JordonCooper Rotating Header Image

jordoncooper.com

Pro Blogger I am Not

I was asked about the advertising I have on some of our sites the other day.  I sent most of this via e-mail but after I was asked about this again, I thought I would post it here.

I have never thought advertising was that big of a money maker.  If you have time, look at the rates that many of the blogs on Federated Media are making and it isn’t that much.  Compared to big media sites, blogs don’t generate that much traffic.  Despite all of the sites claiming to make big money from Google Adwords, without the traffic and a narrow band of content, I can’t see you making that much money from it.

The Cooper Cabin Weblog

The site generates about 150 hits a day, mostly from Google involving information on architecture and design.  The site is kind of interesting as hits never seem to go up or down on a seasonal basis or around holidays.

Advertising: Google Adsense serves up one ad block per page.  As you can see, it’s not a big revenue generator.  $52.37 since I added ads to the site over a year ago.

Google Ad Sense Revenue for The Cooper Cabin

Most of the ads from what I can tell come from when I am talking about architecture and design and the ad gives some purchasing options for that or a competing product.

Jordon Cooper Outfitters

It’s a new site and traffic is all over the place but averaging about 300 views a day with most traffic coming from Google.  It’s too new of a site to distinguish traffic patterns yet and it can vary greatly from day to day.

Advertising: Google Adsense serves up one small badge of advertising per page.  I also use Google Adsense to serve up ads in the feed (as explained by this comment).

The site has made a couple of dollars so far in 2010.  I don’t expect it to made $100.00 in advertising until early 2011 and the traffic has time to grow.  Google Adsense is the not the best long term advertising option for the site.

JordonCooper.com

It’s generated about 700 hits per day and about 1000 people subscribe to the RSS feed.  While not nearly as popular as it once was (the quality of the site seems to have gone down), the revenue from the site comes from it’s Amazon.com affiliate account.

I was making just pennies on the Amazon.com account until November 2009 when between it and December 2009, I made almost $1000 in affiliate fees all because of the series of Christmas gift guides I created for the site.  When I started them, I didn’t expect any bump in traffic at all and the main audience of the gift guides was a friend I work with who was dying trying to figure out what to get her dad and father in law for Christmas.  By early December, the site was serving up 15,000 hits a day from basically 10 different blog posts.  Not only did it generate a lot of traffic to Amazon, I also got thank you notes from several other sites for the traffic and the orders.

The site doesn’t employ much in terms of SEO practices so I contribute the traffic spike to dumb luck and there are a lot of people who are in similar demographic positions as Wendy and I who liked my suggestions.

The Cooking Blog

This is Wendy’s site and I mention it because it has made about $500 a year on Google Adsense Revenue.  I attribute that to it’s narrow focus, large Twitter following, and ads that are really closely linked to what people are searching for.

So now you know.

A quick search around some of advertising sites plus reading blogs like Dooce give you an idea of what kind of traffic you need to make a living doing this (Dooce has over 4 million).  Yeah, her and her husband are able to work at home and just run the site but 4 million hits a month is more than some blogs will see in a lifetime.  Even Tony Jones is on record for saying he made $5/day blogging on Beliefnet.  Online advertising isn’t going to make any of rich, maybe I should look at whoring myself out for publishers again.

The Christian Book Whore

Bill picks up on my post about bloggers whoring themselves out to the publishers for free books and other products.  First of all, the price is quite small, EA once sent my brother to San Francisco for the launch of Battlefield 2 and game home with a bag full of schwag and more free games than he knew what to do with (his really cool older brother took some off his hands) so he could cover it for a gaming site.

Book Sneeze Bill brings up the idea that we are doing this for free and he’s right but what struck me is the damage we do to our own reputations when we allow ourselves to be bought off by free products.  It’s one of the reasons why I posted a disclosure statement as part of my weblog.  It let’s people know where I am coming from and why I do what I do.  It also allows me to communicate my associations and conflicts of interest.  One of the nice things about TheOoze Viral Blogger and Book Sneeze buttons is that it allows me to see right away that the writer has sold out.

