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Sunday, 25 August 2013


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Well I'm hanging in their with Amazon + TOP for the time being. But I wonder if you might make a deal with WEX Photographic, who are more or less like B&H Photo in the UK. There must be enough of your readers over here who use WEX who would be pleased to see some of their spending come your way.

I shoot with a Pentax. As you know, Pentax-owner Ricoh imposes a very strict MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) pricing policy on B&H regarding Pentax lenses. It is so strict that there is none of that "click here for a lower price." One has to call in and ask for a lower price over the phone. The savings can be hundreds of dollars. Most of the low prices for Pentax lenses on Black Friday are just a one day posting of the actual prices at which B&H is willing to sell Pentax lenses.

So, on Black Friday I could use your links, save money, and help TOP. However, if I'm not going to wait until then, is there a way to give TOP the credit when you call in to order?

Well Amazon might have little competition, but it's paying to grab that business, and hasn't really made much profit, despite greatly increasing revenue.

Here's a graph showing that : http://econintersect.com/images/2013/4/600_30765129Amazon-aggressive-growth-statista.JPG

So my question is, when are they going to turn on the profit, and how are they going to do it?

They may need you for a while longer yet, Mike.

Maybe the spike was a phishing attack from China -- see Karen Nakamura's post here where 50 GB a day of traffic was phishing schemes and hacking attacks from China. He blocked it -- read more here http://www.photoethnography.com/blog/2013/05/meta-had-to-blo.html

Pentax - remember the 35mm Spotmatic cameras? Fine cameras with sharp lenses in their day. Remember the Pentax 67, it had a 20+ year production run - remarkable! Pentax 645 and then the digital 645D which is the medium format digital that I might could afford some time.
I hope Pentax keeps doing what they do so well.

Mike, do you have logs that give you the refering URLs that gave you the bump? I see Typepad only give you them for 24 hours so perhaps you thought of this and missed the window to see them.

In that case another analytics service (Google Analytics or similar) would give you this info too for a longer time period.

On the other hand it could just be a bug too. It did happen before in 2008.


You don't mention subscribers as a source of income and I cannot remember your ever promoting the subscriptions other than by the prominent link on the page. I would like to think that subscribing would be the best way for regular readers to support your site but I suppose it must be unpopular.


With regard to your page views, don't you get the referring site in your logs so that you can see what caused the spike?

Your site stats should give you some clue where the spike came from. Look at the "referring sites" stats.

Re your graph at the top and your question. Don't your stats show the referral site? A friend of mine runs a site and he's always pointing out from which site the link to his site was on.

Keep up the good work and i'll try to remember to come to your site before heading to Amazon.

Have a look at Google Analytics, it will inform where this traffic came from. I see you got it already ;)

And Mike, vous êtes un bon homme aussi.

This is still the best place on the web, Mike. Well done and thank you.

As we'd say in Ireland: 'Fair dues to you, it's a credit to you.' Also: 'keep her lit.'

Hi Mike -

I rarely write or comment on your posts but I read your site every day. Even on a recent summer trip to Europe, at night in the hotel I would check to see the new topic of the day on TOP. This site is my favorite site on the Internet and I hope you stay in business for a long time. I sent a modest donation your way and will try to remember to buy more often through your links.

A while back you ran a reader print contest. Will you be doing another one ? I am talking about the one where submissions were entered and voted on with the purpose being that prints of the winning entry would be offered for sale.


Search hits on "introvert" and "extrovert" from the 18th? Who knows? The interwebs be a strange beastie.

Thank you, Mike.

This is the first photography site that I check, just about every day.

I think that your sincerity and the respect with which you treat your viewership shines in your writing.

It's much appreciated.

Could the pageview bump be contest related?

Do I understand correctly that clicking on a B&H ad (without a subsequent purchase)will send a few pence to the TOP World Headquarters?

While it's significance to my household income is approximately zero, it was still a bit of a shock emotionally when Amazon cancelled all the Minnesota affiliate accounts (due to changes in Minnesota sales tax law; the usual situation). I'd certainly be nervous if it was a big chunk of my income! Keep a close ear on your legislators, so at least it won't be a surprise. (And I'm still working to revise the linking on my site because of that.)

