bloggers are trying to be the next Arrington. Most of them just want to support themselves blogging, right? This post reminds me of the phenomenon a few years back as the open source movement was taking off.

[From SarahLacy.com: Maybe Blogging Is Just a Loss-Leader?]

I get asked a lot why I don’t run ads on my blog. The simple and honest answer is that I while I have a desirable audience with a tightly banded demographic, the fact remains that I don’t have enough of an audience to generate the level of display ad impressions that an ad network wants to serve. I could go out and sell house ads and sponsorships but then I’m in the business of blogging and the economic model starts to matter.

Let’s say I quit my day job and started going to all the conferences, focusing on the breaking news style of blogging, and throwing up some detailed and well researched analysis. I’m basically a hybrid journalist analyst, something that blogs actually are well suited for.

For the sake of easy math, let’s say that I can get up to 50k pageviews a day on average, and because of my audience I can generate a relatively conservative $8 CPM. That’s a paltry $12k a month in display ad revenue.

So I’m a year into this and I realize that blogs are actually ill-equipped to generate meaningful display ad revenue because the format does not lend itself to driving leveraged pageviews that way that traditional media sites do. What I mean by that is with a blog you get relatively few pageviews per site visitor because they are either coming in through a search engine to a specific page or hitting the front page and not clicking through because all the content is front and center.

Then there is that issue about RSS not being easily monetizable. I could use Feedburner to drop Adsense into my feed, but experience suggests that there is not a lot of cash to soak up with that route. With that in mind, RSS becomes leakage in my business model, something I have to deal with but don’t profit from.

At this point I have in inflection moment. I can degrade the readability of my site by putting full content behind a “click here to read more” link, in which case I am theoretically doubling my page inventory but because not everyone will click through I am really more likely to grow it incrementally by some factor less than 1, let’s say 1/3. I also decide to put out partial text RSS with the objective being to draw feed subscribers back to the main site, thereby increasing my pageview count.

I also decide to add a few writers but because I don’t have the traffic to support dedicated staff I decide that syndicated content is a better path to follow. I also expand my blog, adding additional sections and feature areas, in effect becoming more and more like a media site than simply a blog. After all that work I manage to triple my pageviews and because I have better analytics on my demographic data I am getting a few dollars more on a CPM basis, resulting in a nice revenue ramp.

So now I’m making real money on my top line and my wife compliments me on my decision to jump in with both feet, but as I put on my green visor and crunch the numbers what I learn is that because I’m paying for a SEO consultant on retainer, a graphic artist/coder, an ad sales person, syndicated content, my own benefits and expenses, a small increase in hosting costs, and most likely hiring some offshore research assistants, well now my bottom line is looking a lot less impressive. In fact, I may be supporting myself but not nearly as well as I could by doing something else…

I may still run some ads or sponsorships in the sidebar but before I do that I really need to refresh the design templates and probably focus in my content as well and quite honestly I’m not sure I want to be in a position where I can’t write about some of the things I care about. Adsense is an easy choice but it’s really just loose change for a site like this so that’s why I haven’t made the effort to run ads.