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 Post subject: Blog With Success
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:57 am 
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Alright, I am new here to the community of Blog Azeroth but I am far from what you would say "distant" from blogging or World of Warcraft in general as to why I recently (2 weeks ago) started my blog www.AzerothNow.com

Now, the part where everyone comes in, how many has been successful with their blog from either fame or wealth (we aren't talking in game either). This is discussing Adsense ads, affiliate sales, referrals, or ebook sales even. Let me hear it from everyone here.

From myself within my 2 weeks of Blogging I have generated around 3k Unique visitors and around $30 in random ads and sales.

Now your turn.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:42 am 
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I'm not bloging to get users/viewers, and especially not concerned with generating revenue. My purpose is to discuss and feedback my experiences and observations about wow/life.

I think as soon as I started getting money to do it, it would change my perception of my blog. That would e the end of a hobbie and a deathknell for my passion. IMHO blogs who exist to only repeat content without thoughts or advice are not adding any value, and I suspect that a blog that does this will peak in usage quickly.

Should also say that I've had very mixed experiences using services like AdSense in my professional life, and do not rate what they offer as valuable at all. The broader internet community will learn to disregard paid ad placement. The entire model is based on a push based marketing model, which I hope becomes outdated quickly (if only so that I don't have to look at ads).

Full respect to those who choose different paths; I'm not having a go at others, just my view.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:32 am 
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Greater question is why do you care?

A blog, especially a game blog, is typically not a path to wealth and riches, but instead a creative outlet, a way to say what you want to say, to maybe have people that come past to read your works, and agree or disagree leave with some kind of understanding of what you had to say.

Likely there are people that make money, and there are people that sell books from it, but I much prefer reading matticus's posts on his site than his WI posts, I prefer to read about Larisa's first experience as raid leader, or to read the comments Pike posted on my Hunter post. I don't click ads on pages, in fact most pages with ads annoy me, I am going to that page for their content, and their linked content.

I did collate all the posts on my blog, 39k words so far I have written in 2 months, half a book. Yet I gave my thoughts for free, maybe in Lich King we can pull together a proper guide to WoW (not like the Brady one thats useless beyond level 70), with people's thoughts and experiences, but at the moment its likely a dead end.

Anyway just my thoughts, commercialising or trying to what many people consider a creative outlet is a bad way to start, I avoid the majority of these ads, and I would think most bloggers do, and casual traffic is likely to do so as well. Maybe I am wrong, but commercialising non-commercial work is like linking on closed forums.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:39 pm 
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2ndNin wrote:
A blog, especially a game blog, is typically not a path to wealth and riches

No offense, but this is a very naive attitude. Mainstream blogging a long time ago became a popular business venture and gaming blogs are on the forefront of that. It's true they are fun, but why can't business be fun?

As to ads, you may ignore them, but guess what... that's what keeps some sites going. Why should a writer put in thousands of hours and get nothing in return? Writing is a profession. Blogging is one of many avenues where a writer can make money.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:04 pm 
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I run a minimal number ads on my blog (besides the ones my host puts on it themselves), but generally they only generate enough money to cover the costs of the blog itself, which is all I really need or want it to do...like the others, I'm not in it for the money, I'm just handing out information that some folks might think is useful and looking for feedback and discussion. I am a professional writer outside of this, and make more money writing for more traditional media than on my blogs.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:13 am 
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Let's put it this way: there are truly amateur bloggers out there. Like 2ndnin and like me, who really don't expect any incomes at all from blogging and therefore don't need to worry about ads or statistics.

We blog because it's a passion, because we love to express ourselves, because we love to explore thoughts, or just because we love to communicate, we've got a sort of love affair with our readers.

Then there are bloggers who may have one of or several of those reasons obove, but who also hope to make some kind of living out of it or who see it as one step towards a professional careers. And that's ok with me. It's just that it sometimes adds a flavour to the blog which actually make them less charming, less personal and less appealing in my eyes. They may look a bit more polished and pro, but some of them (not all) lack some sort of genuinity.

