blog news, lessons learned, money, overly helpful people, YouTube

Time to say farewell to the Blogger platform?

I’m sitting here thinking about what I’d like to write about today. I originally thought maybe I’d breathe some new life into an old post from 2016. It was about an interaction I had with someone I used to “know”, who regularly gave me grief on the now defunct review site, Epinions.com. Regular followers who knew me on Epinions know that sometimes I write about a man I like to call “Papa Smurf”. I know at least one person, who knows of whom I write, has also co-opted that nickname for him. He’s one of those people who tries to be all wise and act like other people’s “daddy”, and shit…

Papa Smurf is not who I was thinking of writing about this morning…

Instead, I was considering writing about an unpleasant run in I had with …tom… And if you followed me on Epinions, and are still following me today, you almost certainly know who …tom… is. That’s how he signs his “name” on just about everything on which he leaves his mark.

I long ago left …tom… in the dust, mainly because of the annoying interaction we had seven years ago today that prompted today’s memories. That incident wasn’t the last straw, but it was the beginning of the end of my tolerance for his highly obnoxious and unwelcome input. Most of my followers who know …tom…, also know of what I write. A lot of us had the same complaint about his irritating and provocative comments, even though he could be entertaining sometimes.

So this morning, I went to the Blogger platform to have another look at that old post and decide if I wanted to rehash it today. But, before I made it there, I decided to look at my AdSense earnings. I knew I was getting close to the necessary $100 level that would allow me to finally cash out, probably for the last time– ever– on Blogger.

I signed up for AdSense years ago. Back when I was using Blogger for my three blogs, I even got paid somewhat regularly. In order to cash out on Blogger, you have to make at least $100. I think I cashed out a few times during my blog’s “heyday”, which was when we still lived in Stuttgart, and a lot of people were reading about our travels. Some folks had also started reading the main blog, which attracted the most hits out of the three.

The nice thing about AdSense is that users can put all of their blogs on one account. On WordPress, users must have separate ad revenue accounts for each blog. I have already been paid once for the current version of OH, but I will probably die before I get anything for my travel blog. The travel blog hasn’t made ad revenue in a few months. I’m actually thinking about removing ads from it.

If not for a certain meddlesome reader, I’d probably still be posting on Blogger, conveniently getting AdSense revenue on the three blogs. Back in 2019, the Blogger version of my blog went through a crisis of sorts, when we were having trouble with our former landlady. Her ex tenant, a fellow American, brazenly admitted to “monitoring” me, even though she claimed she didn’t enjoy my writing.

I suspect she had enjoyed the blog for awhile, but then started to dislike it when I started to vent about the unfair way ex landlady treated me. I don’t know for certain if the ex landlady is mentally ill, or if we simply had a personality clash. But she was driving me crazy with her entitled, intrusive, and disrespectful attitudes toward Bill and me. She was especially rude and abusive to me. On rare occasions, I would vent about it on my blog. Yes, I now know that was unwise… but then, it never occurred to me that anyone, including the former tenant, would care about such things.

In retrospect, I think the former tenant knew full well that the former landlady is the way she is. She just wanted me to deal with it in silence, because my speaking out about it made it unpleasant and inconvenient for her. I think she flat out lied to us. And instead of just minding her own business and moving on, grateful that she got out of that situation relatively unscathed, she decided to monitor me, and attempted to shame me into being quiet.

It was an especially bizarre form of gaslighting– ex landlady was insisting that Bill and I are awful people who made her life hell by renting her duplex and expecting to actually live peacefully in it. And how dare we expect her to act like a mature businessperson, rather than some warped, dysfunctional version of our mamas?

Former tenant was insisting that ex landlady is always a sweet, fair, and kind woman, and if she was acting like an entitled harridan, it MUST be all because of me. Never mind the fact that she and her husband, themselves, only lasted about 18 months in that house, while Bill and I were there for a little over four years.

Never mind that ex tenant was insisting that I respect her privacy, while she totally shat all over mine, and encouraged an actual smear campaign. And never mind that former tenant, who was trying to make me out as some kind of crazy, mean-spirited, disruptive person, exited life on her own terms last year.

