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.
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.