Fuji is certainly interesting. Sony I'm actively avoiding still (the CD root-kit debacle). The really interesting products are coming from Olympus and Panasonic, and of course Canon and Nikon, in my world.

I think Pentax stopped being a company in 2008, when it was bought by Hoya:


I see the Sony ad. Where's the Fuji Ad?

[You'll see. Stay tuned. --Mike]

Hi Mike,
I believe, you should leverage YOUR EXPERTISE. There are enough sites doing lens and camera tests,and pushing gear. There is scarcely anybody around, who can tell with some GOOD REASON, which photographs are interesting, and which are just an nth iteration of a concept first shown by Paul Strand, Cartier Bresson or some other photographer many of us don't even know. This means, selecting stuff for display and publishing. You should be taking your cut from the photographers, who get the promotion, and from us, who get (hopefully) a chance to buy some interesting visual art in this field. As an example, take a look at this:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=135912, and concentrate both on the work, and on the comments.
Why should this guy go on some obscure blurb stuff? As an example, if you deem he is worthy, help him do some editing, and make a book.
Take care.

So Mike, did you just tell us that we can control your spending versus saving ratio by simply choosing where to buy our stuff?

This is my number one photo related site. And has been for a number of years.
Unlike most, just a guess from my side, this site has an experienced editor. It is not enough to just have the knowledge. You must be able to write about it.
And the fact that many others are contributing as well.
Plus of course the friendly respectful atmosphere.

I feel like I am invited into your livingroom for a friendly chat everytime I check in to TOP.
Keep it up. I try to always recommend your site to anybody interested in photography in general.


The Sony root-kit debacle was a completely different arm of Sony, one that has little or nothing to do with the camera operation.

Mike, what about a subscription option? I'd certainly be up for it.

Mike, your entry reads - to me at least - like a rich man's disease.
I try hard every single day to find something new and interesting to write about and post on my photography blog. I don't get paid in any way to do this: I have no ads, tip jar or affiliations. Yet I keep the discipline of posting everyday. OK, maybe I'm a fool not to try to make money out of it, but I keep the blog because I need to share my passion for photography. My stats don't read quite as TOP's, and more often than not I get zero comments for my entries, but I do have a reasonable core of followers and many daily visitors - though most of them are people in search of photographic terms who reach the blog via Google.
TOP is different because you are making a living out of it. (Which is not my case: my profession has little to do with photography.) Given the audience you've got, and the number of ads that appear on TOP (and now the peaky stats), I'd say you're doing quite well. TOP is always an interesting reading and the contributors add value to it; I've learned a lot about photography since I started visiting TOP back in 2011.
My point is - I can't possibly have the slightest idea of what you're complaining about. It's as if you were complaining that your caviar tastes funny while I'm on a diet of canned sardines. Perhaps you could use the assistance of a consultant to help you rise TOP to professional status, but in my view you've been doing it right. And maybe goin' pro would corrupt TOP, making you write in compliance to your sponsors' wishes, who knows. Look at DPR under Phil Askey and look at it now: who wants TOP to undergo the same changes?
Keep on with the good work!

[Hi Manuel, I think you're reading my post through too strong a filter. I'm not complaining--I'm saying I'm lucky and I'm grateful, and I hope my good fortune continues. --Mike]

In the early days of numerous 135mm cameras Ricoh was considered to be a basic/junk camera, unlike Nikon. Canon was not a player in Canada until recently (in terms of availability).
Suspect Ricoh will soon realize as their camera sales plummet, who would want a discontinued camera brand? Mind Pentax is now just another brand, trying to survive. And as much as Mike likes his Olympus, even finding a dealer let alone a distributer for same is
at best frustrating.

Living in a country foreign in many ways to the USA; there are not that many outlets for same; suspect in this era of disposable digtal devices, the name up front means little. And too, warranty issues, as well as heavy import tax issues mean cross-border shopping of hardware is also an issue.