Prior to therapy, I might have kept quiet about the unpleasant and uncomfortable situation we were in, but as a confirmed truth teller, I don’t keep abusers’ secrets anymore. Because of those circumstances and the ensuing small claims lawsuit over the deposit that was predictably and illegally withheld from us, I moved the original OH blog to WordPress, which offers functionality that Blogger doesn’t. Now, I pay to post my blog, and it doesn’t make me any money. But I have a lot more security here than I did there. Moving the blog meant starting over, which was hard for me, since it had taken several years to build a meaningful readership on Blogger. Thankfully, it took a lot less time to get this blog going at full speed.

In the wake of the minor blog stalking incident, I decided to keep my music blog going on Blogger. The music blog had very little personal information about me, and practically none about the situation we were in back in 2019. The other two blogs– this one, and my travel blog– were relaunched on WordPress. Once the situation with the landlady was settled, I made my old travel blog public again, but no one really looks at it. It’s not connected to AdSense. The old original OH blog is still hidden and probably always will be, since there’s some dated, useless stuff on there that doesn’t need to be public.

I told myself that once I hit $100 on Blogger, I’d discontinue the music blog, which is mostly about the campy music I loved when I was a kid. I haven’t updated it since New Year’s Day 2023. Most of the traffic comes from a handful of posts, mostly about Richard Carpenter’s daughter, Mindi.

It’s taken me ages to finally hit the last $100 I needed to cash out. Most of that $100 was made from the original OH blog prior to February 2019, before I moved it to WordPress. So… that means that to get those last painful bucks from Blogger, I had to wait several years, earning pennies from AdSense every month. As you can see from the featured photo, I finally managed to reach that goal today… and it’s exactly $100! How often does THAT happen? I figure it must be a sign.

Now… do I delete Dungeon of the Past, or just leave it up for posterity? I do still get comments on it, but they’re mostly bizarre comments from Carpenters’ fans. There’s one person who has repeatedly posted that Richard Carpenter and his wife, Mary, are biological first cousins. Their official story is that Mary was adopted. I don’t know if she was adopted or not, but I figure it’s none of my business. They’ve had five healthy children together. What difference should it make to me, or anyone else, if they’re biologically related? I occasionally get other comments. Like, I wrote a review of Belinda Carlisle’s book and reposted it on my Dungeon blog. I got a comment from one of her half sisters, which I thought was interesting. I have since moved that post to this blog.

I may decide to move some of the more interesting Dungeon posts over here, and just delete my Blogger account. Life is short, and even though I have lots of time on my hands, that account is just one more thing to keep track of. I don’t think I have any true regular readers there, who eagerly look forward to new posts, though some content continues to attract hits. I’ll take some time to think about it, as Bill and I also decide where to go on vacation, and whether or not to get another dog… and when it should happen.

Lately, I’ve been having some fun on YouTube. I don’t know how long it will last… but it’s fun for me to make videos of songs I want to try. My latest video is actually doing surprisingly well. I think some people get a kick out of women who sing Led Zeppelin songs.

This was fun to do. I just have trouble lining up the video and audio parts.

Music is less controversial… except people like to see singers on camera, and I’m not very comfortable on camera. Still, I’m kind of proud of some of the videos… and they seem to attract a lot fewer idiots. So maybe instead of writing about music, I’ll just make it. I hope at some point, I can write my own song and play it. Baby steps… however, although the friend who encouraged me to record a couple of Zeppelin songs thinks I should dance and wear a boa, I won’t be doing that. I won’t dance. Don’t ask me. 😉

Maybe later I’ll actually write about the post that ultimately led me down this divergent rabbit hole that took me in a totally different direction. Or maybe not. The sun is out today. Noyzi might enjoy a longer walk.

Edited to add: I see that almost a year ago, I wrote about being paid by WordPress for the first time. In April 2022, I had $98 on Blogger. So, you can see, it took me a year to make $2. I hope certain people will remember that the next time they try to accuse me of exploiting anyone for money on this blog. 😉

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blog news, business, history, money

A grateful thank you to all of my readers…

Yesterday was somewhat less annoying than Wednesday was. There were no unexpected visitors; Aunt Flow vacated; I didn’t get involved in any online pissing matches; and as of this morning, I crossed the threshold allowing me to be paid for writing this blog. And so, today’s post is going to be focused on gratitude for everyone who has been reading this rag. Some of you have been surprisingly faithful readers, and I really do appreciate it. I know sometimes I can be cranky, negative, and gross, but it does my heart good to know that some people don’t seem to mind. Or maybe they just read so they can snark. Either way, I make a few pennies when people read, and they’ve now finally added up to enough that I can actually get paid.

