Sunday, January 18, 2009

LMOTD Behind-the-Scenes notes

While I'm not entirely sure I'm going to be back up-to-regular-speed on LMOTD for a few weeks yet (this is a very busy time for me for a number of reasons), I am thrilled to report that my laptop is now back in working shape. The miraculous recovery is just as strange as how it suddenly became nearly unusable - I accidentally bumped it with my toe before we brought it into the shop, and after the toe-hit, everything worked again.

I now have an idea for a future project - testing the ability of my toes to fix electronics. Something similar seems to work with kicking things for some people, so maybe there's actually something to this. (Kidding.)

In the interest of making sure I don't mess up any tax stuff, I was asked again earlier about the "money" I've "made" blogging on LMOTD. While I was there, I found a report option for the top ten items, and I thought it looked interesting. Perhaps even interesting enough to fill in for a proper top-sets-voted-on-by-you-my-readers top 10 list. I decided to just take a screenshot and post it to flickr. I might regret posting this - it's something of an "inside" view into the world of LEGO blogging. You can actually see how much money I made blogging last year if you add it up (hint: not much, but enough for me to consider running a contest at some point in the future). You can also see how some of the data is pretty useless - UNKNOWN is listed by many sets in these reports, and you have to know the items numbers to figure out what you're seeing.

So far for this year, I've had a few people buy Star Wars sets and one person buy a Taj Mahal through the site. Not a bad start to a "slow" season.

I never used to believe that nearly half of all sales happen during the Christmas rush, but even when I was trying to blog about music and barely getting any traffic (and using Amazon's affiliate service primarily instead of focusing on LinkShare), I started to see that trend come out. Most of the items on the "top 10" list are there because of December purchases.

It's also worth noting that there's a bit of delay before they actually credit a "publisher"'s account. The Black Friday deals in particular were noticeable, because several of the popular sets were backordered and the commissions were not put in until the orders had shipped. Mid January is really the EARLIEST a list like this can be done.

Funny sidenote: anyone else notice that some of the other LEGO-related blogs started to run more event announcements for events the authors weren't involved in shortly after TCBX got hefty coverage on LMOTD? I suspect that even though we don't all read each other, there's a bit of copy-catting going on. Of course, mentioning that seems silly now that we all use the BrickJournal calendar, but it's still hard to miss. I'd be interested in seeing - for comparison's sake - similar top-10-items reports from some of the other bloggers in the community. The most popular item on mine was only bought 4 times - how many of the same item do you think The Brothers Brick sold?

Just to reiterate, since I was questioned about earlier comments on sponsored links: I don't really need to see anything, and it's none of my business how you run your site, where the money goes, etc. I read/use most of these sites anyway, even if I don't link to them directly much. I've also been known offline to encourage people to use sponsored links from whatever site they'd like to support, as a way of helping out the AFOL (Adult Fan Of LEGO) community. I know my place as someone hosted by Google/Blogger and not someone who is paying to keep a private server hosting the site. I really have no harsh feelings on any of this stuff - the only thing I see in LEGO-related blogging that bugs me is when people who don't follow the hobby post things that are outrageously off-base and/or forget to credit the builders whose work they're featuring.

I don't expect to make Behind-the-Scenes a regular feature, but I'm happy to field questions if anyone has them (beyond the usual ones about what RSS is and what affiliate services I use - I'll get around to writing about those properly eventually, and then treat whatever I write about that as a FAQ for blogging in general. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like that that people who "don't get it" will use as a starting point).

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