Author Topic: Making Money  (Read 8137 times)

EscapeVelocity2020

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Making Money
« on: November 07, 2014, 10:03:17 PM »
So, when I came to Mustachianism, it was still very formative.  I enjoyed my little stint as a blogger (facilitated by the guide MMM put out), but it did not really pay well and faded as a hobby.  However it did help me understand what does pay well and gave me a new perspective as a blog reader. 

E-bikes and Betterment and hydroponics?  All these 'product reviews' are a cash in that aren't trying to help readers anymore, but tell me if I am wrong.  And where are all the profits going, what is going on in the real world with with the income side of this blog, because it is pretty huge! 

Just wondering what readers think
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 06:00:28 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

resy

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 10:13:27 PM »
Could it be both? I think its smart to make money on ideas/products/ services you would recommend anyway.
So far, his values and blog still seem to align.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 10:32:08 PM »
Sure, I hope it's the win-win, but I'm not sure

MikeBear

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 11:47:02 PM »
BYE!

Honestly, do you really think he has to answer to you? People get out of this what they want, and leave the rest. I'm constantly amazed by certain types such as you that think you have the right to run HIS LIFE a certain way. If it bothers you so much, it's time for you to go since it's no longer any value to you. I'm grateful for the wakeup face punch I got from him, but I don't follow everything 100%. I think for myself.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Too bad this forum doesn't have an ignore feature.

resy

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 03:55:07 AM »
I REALLY, REALLY like MMM. Not only did he wake me up to an "alternative" lifestyle in many aspects but also a lot of his values I identify with (concern for the environment, minimalism, family being a priority, etc) so I, like a lot of folks on here I'm sure, tend to feel a little, uhh... "protective" of him; HOWEVER I dont think its cool to be so rude about a little criticism and doubt. Its healthy actually and MMM himself advocates critical thinking.
I think he's pretty open about the blog being lucrative (I vaguely recall him saying that it generates the income of a full time job or something like that). Who cares? Why would we be upset about him making money? Even if he promotes shit, its still stuff that aligns with his values so whatever, doesn't bother me personally.
I actually enjoy posts about family and other stuff outside of money just as much. Its a whole lifestyle he represents and thats part of what makes him different!

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 05:29:47 AM »
BYE!

Honestly, do you really think he has to answer to you? People get out of this what they want, and leave the rest. I'm constantly amazed by certain types such as you that think you have the right to run HIS LIFE a certain way. If it bothers you so much, it's time for you to go since it's no longer any value to you. I'm grateful for the wakeup face punch I got from him, but I don't follow everything 100%. I think for myself.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Too bad this forum doesn't have an ignore feature.
It's uneven replies like this that surprise me.  I was just stating what is pretty much a fact, that promoting Betterment generated a significant income for this site.  I never asked MMM to answer to me, I enjoy the forums.  Feel free to answer to my thoughts about if this site is becoming commercialized or ignore me if that's easier, it's an internet forum and we're all free to be discuss whatever interests us and leave the rest.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 06:02:37 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 05:38:40 AM »
The blog obviously generates a fair amount of money, very possibly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, but it's actually paltry compared to what he could be making from it if he were serious about monetisation. He could probably be making millions per year with aggressive marketing of credit cards and more advertising schemes in general. I doubt MMM cares much about maximising how much money the blog makes, but if you have a popular website, why wouldn't you want to get some return from it? There's nothing wrong with taking advantage of chances to earn money; that's just capitalism. There's no reason to be upset about somebody else's success.

The whole point of capitalism is that you can take all the profits from your success (less taxes). I don't really understand how you can have a complaint that somebody is profiting from their own hard work.
I'm just wondering if others get the feeling that the blog has changed.  It used to be about low-flow showerheads and facepunching people for riding a motorized throne to the grocery store.  But hydroponics and all the latest stuff has me scratching my head.  MMM even commented that he'd spent 60k this year on his new house (in the credit card churn post).  But then he comes out and says his family lives on 25k/yr, as if the business income and expenditure doesn't exist. 

