One year ago today I reconstructed the “Black Velvet Bruce Lee” blog after it had been deleted by the original BVBL, and posted “I Am The Master Now“, announcing that I would continue the blog after BVBL had vanished. Days later I was served with a lawsuit by Steven Chapman alleging defamation, and asking for $200,000 in damages. That lawsuit continues to languish without any indication that there’s an interest in pursuing it, while my partially pro-bono attorney has been fully engaged with clients who pay him more than I do and not had the time to do more than wait for some sort of action by the plaintiff’s attorneys. I’d like to say more about the lawsuit, but that’s going to have to wait until a more appropriate time.
I moved Black Velvet Bruce Li to my own servers from blogger in July of 2006 in order to have more control, and get more information about what was driving traffic. That month I recorded 22,708 page views, and served a total of 43,277 requests. I was somewhat visible as a blog, ranking around the bottom of republitarian’s “influential list” (I believe something like #16), and not on NLS’ blog ranking anywhere. This month I had 137,521 page views, and 479,533 total requests, I am currently #1 on the BlogNetNews “influential index“, and am Gold/Platinum on NLS. During this first year there have been 1,092 posts, and 9,362 comments, and served 48,900 different IP addresses. In traffic terms, as best I can tell, I am the number one republican-oriented blog that primarily covers Virginia politics, and the number three blog in the Virginia political blogosphere.
All told, my server has processed almost 3 million requests in one year, and provided a little more than a million page views. Lots of people are wasting lots of time out there. Either that, or learning about politics what they couldn’t find anywhere else. Once your readership eclipses the daily circulation of the local newspaper, I imagine the “wasting time” explanation isn’t quite so compelling.
I’ve had a couple of contributors to help me, most notably Russ Harrison who has done a tremendous job when he’s had the time to lend a hand. I hope his hectic schedule lightens up at some point, as the quality here rises a lot when he’s able to contribute. After this lawsuit is completed, I also hope to have the BVBL back as a contributor, which is one reason why I haven’t assumed his identity. And no, I do not know who BVBL was, and I don’t care to until this temporary unpleasantness is behind us. Hopefully he won’t mind too much about what I’ve done with his creation since he went to “deep cover”.
What I’ve done this year is to spend an insane amount of time focused on producing stories, doing research, and trying to provide several new posts every day. This really is a second full-time job. The pay is awful. All told, I’m not even breaking even on the monthly cost of a static IP business DSL account, much less earning anything close to a profit. A good month brings in about $25 in adsense revenue, and blogads revenue seems to be something that needs an actual sales force to generate. Despite being a locally-focused website, local business hasn’t yet seen the value in the tens of thousands of local eyeballs that view these pages, and ignored this opportunity they have to get some significant exposure at some very cheap rates. I guess the blogosphere hasn’t yet developed to the point where it can be a paying gig.
There are other rewards, and chief among them is that now folks have a place to go to find out what’s going on in local politics. I used to go to the voting booth not having much of an idea why I should vote for or against a candidate. Had a resource like this existed for me back then, I would have made better choices, or at least more informed ones. Based on the traffic I’m seeing, that may be coming true for a lot of others out there. Some local folks who were largely ignored by the press have gotten their story told, and it’s made a big difference for them. A (thankfully) few local governments which have been used to facing little accountability know now that they’re being watched closely, and may do better by their constituents. Perhaps best of all, the candidate selection process at the local level is now much more rigorous. Two candidates for the House of Delegates have dropped out of their races and publicly said that coverage on BVBL was part of the reason they did.
The top two stories of BVBL’s first year involve the Rack & Roll scandal in Manassas Park. Number one is the Park’s attempt to silence me with a lawsuit threat, and number two is the most explosive story (so far) showing two police officers releasing suspected drug users, which strongly suggests the suspects were part of an undercover operation aimed not at enforcing the law, but harassing a business. Story three is where BVBL pointed out the unusual candidacy of Jeff Dion, which prompted heated discussion. Also showing in the top ten is what I consider one of the best stories of the year, concerning Manassas Park’s “generous offer” which would have been more appropriate coming from an organized crime syndicate than a local government. On the fun side, creative “fair use” of a photo of Judy Feder has drawn a lot of reader interest.
Thanks for stopping by over this past year. If what you’ve seen here has gotten you thinking about getting involved, I’m opening up for contributors. Send me an email if you might be interested in doing a guest post or two, and dipping your toe into the waters of the blogosphere.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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