Libertarian Car Guy Dot Com

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Is “EPautos.com” – the name – clunky?evil Google pic

We also own the domain name, “libertariancarguy.com” and I find myself lately wishing that when I began this effort to break away from writing for others to writing directly for you – with no middle men editors, no story assignments, writing about what seemed worth writing about, according to my own judgment and without any interference from higher-ups – I had used that name instead of “EPautos.”

Reason? This is to a great extent a word-of-mouth site. Unless you already know about it, you’re not going to Google (ugh) “EPautos” and find us. But people Googling (shit, there it is again) “libertarian” and “cars” would find us.

Assuming we weren’t de-ranked and de-listed, of course.

This – the de-ranking part especially – matters especially insofar as getting advertisers, which is the big nut for us right now.

You may have seen the new thermometer graphic on the top right. It shows where we are at the current moment as far as reader support. Yeah, it’s that bad. Halfway through the month and we’re about 30 percent there.

We are trying to make up the difference – make up the majority, eventually – via advertising. But since we had our issue with Google, that’s been proving to be very difficult. Yes, we still come up if you search for “EPautos.” But when we decoupled from Google, they cratered our AdSense ranking; from a 2or 3 (on a scale of 1-5)  to a 5, the lowest possible. Why does this matter if we’re no longer working for Massa Google? It matters because other advertisers go by Google Adsense ranking. When we were on the plantation, and had achieved almost House Nigger status (that #2 Adsense ranking) we got frequent queries from other advertisers, who expressed interest in having their products or services advertised here. They culled our URL from the Adsense rankings, which indicated that we had the traffic to justify their advertising with us. The Catch-22 was that we already had Google ads on the site – which left almost no room for other-than-Google ads. And whatever space we did have was not prime real estate. So, our hands were pretty well tied.

Then, we got Googled (de-listed, de-ranked) and went our separate ways. But, we’d lost our Adsense rank – and that completely shut down the stream of independent advertisers who’d been contacting us before, on an almost weekly basis (I swear, Dom will back me up on this). These were not high-dollar ads; typically $50-$75-$100 a month each. But it adds up – and it’s regular.

Back to libertariancarguy. The problem is that while the name is good (well, I think it is) just changing the site name to that name will not resolve our Google Problem unless we start from scratch and literally throw everything we’ve built over the past several years in the woods. Google knows, you see. A mere name change will not fool them – or the algorithms they use.

We’re boxed in.

So, back to the thermometer. You can see where things stand. We will update it as the month proceeds. It’s up to you to decide whether this site’s worth your support until we can finagle the advertising necessary to not have to ask for your support.

Thanks again to all of you for making this possible so far.

-Eric

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  20 comments for “Libertarian Car Guy Dot Com

  1. MamaLiberty
    February 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    I just put “libertarian cars” into the Ixquick search engine and “Eric Peters Autos » Cars, Bikes and the Politics of Self …” came up on top. I think you are far too worried about “google” from every angle. :)

    Personally, I’ve never worried about search results, but I can see how they might be a big help, of course. I spend a small part of each day visiting other blogs, news sites, fora and so forth, leaving a comment now and again, and posting the link to one of my own articles and my book offer when appropriate. http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?page_id=846

    I network with other freedom minded bloggers and thinkers all over the world. I’ve given away more than 5,000 pdf copies of my book in the last 18 months… And probably could have sold that many if I’d been willing to take on the IRS again.

    But then, I’m not trying to make a living from blogging or writing, so my situation is different. But I’d say the key is to diversify. The book deal is a good start.

    • eric
      February 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Mama,

      It’s not a search engine issue. It’s our Adsense ranking – as I thought I’d explained in the post. They dropped us from #2 in their rankings to #5 – the lowest. That has a huge effect on how potential advertisers regard us. Or rather, it has a huge effect on potential advertisers even being aware we exist. You see, they use the Google Adsense rankings to find web sites that have – according to Google – a certain amount of traffic. They will then contact the web sites that meet their criteria, seeking to advertise. When we were at the #2 (and #3) rank, we got inquiries several times a month. After Google dropped us, we lost four small advertisers who had been with us for years – and since then, not one has solicited us for ad space.