This isn’t the same for all of you but there is a price to be paid for being independent, for the views you have being your views and for your voice being your voice.  It’s also why journalists (should) never accept free gifts, trips, or anything else that influences their stories or coverage of events.  You can see it the coverage of Tiger Woods by the golf media.  Many of them knew something was up but because their livelihood was linked to access to Tiger, they never ran with it.  It was the National Enquirer that broke the story because their bottom line wasn’t dependent at all on Tiger’s career (sadly though it was by his sex life).

Of course many church bloggers gave up that independence years ago (twice this week friends said to me “I agree with theologically but I don’t dare say that in my church”) as it is part of many of your spiritual journeys.  By prescribing to church doctrine and practices you don’t agree with in exchange for a paycheck probably makes giving favorable reviews for free books quite palatable.

The other thing is that with most credible news organizations not run by Rupert Murdoch, there is a large degree of journalistic independence that is completely separate from the business side of the organization.  With bloggers there are not normally is not a wall between your editorial and marketing sides (which is why Google, The Deck, and Federated Media help). 

If you are reading this, you know I am not a journalist.  This site has the reach of a fraction of what even a small daily paper does.  At the same time you mean something to me.  Much to the detriment of my savings account, my independence means something to me.  I don’t know how to measure how much you mean to me but you mean enough that I won’t be bought with free stuff here.  There is no pay to play.  It’s the same reason why I don’t have advertising here.  If that changes, I promise you, you will be the first to know.

Why Jordon Cooper Outfitters?

A couple of you have asked what my plan is for Jordon Cooper Outfitters as it hasn’t made a lot of sense for some of you as to why I have done it and why I am only posting once a day.  Here is the short answer.

  • I am posting once a day because it is easy to set up a posting schedule with WordPress.  Right now I have posts set up to go five days a week into early March which means that I don’t have to worry about the site every day like I do with this one.  As the content is added to the site, it will be formed into other content like gift guides, seasonal guides, and best of lists.  Look for those lists to start as we start to escape winter and then for things like Mother’s Day days like that. 
  • The site won’t be an instant success because there really isn’t that much content.  It’s funny because most of the questions that I get about blogging often deal with SEO stuff which is a craft that I have never cared about.  Blogging is pretty simple.  Write well, post it online and if people find it worthwhile, you will generate readers.  We’ll see if people find Jordon Cooper Outfitters worth reading.  If not, I’ll have learned a lot about a topic that interests me.
  • The most encouraging stat about the site is the amount of people who have subscribed to the RSS feed.
  • Advertising on Kottke.org While I get a small commission from linking to Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, it isn’t going to pay any bills.  I may add some advertising but even with 1000 people a day coming by the site, that isn’t going to pay very many bills either so there isn’t a great business plan.  If I add advertising, it will be discrete like what you would see on Kottke.org or The Morning News.  There will never be ads all over any site that I curate.  It will never ever happen.
  • I will be trail testing some items this summer.  Mark and I planning to hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin this summer and I hope to hit Johnson’s Canyon as well in addition to a lot of mountain bike riding. I’ll let you know how those go.
  • I am open to other people contributing to Jordon Cooper Outfitters.  If you are interested, drop me a line.

It’s still chilly out there

I posted this over at the Salvation Army Community Centre’s blog and I thought I would link to it here.  There has been a lot of media reports about guys who are sleeping outside in –40 below weather.  I know some of them personally and the guys do have options for places to sleep.  If they are sober, they can stay here.  If not, there is Larson House (or even the city cells).  If for some reason, we can’t house them, we provide them other places to stay.  Not only that but Social Services is trying to help them as well.

