Okay, that may be a bit on the dramatic side, but this morning, my friend and fellow blogger, Jason “Poe Ghostal” Clarke, decided it was time to hang up the blog for a while and go on an indefinite hiatus. This decision is certainly one that I can relate to as I have gone on several small breaks myself, usually during the holiday season, but it got me thinking about this strange life we lead as bloggers.
I’ve been blogging for several years, with this site having been established in 2007, around the same time that Poe Ghostal got started. Back then, I didn’t really know what I wanted the blog to be and the articles I wrote were all over the place. I stuck with it and eventually got into a groove after deciding that I would make the site more personal and not focus on every new toy or item that was released — it’s just not fun writing about products that you don’t really care about. It seems like the successful bloggers are those who have also embraced this ideal. Poe Ghostal wrote about action figures and Godzilla, Pixel Dan writes about Masters of the Universe, Branded in the 80’s waxes nostalgic about the 80’s — you see what I mean?
If you are new to the blogging world, the best advice I can give is to write about your passions, because otherwise it’s just work.
True fact: bloggers don’t make much money. Honest! I don’t know a single person who is living comfortably off of his or her blogging efforts. We all have jobs. We write when we can, because we enjoy it. Rarely, do we have time to sit down and research and write long articles, but we MAKE time. We like to talk with others about what we enjoy in life, and we like to share that experience. The more successful sites MIGHT make enough money from their ads to cover the costs of the products they review, but I promise you that none of us are putting our kids through college on the dough our sites are bringing in.
Not too long ago, I remember reading about how people were giving Pixel Dan a lot of flak for getting free products from MattyCollector to review on his site. Are you kidding me? I honestly don’t know why manufacturers aren’t backing up a delivery truck to the doors of these bloggers’ homes every day of the week. If it weren’t for Pixel Dan, Poe Ghostal, Phillip Reed, Michael Crawford, and others, I wouldn’t know many products even existed. How much are these folks paid to write and report about these toys? Nothing. The LEAST these companies can do is provide them with the toys, which has to be the most inexpensive marketing around.
(Author’s note: Dear NECA Toys, if you would like coverage of your upcoming Planet of the Apes figures, I run a fairly popular website. Oh, and I also publish a magazine. Just sayin.’)
Getting back to the original topic, I am sad to see Poe Ghostal take a break, but I totally sympathize with Jason’s decision. Over the years, we’ve seen many of our friends burn out, fade away, and/or simply disappear altogether. One day, maybe you’ll look back and fondly remember that fun little site that talked too much about King Kong.
The fact of the matter is that running a website is hard. It costs money and time that is more and more precious every day. If you are a company that produces toys, I would suggest you throw a few bones at your biggest supporters every now and then, and if you are a reader or fan of these sites, let them know that you appreciate them — leave comments, praise them, name your children after them.
I have a running joke with a few fellow bloggers where we wonder if there are only a dozen of us out there, since we’re the only names that appear in the comments fields. Are we yelling into a vacuum comprised of only each other? Looking at the stats, I don’t believe that to be the case, but it sure would be nice to hear from some new people every now and then. Little gestures can go a long way in re-energizing those of us who write and report on things that make you happy. If you’re not going to throw a nickel in my tin cup, I’d be happy with a kind word or two.
Poe, I wish you the best and my doors here at Cool & Collected are always welcome if you ever feel the need to write about something other than action figures and Godzilla.
The Toy BOx says
And here I am…One of those names that keeps popping up to leave my comment of the day.
In order to be a blogger, your biggest motivation has to be your passion for what you’re talking about. If you’re driven by site traffic or comments, then good luck to you, but you’re probably going to jump ship sooner than later. I’ll use my own site as a reference – We see over 10,000 hits every month at The Toy Box, and granted that’s not many in terms of foot traffic on the internet as a whole, but that’s still a considerable amount of people. When people do comment, and it’s few and far between, it’s typically the same three people.