      The only reason we got Austin Coins (top banner ad) is because the owner is a regular reader. The only reason we got Valentine 1 (radar detectors) is because I know Mike Valentine and was able to reach him personally and make a pitch.

      It is very hard to “cold call” advertisers – very few of which publicize the e-mails or phone numbers of decision makers.

      We’re working hard to get more advertisers – but it’s very challenging, in part because it’s extremely hard to even find the right person to make our case to.

      • MamaLiberty
        February 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

        You did explain it, but I can’t see that it really matters myself. The thing is that your blog DOES show up on a search engine, probably all of them. Maybe you need to reach out to some of the advertisers who did contact you before. Let them know you have a prime spot for them currently and they don’t have to compete with google for them. If they are too hung up on google to be interested, oh well. They obviously didn’t help you when you WERE googled.

        Just let google go rot in hell where they belong. :) You will be far ahead in the long run.

        As for the name, stick with what you have. And stay with the mix of articles and features too. The one thing I’d suggest is a different way of displaying them. Some of the newer ones are “below the fold” and it took me quite a while to realize that because I expected all of the newest items to be on the top of the page. Maybe need a three column front page. First for the car reviews, etc. Second for the liberty oriented posts you make, and the third for Dom and assorted others. Just put the newest on top in each so they will be easily seen by casual visitors and everyone else.

      • MamaLiberty
        February 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        “We’re working hard to get more advertisers – but it’s very challenging, in part because it’s extremely hard to even find the right person to make our case to. ”

        Just re-read that. Yeah, that’s a bummer. Doesn’t make any sense for companies to do that. Seems as if most companies had a whole advertising department, once upon a time, and always looking for a good spot for their stuff. Guess times have changed.

      • dom
        February 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        The only way I see to increase the “Google page rank” would be to split the autos from the politics completely. There is no other way. I think the libertarian car guy dot com throws the name into both arenas, but won’t increase the page rank. While autos and politics is something you, I, and our regulars enjoy reading about on the same site, there’s a lot that don’t. This results in a high bounce rate. Not all people who like cars are libertarians and vice versa.

        • David
          February 17, 2014 at 1:24 am

          I hardly even drive yet and yet I’ve never seen the problem. I don’t think I’ve ever commented in a car related thread, but its not like it bothers me that they are there. I guess I don’t really see the issue.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 17, 2014 at 1:35 am

            Ha. Yeah. I think that illustrates dom’s position quite well, David.

            [It's ok that you do not see it.]

      • Eightsouthman
        February 17, 2014 at 11:33 am

        eric, I searched for libertarian car blogs on Startpage and yours was 4th from the top. I searched with Private Lee for the same thing and you weren’t there so I subbed auto for car and you were at the top of the page. I did a DDG search and it only showed one result, a Libertarian Blog Place with an alphabetical listing of libertarian blogs and you weren’t there BUT it said if you want to be listed, let them know and their address is libertarian@zebby·org

        I don’t know I’d try to reinvent the wheel just yet. The libertarian blog aggregator would be a good place to be listed I’d think. I suppose I’m not a typical person since I use NoScript and never enable the G word so I never saw the ads on your site but I do see the ads that aren’t part of that bad word. BTW, that G word never gets enabled on my machine.

        Back when the Shrub was running rampant over our rights I was aware that the G word was a spy and have used every other search engine I could find, ended up fairly much using Ixquick and Startpage and immediately tried DDG as soon as I was aware of it and like it also. If you must enable that G word, I know other people besides myself who will never see it. It would be dandy to know why I quit receiving comments, a real head-scratcher that.

