Saturday, January 10, 2009

Status Report on this Site

Several longtime readers have requested a status report on this site's advertising and other matters.

In response to inquiries from several steadfast readers/contributors, here is a brief status report.

Unique Visitors:

2005: 20,649
2006: 197,971
2007: 380,370
2008: 667,223

Number of Visits:

2005: 27,823
2006: 453,793
2007: 878,065
2008: 1,416,266

Pages viewed:

2005: 87,220
2006: 1,162,517
2007: 2,682,908
2008: 4,113,617

Advertising revenue:

Last monthly payment received from Forbes.com ad network: $82.86
(for display ads)

Last monthly payment received from Amazon Associates: $90.05
(referral fees on amazon purchases made through oftwominds.com)

These may seem like trivial sums to people with wages and benefits in the thousands per month, but to this poor dumb scribe those add up to $1,000 a year each which he wouldn't get from any other source.

Donations received from readers in 2008:

Approximately $7,550, from approximately 250 contributors, a number of whom made multiple donations.

In another display of the Pareto Principle, the number of contributors is about 4% of the monthly readership of the blog, which fluctuates between 51,000 and 76,000 per month (average around 60,000).

So if you 60,000 readers constitute The Remnant, then those who donated actual cash were the Remnant of the Remnant.

The Remnant, the Pareto Principle and You (June 25, 2008)

Are You Part of an Elite, and Don't Know It? (July 21, 2008)

While the near-doubling of this site's readership is both mystifying and gratifying, it is placing some strains on my time. Since I do have a small livelihood to earn doing other things (my total gross income is about $26,000/year, by way of full disclosure), plus a number of time-consuming if financially worthless writing projects, I am searching for some way to limit the time needed to keep this site functioning to 5-6 hours a day.

The key to the blog's success is the readers, who contribute topics, questions, books, data and commentary as well as actual money (also stamps, art, and even peanut butter). I have long contemplated the desirability of adding a forum for reader comments, along the lines of Karl Denninger's highly successful Market Ticker forum, but alas, my technical skills are nowhere near as high as Karl's and I don't have the time or ability to figure out how to install a forum such as the one from simplemachines.org.

I have even pondered asking if some reader with lots of technical moxie and extra server space would be willing to host such a forum, but I hesitate because I am a control freak when it comes to the site.

A friend set up a WordPress blog interface for me, but I could not bring myself to use a system which I don't fully understand. Since then, it appears that WordPress's very popularity has attracted hordes of hackers.

Though I host a mirror site on blogger.com for the RSS feed and for backup purposes, I also hesitate to entrust my site to a network/corporate entity, no matter how devoted it may be to not doing evil, etc. So as of now I continue plodding along with my 10-year old horribly dated HTML skillset and no reader forum.

Perhaps I prefer to play editor, posting a selection of reader comments, because I wrote free-lance for years. An editor does play a useful role, and I have had to learn over the decades to edit myself, not always successfully. But I've had other professional editors to show me how it's done.
Recently I've experimented with posting selected reader comments at the end of each day's entry, rather than consolidating them into Readers Journal pages. If your comment does not get posted, it's nothing personal; I often run out of time and energy, and due to the volume of email and research material I also often lose track of things. Sometimes I archive comments and use them months later. It's a one-man band here, with all the limitations that implies.

The actual fruition of the global financial meltdown I have long predicted has skewed the sites' focus a bit. Since I've been ranting about the housing bubble and the inevitability of the global financial meltdown since starting this blog in May 2005, the unraveling is no surprise to me. I feel a certain responsibility to keep addressing the issues of how readers can survive/prosper in such volatile, insecure times.

Keeping current requires hours of reading a day, and I have to be careful not to allow all my time go to the Web, as reading full books and print journals like Foreign Affairs and Scientific American (among others) is part of what grounds the site in practicality as opposed to ideological dead-ends. (I often get accused of holding right-wing and left-wing positions in the same day, week or month, which suggests I'm doing a pretty fair job of avoiding ideological pigeonholes.)

But the speed and gravity of events has put so much pressure on my time that I've neglected What's for Dinner at Your House and the occasional zaniness which I enjoy (even if you consider it sophomoric) such as Kroika! Tower: World's Tallest Bamboo Structure (March 12, 2007), Introducing Whine Magazine (January 12, 2008) or the ongoing adventures of uber-capitalist Ron Dump: Turning a Profit on Abandoned McMansions and SUVs (July 10, 2008) .

Instead, I've focused on topics such as Where the Rubber Meets the Road (July 17, 2008)

My wife has suggested that I list each donor's state or nation of origin to reflect the broadness of the site's readership. If nobody objects, I may do so, as I am always surprised by the diversity of this site's readership.

After all, I am just an unknown scribbler covering things I'm interested in.

One area of interest I'm devoting some energy to now is eBooks. Though I prefer a dead-tree book, it seems obvious that print media will live within a growing digital universe. So I am currently preparing digital versions of my books for Amazon's Kindle reader and eBooks via the Mobipocket (free) reader which works on computers and PDAs.

Every day I assume whatever I write will have no readers and encourage no contributions. It's the only way to remain focused on doing my best.

Though it sounds cliched, it's true: thank you for your readership and your many contributions of intelligence, critiques, accolades, books, ideas and of course quatloos/cash.


Thank you, Kevin F. ($50) for your outrageously generous donation to this site. I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Thank you, Kurtis P. ($50) for your exceedingly generous donation to this site. I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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