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Old 10-04-2010, 12:15 PM   #21
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I quickly read a bit of his blog.... and think he is a nutcase... let's live without heat or AC just because I want to see if I can... or to save money... not the life I am interested in pursuing...

Now, my wife and I get into arguments on how we spend money... I don't care for the cable bill, the symphony tickets, the sciene museums visits that cost $100 etc. etc.... but they are important to HER...
I think you've misunderstood Jacob's blog. His ideas/lifestyle may not be for everyone but he certainly have found a way to live that is sustainable and can certainly make you happy. I think it's just a matter of perspective.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:25 PM   #22
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To put it another way, if he's making $50K/year from a website then why the heck bother writing a book?
Some people write books because they want to contribute something. I don't think the desire to make money is central to the motivation of most good writers.

Before Jacob started the site he did other things related to future energy problems. He is worried about the future of the planet and wants to encourage efficient use of resources. He's not just all talk, he eats his own dog food. I think what he does gives his life meaning and helps him feel good about living a simple life.

Books are more durable and need less maintenance than websites. I don't think he wants to spend his whole life running a website about a single subject. The book bundles the results of his efforts.

Maybe writing his book was on his bucket list? I know I want to write several books. Books generally aren't profitable, but I have these books in me and they want out! If they make a buck: great! But I'm not counting on it and it's not what makes me want to write.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:29 PM   #23
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I enjoy Jacob's blog as well and find his commentary enlightening. His perspective as a "foreigner" (IIRC, Danish) means that he didn't grow up in the hyperconsumptive environment that so many of us did and struggle to shake free of.
I'll happily buy his book! There's a picture (maybe on his FB page?) of his RV and the RV park where he lives. Not a bad place.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:50 PM   #24
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Lots of speculation here <sigh>. To clear some things up...

I am making under $200/month from the ads on the blog. This may come a bit as a shocker. A little digging around on the blog's pages should lead you to the broker rates fairly easily. They're public, unlike most other places.

A little digging around should also lead you to the correct annual expenses, the fact that me and DW do share a car (I just don't drive it) but that I don't recommend getting one; why we live in the bay area and not somewhere cheaper, that my annual expense is 6-7k, not 15k (unless by that you meant the two of us together), etc.

Back to the ads... I have not monetized my blog until a couple of months ago (August 2010). I am currently making under $200/month. In total, I've made about $250 over the lifetime of the blog. Yeah, sure, someone smart could probably make much more if that was the key focus of their writing. There are actually lots of blogs like that who are all into SEO writing, link exchanges and networking to boost their ad revenue. My 44000 alexa ranking does NOT correspond to 1 million hits per month.

You can see the stats here.

The blog is very different from most personal finance blogs. A typical large pf blog has average visit times of around 30-40 seconds. They are well linked and rank high in google. When people search for something (like "index investing") google leads them to one of those blogs because there's an article there that has been SEO optimized for those keywords. The person then stays for 30-40 seconds, enough to read about two sentences and then they click on an ad. Very lucrative.

On my blog most people actually read the entire post.

An analogy to understand the impact and the high alexa rating is to think of a blog as a building with two doors: enter and exit. A regular blog has very many people entering all the time, but they don't stay long and so the total number in the building is #people multiplied by staying time, say 20000 people per day times 30 seconds = 10000 minutes. My blog has fewer people entering but they stay much longer, say 2000 people per day times 300 seconds = 10000 minutes. There are equally many people in the building, so the impact is quantitatively the same. Qualitatively it's much different. My hits are here to read posts. Traditional hits come due to a search engine and then they click on ads. I hope this made sense.

Indeed, I accept donations, but understand that internet users feel very much entitled to getting things for free. Less than 1% of readers have made a donation. We're talking another $250 over the lifetime. How many here have ever donated anything to the sites they frequent?

Now, this may be hard to accept/relate to, but I blog because I like it, frustrating as it occasionally is. I am a writer. I do what I enjoy. It is probably similar to why many here post on the forum. You're part of a community. Maybe if you could slap some ads on and you could make some money doing what you do anyway, you'd do it; but you wouldn't change your writing style to make more money, right? I wouldn't. This is similar to how some people volunteer in animal shelters or whatever. Their key motivation is not to make money regardless of how smart they are. It's not that they say no to money. It's not like nonprofit services give away everything for free. It's just that income is pretty far down in terms of priorities. You'll probably realize a radical change in your attitude towards more money between pre-FI (can't get enough of it) and post-FI (don't need any more of it).