However, this doesn’t blemish my desire to keep posting because the bottom line is I post on my site for me. I was personally tired of researching toys on other sites only to be dead ended with incomplete lists or horrible photographs, so I said, “The heck with it. If I can’t find what I’m looking for on the web, then I’ll do it myself.” I get great enjoyment out of researching all the various toy lines out there, and not once do I start to think, “Man, this is work.” Why? Because I have a great passion for collectibles, and I want to know as much as I can about all of them. It’s great that I have readers, but honestly without them, I’d still be doing this.
You have to make the blog you want to read, and let the site traffic be a nice added touch – not incentive, just a nice extra bonus. If you’re looking for free toys to review or people patting you on the back daily, then best of luck to you.
I think that we all have our own personal measuring stick to gauge success. For me, I like to engage with others through the comments. I don’t get together IRL with other collectors and pop culture fans in my daily life, so it’s fun to do that here on the site.
The Toy Box says
Oh, I totally agree. Comments can generate a lot of back and forth conversations, and lead to great friendships with other collectors.
Unfortunately social networks have made people lazy by means of a “like” or “tweet” button. That’s why we bloggers are a dying breed of intellectual folks who can actually hold conversations in a social setting and not just limit ourselves to a single click of a mouse.
Shawn Robare says
Well said Brian. To riff on your opening jest, I totally feel that way when a favorite blogger of mine goes on hiatus. It’s weirdly traumatic. When I first started out back in late ’05 there were a few sites I loved that lit a fire under me to start my own. When the first one closed shop back in ’07 (RIP Bubblegum Fink) I was wrecked for a bit. But also, like you mentioned you really do have to write about what you love and never try and write for an audience. That will kill your enthusiasm in a heartbeat. I know I’ve toyed with the idea of shuttering Branded a few times over the years because of the work/life balance.
As for folks getting antsy about sites receiving free junk to review, again, I’m totally on your side. It’s not about greed or a sense of entitlement for sure. I get a lot of companies from publishers to Toys R Us constantly flooding my inbox with requests to talk about all their stuff as if just writing about the existence of a toy or book makes for great content. Like paying artists with “exposure”. Ug.
If you ever get sick of TRU bugging you, send them my way — my kids will thank you for it. 😉
I get quite a few offers from publishers asking if I want to review their books, but I probably turn away 90% of the offers because the book isn’t a good fit for the site, or it’s something I know i won’t like. I’m not going to volunteer to review something if I know it falls outside of my wheelhouse — which goes back to the idea of writing about what your passionate about.
Oh, and speaking of bloggers going missing, when are you gonna let Jaime get back to her keyboard? The internet has been a much worse place since her disappearance.
Shawn Robare says
Lol, she’s just started to surface again! Total internet destruction averted!
Also, she came back with a bang taking a look at some pretty nifty mini arcade cabinets…
Let the angels sing!
It’s definitely disheartening to see a blogger like Jason hang up his hat, but it’s something I can certainly understand. There are a lot of difficulties around running a blog, especially a successful one. Like you said, a blogger’s greatest asset is her/her passion and it’s something that’s hard to sustain on a daily, weekly, monthly basis… and yet we still try to do it anyway. Every comment, retweet, Facebook “like” or share goes a long way to reaffirming that we’re empowering a community of likeminded individuals.
I have so much respect for my fellow bloggers and the passion that they each bring. It enriches my life everyday, whether it be an article that makes me remember, a short comic or podcast that makes me laugh or something completely irrelevant. So thank you, Jason, and all the rest of the bloggers out there who I can call friend. Thanks for giving it all you got, even when it might not have seemed like anyone listened. Thanks for being brave enough to raise your voice in a crowd. And especially thanks for inspiring other bloggers like myself to follow our passions.
Amen brother. Your site has been the gold standard for many of us for so long Rondal. I am always jealous of your dedication and site (in a good way, not in a “I’m gonna kill you in your sleep” way). 😉
Chris Mapp says
Words of wisdom gentlemen. It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of what’s important with this hobby, and that is definitely enjoying what you’re writing about. I know I’ve let the lack of views get to me a couple of times, but then I just look at my blog’s tagline, and I remember that this is ultimately for me. If someone else happens to enjoy what I wrote, even better.