I can't help it, but I feel more comfortable at blogs that are void of any commercials at all. To be really honest with you, Visin, I had a look at your blog as soon as you introduced it. Then I was overhelmed by all those ads. And I thought: what a pity. The posts seem ok, this guy has probably interesting stuff to share, but I won't come back to this blog, there are just a few more ads than I can put up with.

But this is just me. I don't know, probably most blog readers are less picky about this, considering how many readers the more commercial blogs still have.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:19 am 
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I understand completely about being more personal than more focused on revenue based approach. This is completely fine as I personally read them more than I would read a commercial blog. As for WoW Insider, I read that blog/website religiously as it provides me with great quality content I like to read, which is more valuable to me than reading someones blog who talked about their day down Elywn Forest Lane.

The thing is, we make money for making content. We do not ask anyone to click anything, but we encourage affiliate sales as the customer gets something and we get something as well. This is my step towards being professional and I have taken this way more than seriously. I have done everything right from the very beginning as my blog is designed to be the best it can be in the search engines.

For the amount of Ads on my blog is very reasonable as I only display 2 ads on a page at a time, and you can not even say that is too much. I have a lot of content that is displayed that may come off as ads, but they are simply link backs to other websites who support my blog.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:41 am 
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I had a second look at your blog. I counted to 2 big square you're offering to advertiseras - and no less than five Google ads, mostly gold sellers. If you got rid of the Google ads we could start talking.

When I started blogging I had two Google ads on my blog myself. Involontary, since the platform I'd picked, knowing nothing about blogging, forced you to have them. Even though they ware much more discrete than your ads I hated them, so much that I finally painstakingly moved my entire blog, like a hundred posts or so at that time, post by post.

It was awful, but it was really worth it. I felt clean afterwards.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:46 am 
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There is 1 Adsense at the very top, 1 in the sidebar, and 1 when on a post by itself. The two squares you are referring to is not money being made, it is traffic being made. It is link exchange and to get your word out this MUST be done.

The reason for traffic is for more people to see your content and the more people you have the more chances that ads will be clicked, something will be bought. While providing my own content, and there is no shame in that. Or would you rather see a blog that is dedicated to SEO optimization? They have a good amount of ads you would love to see.

I am not sure about the rest of you, but paying money to blog to express myself is not enough for me. I would much rather develop a name, make money, provide content, all at the same time.

-Visin

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:58 am 
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I work with journalism and PR myself professionally. But to me it's a totally different thing than the blogging. The blogging is my non-payed hobby, a playground for pure enjoyment. It's separated from my job and it will remain so.

I won't argue with you anyway. It's your blog and of course you should make it in a way that makes you happy. And I shouldn't have meddled in this conversation in the first place, you're perfectly entitled to discuss the questions you raise with other bloggers who share your perspective and ideals of blogging.

It was just when 2ndNin was called naïve that I couldn't shut up. But I will now and let you and other more commercial bloggers have your thought exchange in peace....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:12 am 
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Visin wrote:
I am not sure about the rest of you, but paying money to blog to express myself is not enough for me. I would much rather develop a name, make money, provide content, all at the same time.

-Visin


I think you'll find MOST of the BA and WoW blogging community blogs out of love of the game and wanting to share knowledge and experience, with no desire or expectation of making money. I have I think two affiliate ads on my site. My webhost, and Jinx clothing. Haven't made a dime, and I don't care if I ever do, I'm happy with their products and want to share that.

I've personally been blogging since before it was even seen as a commercial possibility.

I've visited your blog before I replied, and I see google adsense advertising hacks (never get hit again) and gold sellers at the moment, not a good thing. Another issue with ads, anyone with firefox NoScript extension isn't going to see them in the first place let alone click on them, I temporarily allowed your page, and of course when I close the page, it's back to blocking the ads.

Also, I notice you have posted a guide on how to set up a private server, Servers which are a violation of Blizzards TOS (and in some cases a copyright infringement). That alone is disturbing, Add that to the ads google is running on your site selling a never get hit again hack and a gold ad, and it's a pretty big turn off.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:16 am 
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Okay, it's time to drop my Canadian 2 cents in here (which is EQUAL TO your American cents!). I'll tell you what I've done with my blog, why I did it, and what I didn't do.