  2. DR
    February 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I’ve never understood how your business model works – new car reviews and leading edge anarchy-libertarian editorials?? Most people looking for that new Bimmer or Benz aren’t going to read your editorials, and, if they did, would likely be at least a little WTF? about it. I guess if you split them out, you’d need to pay for double the bandwidth, so it’s your only real choice.
    Here’s my take: keep the libertarian stuff coming. LRC already features you in their daily dozen ( or so) about once a week. Pick up some more libertarian market views and the “hits” should rise. The recent addition of (really good) editorials by DOM has been great. Others may contribute. Your readership will gradually rise as you draw in more of the small, but significant, anarchy/libertarian/capitalist freedom folks out there. Most like me, will throw you a ten spot when we can. Most, like me, are feeling the pinch from this ongoing depression (which it is), but we all want to help when we can.
    Just keep doing that thing you do. LRC is huge platform and really likes you already. Maybe expand out, I think Western Rifles has been picking you up too, iirc. Just keep up the good work. Oh, maybe one more idea – you could build a simple “switch” in so those looking just for EPAutos could go directly to the autos content, and the rest of us could go for the freefor content. But, gotta say, as a car guy, I enjoy reading both areas, and would probably switch back and forth. But, it may help avoid the WTF? factor from JoeChardonnay (rich cousin of JoeSixPack) so he can right to that new Bimmer. :)

    • eric
      February 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi DR,

      Thanks for the input!

      To answer your question:

      I have always looked on cars (and bikes) as being fundamentally about freedom – of movement, of choice; the expression of our individuality. One of the things that distinguished America from, say, the old Soviet Union was the horn o’ plenty of choices in vehicles available to even average working people – and the freedom to enjoy them. Of course, that’s been systematically eroded over the past 30 or so years (dramatically so over the past 10)… but the point, for me, is that cars and liberty are inherently intertwined. I try to use the average person’s interest in cars – in driving – as a wedge, to introduce philosophical topics and views they might otherwise never choose to read about.

      In my own way, I’m trying to pick up where C&D dropped the ball after Bedard and Yates, et al, retired from the field.

      • to5
        February 17, 2014 at 5:45 am

        HI Eric, I agree that cars and liberty are intertwined. Your site captures both points perfectly. All we see from gubbernmint is hassle by the epa, ntsc, prime beef in all states, and from dozens of stasi agencies. If some of the car readers do not see this viewpoint, maybe they do not notice the erosion of their liberties, particularly if they are under 40.

    • dom
      February 16, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      ” I guess if you split them out, you’d need to pay for double the bandwidth, so it’s your only real choice.”

      Wouldn’t cost us a cent and would extremely easy to do. When I first came on board I thought a split made sense too.

      • Garysco
        February 18, 2014 at 7:48 am

        @Dom – Would it be hard to design a split home page and monitor the branch traffic for your stats? At leasy before making a dedicated domain name switch.

        • eric
          February 18, 2014 at 8:04 am

          Hi Gary,

          We’ve looked at the problem from all conceivable angles – and here’s the nut of it: Google Knows All.

          When we signed up with Adsense, they got our URL and all our identifying data. Who I am, who Dom is. Our ISP numbers, everything. To sign up with Adsense, I had to provide them my SS number and bank account info. The only way to get out from under would be to throw everything in the woods – and start over. Using different ownership (we’d need to transfer legal ownership of the site to someone other than myself or Dom) and a new URL and ISP completely unconnected to “Eric Peters” or “Dom Ruggiero” and even then, my byline would likely trigger something (with Google).

          It’s a mutha-you-know-whatter.

          The loss of Adsense income was literally like someone threw a switch. And while we recovered – initially – via direct reader support (which unfortunately has dwindled by about 60 percent since December) we never recovered our page ranking, which is a function of a site’s Adsense ranking. Having divorced from Adsense, our rank is now effectively zero.

          This makes it extremely hard to get noticed by advertisers – real ones, not the worthless Adsense-esque ones (Amazon, GumGum, CLicksor, et al) even if you have the readership (EPautos often gets 100k a month and rarely less than 75,000 a month).

          Because we’re not on the got-damned list.

          Of course, we can “cold call” potential advertisers – but that rarely gets any traction because the inquiries we send go to the generic “contact us” e-mail addresses that are not the private e-mails of the decision makers. Very hard to find the numbers and names of those people. You need to have an in – to know someone, have their private e-mail/phone number. It’s exactly like an aspiring writer trying to get his piece published at a major paper. Doesn’t matter much, really, whether his piece is good. Because it’s highly unlikely an editor will even read the thing. It’ll get put in a pile, then thrown away. But the established writers who know the editors personally (or at least, professionally) and have their real e-mails/phone numbers (etc.) have the inside track. Their piece will get read. And even if it’s mediocre, it’ll probably get published. That’s how it works. I know, because I have worked on both ends of that deal.