Nothing is more frustrating than a blog author that just disappears one day. That’s why, as sad as I am to see Poe go, I’m glad he was courteous enough to give us all a heads up.
So true. When a blogger or Facebook/Twitter friend disappears, the mind really starts to wander to some dark places.
(FWIW I dig your site a ton, but I’m a bad commenter. Guilty of my own charges. ugh.)
Chris Mapp says
Don’t worry Brian, we’re all guilty of it. I know I certainly am. Maybe we all suffer from “first comment” syndrome, and we’d rather wait for someone else to break the ice.
You know there’s another side to that coin, and that’s bloggers that receive comments, but rarely reply. I know that it’s pretty much impossible for some of guys that run the larger sites to reply to every comment, but for those of us that only receive a few comments here and there, it certainly doesn’t hurt to answer back. We can’t complain about not getting any comments when we ignore the ones we do receive.
An excellent point! When someone takes the time to leave a thoughtful comment, you should always try to respond and let him know you heard him.
And there is some of us just TRYING to get some comments or a few views. Arghh….
Blogging for me is still fun. I have no plans to quit.
You can’t quit, you’re our Mexican connection. 😉
John Gaither says
It’s funny because when i started blogging it was a video game related blog which i then decided to start a second blog to cover other non related video game things like toys and tv shows called “Revenge From The Cosmic Ark” which went to all toys and i have sense closed and started the ClawfulPunch blog which was a great fresh start for me. Still about the toys too. : )
But yeah i do it all for fun and have real life,job and wife outside of it all it gets to be hard to get the time in but i love it so i manage but this year i decided to slow down pace myself more blog when i can because i really don’t want to burn out.
John, you have always been one of the most prolific bloggers out there. I honestly don’t know how you have kept up the pace for so long. It’s clear in everything you post that you love what you photograph and write about.
The Rebel says
That’s just so true Brian. Ain’t easy being a blogger. I guess sometimes you just get too tied up between writing what readers/followers ‘expect’ you to write rather than your passion, which is what the blog was set up for in the first place. Agree with ya completely, we don’t make heaps of money from the ads/affiliate banners on our sites, these days I’d just be happy if I can accumulate at least 50 bucks from my banners per year….*shucks*.
I’ve been sorta neglecting my blog for some weeks (or many days to say the least) myself The thing is I find more joy doin’ my action figure photography and talking about each of them with my contacts on flickr these days.
My point is this, bloggers should just do what we feel is right. Hiatus or breaks are cool. Come back to your blog/sites when you feel like it. I totally agree with Chris Mapp before me…..your blog should be ultimately be for you…and if people around you dig what you write, then it’s a bonus.
Damn, 50 bucks a year — you’re raking it in! 😉 Seriously, i’m jealous of that figure! LOL
This was actually one of my big points — I feel like there’s a perception that we make a decent amount of money off our sites, but that really isn’t the case. When people start criticizing those few that do earn some income whether it’s through ads or freebies, it just drives me crazy.
Very well said, Brian. Having met Jason personally I have witnessed first hand the passion and drive he brings to his toy collecting and toy blogging, and I can understand how and why he might move away from doing what he’s been doing so well for so long.
Blogging truly is a passion. It needs to be something you want to do and feel a need to do. I’ve often felt like I wanted to branch out from just G.I. Joe and try and embrace some other areas of the toy world, but I usually stop and think… ‘do I really want to talk about Marvel, Masters of the Universe, or Ghostbusters? Do I have a real drive, or do I have anything to offer that there aren’t already countless people talking about?
Generally, the answer is “no” so I retreat back to my G.I. Joe corner.
Sure there are always the upsides that pull you out of the funks, like a spotlight from some mainstream site, or an interview request you weren’t expecting…and every once in a while a box shows up in the mail with free toys, and it feels like Christmas. That stuff is motivating, especially as you stay up until midnight the fourth night in a row writing a review, or building a set you plan on taking pictures of the next day.
Jason deserves any kind of break he wants to take, and I totally empathize and understand his desire to do so. The toy blog-o-sphere will be a lesser place without him.