As to your on-screen advertisers use B&H as a source for slide film (far cheaper than buying locally due to a limited market and reluctance of dealers to stock items which don't sell), as well as Amazzon. Many books ordered by me simply are not sold in Canada because of far higher distribution cost and taxes and a very limited market. Then too Amazon has the goods in stock, here I could wait three months for a similarly requested book.

Your book and print sales, for me have
no interest. At my age, more books I don't need and my walls in my new house have no hang-ups be they images, or mirrors or anything else. Decided to sell or give away all my framed photos, drawings, block prints when I moved a year ago. All no longer were relevant to my existence.


I applaud your efforts to diversify, rather than just living in the here and now and assuming things will continue.

Still, the subject of T.O.P.'s eventual demise [which I hope will be sometime long after I've passed on] got me thinking. What would happen to T.O.P. and its content if you were no longer able to administer it? Would Typepad wind up deleting these pages if you don't log in and post during some specified period? There is a lot of wonderful writing and valuable content here -- it would be a shame to lose them for any reason. If nothing else, T.O.P. will be your legacy and what many people remember you by. Do you keep offline copies of your posts? Is there a way to share administrative access with others who could take over in an emergency?

Best regards,

TOP is one of my favorite and most appreciated web sites.

In order to respond to and support your requests that we use the links here to purchase stuff I have a question:

When I purchase a Kindle book from my Kindle how do I use TOP's links?

[Hi Jim, You can't, not from your Kindle. The affiliate fee is for the referral, and when you order from your own Kindle then I'm not referring you. You'd have to open a browser, go to TOP, then hit the link to Amazon and THEN buy something for your Kindle...which might not be worth the bother to you, and I do understand. --Mike]

Regarding that spike in traffic, I have a vague recollection (it was a week or more ago) that TOP had a mention in a Wall Street Journal article regarding cameras. May have been 1 or 2 Saturdays ago.

Traffic spike explained... Google sent 40000 pervs looking for "peeping Tom" pics to TOP.

"When you realize that all things are constantly changing then you surrender to trying to hold on to anything." Lao Tzu

I hope you are able to keep this venue open for a long time. I will endeavour to use your links but honestly admit I forget if not B&H oriented.

I for one would not mind an inline/in column reminder now and then that any amazon purchase helps, I tend not to look at the side bars.



Paul H -- well, yes. But then, marketers talk a LOT about the value of their "brand name". By my standards, the brand name "Sony" has been severely soiled, and hasn't worked very hard to clean up their image.

The post prompted me to take a look at the vendors again and I found amazon.ca had been added since the last time I looked. I put in an order.
Guess your little reminder worked.

I can't afford many purchases in photography, and when I do, I usually purchase locally. I do have a book buying habit which is deeply ingrained, though, and I've also got a family who loves books almost as much as I do. I'll continue to support TOP through Amazon as often as I can afford to. I like having TOP around. You do good work, Mike.

PS I hope Amazon doesn't get too big and powerful. I think North America is much better off with healthy local retailers as well as online stores. Our economy depends upon it.

I don't know how many of your audience are like me: I access TOP through Feedly.com (previously via google reader) - I therefore rarely visit the site or see the advertising.

You may find it useful to follow the Strobist route - they give me the first few paragraphs, and then I have to click through to read the full story, if it interests me. While this means I may not read all of their articles,I do see their advertising.

I did setup a (modest) subscription some time ago to support TOP, but my preferred way to send money your way has long been the print sales. Financial support for an artist and yourself on the one hand and a beautiful print for me on the other? Done it a couple of times and I will do it again. Can't wait to see what the books will be like. I'm sure I'll love those too.

I hope you efforts to diversify are successful - not that there's anything wrong with TOP as it stands. As a previous comment suggested an alternative to B&H in the UK would be welcome. Particularly as I - and many others I believe? in the UK - have cut down (or even boycotted) amazon because they pay no corporation tax in the UK. It would be interesting to learn if you can see en effect in your stats....

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