The book was indeed written to allow some closure. I feel that I'm repeating myself on my blog more and more often. This is not something I enjoy [repeating myself]. On the other hand, I do help a lot of people (so they tell me), so this keeps the blog going although I spend less and less time on it.

In terms of total work load, it corresponds to about 250 forum posts per month. Anyone here writing more than that?

Anyway, sorry about the rant ...
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:53 PM   #25
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Jacob thanks so much for the articulate and explanatory post. It is helpful to us average readers to learn more about your work. As an appreciative reader, I hope that your book is warmly received as I've followed your progress with it quite avidly.

Thanks again!
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:55 PM   #26
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Jacob, this is probably the toughest crowd you'll encounter and you can see that many of the posters on this thread have or will buy your book, so I'd say you're doing pretty darned good.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:00 PM   #27
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And then your readership would comment and poke holes in your concept, which would lead to new posts and an improved concept.
How's that workin' for him on this board?

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
I quickly read a bit of his blog.... and think he is a nutcase... let's live without heat or AC just because I want to see if I can... or to save money... not the life I am interested in pursuing...
Now, my wife and I get into arguments on how we spend money... I don't care for the cable bill, the symphony tickets, the sciene museums visits that cost $100 etc. etc.... but they are important to HER...
When I lived like that I was getting submarine pay. It also encouraged me to get out of the apartment and spend more time exercising and studying at department-head school.

One man's frugality (or green living) is another man's deprivation. Or in my case, pearls before swine...

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He has sponsored ads on the blog plus he solicits donations. I have a small blog in the same field, though with a lot less traffic and that site makes a nice side income on under 20K page views a month. From his Alexa rating he is getting 1,000,000 page views a month in the financial field which is pretty lucrative. So he should be getting a pretty penny form those ads. The pictures on the forums are actually ads, too.

Check out Online Advertising Expenditure Forecast, 2009-2010 | ClickZ. "Online advertising, which includes display, search, video, and other categories, is expected to tally $25.4 billion in spending this year and $26.1 billion in 2010."

Not all web sites can make high rates so not every site in the top 50K is going to get the same rates. A joke web site would probably make 1/20th, if that, per impression as a financial site. It depends on the topic.

Maybe as an additional revenue stream? If he can live so cheap and doesn't need any more money then why write a book at all? Best selling books can make millions for their authors and allow them to reach people other than simply a blogging audience. With a book you can get on TV and radio, maybe even Oprah. Look at how many books the original 4 hour work week guy has sold.

He is a good writer and he has some interesting ideas, but I think he is too smart not to be making a ton of money off his site and now his book.

Plus I do question some of his claims. I have only just skimmed his sites but it seems he he hangs out in Berkeley but lives in an RV and doesn't have a car? Is that right? I don't know where you would park an RV around Berkeley. It is in the SF metro area. To park an RV I would think you'd have to live farther out of town where land is cheaper but then you would not have easy access to mass transit to get to places like the Berkeley marina.
As for the income/spending numbers, I've spent the last few years poring over hundreds of financial statements for startup companies using the same types of claims/logic. Most of them are now failed startup companies. I'm skeptical & cynical of any estimates not supported by tax returns.

And yes, when I "monetize" my writing efforts I'll document the results... from the income summaries and the charitable-contribution acknowledgments.

As for the rest of your comments, I'm going to have to defer to Jacob. He's probably read a lot of that before and has the answers loaded, locked, & cocked.