Before Cool & Collected existed, I started several niche sites that focused solely on one property and they all fizzled rapidly. My brain just isn’t wired to talk about one thing. I admire your ability to stay on top of one property and continue to be the best resource out there. From a business standpoint, I know you’ve got your ducks in a much tighter row than the rest of us!
If you ever need an outlet for talking about something other than Joes, my blogging doors are always open. 😉
Well, thank you, Brian, I really appreciate that. I just might have to take you up on that offer!
Great post, Brian. Passion is key. It’s too easy though to get wrapped up in web hits or download numbers or comments and decide that none of it is worth it. Especially when you feel like you’ve been writing your heart out and get no response versus other blogs out there of noticeably inferior quality who rake in tons of comment and traffic. I continually have to tell myself to let that go and not worry about it.
I’ve wondered what my future is for blogging. I’ve certainly not been doing it as much of late. And while I’d like to, I’ve found my energy for it has not ignited my passion for it. I hope that changes someday.
Everyone goes through that malaise and winds up getting stuck. I’d rather leave my blog dark for a month than start pushing link bait through because everyone else is doing it. Follow your passion … that’s the key.
I didn’t even touch on podcasts, which was a huge oversight. Having been on your show a couple of times, I am amazed that you guys can do that EVERY week — never mind all the guest appearances you each do. You guys entertain us every week and ask nothing in return. If anyone is due their day in the sun, it’s you, Pax, and Jeeg.
The Toy Box says
Am I the only one who read Jon’s name as I looked at the photo above it and said it in my head just like Kirk said Kahn in the movie? Jooooooooooonnnnnnnn!!!!!
Click through to his site and it will all make sense. 😉
Never even thought about that! And Brian thanks for the H/T!
Well, certainly us, but not just us. There are a lot of great podcasts out there. But yeah, I’d say my passion for blogging has transitioned into passion for podcasting. But the two are different. I’d love to regularly blog again. It’s a different way of communicating than podcasting.
Some of the same problems exist with a podcast that do with a blog. We get very little feedback about our episodes, for example. We’ll see X downloads and a fraction of that number are saying anything to us at all. However, the podcast is a conversation so we’re all feeding off each other as we record. And on our show, the rotating Fourth Chair helps keeps things fresh and is a huge part of what I like about it. I love talking to people from all over the country (world actually) that I only have the chance to do thanks to the podcast.
Derek Ash says
Honestly, I’ve felt the slump from time to time, and I’m sooo new compared to most of you, with a much less focused blog. I used to have the Goodwill angle going for me, but really sort of wanted to get away from that branding… and it can be hard when you don’t have a “hook” to really feel like your blog is going to grab anyone’s attention. That can be a discouraging thing in-and-of itself.
Making money from my blogging just seems like a ridiculous pipe-dream and the idea of toy companies showering me with product to review even more so in some ways. I think if we don’t just keep writing about what we absolutely love, then there’s no real point, and no real interest from the reading populous anyway.
With that said, one of my main goals with starting up my blog was simple: to break into this community! I know our blogging community feels a little root-bound at times, but honestly one of the great things about it is that I feel like there is a solid community built in that I can immediately relate to. Would I like more comments? Sure. But what I mostly like is the comments that let me know someone has read what I had to say and gives me some quality feedback… and I usually get that from the folks who blog in the same circles. And I’m good with that.
I don’t know what point I’m trying to get to here… but I just hope you guys all know how entertained I am by the blogs and bloggers I’ve discovered through my own blogging (and the League!) and how sad it is when I see one of our community close up shop. I do hope this is a hiatus, and not a full-on Goodbye, but either way, I get the reasoning behind it.
Derek, you’ve always been the biggest cheerleader for the League, and I am truly grateful for your enthusiasm. You actually became a blogger, to be part of it — now that’s dedication!
I can’t imagine what you did with all your spare time before the blog, because you put some serious effort into every article you write!
I think we all grow weary of this great social experiment at times. It’s amazing to think that we are all part of a new frontier, and more amazing to realize some of us are the ‘old guard’ of internet toy blogging; I’ve personally been at it a little over six years myself.
