Over at The Truth About Cars the debate rages on about advertising. Does it belong or not? Will it affect the journalistic integrity of the site or it’s writers? Apparently, the TTAC leader, Robert Farago has been deliberating this topic for a very long time. Detractors of advertising point to the drivel that we now read in the monthly print magazines. In fact, TTAC recently had some problems with a major German manufacturer after comparing a Swedish grille to an airborne ham wallet. This when TTAC is not even running any ads.
Blogging is a time consuming activity. If it is undertaken as a hobby and traffic is not a concern, then missing a week or so of posting isn’t an issue. Even as a hobby, blogging takes time. If one cares to put together a professional appearing product, it really becomes a part time job. TTAC is certainly a professional product, put together by a capable team of writers. They deserve to support themselves off of what is obviously more than a hobby.
The beauty of the internet is the fact that a writer can express their opinion without having their magazine moved to the top shelf. When was the last time you saw Motor Trend compare a car to female genitalia? Unfortunately, some of the mainstream marketing people haven’t been able to wrap their heads around the modern media. This worry about political correctness may cost a blog a dollar or two, but a well written blog will draw in other dollars to replace them.
The Garage has become an obsession for me, but that was it’s original intent. Blair Valley Media was formed with the intent of generating enough income for me to quit my job in the retail car industry. Those who earn a living blogging say that you should write about your passion so that you don’t burn out. I took this to heart and The Garage was born as the first Blair Valley blog. With The Garage, the intent was to learn how to generate traffic and then gradually introduce some advertising if we actually did generate a base of readership. The advertising will start appearing over the next couple of weeks here in The Garage, but plans are for the ads to be unobtrusive and automotive related. Will advertisers affect our content? NO. Even once my livelyhood depends on the Blair Valley network, the integrity and flavour of our writing will not change. Is it possible to do this? Of course it is.
Over at TTAC, readers comments have focused on the big guys. Road and Track, Car & Driver, Automobile, Motor Trend. Well, Peter Egan aside, none of the big guys have rowed my boat in years. There is a little Florida based publication called Grassroots Motorsports that truly is a Grassroots car mag. They write about building and racing entry level cars in entry level series. This print mag is written by real car guys & girls for real car guys and girls. They have been so successful over the past couple of decades that they have recently launched a sister mag, Classic Motorsports. These folks have a hell of a lot of fun and continue to stick by their original intent. I think that you might call that having integrity. What does this mean for TTAC or The Garage for that matter? What it means is that you can continue to write what you feel and what your readers have come to expect and still generate the advertising dollars needed to grow your business.
Let’s face it, a well written blog is a part/full time job. To be paid for a job well done is the least that anyone can expect.