          And it works the same in re online advertising, too.

          Meanwhile, Dom and I are both scrambling to make a living – while also working damn near full-time on EPautos, me writing, him doing the behind-the-scenes technical stuff to keep the site from being hacked or crashing, etc.

          I sometimes feel like Jim Lovell must have on Apollo 13 after the C02 scrubbers failed….

          • Garysco
            February 19, 2014 at 1:07 am

            @Eric- It is a Google world of multinational corporate profit and control at any cost after all is all I can say. The same way the sheep watch MSNBC, FOX, CBS etc. There is a breakaway part of the population forming, but ….. Even longtime radio broadcast networks internet & terrestrial are crumbling if they don’t play ball and act politically correct in the corporate way like Clearchannel et. al. do. Truth is lost in Management of Perspective Economics (MOPE) omissions and lies.

            This lady is one who I have listened to over the past few years, and so far she has been on the money about events and directions. She is predicting Global 3.0 as she puts it. It requires a new way of thinking, but how you can benefit from that trend is beyond my pay grade and between you & Dom.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpNziDyKuic&feature=share&list=UUG-G8LLr38fQUNZU8K0t-EA&index=9

  3. DR
    February 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Well, Dom, might be worth a try then. You could have an attractive “Blue Pill, Red Pill” screen, lol! Take the Blue Pill, and keep dreaming of two lane blacktop and that Ferrari Forevah! Take the Red Pill, and KER-FLUSH, you’re never closing those peepers again!
    LOL

    • PanachistamericanHelot
      February 17, 2014 at 1:50 am

      “an attractive “Blue Pill, Red Pill” screen”

      It’d prolly be more like a link with a pretty icon or two on the side bar or at the bottom of the page.

      I used to want to create a whirlwind kind of window jumping effect for having clicked a link to a Red Pill page.

      And of course the Blue Pill link takes you to some dumb ass image or something, with maybe a series of questions to answer, see if they might really want to go back and take the Red Pill afterall.

      The new EPA I imagine it would be a kind of EPA-lite? Where the libertarian references were a bit more subtle, as unaware people who need waking up are easily spooked and freaked out. They have a hard time with reality. They can only take baby steps.

      But then again, eric seems to be a bit like that Phil Roberson fella on the TV in certain ways. He prolly wouldn’t cotton to a subtle version.
      And, time is running out, fast.

    • PanarchistamericanHelot
      February 17, 2014 at 1:52 am

      “an attractive “Blue Pill, Red Pill” screen”

      It’d prolly be more like a link with a pretty icon or two on the side bar or at the bottom of the page.

      I used to want to create a whirlwind kind of window jumping effect for having clicked a link to a Red Pill page.

      And of course the Blue Pill link takes you to some dumb ass image or something, with maybe a series of questions to answer, see if they might really want to go back and take the Red Pill afterall.

      The new EPA I imagine it would be a kind of EPA-lite? Where the libertarian references were a bit more subtle, as unaware people who need waking up are easily spooked and freaked out. They have a hard time with reality. They can only take baby steps.

      But then again, eric seems to be a bit like that Phil Roberson fella on the TV in certain ways. He prolly wouldn’t cotton to a subtle version.
      And, time is running out, fast.

      [Got dang, I can't spell tonight. Pardon the double post. I hate watin'.]

  4. Tor Libertarian
    February 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Going from consumers to producers – It’s all up to us.

    The following blog will be quite long and some folks out there (probably many folks) will find some of the content ridiculously aspirational and hopeful. I understand that but try to keep in mind that nothing is ever achieved unless people actually consider the opportunities and how they can grasp them. Also, forgive me if I ramble a little but I’ll get to the point eventually.

    Here on LiveLeak we’ve always wanted to do more. Yes, it’s a ridiculously popular video sharing site these days, and it’s evolved into somewhat (emphasis there please!) of a social networking site for many. It embraces a massively diverse range of content and users. All manner of ideologies, beliefs, and opinions all under one roof.

