Thursday, December 01, 2005

The 183,000 Technorati Blues

Matthew Gray complains about the lack of riches from Google's Adsense here. OK, he doesn't really complain about it, just notes it. I myself removed Google Adsense from my sites after they changed their policies in ways that made me unhappy, such as insisting that no other similar advertisements appear on the same page as theirs, as well as their liberal policies regarding disclosure of my financial information.

Sour grapes, really, since after many months I only stood to make $1.36 anyway, which I had to forgo when I canceled. If I had been making $100 a day, I suppose I could have lived with their policies.

Like the dirty word "profit" occasionally heard from game publishers, I don't think it's wrong for bloggers and so on to want to make money. On the contrary, I am spending a lot of effort to move into the game business full-time. I believe that the quality and volume of my game-related work would increase substantially if I didn't have to go out and make a living elsewhere. I do have a few major obstacles. Number one, I can't jeopardize my current income and profession, at least until I make a steady income elsewhere, or my wife does, or someone just forks it over to me. Number two, I won't do anything to aggravate my readers. While this is truly because of my high ideals and sense of community service, it may also have something to do with the fact that "losing a hundred readers" equals "losing all of my readers".

Of course, the main issue is that I have to provide something worth reading to my audience.

My Technorati ranking at 180,000 or so is sinking a few hundred each day, not because my blog is bleeding readers, but because other blogs are rising. I have a grand total of seven bloglines subscribers, compared to over a hundred for some more luminary game blogs. On the plus side, actual hits on my blog web page were high this month, partly due to my BGG.con reports.

Gone Gaming, the other site I write for, is ranked about 58,000 on Technorati, which is slightly more respectable. One might say that there is simply a limit as to how far you can expect a board game blog to rise in a blogsphere rules by Tech, News, Politics, Sports, Fashion, and Sex, but the truth is that some really weird blogs about esoteric subjects, like Shoes, are pretty high up the ranking. What do they have that I don't have?

Number 1: A lot of free time to write every day, mostly owing to the fact that they support themselves through their blog (note the vicious circle here).

Number 2: Nice pictures or charts. Exceptions to this are very rare.

Number 3: A sense of authority on what they write about.

Number 4: The "jeu ne sais quoi" - an appealing writing style and visceral ability to hook even readers who are not familiar with the subject.

Number 5: A few friends or loyal readers from bigger blogs, preferably at least one of the main ones, who have noticed them and linked to them.

That's the formula, give or take.

For myself, I am pursuing not only blogging but other avenues, as well. I have designed a game, I'm working on getting it published, and I'm working on other games. I have approached business initiatives on the feasibility of setting up a game store or cafe in Jerusalem (not until I can quit my job for a year). I run a game group and keep in contact with most of the gaming source in my country, and others around the world. And so on.

Success in what you want to do comes easy for some people. My wife is pursuing a PhD in Jewish texts as well as teaching, and she loves it. It's exactly what she wants to do with her life. The rest of us have to work a little harder. In the meantime, those of you who want to help me out can always donate to me via PayPal, if you so desire. Most of all, keep reading, keep linking, and keep the game world alive.


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