It’s frustrating because when I talk to them, we explain all of this to them.  Guys listen, tell me how much they appreciate us but say, “I’m not really ready to come indoors yet.”  There has been a lot of articles written on the need of a wet shelter but I am not even sure if that would deal with this problem.  I think it isn’t so much a shelter problem as it is an issue with the mental health system.  Either way it seems to be a growing problem.

Site Notes

Two things of note.

  1. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License Since I moved from Blogger, I have neglected to update the copyright information on the site.  As stated in the footer, the site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.  Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.  It means that you can use my stuff but you can’t copyright any derivative works that make from them.  It’s pretty basic.
  2. Troll The other thing is that over the last couple of weeks, I have rethought my policy on comments.  The site has generated over 10,000 legitimate comments over the years and I appreciate the vast majority of them but some comments have gotten personal.  Here are my thoughts, if I wouldn’t invite you back into my living room after you made some of those comments, I am probably just going to denote your comments as spam and let Akismet take care of them like it has with 60,000+ other comments.  That way I won’t have to see or deal with them in the future.  I pay for the hosting, I write the content, it’s my own personal website and for three different people (out of a couple thousand people), I block their future comments.   If you want to let me know how stupid I am, feel free… on your own blog.

That’s about it.

Comment Moderation

First of all, I am really thankful for the kind comments and prayers that you have left regarding Oliver.  It means a lot to Wendy, Mark and I. 

Akisment Spam Caught on JordonCooper.comSince I have moved to WordPress from Blogger, I have used Akismet to combat Trackback and comment spam which has caught 55,253 pieces of comment spam at the time that I posted this.  I found about three to ten bits of spam slipped by a day once in a while so I enabled comment moderation which is setup that once I approve your first comment, all of the rest of your comments are allowed.

I noticed this week that several of you were being held in a moderation queue and I really don’t know why.  You are using the same e-mail addresses that I associate with you but you are still being tossed into limbo.  I am not sure why it is happening but I am pretty sure it isn’t anything I have done.

One thing to note is that I do delete comments on the blog.  99.9% of you are awesome but there a couple of people out there that make comments to abuse Wendy.  Those comments are just marked as spam.  All of them come from the same ISP and I just mark them as spam which solves the problem as easy as anything.  I haven’t had any complaints about this and as far as I know, no legit comments have been lost.  Let me know if you think your comments are going to spam because it is probably a fault of Akismet than me marking it has spam.

It’s alive

I am not sure what happened but I accidently let JordonCooper.com expire.  I went to immediately renew it but somehow I ended up purchasing jordoncooper.org and never did renew jordoncooper.com.  Today I realized what happened and now I have two domain names.  I am trying to decide if I should just have jordoncooper.org redirect to jordoncooper.com or if I want to use it to post some photography.

Now on Twitter

The last couple of days  I have been having a running discussion with Karen over at The Hedge Society on Twitter about why Apartment Therapy doesn’t use Twitter.  Several of my favorite design sites all use Twitter and I follow many of them over at The Cooper Cabin.  During our discussion made me realize that I use Twitter to follow friends but a lot of media sites as well.  I follow ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, The Star Phoenix, the New York Times, and CBC Saskatchewan, on Twitter along with other media sites.  Apartment Therapy slags Twitter a couple of times on their sites and maybe Biz and Ev have ugly apartments but whatever the reason, it seems odd that a media site whose bottom line depends on page views, would turn reject a free way to get more page views, retweets, and buzz about their site.

I started to think about how I rely less on RSS and more on Twitter to follow sites and decided to put JordonCooper.com on Twitter.  My personal Twitter account will always been me talking about whatever I am thinking about in 140 characters.  The JordonCooper.com Twitter account will be automated and generated by the RSS feed and content on JordonCooper.com as it is published to the site.  Not quite a media empire but hopefully it will make it a little easier for those of you who are fans of the site and also diehard Twitter users.