I look forward to his book, I hope it addresses his whole life, the whole story.  I have no complaints about him cashing in, I just want to know what he (or at least his readers) think about it.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 05:56:18 AM »
I REALLY, REALLY like MMM. Not only did he wake me up to an "alternative" lifestyle in many aspects but also a lot of his values I identify with (concern for the environment, minimalism, family being a priority, etc) so I, like a lot of folks on here I'm sure, tend to feel a little, uhh... "protective" of him; HOWEVER I dont think its cool to be so rude about a little criticism and doubt. Its healthy actually and MMM himself advocates critical thinking.
I think he's pretty open about the blog being lucrative (I vaguely recall him saying that it generates the income of a full time job or something like that). Who cares? Why would we be upset about him making money? Even if he promotes shit, its still stuff that aligns with his values so whatever, doesn't bother me personally.
I actually enjoy posts about family and other stuff outside of money just as much. Its a whole lifestyle he represents and thats part of what makes him different!
Thanks Resy, it's just that I can't help but think, when I read a 'Betterment' (or, Personal Capital) post, is there bias or conflict of interest?  Is Betterment really better than having all the free resources on the internet and just investing in Vanguard Index funds? 

I did enjoy the 'challenge to go car free' post. 

Future Lazy

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2014, 06:24:45 AM »
Why should it matter if MMM is making money or not? It's not a public service he's doing here, after all, it's just a hobby that happens to be popular and grow a community of followers. Monetization of something doesn't flip the corruption switch, and likewise, it's still up to individual readers to click ads, sign up for credit cards, or follow reference links. I could have typed Betterment.com into my browser, but I chose to click through MMM's links - because I like MMM and I want him to continue his good work here.

And, as far as "Where is the money going?" Well, I would imagine it goes into a lot of investment accounts :). But really, that's nobody's business.

Cincy Stache

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2014, 06:42:11 AM »
BYE!

Honestly, do you really think he has to answer to you? People get out of this what they want, and leave the rest. I'm constantly amazed by certain types such as you that think you have the right to run HIS LIFE a certain way. If it bothers you so much, it's time for you to go since it's no longer any value to you. I'm grateful for the wakeup face punch I got from him, but I don't follow everything 100%. I think for myself.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Too bad this forum doesn't have an ignore feature.


It's uneven replies like this that surprise me.  I was just stating what is pretty much a fact, that promoting Betterment generated a significant income for this site.  I never asked MMM to answer to me, I enjoy the forums.  Feel free to answer to my thoughts about if this site is becoming commercialized or ignore me if that's easier, it's an internet forum and we're all free to be discuss whatever interests us and leave the rest.

ESCAPE: I do hear what your saying.  Not sure why MikeBear took such offense to your post, bc his response was a nasty tone that wasn't warranted by your post.  I started following MMM in Late Summer of 2012 and devoured every post in order until I was caught up.  The posts over the past year ARE different than those of the beginning.  If MikeBear can't recognize that or understand you were merely pointing out that the content isn't as original & entertaining as it used to be then he should "not say anything at all" instead of being rude.  That said... Even though I don't get super duper excited about the posts as I used to, I still check in to see if the post might be something interesting.  I find more info in the forums and other Mustachians these days.  Do I think the posts have changed slightly, yes.  But based on the history of this blog and MMM's obvious badasity; I don't think he's the kind of guy that would sponsor a link or ad in something he didn't believe was a positive service or product.

So you have 1 person that understands you were not being critical.

Johnez

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2014, 07:08:20 AM »
Oy. Cincy, I think what some defenders are responding to is not the assertions of change, but the dismissal of the later MMM posts as being money driven. I mean check out the title-its not an intelligently crafted question inviting discussion, but a crude accusation. To the ones moaning MMM ain't the same-how could he? He's pretty much laid out the blueprint and offered up the tools. There's not really a whole lot of ways to pinch a penny from here.