    Yes, there are fights, arguments, and plenty of mud slinging but we’re all here, and all a part of this together. So there’s at least one common denominator. But where’s the more? Well, we’ve always wanted to encourage original content created by users, to try to encourage people to do more in terms of ambition and scope.

    Now, I’m well enough aware there are a million sharing sites out there, countless streaming sites, and sites where video blogging is the norm. But for many this is the be all and end all of what they wish to achieve, it’s not about any cohesive goal beyond making the “model” work and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, diversity and choice is never a bad thing.

    Here on LiveLeak our “core” has exceeded all expectations in terms of popularity and reach and we’re not going to change that so this push into encouraging more user generated content isn’t a case of being the end goal it’s more a means to something else. An ideal if you will.

    Try to imagine this with me. There’s a big pond and in it are several very large fish. These big, hungry fish rule the roost so to speak. They prevent the smaller, aspirational, fish from becoming big fish by taking all the resources for themselves. Now, killing these big fish is impossible and probably ill advised. These large and voracious predators are essential for the ecosystem.

    Trying to become a big fish yourself is impossible unless you have the support of the other big fish, the barrier to entry into that exclusive club is way too high, far too insurmountable. Most aspirational fish either give up or die trying but the smart fishes, they form a shoal, they form a group made of individuals that can work along a common goal. Sharks are a big deal, no doubt, but a school of piranha can be a bit of a handful too, those toothy little buggers can be aggressive and own their niche in the ecosystem very, very effectively.

    Where’s this rather lengthy analogy going? If you haven’t already twigged the big fish are the mainstream media but we (all of us) could be the piranha. Sure, we won’t be taking them on their own terms but we can certainly clean up where possible and definitely be noticed.

    Going from a consumer to producer isn’t easy. It can be a bit of a daunting task and what we want to do is make it easier. Right now, on this very site, there are a large number of terrifically creative individuals. Some might make amazing hosts for a show, some might excel at graphics, some might be outstanding ideas people. It’s all here and once you realize that you can start to think about how it could be pulled together. You can start to think of the vast possibilities.

    Tools are one issue. How hard is it to put a show together? Well at the basic level if you want to put on a regular show via LiveLeak all you’ll need is a webcam. Our basic stream system (and there will be a blog closer to the time offering more detail) will allow you to set up a broadcast with your camera, add images and videos in real time below your stream, allow you to insert sound files during your broadcast and even live polling as well as allowing you the option of a chat window to interact with your audience if you wish.

    To make it easier to do this and to perhaps expand should you wish to we need to look at money, it’s inevitable because this stuff can get expensive if you fancy moving up to the next level. Because of this we have the donation feature where users can support your output, and then (if testing is successful) there will be a revenue share system allowing you to monetize your archived content.

    With these simple tools you can go from consumer to producer with vastly lowered barriers to entry. Of course, we can’t help you with the content but we’ll do what we can to help in any way we can.

    Do you see the possibilities? Can you see that we could, if not change the world, then make a small difference? Whether you want to make regular shows, share information, create documentaries, whatever it might be we want to support that and make it possible.

    Of course for most these tools will just be a bit of fun, another way to do a spot of random vlogging and do you know what? That’s great too. Remember the thing about diversity?

    I believe in a decentralised media. I do not believe it’s “too much noise”, I want my information, my news, and my entertainment coming from as many sources as possible and now we can all own our niche. This isn’t about being the next CNN/FOX/Whatever, it’s about being individuals, being ourselves, just occasionally pooling resources to create something special.

    As time goes on we can see how this goes. Maybe it is all a pipe dream but I can live with that because it’s sometimes dreams that keep you striving and working. The alternative media doesn’t need any more “god heads”, it doesn’t need any more self styled prophets doling choice tidbits to their followers, it needs producers, it needs the people to step up with a helping hand and do it for themselves. We can be consumers AND producers. The only thing that could truly stop us would be apathy.

    Think for yourself, support each other, and act.

    LiveLeak_Hayden: Jan-11-2014

  5. Bryan
    February 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    You need two domains… one for the cars and one for the political stuff.

    I think you are making a mistake mixing them. You turn off the non-libertarians, people who can make you revenue, on your political stuff. Also, I don’t care a thing about cars.

    I would grow them independently whatever domain name you use.

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