This isn’t the only place where we tweet around the house, you can follow the entire household on Twitter

How to Block Cell Phone and SMS Spam

I have posted about this before but some idiot spammer is using a fake @jordoncooper.com address as a return address to spam cell phones with.  Since this costs some people money, they are upset but as I have said, I don’t have anything to do with it.  This is a personal site that doesn’t sell anything.  Whoever it is, they are using a fake address and header so they don’t get tracked down and so they don’t have to deal with all of the angry e-mail about it or incur the wrath of those who are being charged by the message. 

On the suggestion of some of you, I have talked to my ISP about it and asked them to make sure there isn’t a security hole in WordPress or in my site that someone is exploiting.  They looked into it and it isn’t coming from my domain.  Their reply was

…the spammer is just using your domain as the return address so they don’t have to deal with the bounce messages and to try to throw people off the scent (so to speak).

In addition to this I have set up a Sender Policy Framework which makes verifies which mail has been sent from my site and which is sent from a forged address and gives that information to spam sites.  Sadly that information isn’t used by most cell phone carriers.

How to block cell phone and SMS spamThere is a solution!  When looking into the problem, I found this blog post from David Pogue of the New York Times on how to block cell phone spam.  It blocks messages from the web while allowing SMS messages to go on through.  You can also block domain names (like jordoncooper.com which is fine since I don’t send e-mail from it anyways). This way it blocks the moron who is using my domain name in vain AND allows you to keep getting your SMS messages.

Finally, this is a non-commercial hobby site with no revenue stream.  It would make sense to go after the site that is selling whatever products the spam is promoting.  They are the ones that would benefit from the spam and are probably the ones paying the jerk who is spamming you and making my life difficult.

I wish I could offer up more help but I haven’t even seen the messages that are being sent out.  Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Spam from jordoncooper.com

I have had a lot of complaints lately about spammer sending out SMS text messages from jordoncooper.com.  I’ll set the record straight, this is a personal domain that no one spams out of.  The site doesn’t sell anything, it doesn’t offer any services, it has no revenue stream what so ever.  Like a lot of domains, spammer decide to use a random dot com to avoid detection and having their ISPs kick them off their server.  It’s frustrating when someone uses this site to try to defraud someone.

The only e-mail address that is active at this site is coop AT jordoncooper.com and I never use it to send out mail, it just forwards to my main email account.  If you have any other questions, let me know at that address and I’ll try to answer them.

Update: I have posted some more information about what is happening here.

Thanks for being patient.

Jordon

A brush with death

Wow, I just about lost almost 9000 posts and seven years of my life here a couple of hours ago when my WordPress installation crashed.  I really need to backup my database.  Anyways the blog is back online sans some images and until the weekend will likely have some damage to it.  Until then there are other things to worry about. 

#3 Urban Ministry blog of 2008

This is kind of cool, I was the #3 urban ministry blog of 2008 by the folks over at Urban Ministry.org.  While it is nice for the ego, it is based on some flawed ranking criteria but it’s nice to be mentioned on the same list as people I respect.

Twitter

The results are in.  Both Wendy and Daniel Miller hate my Twitter updates on the website.  I’ll move them to a sidebar.

New Design

I took some time yesterday to keep tweaking the site and the design to make it a little more personal.

  • The header images are all my photos and over the next couple of weeks I will be adding some more to the rotation.  I haven’t decided to keep them rotating or change them up monthly but time will tell which way I go with it.
  • The favicon is finally back. (that may not mean anything to you but I missed it a lot)
  • Pages now have a different look from the post pages.  This separates the blog part of the site from the other content.
  • The Contextless Links will no longer be handled by del.icio.us and will be handled by me again.

I still need to do some things.

  • The archives and categories are moving to their own page.
  • Some of the old emerging church content from my old Blogger and Dreamweaver powered site is coming back.
  • The Quote Library still needs a lot of work.

I am still undecided if my recent Tweets should or should not be published to the blog.  You can let me know what you think in the comments.

“First”

first1