Blogging Comes Full Circle

I’m not sure what the point of blogging is anymore. For a while, I knew, then it changed and I knew again, then it changed again. Early on, I saw blogging as pointless public journaling online. That’s what it was. That was fine. At the beginning, this blog (under a couple of different names) was for one thing – building an audience for my books and selling books. As I started selling more books (fuknbooks.com) the blog became more generalized and less focused on tips and tales of living in a van and more focused on sharing news that I found alarming or weird – an audience started finding me and I found a little tiny bit of celebrity in blogging and podcasting- then someone offered to buy my blog for what seemed a great deal of money (at the time) and I sold my name (chrisdamitio.com) and started a couple of new blogs to fill in the void (clownjazeera for creepy clowns, fukn.us for news, vagobond.com for travel, vagobunny for sexy girls, existensis for religion and philosophy, etc) the guy who bought my blog, loaded it with ads and made quite a bit of money from it – meanwhile, I’d lost my audience with my blog and struggled to make it work – none of my blogs worked except Vagobond.com which was focused on travel – so I went all in for that and at one point had one of the top travel blogs in the world – I knew what I was blogging for at that point – it wasn’t for joy, it was for money. Advertisers were paying big to buy links and I started pulling in more money than I’d ever earned – trying to be smart about it – I reinvested it into more travel blogs – at one point I had nearly 70 blogs, was employing 15 writers, a couple of designers, and was also working and travelling non-stop – and that’s when Google pulled the plug. First they suspended my adsense account for click fraud (which I was not guilty of, by the way) and took away nearly $1200/month income. That was okay, my main income was selling links – but it was short lived – Google began penalizing advertisers for link buying – income dropped to less than $1000 a month very quickly, then Google took it up a notch and began penalizing sites with sold links. The entire blogging industry fell into a panic – some were ready, they were earning from different models – I wasn’t. The smart ready ones created travel blogging courses, started hosting trips, wrote eBooks, and created PR companies. I didn’t have the time or the foresight. My portfolio of sites very quickly became worthless. At the same time, what had been blog content was consumed by Pinterest, Instagram, and the ramping up of Facebook, Twitter, and for a short while Google+. I scrambled to stay on the top as an influencer and a social media guru – but it was too late and I was unable to keep up. Between becoming a father, moving my family to the USA, and trying to find a home…my blogging empire fell apart. I was riding pretty high for just less than a year…it allowed me to do some pretty serious travel and gave me the means to make the move to the USA…and then it dried up. My best month I earned close to $8000 – these past three years I’ve been earning right around $1000 a year from my blogs. From close to a hundred – I’m down to four websites. This one, Reedsport.info, ReedsportAntiques.com, and Vagobond.com. This one is right back to that sort of freeform online journaling about whatever I want, the antiques site is more or less a business card for my shop, Reedsport.info is a little community paper I publish, and Vagobond is still a travel blog – but no longer a big world wide site with multiple writers and photographers. The audience for blogs is not what it once was…there are more than 150 million blogs now and people are focused on their social media accounts instead of going to websites…clickbait sites get traffic, but I’ve never wanted to be one of those – but wouldn’t say no to the income. I’m grateful that I was able to earn what I did when I did. I wish I had been able to see the writing on the wall earlier because the money I spent on buying sites, paying writers and developers, SEO, and the time I spent on creating crappy content, creating crappy blogs, and ‘building my brand’ could have been put to much better use – although, I’m happy to say that I bought my name back from the guy who used it to earn during the blogging boom – which is why I have this site again. I’m not sure that blogging here (or on Vagobond) has a purpose anymore beyond expressing my thoughts (here) and sharing my adventures (on Vagobond) – I don’t think that most of my social network friends even bother to click through or read things like this anymore (unless I post them on Facebook) but because they are nice and because they are my friends and because they have lots of content to go through, they like my posts on their network and move on. And that’s okay…that’s what I do too. And I do this…and I’ll probably keep doing it.