In truth, this is MMM's living room. Would you be whispering about this if he was actually present and within earshot? Something about the internet gives people real balls to spout off. Glad MMM went the direction he did here, something useful came out of it unlike 99.9% of the rest of the internet.

Jessa

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2014, 08:14:12 AM »
E-bikes and Betterment and hydroponics?  All these 'product reviews' are a cash in that aren't trying to help readers anymore, but tell me if I am wrong.

I think he is trying to help the readers. I agree that the tone has changed...he posts more infrequently, less about family and personal things, and more about infomercial products. BUT. I think that he's made his point over and over about a) the day to day, lifestyle changes that can be made. b) what to do with the extra savings when you've implemented a. c) why a and b are worth doing, philosophically, health-wise, happiness-wise, environmentally. Does he need to post another post being like "Hey guys! I have optimized my grocery bill and pay almost nothing for car-related expenses and it makes my life so much better!" I don't think so. I think that's beating a dead horse. He does sometimes post things like "Car-Free Weekend" to try and give people entry level access, but mostly, those of us reading already know most of that stuff, and new readers can go back to the beginning and find it all there.

Whether or not he makes money from the informercial posting...I feel like he is only posting things that he is really interested in, or thinks his readers would be really interested in. There is obviously a lot of thought and research behind a lot of this stuff, and he is putting his money where his mouth is on the Betterment thing, trying out the e-bike, having a "zero-to-hero" post about aquaponics. I feel he really believes these things to be of value to at least some of his readers. For the folks who have long commutes, or are not in the best shape, and don't feel like biking can be done...maybe the e-bike is the solution. Still using less environmental resources, still using more physical energy, still saving money, but a compromise between "get on your bike and ride!" and "clown car commute." For people who are interested in growing their own food- and it seems like there are a lot on these forums- the aquaponics thing could really make a difference to some folks in harsher climates. If he's making money off presenting these useful concepts to people...good for him. That's part of his thing, retire from the corporate grind and find a successful side-hustle to supplement investment earnings.

Cincy Stache

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2014, 08:17:58 AM »
Oy. Cincy, I think what some defenders are responding to is not the assertions of change, but the dismissal of the later MMM posts as being money driven. I mean check out the title-its not an intelligently crafted question inviting discussion, but a crude accusation. To the ones moaning MMM ain't the same-how could he? He's pretty much laid out the blueprint and offered up the tools. There's not really a whole lot of ways to pinch a penny from here.

In truth, this is MMM's living room. Would you be whispering about this if he was actually present and within earshot? Something about the internet gives people real balls to spout off. Glad MMM went the direction he did here, something useful came out of it unlike 99.9% of the rest of the internet.

JohnEZ: totally agree.  I just think the OP was being a little less "offensive" than the defensive responses warranted.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2014, 08:25:58 AM »
Oy. Cincy, I think what some defenders are responding to is not the assertions of change, but the dismissal of the later MMM posts as being money driven. I mean check out the title-its not an intelligently crafted question inviting discussion, but a crude accusation. To the ones moaning MMM ain't the same-how could he? He's pretty much laid out the blueprint and offered up the tools. There's not really a whole lot of ways to pinch a penny from here.

In truth, this is MMM's living room. Would you be whispering about this if he was actually present and within earshot? Something about the internet gives people real balls to spout off. Glad MMM went the direction he did here, something useful came out of it unlike 99.9% of the rest of the internet.
Sorry if the title comes off as an accusation, I didn't want to be misleading.  I appreciated Cincy and Jessa's comments, I just feel alone sometimes in wondering if there is more to the story in some of his posts that didn't used to be there in his first few years.  One of my favorite posts of all time was when he turned down $4,000 a month to keep 'badassity' on the banner.  I guess I was just amazed that he was making that much money and was passionate about what he was saying to the point that money didn't matter. 

He's probably making multiples of that now, so yes, if I lived near MMM, I would be more than happy to ask him why his blog seems to be providing more affiliate links, that it might be diluting the message.

