Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"The Chicken Wing Flavors Revelation" Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Google Ad Sense!

Photo by Blogging Utopia  

And so it begins.

I run another blog, actually quite a popular blog, about neighborhood issues. It's fair to say people from all over the world visit that blog, but since most of our content is specific to our city, most of our visitors are local. One day I realized one of the most popular posts concerned a local restaurant which serves (at last count) 178 flavors of chicken wings.

It wasn't a "big deal" blog post, like some of the tough neighborhood issues I cover. And yet this "chicken wing flavors" post is so popular that it consistently ranks in my Top 10. In fact last time I checked if you search "chicken wing flavors" on Google, that particular blog post pops up number one FOR THE ENTIRE PLANET.

And I've heard stories like this from other bloggers. They might be writing about their life, their kids, their neighborhood issues but one day they happen to comment on some product or service. Maybe the product or service is unique and makes their life better, maybe the product is inadequate in some way but whatever it is...

...they comment upon it and, to their surprise, that blog post proves incredibly and enduringly popular. People from all over the world find their way and add their commentary, their questions.

I had another revelation recently while I was doing my best to make a living. Right when I needed it the most, Google Adsense sent me a check for $106.86. Keep in mind I wasn't willing to have advertisements on my blog for, like, the first two YEARS. I was worried the ads would prove distracting. But after building up THOUSANDS of blog posts and a devoted readership, plus hearing stories about how you just sit back--let the ads work--and Google cuts you a check, well, I was willing to experiment.

The experiment seems to be working, so much so that I recently added to my advertising strategy. While I give myself great creative leeway on my other blog, commenting on my road trips and weekend visitation with my 13-year-old son, (pictured above) the fact is folks in the neighborhood rely on me as a grassroots news source and my other blog will always have a LOCAL audience, which is intrinsically limiting.

But I have a lot more to say on the subject of products, services, trends, consumerism, getting a good deal, having fun while being good to the earth. This blog will attempt to reach a national and even global audience which--though they may not follow the blog daily--will find their way here through search engines.

I've done a bit of research about blogging for money. What I've discovered is there are pathetic commercial drones cranking out bad content all the livelong day and well into the night, blasting out wordy aggregations of content crap aimed in the general direction of search engines, collecting paltry amounts to fill the internet with worthless dribble rich only in keywords.

At Blog Utopia, we're not gonna do that. It's gonna work like this around here:

1.) I will only produce good, creative and truthful content. A lot of the content will be uncompensated because nobody is going to pay me to, for example, go to thrift stores and revel in finding odd items. But I'm incredibly open to trying new things and rendering my opinion, which tends toward the sunny and optimistic.

If I say something negative on this blog about (for example) the worst jerky I ever had on a road trip, then you can be sure nobody sent me a free case of that jerky. I mean, if somebody sent me a case of unpalatable jerky, I'd probably thank them kindly and feed it to my girlfriend's dog, saying nothing on my blog because, hey, it just wouldn't be cool to accept somebody's beef jerky (no matter how bad) but then say mean things. If, however, I find really bad beef jerky on my own, look out. I'm not noted for holding back with my opinions.

See how it works? I'm positive, but I don't give away the positivity uncompensated unless I'm just giving something free "to the universe," like writing about how I go into thrift stores, find decorative bean jars, and make bean soup because BEANS WANT TO BE FREE.

2.) I will not produce content that is overseen or approved in advance. If I express that I'm willing to blog in a positive manner about Product XYZ, then commercial entities who have a stake in Product XYZ should rely on the basic goodness of humanity and touch base with me so we can talk about product samples and compensation BUT I WILL NOT PRODUCE "CONTENT CRAP" THAT IS CENSORED, OVERSEEN, CONTROLLED OR OTHERWISE CREATED AT THE EXPRESS BIDDING OF "THE MAN."

3. I won't approve spam comments or tolerate trolls.

4. This blogger for hire. Unlike my other blog, where I feel it's only right to reveal if somebody paid me even a small amount of money, this blog is an explicitly commercial venture so I won't be revealing who is paying me or how much I'm being paid. I am a rough-and-tumble adventurous personality, glad to fly on short notice to your vacation resort, to sample your organic toothpaste or (my 13-year-old really wants me to add this) let my son try out your new video game.

5. We use a blogspot platform because it's fast and free. There are far too many pretentious blogs putting on appearances like they're some kind of "news entity." Here, it's all about the content, not the packaging.

6. I care about making the world a better place, hence the title of my blog. It may be only a small contribution to the general betterment of humanity and the preservation of the planet, writing about organic soap. But it's better than being evil.

Therefore, the informal corporate motto of Google shall be ours as well:

Don't be evil.

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