All of this is still so new, relatively speaking, that there’s really no way to predict how it will evolve. Will we all start feeling ‘too old for this $#!t’ and just fade away one at a time? Will there be a ‘new guard’ and then a ‘new new guard’ to fill the void? Will the battle over net neutrality kill our little petri dish before it has a real chance to climb out of the primordial ooze? Or will some of us actually survive to keep yammering on about action figures and LEGO pop culture themed sets and the newest incarnation of Batman well into our eighties like a bunch of Geek Keith Richardses?
Only time will tell; in the meantime, I join the chorus in wishing Poe the best in every endeavor, and I too hope that this is merely a hiatus and not a full blown retirement.
Oh, and ‘yes’ to free toys too!
Only time will tell, but it is interesting to see how things evolve. Some people move on to bigger things, while others fade away. It’s been great fun to see our online friends excel and realize their dreams (cough: Reis), and I hope we see even more success stories over the coming years.
GI Jigsaw says
As you said, most of us juggle family and work with our collecting passions. Energy levels ebb and flow, and sometimes we do need to recharge the batteries, and get re-energized.
On another (and more negative) note, I got completely disenchanted from toy collecting the last few months because of all the negativity on the toy forums. I don’t see this from the blogosphere, but the incessant complaining about every new product in the forums just about killed my spirit. If you don’t like how a company makes a product, start your own toy company.
I don’t think I’ve been in a forum in the last five years. I’ve heard the horror stories and think I’ll stay put here on the blog. 😉
The Toy Box says
I’ve been to some forums where the moderators are bigger (Richard)heads then the people posting. I’ve quit two forums to date because of it – Toyark and GPK Underground. Forums seem to be where the bottom feeders of collecting hang out. Us classier people come to sites like Cool and Collected.
Ha! Stay classy my friend. 😉
I used to be VERY active on HISSTank/TFW2005/ToyArk for years. The troll culture allowed by the moderators was a big reason why I left.
GI Jigsaw says
Seems like I am not alone then. Negativity truly is a cancer. I keep promising not to go to the forums but do find valuable info there from time to time.
Thanks to you fellow bloggers for keeping things positive. There can always be professional criticism, but I enjoy seeing mostly the positive passion coming through.
Also, I guess I better get off my rear and get back to my blog. Haven’t posted since early December.
Dex1138 (@Dex1138) says
You absolutely have to have a passion for what you’re writing about. Same thing goes for artists. Whether or not you’re getting the recognition (page hits, comments, praise) that you’d really like, if you like what you’re doing, that’s the reason to keep doing it.
I’ve been a little unmotivated latey but I still post at least once a week to keep it going. The truth is, I’ve got more than a few things that I want to post about but I just never seem to get to them.
I tried Loot Crate for 3 months and then cancelled due to lack of a job. The next month, they contacted me and asked if I’d do a blog review if they sent me a free Crate every month. Um, hell yes! Not only do I like getting free stuff but I like posting about it because I think my readers are the prime target group for Loot Crate. The only down side is that I have months of Loot Crate loot piling up around me. But I’m sure it will make for some killer contest/giveaway prizes down the road.
This is EXACTLY what I was hoping to get across. If it wasn’t for you Dex, I would never hear about Loot Crate. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t even know they were in business.
Companies should be distributing their products to bloggers, period. When one of us talks about a product, others talk about it too, and the interest level rises.
What would happen if all the bloggers in the world decided not to talk about the latest Matty Collector MOTU figure? No one would ever know about it. The blogs are the only mechanism employed in promoting these products, and all the exposure they get is “free.” It’s unreal. And this is a BIG company. Smaller companies could capitalize on the blogging community in such a big way just by distributing a small amount of their products. Sure, they already send them to the big media outlets, but why not supply the true fans with the products — the guys who are going to go out and buy the items and blog about them anyway? The cost of that item will be far exceeded by the exposure a good fan blog can give it.
Every time you mention your latest Loot Crate on Twitter or in a blog post, I actually consider signing up. One of these days I probably will. And then I’ll blog about it!
