Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Independent Bloggers

This weekend saw the announcement that the blog the Armchair Generalist was halting continued publication as the principle, Jason Sigger, was taking a ‘real job’ with DHS; he had been informed by his new employer that the blog would conflict with Department policy. His blog was a solid source of information about the military CBRNE programs and their place in homeland security. The political slant was a bit different from mine but the information was good and the analysis was a valuable look at the processes involved. I will personally miss reading his daily insights.

Independent bloggers, myself included, have a financing problem. Our publications are available for free over the internet yet we must still support our families. To remain independent voices we cannot work for most employers in our chosen profession and government work is completely out of the question.

There are some that can maintain their blog in support of their personal business (lawyers, consultants and such) but they must be careful of who they might offend for fear of losing business. They also need to walk a fine line about disclosing too much of the information that they sell as part of their business. This isn’t to say that their blogs aren’t valuable, I read and follow many such blogs and frequently report on their information and insights here in this venue.

I have a note in the margin of my blog that I am available for consulting work, but I certainly don’t have a consulting business (no income is hardly a successful business model). I am certainly willing to help plan and conduct training and to perform other chemical security related work, but I’m afraid that I’m a tad bit too controversial in my writing here to attract many corporate types. There are legitimate concerns about being associated with someone who routinely criticizes the regulators.

I also have another note pointing out that I accept donations and provide a PayPal® link for making them. To date, those donations have been few and far between; not an unexpected response. This is the internet and most people expect to find free information on this medium.

On-site advertising is always an option, but this is a relatively specialized blog which unsurprisingly does not draw a real large readership. This means that advertising rates would be low and might give the appearance of compromising blog integrity for advertising sales. I do use a small Google ad where Google controls who is shown, but the click through rate on a blog like this is relatively low and the income is very limited.

Money has never been a motivation for maintaining this blog. My readers will recognize that I am a true believer and that justifies most of the work that goes into its production. Still I have bills to pay and a wife to support. I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to continue with this blog before I am forced to take a similar course to what Jason announced last weekend.

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