Early Retirement Extreme: — written by Jacob Lund Fisker, Freelancer Pingback-ing Jacob...
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:03 PM   #28
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I just placed my order for the book on Amazon (see, REW) and I'll likewise support any other of our forum folks like Nords when their books become available.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:08 PM   #29
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I just placed my order for the book on Amazon (see, REW)...
You'll never amount to anything if you give up on your "maybe I can bag a free book with my flattering comments" strategy so quickly. I'll bet you were out hooping all weekend and scrambled your brain cells again...
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:21 PM   #30
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I'll bet you were out hooping all weekend and scrambled your brain cells again...
If that's what the kids are calling it now, then I'll give her a free book anytime!
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:56 PM   #31
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My question is more mundane: Why is he living on less than 15K/year?
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Lots of speculation here <sigh>.
that my annual expense is 6-7k, not 15k (unless by that you meant the two of us together), etc.
Thanks for confirming my number. I remember getting it from your blog a while ago, I think it was $13,xxx.

I raised the question simply because I was doubtful of one of the posters' claim that your blog annual income is in the 50k-100k range, which sounded unusually high for me.

Don't know if you follow the Tioga-George blog. In terms of useful practical information, your site/blog wins hand down. It's a shame yours is only earning 1/5 of his. I guess it pays to SEO as well as talks about "nothing". I guess it also pays to have more pictures (meaningful or not). Just to be clear, I like George's blog too, for reasons that are beyond my understanding.

Anyway I read your blog every now and then and although I learned very little from it, I thought you did a very good job in transmitting the idea to the public. I especially like your recent "Can I retire with 2 million dollars?" article. I couldn't help but laugh reading it and thinking about the number of times that question has been raised on this forum. The answers (serious answers) were even more hilarious.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:26 PM   #32
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I was doubtful of one of the posters' claim that your blog annual income is in the 50k-100k range, which sounded unusually high for me.
I didn't say it did make that. What I said was....

Quote:
so if he is monetizing it right he should be making 50 - 100K+ or so a year pretty easy just from blog advertising.
Ok, Jacob you have convinced me you aren't making that much money now, but I still think you very easily could be. I'd put Adsense ads on the site and Amazon affiliate links for all of the recommended books.

Check out the Adsense success stories for inspiration -
https://www.google.com/adsense/stati...heBuilder.html
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:43 PM   #33
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The numbers I hear are typically around $3eCPM (combined number for all the ads on a page) for a site that's well-monetized (mine isn't). That means getting $3 for every 1000 impressions. By that measure, I could make about $500 per month. This would be close to my one-person expense level but nowhere near 50-100k per year. To get there, traffic (not eyeball time) needs to increase by a factor of 10. My guess is that only a handful of personal finance blogs make these numbers. These guys have been blogging consistently with 1-2 posts per day for 5-8 years.

Now, if I keep blogging for another 3-4 years, I might actually get there too, but it's not really a goal of mine to make money. Don't get me wrong, I like money, but it's quite limited what I'm willing to do for it. Isn't this the very definition of financial independence anyway?
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:31 PM   #34
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The numbers I hear are typically around $3eCPM (combined number for all the ads on a page) for a site that's well-monetized (mine isn't). That means getting $3 for every 1000 impressions.
Those CPM numbers are probably true for generic traffic. It is possible to get many multiples of that eCPM with the right topic and right ad placements.

Plus, I think either your sitemeter or Alexa stats are incorrect. The page views you are reporting is low even compared to sites I have that are much lower ranked in Alexa than yours. I have sites ranked higher and lower than your so I estimated your page views based on the traffic I get based on each of my sites Alexa rankings.

But, heh, less competition for me if you keep your ads the way they are now.

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My guess is that only a handful of personal finance blogs make these numbers.
You are basically sitting on a gold mine. It's a really cool blog that with a little tweaking could make a ton of money.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:42 PM   #35
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Google analytics tell the same story. It's simply that the average visit time (especially for the toolbar users) is very high and alexa uses that in their ranking calculation whereas advertisers couldn't care less.

If you think you can do better, you can manage my ads/business side, and I'll give you a 25% cut of any blog income above $500/month. Just let me know ;-) I've actually been looking for such a person for a long time with remarkably little success.
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:08 PM   #36
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It's simply that the average visit time (especially for the toolbar users) is very high and alexa uses that in their ranking calculation
Okay, I get what you are saying now. I guess my sites get ranked more on traffic alone and not so much time on site. But it also means that users are really reading what you have to say, which is a good thing.

I'll send you a private message about the rest of your post.
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