Dex1138 (@Dex1138) says
Well, if you do, please use the affiliate link on my site 🙂
Tim L says
I read plenty and comment little and that is out of 100% laziness.
I tend to keep up with most blogs through a feed aggregator. I read posts this way and to comment on a post requires and extra click to actually go to the site itself. An extra click, people. Who’s got time for that? (Kidding, of course)
Worse yet, for sites that have their settings to show only the first few lines of a post in aggregators, I rarely ever make that extra click to read entire posts…unless it’s something that seems especially interesting to me. Ironically, my own NeighborhoodArchive site is one of these that asks readers to make the extra click for the full article.
Ultimately, I think blog comments have been doomed not only by aggregators but by Facebook and Twitter, as well. At times in the past when people would have commented on a post either out of interest or support, they (we?) are now content to click “Like”, “Favorite”, or “Re-Tweet” and move on.
Very true. A retweet and a ‘like” are big compliments, but I certainly wouldn’t mind a comment which would add to the discussion..
The Toy Box says
Wait, you guys get retweets and likes clicks? Look at you two Hollywood stars of the blogging world.
Darrin Vindiola (@DadsDish) says
Let me tell you.. I’ve almost hung up my blogger hat SO many times during the last couple of years. I remember the days of getting scads of comments, which really motivated me and brought the blog a life of its own. Long story short.. Social media killed that. I’ll get well over 20k unique visitors this month, but will have under a dozen comments.
The only thing that kept me around this long, was when I shifted the focus from straight up retro related articles, to an assortment of writing on my many different passions and interests (which many times correlate to retro topics).
People are obviously still visiting the site, and I spend plenty of time on social media. But.. I’m still floundering a bit on how to tie all of my interests into the blog while making it flow a little better. I’m still here for now, and I totally understand why folks need to separate themselves from their blogs for awhile. I’ve taken breaks before, but there’s so much stuff bouncing around in my head, I can’t go too long without getting it out, so for now at least.. the interWEB is stuck with me.
Social media has certainly taken its toll on sites. I recently joined Instagram and was floored to see the amount of interaction going on over there. People talk more there than on Facebook and Twitter. It seems like that’s the place to be if you don’t want to run a blog but want to show off your stuff and talk about it.
Shawn Robare says
Yeah, Instagram has been a big boon social media wise. Twitter is problematic for me, but FB and Instagram have actually furthered the conversation of what I do with Branded. (Though with FB you have to really game the system to even get your audience to see your posts…)
The Trash Man says
I’m totally guilty when it comes to not-commenting. Awful, especially where I get so bummed out when my own posts see little [to no] comments. Hypocrite! Jerk! Grr-argh!
Still, I’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate the few connections I’ve made through my brief time as a “blogger”. It’s part of the reason I started up It’s Trash Culture, and definitely the main reason that I was so quick to jump in on the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. You guys all inspire me with the passions and the friendships and the positivity. The kind of stuff I feel that more people need in their lives, myself included.
Rest assured, the League is coming back in the next couple of weeks, and we’ll get the discussions rolling once again.
Do it if it is fun, stop if it ever stops being fun. Some posts get thousands of hits and dozens of comments and others linger with little to nothing. I have personally been running Crooked Ninja for a little over a year but I really enjoy all the cool people that it has allowed me to connect with. The collector community is awesome!
It is awesome! I just wish I had one of those posts that gets thousands of hits. 😉
Good riddance, never liked his site. He complained constantly, barely collected anything, and was negative most of the time. I think he received undo credit just for the age of his site. I found his posts negative and tedious and am glad he has left, clear room for people who actually enjoy and participate in the hobby.
Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’…
You know what they say about opinions, but did you read past the first two words?
The Toy Box says
Brian, JR’s comment opens up a large door of concern for me that I think you may have missed. I was unaware that the internet was running out of space for all of us that it needed to “clear room”. Should I be worried about the future of my site with this newly imposed limited space? Oh no! Am I wasting more of that limited space by posting this comment?
Derek Ash says
Wait… are we using up the internet just by commenting!? Stop it guys! Stop using up all the air– I mean internet!