Love me some Andrew Gold.

I’m actually impressed by how quickly this happened on WordPress. I moved my original OH blog from Blogger in February 2019. It was one of three blogs I had on that site, and all three were earning spare change through AdSense. During my heyday, I usually made enough money on Blogger from all three blogs to cash out every nine months or so. To do that, I had to earn at least $100. Remember, I had THREE blogs going, so they weren’t earning much individually. The original blog was the fastest earner, but the travel blog was also pretty popular before we moved to Wiesbaden. None of them were making big bucks, though.

At this point, I only have one blog left on Blogger. That would be my Dungeon of the Past music blog, which is mainly about music from the 70s and 80s. I don’t update it very often anymore, and right now, I have almost $98 sitting in AdSense. As soon as that blog earns the last two bucks I need to cash out, I’ll probably discontinue it. However, at this point, earning those last two bucks could take years! I usually only make a few pennies a month from just the music blog. This past month has been an exception. Looks like I made about 60 cents this month.

In July of 2019, when I moved the travel blog to WordPress, I immediately set up ads for that blog only. At this writing, the travel blog has made a grand total of $5.09. That amount is the whole total since the blog was created, having collected ad revenue since July 2019. COVID-19 was pretty devastating to my travel blogging, since we’ve been locked down and unable to go as many places. I suppose I could have been creative and come up with other travel related content, but to be honest, I had kind of lost my motivation. Happily, since COVID restrictions are loosening, I think we’ll be traveling more soon. In fact, next weekend, we will be on vacation. I am delighted to report that the travel blog is now consistently earning more than it ever has.

This blog has only been running ads since July 2021. In nine months, I’ve earned enough revenue to be paid. As of today, the “new” OH blog has made $109.61. That’s got to be because people are actually reading this stuff. So thank you! Writing is really all I ever wanted to do with my life, anyway, and while $109 isn’t enough to live on, it’s still money that I made, doing something I love doing! I do love to write, even if I do complain a lot about first world problems. I probably won’t be getting the $109 payout until June, which is fine. I’ll possibly get it just in time for my 50th birthday!

I didn’t want to run ads when I first started writing on this space. Like most people, I find ads annoying, and sometimes I want to write about topics that advertisers don’t like. But I was curious to see if this blog could make any money, which was why I turned on the ads. At first, I did it as an experiment, but then when I noticed that this blog made a lot more than the travel blog did, I decided to keep the ads going, just to see how long it would take before I made enough to cash out.

I know I have some readers who met me on the now defunct review site, Epinions. Those people are also writers, and they know the pleasure of seeing monthly “income share” come in. I remember my first month on Epinions, I wrote a rant about my cell phone service provider. I was really just looking for a place to vent, because I was pissed. I didn’t even know I could make money writing on Epinions. But when I saw that the review made 19 cents, I decided to write more. I spent almost eleven years writing on Epinions, and I made about $12,000, just reviewing stuff I was using anyway. Considering that I usually wrote in low paying categories like books, music, and travel, I think I did alright!

Sometimes I still miss Epinions, but that site became decidedly less fun as it was dying. I like writing on my own site now, since I can curse with wild abandon, add photos and videos, and don’t have to worry about obnoxious advisors, leads, or just oddball members lowballing ratings or leaving petty criticisms. 😉 That’s not to say that I can’t take legitimate criticism, per se. It’s just that some of them wanted to criticize things like how often I wrote, or disagreed with my review… or, in some cases, they would try to correct me when they, themselves, needed to edit.

I remember one particular Epinionator felt just fine about leaving me a low rating because she felt that instead of using Preparation H on my asshole, I should be using apple cider vinegar. And, as she commented, she signed off with the annoying phrase, “sharing the light”. I ranted about that incident on the original version of this blog. I’ll probably repost it today because, what the hell… I know some readers will get a kick out of that little taste of nostalgia.

Those kinds of comments and ratings were not supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to downrate because we disagreed with the review; we were supposed to rate based on the quality of the review. Like, the rating was supposed to be based on how informative and well-written the review was, not someone’s personal opinion about the product or the reviewer.

