Someone posted a comment on my blog yesterday that I want to highlight and briefly discuss:
“I enjoy your blog, but it’s starting to seem like it’s just becoming an ad – either for selling/promoting your own domains, or ticketstub or ‘guest speakers’ hyping some of their own extentions or some affiliate tax book or whatever.
It seems like your in a temporary finance crunch, but I’d hate to see the “Elliot” brand, revered for honesty/openess and everyday-domainer insight, get watered down and ultimately lose it’s strengths.
Sorry to be so blunt, but that’s what I’m seeing. Your brand name is very powerful and I’d like to see you expand it into your own line of Elliot-branded books, registrars, site templates, auction service, etc. and not waste it on shameless self-promotion…”
I want to thank the person for posting this, first and foremost. After an initial peeved reaction that i didn’t share, I actually appreciate the comments because clearly the person reads the blog and likes it enough to express his opinion and share his feelings. It’s kinda cool to know that people actually read what I write and I hope it’s helpful – either to do things as I am trying, to adapt some things I am doing, or even to do just the opposite because it’s an illustration of why it won’t work.
Anyhow, to address the issue at hand. My blog is just that – a blog. It’s an outlet for me to discuss what I am doing, what I am seeing, and basically anything and everything in between. Although most of my posts are formal, there are plenty that are casual, and that won’t stop. I am not usually a news outlet unless someone specifically sends me a breaking news story as my friend did with his recent UDRP victory. I let Ron, Andrew, Adam, and Mike report the industry news because they are doing a better job with it than I ever could.
When I use a product I like, I want to share my experience and tell others about it so they can use it, too. When I filed taxes for the first time after being involved in the industry, it was confusing. The domain tax guide was beneficial to me, and I am happy to promote it. There are other products and services I like and use, and I discuss them here because this should be a place to discuss domain and Internet related things. I don’t sell advertisers space for me to write a review, although I will write reviews for products or services that I use. If there’s an affiliate link, why not generate a few dollars while promoting something I use?
Regarding my post about the TicketStub iphone application, the founder of TicketStub.com is a friend of mine, and I was congratulating him on a product launch. There was no affiliate link, and he didn’t ask me to post anything. When a friend accomplishes something positive, I want to congratulate his or her efforts. In this environment, it can be crippling to make advancements and grow a business, and when a friend does, I like giving a public pat on the back. I know that a lot of people like to read the juicy stuff about cheating, stealing, lying, and other crap that sells newspapers, but you generally won’t find that here. It’s not my personality to bash, so I won’t do it unless I see something particularly offensive.
Since starting my blog, I have always listed my own domain names for sale. I would be an idiot if I didn’t post domain names I am selling to a very large audience of domain investors. I have sold a number of domain names via my blog (from $xx – $xx,xxx), so I am not going to stop that. If there’s a blog post you don’t want to read or don’t like, please skip it and come back. I can’t write things that will be relevant to everyone every time, so if there’s something you don’t like, check out Domaining.com or NameBee.com to find another interesting article from someone else for the time being, and come back a few hours later.
I am very fortunate to be in a strong financial position. Although my sales are down (which is where I generate 99% of my revenue), I don’t have a lot of overhead nor do I have tens of thousands of dollars in domain assets that I am looking to sell and are just sitting their instead of having cash in the bank. Business is down here as it is just about everywhere, but I know a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate as I am, so I will not complain for a second, and I will leave it at that.
As I’ve said before, writing and researching blog posts takes a considerable amount of time for me, but I love doing it. If I didn’t have a passion for this, it would be impossible to do, but to me, this is more than just content to get page views. I don’t make much money from blogging, but I am not wealthy enough to say no to advertising. If there’s an opportunity to promote a product I like and make a few dollars to do it, I will take it – at least it will pay for an extra bottle of Veuve Clicquot to share with my wife who doesn’t really like how much time I spend on my blog while not making money (although I am working on that after a great tip from my friend AH at DomainFest!).
Anyway, it’s back to writing my daily content on Burbank.com and Lowell.com. I hope my affiliate link things aren’t offputting to anyone. If they are, I will be happy to give you a full refund for your subscription to my blog. 🙂
I hope that if anyone has issues with my blog they will address them with me in a comment or an email I am pretty accessible.
PS: There will be no Elliot-branded merchandise or products coming out in the near future.