Trey Ratcliff’s Print-Ad Experiment Is Revealing (But I Won’t Be Trying It)
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
a leaf-capped bamboo fence post outside the Ryouanji Temple (龍安寺) in Kyoto, Japan
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Bamboo Fenceposts in Autumn
near the Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺), Kyoto Japan
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I was sort of amused to read “Stop Advertising in Photo Magazines – Head West to the Web” on Trey Ratcliff's “Stuck in Customs” photo-travel blog, about how his $30,000 ad buy in some photography magazines was a bust. What caught my attention was not that print is dying, but that here's a guy with a blog roughly as popular as mine doing $30,000 ad buys(!)

I recall once he mentioned his pageviews and remember that they were comparable to mine. In his recent article, though, he lists the number of blog photos served per day, which is not quite a metric I've ever thought about (and when he compares his numbers to a magazine's subscriber count, perhaps he should compare instead to the number of subscribers multiplied by the number of photos in each issue, but I digress). Anyway, the stats average out to about 160,000 photo-views per day, and I checked mine and found that it was about 120,000/day for the same period; not quite the same, but to the same order of magnitude.

Of course, one should take into account that I put a bazillion photos of suspect quality on most posts, and he puts only one, and that he actually sells a product (something about HDR, which I don't do), so maybe there's no real comparison to be made. And frankly, I don't do comparisons anyway because my goal is not to be bigger or better or something-else-er than someone else, or even to grow an audience. I just enjoy sharing, and if other people at times enjoy what I share, well, then I'm tickled pink.

At worst, I'll have all the articles to reread when I get old, to share with Anthony when he gets old enough, and God willing, to share with grandkids. And that's not a bad deal, if you ask me. But $30,000 ad buys!? Maybe I should turn this into a business?

It's clear that Trey enjoys what he does with his blog, so that's great for him, but I don't have a disposition that could enjoy this if I worried about metrics or cash flow or click-through rates, so I guess I'll continue to bumble forward with posts about things dear to my heart, mostly family, photography, and Kyoto.

And speaking of that, the photo above, taken at a bamboo fence along a path on the same outing as the other day's "A Cold, Wet, Photogenic Visit To The Ryoanji Temple, is unrelated to this post. I just think it's pretty.

(For more on that photo and where it was taken, see this followup post)

All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

What! Really? 100k+ a day is massive. Trying to dig into the numbers assuming ~5 images a post thats 約20k page views a day or about 600k a month. Are you sure those numbers are a accurate?

Still I would advise against trying to treat it like a business. The instant a former hobby website starts creating cash flow the you begin to ignore the visitors and focus on the finances. Or at least that is what I found once I put ads (non-intrusive) on my largest site (50k pageviews/month, I’m very proud of it). You put a lot of effort into you blog and I’m afraid that if you ever sat down and worked out an hourly wage you wouldn’t be so enthusiastic.

Honestly though, if we wanted more money the best way to do that would be to go out and do more programming. Of course you likely know all this, so have a happy evening.

Yes, the numbers are accurate, but I wouldn’t call it “massive”. A friend at Yahoo used to have 100k followers on Bloglines alone (though that’s back in the day). Anyway, I don’t “focus on the visitors”, but instead I focus on myself, which is perhaps part of the appeal to a segment of my audience (Hi, Mom). I also do a lot of stuff not for people who might regularly look for Kyoto pictures, but for the world via search engines (e.g. my recent post about how to prepare photos for an iPad, my writeup on how to check for lens focus issues, my freaky Lightroom tone-curve presets, my old (but still valid) writeup on digital-image color spaces, etc.) These examples all have to do with photography, but the underlying unifying theme is “interest to Jeffrey”. -) —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel on December 14th, 2011 at 3:27pm JST (12 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

The other difference is that your blog is interesting.

You could do a couple of easy things to monetize the blog…

1. Hire a business manager (a la Corwin Hiebert who manages David Duchemin’s photography businesses).

2. Install Fotomoto so that your adoring fans can at least buy prints of your photos.

#2 is easier than #1, and is relatively painless.

I can’t imagine many people would want to buy prints of my photos. They’re pretty to look at when they’re free, I know, but beyond that I wouldn’t hope for much. —Jeffrey

— comment by Sean Phillips on December 14th, 2011 at 3:38pm JST (12 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I think you might be surprised by how much interest their could be in your images. You have a beautiful (and niche) collection of images not found on many photoblogs that are popular in North America…

— comment by Sean Phillips on December 14th, 2011 at 4:21pm JST (12 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Maybe the day will come where I can have a large digital frame on my wall and I subscribe to a provider’s photo stream (say one you provide) and each day a new, beautiful photo appears – one which is of the caliber you post here.

I think you can do that kind of thing now, using media-RSS feeds, e.g. such as the one at my widescreen desktop-background photostream, or any of my other ones (though the consistency of the quality is debatable) —Jeffrey

— comment by Andy on December 14th, 2011 at 9:34pm JST (12 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I, for one, vote for Fotomoto. (Whatever that is.) if it would bring me better copies of many of your prints than my home printer does. I still have wallspaces that are crying out for framed copies of certain photos. I particularly am drawn to the “Moss, rocks and leaves” variety. Love, Mom

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on December 15th, 2011 at 1:15am JST (12 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I am retired, living in Prescott Arizona area, born and raised in central Arizona. The desert to hi desert, the desert has it’s beauty also. Have been longing to see green and cooler weather. Fall here last only for 3 days or so. your blog just set me back as to the beauty of fall colors, keep up your good work. 1st Camera, Minolta SR7 bought in Japan in 1963, bought several rolls of Kodachrome slide film. My first picture was of my self in front of a mirror in the transit billings at Tachikawa Air Base.
Was TDY for about a week their. Then to Okinawa for another week, then back to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. Then back to Arizona. Still taking pictures. Thanks for the inspiration to take one more..

— comment by Robert W Hall on December 29th, 2011 at 7:38am JST (12 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink
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