Anyway, not long after that “asshole” incident, in which I was advised to use vinegar instead of a soothing cream on my bum, I ran across a review by this particular writer. I gave her a slightly lower rating (helpful vs. very helpful). I think she genuinely earned the rating I gave her. She sent me a pissy email full of excuses as to why her review was the way it was, and why I should give her a higher rating. I couldn’t help but shake my head. A few weeks later, the site went belly up. It made me sad at the time, but then I realized that it was for the best. If Epinions were still going, maybe you wouldn’t be reading my first world rants here, and I would still be dealing with people like that person!

$109 is not a lot of money. In fact, it’s not even enough to pay my subscription fees for this site. But it’s a good start! It feels good to make money again. I do, on occasion, get weird, rude, or mean comments from drive by visitors; but this blog, by and large, attracts far fewer crazies than Epinions did. Like, for instance, the woman who went absolutely batshit nuts because she was posting rubber stamped reviews of her Canon camera under multiple listings and getting tons of “not helpful” ratings. Even though people tried to explain to her how the site worked, she didn’t get it… and she raised holy hell. It caused quite a drama! I don’t think she ever did learn how Epinions worked. After a weekend of rampaging with inappropriate comments and ratings, she was kicked off the site.

Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with that kind of nonsense here. Most everyone who reads this blog is perfectly nice. Or, at least they are basically respectful, which is really all I ask. It’s a bonus when people come back for more, even when I’m in one of my crotchety moods. So, once again, thank you! Thanks for reading and commenting– no need for ratings, here. And thank you all for being a friend. Thanks for helping me turn my opinions into something that has actual worth. It means more to me than most of you will ever know.

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musings

Blog design and layout are not my fortes…

I am sitting here looking through the many different blog layouts offered on WordPress. Some people love playing with blog layouts, colors, fonts, and all of that stuff. Not me. I kind of suck at doing layouts. I just want to get to writing. But then I realize that the blog is probably not easy for everyone to read and I wonder if I should change it.

Would it be better if I switched from a color scheme to just black and white? I could do that, but it seems so stark. I’m not really a stark person.

Don’t be surprised if I switch the design again soon. I’m not very happy with what I have right now. One thing I liked about Google’s Blogger engine is that it was so easy to use. I had a lot of freedom as to what templates and colors I could employ, as well as fonts. It didn’t cost me anything, either. In fact, I made money using Blogger, although I did occasionally run afoul of their “anti-decency” rules. I got in trouble once because I wrote a post about a big pink used dildo someone was selling in one of the Stuttgart yard sale groups. Hell, I even did a well-received song parody about it. But Blogger said it was too dirty for their advertisers, so I had to put it in draft. I later rewrote it for this blog, because I now own the domain and can mostly post whatever I want.

WordPress just seems harder to customize the way I want it. And there are so damned many designs to choose from, some of which are kind of expensive. I don’t mind paying for my blog space, but I already have a lot of subscriptions and it gets hard to keep them all straight. On the other hand, everything works on WordPress. Blogger got pretty wonky toward the end of my stint there. That was one major reason why I switched venues. The other major reason is that I had stalkers.

I really do suck at this kind of stuff. I’m much better at communicating than creating visually appealing spaces. I didn’t inherit the crafty gene from my mom (who really does have it in spades). It’s probably a good thing I’m not a Mormon. I could never do the crafty shit they do and put in their blogs. Apparently, in some circles, that makes me a failure as a woman.

Anyway, if anyone out there in blog land has a preference, let me know. If readers would rather see this blog in black and white, I can easily arrange that. On the other hand, it looks like readers have the ability to alter the way the blog looks, anyway.

Sigh… life was a lot easier when I had a simple diary… Just give me a pen and some paper and I’m good. I like the layout on my travel blog better than I like the one on this blog. But the travel blog is photo heavy, while this blog isn’t. I’ll keep looking for a better layout plan. Please let me know in the comments if you have any tips.

Edited to add: THIS DOES NOT MEAN I WISH TO HIRE ANYONE TO HELP ME WRITE MY BLOG. I don’t need rude comments about my writing style or “wordiness”. I’m looking at you, Richard M. Miles, spammer extraordinaire. For a “business communication specialist”, you sure suck at communication. This isn’t a business; it’s a personal blog, and thus it comes straight from me, wordiness and all. Kindly fuck off.

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