I am not meaning to say this is a bad site or that he doesn't deserve to make any amount of money he can make, of course he can, and I think that the truth is that much of the blog income goes toward him spreading the message and having a hell of a good time doing what he is passionate about.  It would be cool if some of the people that knew more than I do about this would comment.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 08:33:58 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

Cyrano

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2014, 08:41:41 AM »
Referral posts are the online equivalent of hosting a Tupperware party. Those who do it have their reasons. I don't judge, but I don't attend, either. They don't make for interesting parties, or interesting blog posts.

Farewell.

Rezdent

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2014, 11:15:52 AM »
People grow.
People change.
But a person's core values rarely change.
So it's not surprising to me that a person's blog will reflect that growth and change.  Actually I get bored with blogs that seem stagnate so watching growth and change is interesting to me.  At some point MMM may grow into someone that I have little in common with; we may grow in different directions.

I  follow a blogger who did a complete 180 (from a vegan recipe blog to a Paleo diet).  Fascinating.  Especially the first few posts and comments. 
I don't see this happening with MMM, as his core values don't appear to have changed.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2014, 11:18:49 AM »
Farewell.
Whoa Cyrano, that took me by surprise.  I'm not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it was more an airing of the curiosity about why a super-rich Mustachian needs to make probably tens of thousands of dollars more by linking as opposed to just advocating something and leaving the big money links out.  He'll still make thousands on ad revenue.

I think it's awesome when a Personal Finance blogger discloses their income and expenses which is one thing this site sorely needs to do, in my humble opinion.  But, of course, he doesn't have to and I'll probably just have to continue to assume that his business is making hundreds of thousands of dollars and lavishing it on him to travel as he pleases and buy stuff he's interested in to review and improve his lifestyle further, all the while being able to claim that his family lives luxuriously on 25k/yr...

resy

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2014, 11:56:55 AM »
I REALLY, REALLY like MMM. Not only did he wake me up to an "alternative" lifestyle in many aspects but also a lot of his values I identify with (concern for the environment, minimalism, family being a priority, etc) so I, like a lot of folks on here I'm sure, tend to feel a little, uhh... "protective" of him; HOWEVER I dont think its cool to be so rude about a little criticism and doubt. Its healthy actually and MMM himself advocates critical thinking.
I think he's pretty open about the blog being lucrative (I vaguely recall him saying that it generates the income of a full time job or something like that). Who cares? Why would we be upset about him making money? Even if he promotes shit, its still stuff that aligns with his values so whatever, doesn't bother me personally.
I actually enjoy posts about family and other stuff outside of money just as much. Its a whole lifestyle he represents and thats part of what makes him different!
Thanks Resy, it's just that I can't help but think, when I read a 'Betterment' (or, Personal Capital) post, is there bias or conflict of interest?  Is Betterment really better than having all the free resources on the internet and just investing in Vanguard Index funds? 

I did enjoy the 'challenge to go car free' post.
I'm not going to lie, that doubt was there when I started reading the post! Ultimately, I do still feel though that he is staying honest. I also dont think he has motivation to go against his core values to make more money when he already has enough.
Luckily we are individuals who should be engaging in critical thinking (which you are so congrats!) and making our own conclusions.

resy

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2014, 12:06:55 PM »
I think it's strange you'd assume he "spends" his net business income, considering the entire theme of this blog. My assumption would be that it's padding his investment portfolio and making him richer, simply for the sake of being richer, although arguably that's inconsistent with the blog post where he says not to earn more than "enough".
He could be giving to charity. He did recommend Peter Singer's "a life you can save". Actually, I'd be a little offput to learn he doesn't give as that would clash with his stated values

Goldielocks

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2014, 12:22:42 PM »
I think it's strange you'd assume he "spends" his net business income, considering the entire theme of this blog. My assumption would be that it's padding his investment portfolio and making him richer, simply for the sake of being richer, although arguably that's inconsistent with the blog post where he says not to earn more than "enough".
He could be giving to charity. He did recommend Peter Singer's "a life you can save". Actually, I'd be a little offput to learn he doesn't give as that would clash with his stated values

Or , you know, he could still be saving it.