I can’t believe how long I have been at it, although most of my work has transferred to YouTube, as video creation and editing with toys is so much more rewarding than writing and pictures.
Nice! It’s so great when people keep at it long enough to find their niche and get really good at something. Congrats!
The Toy Box says
I’ve been reading your follow up comments, and I’d like to add that I agree with your assessment of toy manufacturers as a whole. They don’t seem to care about all the little blogging people under them who are promoting them for free. Back when I started the segment News From the Toy Box, I intended it to be a current events type thing for all the upcoming toys that were being announced. The problem – I couldn’t get any of the toy companies out there to respond to me with the exception of Funko. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY (beyond Funko) would even put me on an e-mail list to receive promotional photos so that I could help spread the word about their upcoming merchandise.
As a result, I ditched the concept of these segments, and went back to my regular format of posting only about toys that have come and gone as a series. Their loss as far as I’m concerned.
Their loss indeed. it just doesn’t make sense why they don’t work with us in a much more engaging manner. Something as simple as relationship building with an email every now and then to check in (not a sales pitch) would go a long way with nothing spent but time.
Maybe I’m totally off base and certain companies do reach out and connect with bloggers, but from what I’ve seen, it seems more like the companies create their items, tease the images, and then let the blogs do the rest.
What do you think would happen if Sideshow, Funko, Neca, Mattel, etc. sent out their hot new product to 100 blogs? The toy blogosphere would go berserk over that item and I bet it would sell like crazy. But why bother when we’re all doing it for free anyway?
Again, if it wasn’t for the toy blogs, where would people hear about these products? Am I putting us on too high of a pedestal?
Really glad I came across this on Twitter. Ive found myself scaling back more and more and even doing rebranding to keep it interesting. Once you begin to feel forced to write, your hobby becomes a second job that pays less than minimum wage.
Much, much less.
Can I just say that I hate the way my blog’s theme handles nested comments. I need a CSS coder stat!
Chris Mapp says
Whew! I was worried it was just me..
With each reply, it just feels like the trash compactor scene in Star Wars. C3-PO!!!
The Toy Box says
Blasphamy – It’s C-3PO!
I think you mean “blasphemy.” 😉
I’ve been going through this for a bit now. It seems that life has taken up a great deal of time that I would have spent on Blogging and when I sit down to write; it seems forced. I think I would shut down but I keep seeing hits and feel that I should leave it up in case any of my posts could be useful for the info.
I’m finding that now that my son is growing I see that my interests are going in his direction. He is really into Pokemon, and since I never played any CCG back in my day, I’ve been getting in right with him. Its a good bonding experience but my funds and attention are no longer on my collection, hence the Blog sits.
I agree with Cody’s assesment, stop when its not fun. It may have to do with being obsessive about stuff too. I may get the urge to look at my toys and start writing again, who knows.
BTW: I tried the ads for a short time until they said I had bad clicks and cancelled the account. I knew then and there I’d never quit my dayjob 🙂
Kids seem to be the biggest detriment to running a blog, but then again, you have a pretty good excuse to visit the toy store more often. 😉
I’ve tried many, many ad networks and affiliate programs over the years for this site and others, and I have yet to hit the magic formula.
Being a blogger has a lot of merit: you do it just for fun. From toys to tutorials, programming languages, DIY projects, recycling… blogs are awesome!
It’s sad to know about another blog that goes on a hiatus for a likely long time. Happily we can peruse the archives 😀
The Pics of the Day on Poe Ghostal are amazing!
Blogs ARE awesome. 😉
If it weren’t for this blog, I never would have connected with a mountain climbing, South American computer whiz — who happens to like toys! 😉
Brian, you make me smile 😀
If it weren’t for this blog I couldn’t connect with so many pop culture lovers, that also love King Kong (Kongtober was awesome too!).
Oops, sorry for the late reply!
With all this discussion about Poe giving up the ghost (ha ha) and Infinite Hollywood thinking about doing the same, I’ve also been thinking about what exactly is the end-game with my blog.