My first intention when I started blogging was to teach and educate. My secondary goal was to see if I could do it for free without any cost. I wanted to at the very least, become self sustaining. I didn't care if I didn't make any profits but I'd have liked to have been in the black. As a law student, it's a difficult pill to swallow when having to pay for blog startup costs yourself.

Although I would have liked to collect some cash, it wasn't a priority at the time. I focused a lot more on my brand (me) and just getting my name out there. This meant a lot of work writing, and commenting and reading and browsing. All this advertising and affiliate stuff on my blog didn't really kick into high gear until about 7-8 months after my first blog post in August of '07.

Quote:
I would much rather develop a name, make money, provide content, all at the same time.


You get the traffic first, THEN you monetize. Others try to get traffic and monetize AT the same time. That's not exactly a strategy I'd use first because I firmly believe in the power of credibility and respect.

I stayed away from Adsense because I instinctively knew that as a blog consumer myself, I would avoid gold selling ads and skimp over them anyway. No point in me wasting time and effort trying to set up for something like that.

Affiliate sales

Instead, I tried to focus my efforts on products and services that gamers and writers would be interested in. So I explored affiliate sales with my web hosting company and Nationvoice, my ventrilo service of choice.

I made 4 referrals off of Dreamhost resulting in $250+. I sold about 9 Ventrilo servers earning $5 apiece.

With those two right there, I essentially paid off my Dreamhost account for 2 years and had enough to sustain it for another 2 years after that.

Direct advertising

An advertising firm approached me some time in early August and we negotiated a contract that would have them display 4 text links at the footer of my blog. I had the right to adjust the visual settings however I saw fit and to kill the relationship if a link appeared there that I deemed unacceptable on my blog.

Paypal Donations

I totally didn't expect anything from this. But to my surprise, a generous soldier serving in Iraq sent me $10 as a thank you for keeping him entertained which I thought was really cool.

Project Wonderful

Right now, I've started experimenting with Project Wonderful's ad system. I've gotten mixed results thus far but it shows promise. I just need to refine the code and settings a bit more.

As you can see, the majority of the executive decisions I've made have revolved around a main concept:

"What can I do to pay for my blog's costs without pissing off my subscriber and reader base?"

I give my readers 2 options: Come to my blog and get "bombarded" with ads on the sides that aren't in your face or subscribe and get full length posts to the RSS reader of your choice without having to expose yourself to Dreamhost and Nationvoice banners on the sides.

I must urge caution. It takes a LOT of effort and time to start seeing results. Don't be discouraged. Focus on your blog and your writing first and foremost. Everything else, including profit, comes second.

Step 1: Idea
Step 2: <BLANK>
Step 3: Profit

There's a big reason why Profit is step 3.

Hope this helps anyone interested in taking steps to be able to afford themselves a coffee once a week. Although I won't reveal all of my earnings, what I can say with confidence is that I'm probably making more money than most college students working their summer jobs.

Unlike most college students, my summer job involves doing something that I love and enjoy doing.

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Last edited by Matticus on Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:18 am 
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Adsense allows me to continue blogging and as far as the private server goes it is something the public wanted to see as it may break the T.O.S from Blizzard which I am very aware of, my blog does nothing wrong in this sense. The gold ads and "never get hit again hacks" are there as google places them there, I am not allowed to pick that.

If you have another way for me to pay for hosting with another revenue stream I would be more than happy to hear it but until then, adsense makes me money and it works as in a matter of 3 days I paid for my webhosting.

However next to the private server topic, I have the highest ranked 19 Rogue Twink guide which is also the most in depth 19 rogue twink guide out there. So before someone comes out and says that my blog is a turn off, look between the lines not at the ads :P

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:46 am 
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Visin wrote:
I am not allowed to pick that.


That's incorrect. Within the Google AdSense control panel, you can block specific sites or keywords from placing advertisements on your site.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:29 pm 
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Larisa wrote:
I work with journalism and PR myself professionally. But to me it's a totally different thing than the blogging. The blogging is my non-payed hobby, a playground for pure enjoyment. It's separated from my job and it will remain so.


