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Friday, 20 September 2019


"And far more people are watching YouTube videos now than are reading the old-fashioned written word."

Why do people do that to themselves. You can read in five minutes what it takes a YouTuber half an hour to stammer out.

Hi Mike, this brings up something I asked B&H but – unsurprisingly – haven't heard back from them. It's a little more on the arcane side, but: how long do affiliate-link browser sessions last? If somebody like me who tends to leave hundreds of tabs open forever buys something from a sponsoring merchant every so often, does the initial session I opened from your affiliate link six months ago keep feeding you? Or should I just act normal and open a new session to the store every time I want to buy something via one of your links? (You can get cookie expirations from the browser, but which ones are relevant aren't necessarily obvious.) I've been trying to remember to open a new tab and hope for the best.

Back in April before your eye op you were adding a Patreon link (in a witty form) at the end of each post which is where it needs to be.
Many people won’t see the Patreon ad on the right because they’re using Reader view or RSS or several other methods that cause the side banners to disappear off screen.


Am I the only person that thinks you would do as well if you started today? Am I the only person that HATES the video reviews? There's the guy and his wife, who blather on for 20 or 15 minutes to impart what they think is useful information that could be mentioned in one or two sentences? And where's the fact checkers? And there's the guy who screams and makes funny faces and tells what he thinks are jokes.

Aside from issues of imparting accurate information, I have over 25 years of experience in the radio business, onthe air, and a few years on tv, and I can tell you that most videos would be about 10 seconds long if all the umuhs, well's and ahs were excised. Comeon video guys, stop being like junior high kids with their phones and get a dam teleprompter. They're cheap not, and you don't have to have a special typewriter and along roll of paper anymore. But then again, you would have to write, and none of you show any aptitude for that.

Thanks for allowing me to rant. And don't get me started on unboxing videos.
bill Pearce

I contribute a small monthly amount via Patreon. Unfortunately Patreon has to charge 19% German VAT on my nominal contribution. And then Patreon will, I assume, deduct a fee for their services. What percentage is that?

Let us assume Patreon pockets 20%. Then you would get 80 cents when I pay $ 1.19 which means you get two-thirds of what I pay.

If I were to pay you directly via PayPal would that not leave more to you?

And yes, I use your link when buying from Amazon.

Mike, I have a suggestion. I started reading what you wrote a long time ago, at least it seems like I long time ago. I think the first was an article about using three prime lenses ... which is on a site I can't reach now since it is behind a paywall.
Lately I have preferred your articles when you write about some of those older articles that you have updated based on newer developments.
What I'm hinting at is that I would like to see you go back to true photography articles. More about the why we photograph and the creative aspects about using current gear to achieve it. We don't need anymore articles about other things or about the latest cameras. We need more about using what we have. Maybe if you focused on those kinds of articles your readership might go up.

Amazon gives no feedback if any given purchase “counts”. No income from saved for later purchases; none for 3rd party of which there are more and more whether serviced by Amazon or not. Etc. Etc. I try (example, fresh to cart rather than from saved), but also use Patreon which appears reliable no tricks.

I've also wondered, just from watching my own habits, if the Amazon app has hurt your revenue. I used to buy all my Amazon items through my computer browser which by default went through your affiliate link or site. Now most of the stuff I buy on Amazon I do on my phone through the Amazon app. (Sorry. Ease of use. Until yesterday I haven't even had a home computer for a few years. The wife needed the laptop more and I've been functional off my phone.)

Glad to hear that your Patreon subscriptions beat the general downward trend. Allow me another call to my fellow TOP readers: let us all participate in TOP's Patreon scheme, and let us do it at rates that reflect the intensity of our useage. For me personally, my daily visits to TOP are easily worth three or four issues of a quality print magazine, with unique content both in Mike's own articles and in the reader comments that he so elegantly encourages and edits. Well worth a generous Patreon subscription!

Where do the print sales fit in?

I am sorry to hear about the dropoff in readership. But I can understand it if casual users are no longer looking for camera reviews. Maybe many formerly enthusiastic photographers simply no longer care. It might be similar to the lack of interest in high end HiFi. The guys who spent the $$$s just no longer care. I appreciate your work here and learn a lot. But I admit, I seldom buy new equipment, especially since I have mostly returned to film.

As for reviews on YouTube: YUCK. Many of the video photo reviews are done by fat dweeby guys who drone on and on and take forever to tell you obvious details, like the fact that you can unsnap the clip from a camera bag pocket. I'd much rather read a review done by someone who can write and form paragraphs.

There’s a new EOS 90D out there with my name on it that I’ll be buying through your B&H link in a month or so. And yes, get that book finished. You’ll have people here lined up to buy

Hi Mike

A small suggestion: KEH have an affiliate program. You have mentioned them a few times. I’m a regular customer (purchasing new cameras seems like madness when gear lovers change swop out barely used cameras at high velocity) and would happily use the link. This won’t deliver big bucks, but the big ones are made of many small ones...

Also - I echo what John Holmes notes above. Your work that helps us learn and grow as photographers is much admired.

I too dislike Patreon because of their egregious VAT policy. Can you still accept single donations via PayPal ?

Re: youtube photography channels. We all agree, of course: most of these are illiterate and ugly. Some are so horrible that I even get a perverse pleasure of watching them because they are horrible (they shall remain nameless).

But it can be done. Allow me to mention two channels that, to me, demonstrate that youtube work can be thoughtful, perceptive, nuanced, quiet. I have no connection with these channels except that I visit them occasionally.

(1) Sean Tucker, seantuckerphoto. He is a London-based portrait and street photographer who is working hard on his social media presence, via instagram and youtube. His youtube videos are carefully edited mini productions. Perhaps trying a little too hard to be groovy, but hey!, let him. The content is thoughtful and stimulating: intelligent refections on various aspects of photographic life. He tells us that he had a phase in his youth were he wanted to become a priest, and it shows, there is a little bit of "I want to change your soul" in his presentations, some may find this annoying but I can live with it and he does make me do some deep thinking about my own work. Also, he often invites other photographers in to show their personal approach to photography, and these too are informative and thought-provoking.

(2) Denae and Andrew, Denae_Andrew. A lovely couple who run a family portrait business in Utah, I think. They do a lot of Fuji-related reviews, but intelligently, based on common sense and practical use. For example, a practical discussion of "should I use the f/2 or the f/1.4 version of these lenses", or a pleasantly down-to-earth assessment of our blurry background obsession. As a bonus, both seem to be genuinely warm and unpretentious people, the kind of person you would want to spend an evening with.

Both channels have their promotional components, of course, but these are clearly flagged and easy to jump over.

You should abandon the book writing as a separate entity from this site. You should periodically (every month or so) produce a long essay for this site. Use the feedback in the comments to help revamp the essays (if necessary). Once you have fully expressed the ideas that you intend to be part of a book, you pull all of the essays off this site and compile them into an ebook.

While I don't think it will improve the total readership of this site. I think it will have net positive effect on the makeup of your readership.

Have you considered putting a link to your Patreon at the bottom of each post with the affiliate links? I know you have the side bar ad, but I have become immune to such ads, as I assume many others have, and when viewing the site in reader view this is not visible either.
In any case, keep up the good work.

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