Maybe blogs have a shelf life. It seems like most are pretty much abandoned after a few years, and few make it to the 5-year mark. Mine is relatively old for a blog and I’ve just been blogging since 2008. It’s difficult to maintain the passion, especially when your blog’s traffic hits its inevitable plateau.
So maybe blogs are like sitcoms: they have a lifespan of a few years and that’s okay. If they extend past their normal lifespan, they end up being tired and uninteresting because the creators behind them have pretty much done everything they can with them.
I’m not sure if I’m at that point with my blog, but I think I will scale back my posts. My posts end up pretty time-consuming, and every once in a while I just feel like: GAH! I can’t take it… I need to do something else with my life this week.
Interesting. You nailed it– blogs need to evolve in order to live. I’ve never really thought of it like this before but now I can’t stop! 😉
We really do seem to reach a plateau once we’ve written all there is to write or our passions shift to other things. The focus of our sites need to shift as well, or else we probably will burn out or fade away.
Paxton Holley says
It’s interesting. I’ve been doing the blog thing a while (my own blog since early 2006) and I too have been having a crisis of faith when it comes to “where is all of this going”. I’ve toyed with the idea of stopping the Cavalcade indefinitely while I figure things out, but ultimately I decided I didn’t want to. Right now, much of my effort is going to Nerd Lunch and Cult Film Club. Blogging has slowed a bit, but I still have some passion for it and I’m trying to come up with new content. It’s coming, slowly, but it’s coming.
I’m not sure where it’s all going to end up but I’ve enjoyed the ride. Met so many good friends, like you Brian, CT, Jeeg, Shawn, Jaime, Rondal. All these people keep me going. Keep the Cavalcade going. I enjoy reading your sites and it makes me want to continue mine.
I think it’s been said here to death, but it’s true. Write what you know. Write what you love. Forget the numbers. Otherwise, you’re going to burn out and hate it.
Great post, Brian.
Thanks Pax. This conversation has certainly been cathartic and the whole concept of “where is this going” is an interesting one to consider. I know when I started out, I had grand visions of success, but that never happened. 😉 Oddly enough, after realizing that fact, things got more enjoyable. Now, the site is a comfortable hangout and I’m fine posting whatever and whenever.
Miss M says
I feel like I am always late to responding to your posts. Partly because I do not get to check things out on a regular basis like I’d like, but that doesn’t mean I am never not stopping by. I am greatly disheartened to read that Poe Ghostal is taking a hiatus. I will never forget, a couple years ago he emailed me and asked if he could share a post I wrote on Diary of a Dorkette on his blog because he found it so enjoyable. I can’t even begin to express how kind I thought that was. I’ve always enjoyed his work and my only wish is that I had the ability to make time last longer so that I could comment more on everyone’s work.
My very first blog was in 2001,or was it 2002, it doesn’t matter I’m old and it lasted only a couple years. Needless to say the writing was awful. I had not heard of spell check and each post was just strange and random, and though I loved it, everything fizzled so fast with it. I believe that was in part because I did not feel like I belonged to a blogging community. I didn’t even really think such a thing existed at that time.
And even now I sometimes have a hard time feeling like I am part of a blogging community, because sometimes it feels like everyone has their own group or whatever, but I genuinely adore what everyone does. I love checking up on what everyone is up to and learning about things I never would have known about (much like you mentioned in the comments above.)
I have no idea how many people read what I write, but I love doing it. I love telling the story. And if I get to talk to people and make connections with like minded people then it is totally worth it. I wish Jason nothing but the best and hope that this won’t be the last we read of him.
And I hope to try and comment more. I need to find the time to comment more. It is nice to share your thoughts on the blogging that someone has taken the time to do and put all their love into. I hope you are doing well Brian.
If you ever have any doubts that you belong to a community online, just look at all the responses to this post. It might feel like we’re all doing our own thing, but we are definitely not alone. I think more than just about anyone else, you are a true example of writing what you love, and you have definitely found your audience.
BTW – You and CW sounded great on this week’s Nerd Lunch podcast! 🙂
I read your blog, miss M
and I also love your LPS Blythe doll 😀