Once you find the joy of simple living, it is hard to go back.

Also the joy of making money while hardly working and staying true to yourself is a hard habit to break. Even if you don't need the money.

Finding ways to donate well is a whole other skillset, and difficult, that I hope he is trying out, but given his blog, a brand new venture and not likely at the level to write on as an expert. He could be still in cautious learning mode while maintaining mmm on auto pilot.

I don't see a conflict and don't link through, although it was annoying-- and his blog is less entertaining lately.  (Although the post of the wife' s letter was great, so was the ebike one for me)

forummm

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2014, 12:56:44 PM »
I have benefited greatly from this blog and forum. I think a big part of that is the fact that I knew his advice was honest and heartfelt. He wasn't trying to sell me anything. All the life perspective and helpful tips were free. When I saw his recent credit card post I told my wife that he's sold out. It really turned me off. The next several posts have been the same way. It's the 'native advertising' trend that many are criticizing as being intentionally trying to deceive people in a way they aren't used to being deceived (i.e. I know that the ad saying opening a beer attracts hot bikini models is a lie vs if my mom started telling me the same thing but without disclosing her new Budweiser sponsorship deal).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_F5GxCwizc&noredirect=1

I'm still active on the blog. But disappointed. And now I have to read everything with some extra skepticism. It's kind of sad. It also makes me feel like maybe he's out of genuine good ideas. Which is also sad--no more wisdom to share.

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2014, 01:09:57 PM »
BYE!

Honestly, do you really think he has to answer to you? People get out of this what they want, and leave the rest. I'm constantly amazed by certain types such as you that think you have the right to run HIS LIFE a certain way. If it bothers you so much, it's time for you to go since it's no longer any value to you. I'm grateful for the wakeup face punch I got from him, but I don't follow everything 100%. I think for myself.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Too bad this forum doesn't have an ignore feature.


It's uneven replies like this that surprise me.  I was just stating what is pretty much a fact, that promoting Betterment generated a significant income for this site.  I never asked MMM to answer to me, I enjoy the forums.  Feel free to answer to my thoughts about if this site is becoming commercialized or ignore me if that's easier, it's an internet forum and we're all free to be discuss whatever interests us and leave the rest.

ESCAPE: I do hear what your saying.  Not sure why MikeBear took such offense to your post, bc his response was a nasty tone that wasn't warranted by your post.  I started following MMM in Late Summer of 2012 and devoured every post in order until I was caught up.  The posts over the past year ARE different than those of the beginning.  If MikeBear can't recognize that or understand you were merely pointing out that the content isn't as original & entertaining as it used to be then he should "not say anything at all" instead of being rude.  That said... Even though I don't get super duper excited about the posts as I used to, I still check in to see if the post might be something interesting.  I find more info in the forums and other Mustachians these days.  Do I think the posts have changed slightly, yes.  But based on the history of this blog and MMM's obvious badasity; I don't think he's the kind of guy that would sponsor a link or ad in something he didn't believe was a positive service or product.

So you have 1 person that understands you were not being critical.

+1 to Cindy

I got into the blog just o er a year ago and read every post beginning to end. Finally got my DH on board recently and we read. Current posts together. There is definitely a different feel to the recent posts. Glad someone else could put a finger on it too.


frugal_c

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Re: Making Money
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2014, 09:03:40 PM »
I hear you and you absolutely have a right to raise this.   However I personally don't really care too much.  I have basically stopped reading the blog and am more interested in the forum.   There is just only so much that one person can say on the topic of reducing costs, increasing salary and then retiring.   I basically just like reading about people's situations, I just find it fascinating and it's really only on the forums that it exists now.   
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 09:05:33 PM by frugal_canuck »