Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

To Blog or Not to Blog

By Cam Mather

Many months ago someone asked me where he could buy precious metals in Ottawa. I didn’t know off the top of my head, so I surfed around looking for a coin store. Afterwards, no matter where I surfed on the internet, ads for stores in Ottawa who want to buy my gold and silver would pop up! So the creepy following technology is kind of good, but not perfect. It’s in the ballpark.

Then about a month ago I decided to purchase a chainsaw grinder/sharpener and I wanted to research my options. While I was researching I found a very cool battery-powered electric chainsaw from Oregon. I was quite excited because about half of my woodcutting is now done with an electric chainsaw, but I don’t have an extension cord long enough to follow me into our 150 acres. I might be able to rig up a battery and inverter on a sled, but it sounds like a lot of work. And if this December is any indication of our future thanks to climate change, there may not be much snow on the ground to drag a sled around.

Now wherever I go on the internet I see ads for the Oregon battery-powered chainsaw. It doesn’t matter what site I’m on, if there are ads, they are usually for that product. It’s kind of amazing and kind of creepy. Like this chainsaw is stalking me! Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we put the brainpower that we invest in things like internet data mining into solving climate change.

I used to sell advertising so I get the whole “ads pay for content” concept. And I’m actually impressed to see how many news agencies are starting to move to an internet model that charges for their content. I’m not sure that there are any sites out there that I’d be willing to pay for a subscription to on an ongoing basis, but it’s something I will have to look at as some of my favorite sites shut me out.

I use Wikipedia quite often as a starting point when I am researching something. While I realize that you cannot completely trust their sources, I usually go there to find links to find good sources. During their recent campaign to stay ad free and independent we gave them a few bucks. It only seemed fair. Hopefully someone is working there to make sure the information is reasonably impartial and people like the comedy writers on “30 Rock” aren’t just putting up goofy stuff.

This brings me back to our blog. I began writing blogs as a way to direct traffic to our website and publicize our books, but it has grown from there. It is a great outlet for my inner demons and serves as a cheap therapist. “And how did that make you feel Cam?” “Well here, let me tell you about the idiots and morons who…” That sort of thing …

We have acquired a wonderful community of blog readers and subscribers. We get lots of comments and feedback and I have often used the information that others have shared with us over the years. We recently offered our books at a special price and some of our readers responded with orders. Thank you again to everyone who has purchased our books and DVDs over the years. We are truly grateful.

We are starting to toy with adding advertising to the blog. We know it’s crass and commercial but these blogs can take a surprising amount of time. I write them, Michelle edits them to make them more coherent and then she posts them on 4 different locations. We often take the time to add photos too. We pay for domain renewals and hosting for 2 of these sites. We’ve held off on using advertising on our blog for a few reasons. Many blogs are covered in so many ads that they are distracting and annoying. Also, it’s hard to have control over what shows up in the ads and I’d be worried that someone might think that I was recommending the product being advertised.

I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on advertising on blogs.  Or you can pretend I’m one of those people on PBS during pledge week and you can show your support by making a donation. There’s a Donation button along the right-hand side of cammather.com. If you enjoy our content please consider making a donation, big or small. You can consider it a “Vote” against putting ads on the blog. And now we’ll get right back to our special PBS “Upstairs Downstairs Masterpiece Theater Moody Blues Concert” that we only show when we’re asking for donations.

In the meantime I wish everyone the best of the season. We will be celebrating the winter solstice here on Sunflower Farm. When you power your home with the sun, reaching the solstice when the days start to get longer, is a pretty big deal. I am greatly looking forward to having my daughters and my future son-in-law home over the holidays. It’s hard to not to be in a funk right now, from the craziness in Connecticut to the lack of wintry weather. We are experiencing the warmest December on record here with no snow in site. Most days it is above zero. The little precipitation we get comes as rain and it’s gross. I guess this shouldn’t be surprised since 2012 will go down as the warmest year on record. Sigh.

Shortly I will begin trying to escape from this reality with excessive quantities of way too decadent food including much whipped cream, which I shouldn’t eat, but I will anyway! I’ll distract myself by sharpening some chainsaw chains with my awesome new electric chainsaw sharpener. You know … the one I am hoping to get. Yea, that’s it. The one that I hope is in that big box at the back of the tree. The kind of gift the guy in the red suit often brings, from him to me. Oh, I can only hope I get that this year! But it may not happen. It’s just wrong to buy yourself gifts, even if they are incredibly practical and will pay for themselves many times over. Nope, not me, I’d never do that.

Xmas 2011

Photo from Xmas 2011

 

Happy Holidays from Sunflower Farm!

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4 Comments

  1. Robert

    Cam put the ad’s on.
    I think anyone who follows your lives and blog are going to understand why.
    Sometimes, surprisingly sometimes there are useful things advertised there. I mean we always need more stuff to fill up the storage lockers.
    Great photo by the way and best of the season to all of you.

  2. I find ads on blogs way too distracting and annoying. I love the simplicity that ‘no ads’ on your blog promotes.
    I love your 2011 picture on the pond! Merry Christmas and good health to you and your family.

  3. Lilypad

    I generally don’t read the ads on blogs, but I understand why they are there. I wouldn’t mind if you put them up to help pay the bills.

    What a wonderful photo, thanks for sharing it. Best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy 2013 and may the snow return soon! (I think some of your snow got lost and ended up here on our suburban mountain in the Seattle area—we had an inch of snow the other day! 🙂 Oh Climate Change, what a rambunctious creature you are…

  4. Kathy

    Steve and I wish you all the best for the holidays Michelle and Cam (Jasper too). If the ads are relevant to your blogging they might find it useful.

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