In mid-July of this year, the new weblog service Typepad launched, and after a couple months of beta-testing I was hooked on the features. Rather than try and move my highly-customized blog over to the service, I decided starting a new site would be much easier, so I decided my next site would be housed at Typepad. I've long been a fan of TiVo, having owned one for the past three years. Last year I finally started hacking them and found it to be much easier than I thought. I have always followed TiVo news, I'm often writing long emails evangelizing the product to those that ask, and I've wanted to write easier how-tos than the ones I'd read on TiVo hacking. I realized then that a blog focused on the digital recorder space would be perfect for Typepad, and PVRblog was born (actually I originally wanted to call it DVRblog, but accidentally bought pvrblog.com before I realized my mistake, so pvrblog it is). When I started planning and designing the site, I realized that since it was at Typepad, it was going to cost me some money to run it each month. Currently I already have one commercial unix account, a co-located debian server, and a co-located windows server. I wasn't looking forward to another monthly bill, so I looked at my options and realized I could throw Google's Adsense textads into the template and perhaps defray the costs. I designed the site templates with this in mind, making sure there was room for it. I've run Adsense textads on Blogroots since Google launched the service, but they weren't very lucrative. I figured it was probably because "blog" wasn't too highly sought after of a keyword, so consequently Blogroots usually make only a couple bucks a week, tops. My dream with PVRblog was to make five dollars a week, in order to easily cover any hosting costs. I've been blogging for four years and paying for it throughout, but if I could write a blog I enjoy doing and have it pay for itself, well, that certainly would be something. I launched PVRblog publicly on July 16th with half a dozen posts, then announced it on my personal blog. In a matter of hours, dozens of other sites linked to it, the site ascended Daypop and Blogdex's lists, and all told the debut was a big success. Late that night I remembered the ads and logged into my Adsense account to see how the day went. I clicked over to reports to see the activity. From approximately 3,000 visits (not too shabby at all), enough people clicked through that I made $40 in the first 24 hours. The first thought that came to mind was this:
Great googly-moogly, holy crap. Crap, crap, crap. What the hell just happened? What did I do? What does this mean for weblogs? Would the world be covered in textads when I tell people about this? Shit!To say the least, I was a bit freaked out. I was measuring everything in increments of $20, hoping to make my monthly hosting and in one day I had enough to pay for two months of hosting. The next day brought another month of paid hosting, and this continued until a few days later I was a Yahoo pick for new site of the day and it resulted in twice the traffic I'd seen so far and over $100 in click-thrus came in during a 24 hour period. Once again, I freaked out.