I've got a similar philosophy, myself, as a professional writer. I have other, more professional, writing pursuits where I spend a majority of my time; my blog posts, regardless of which blog, are generally what I do in what limited spare time I have, as a hobby. Most of the time, my blog posts not terribly heavily edited, either. I simply don't have that time to spare when I could, instead, be editing and revising an article for a magazine or professional publication.

On another note, I have tried blocking the gold farming/power levelling keywords in adsense, but unfortunately it doesn't always work, therefore I've placed a disclaimer on my page reminding folks that it's against the TOU and that I don't endorse such practices, in case some slip through the filters.

I have found, however, in reading other fan-blogs, that the blogs that are geared primarily toward making a profit tend to be considerably lacking in real content that I would enjoy reading, while the ones that seem focused on non-profit (or just breaking even) actually tend to have the better content and more well-written posts. They are a labor of love, and it shows.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:39 pm 
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Visin wrote:
Adsense allows me to continue blogging and as far as the private server goes it is something the public wanted to see as it may break the T.O.S from Blizzard which I am very aware of, my blog does nothing wrong in this sense. The gold ads and "never get hit again hacks" are there as google places them there, I am not allowed to pick that.


Yes you can control that. There are filters to edit it, and block those sites. It takes work, but I know a few bloggers that do it. Ads aren't awful but having them in 3 locations is a bit overkill.

Quote:
However next to the private server topic, I have the highest ranked 19 Rogue Twink guide which is also the most in depth 19 rogue twink guide out there. So before someone comes out and says that my blog is a turn off, look between the lines not at the ads :P


Twink guide may be awesome, as a non twink player, it doesn't affect my opinion that publicly condoning the creation of private servers is a turn off. You could have the best guide to get from 1-70 in a day legitimately, but seeing the private server article takes away integrity of it.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:45 pm 
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Visin wrote:
Adsense allows me to continue blogging and as far as the private server goes it is something the public wanted to see as it may break the T.O.S from Blizzard which I am very aware of, my blog does nothing wrong in this sense. The gold ads and "never get hit again hacks" are there as google places them there, I am not allowed to pick that.


While you can't determine what you display directly, you "can" block up to 200 sites. This isn't enough for gold selling sites however. I've tried, and failed. Google adsense is simply not useable if you are against gold sellers. There's simply too many of them to block.

The point is, by displaying google ads you "know" you'll get goldseller adverts, and thus indirectly are supporting them and profiting from their business and actions. There will be many people (myself included) who see this as a negative thing.

If you're interested, I'd recommend you give Project Wonderful a try.
You'll be able to sleep with a lot clearer conscience.


Unlike what the others think, 3 ads isn't a lot, and they're quite inobtrusive.
You should see some american blogs, they've got more than 6-10 at times. Positioning is everything though, and you've done that quite well.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Thanks a lot, on the positioning note. =]
Anyways, I do understand that gold ads will be on on my blog, and if I am able to change that (to benefit from) I would gladly do so. However, I make around $2 a day to display ads such as them, and people DO obviously click them. So whoever you are on my blog and click my gold ad's thanks I suppose, I wouldn't click them myself but others do.

I find my blog no different than being in World of Warcraft while walking through Stormwind, you see gold ads while buying your items, you do not log off because of this. The same theory applies, it may not be right for ever, but for now it is the best revenue stream as a beginning blogger.

-Visin

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:11 pm 
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In cities trade is involuntary, and we can turn it off. Blizzard does no advertise it, in fact they ban hammer the sellers.

You do endorse it.

Thats the difference.

Sorry if I am naieve.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:16 pm 
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Helping to facilitate the trafficing of gold is basically encouraging your account to get hacked. That's how all gold is acquired these days. It's not people farming endlessly, it's your guild bank getting hijacked and all the emotional pain that goes along with it.

Like it or not, when you use gold ads you are pushing away traffic from your site. Not necessarily in that you'll get less new visitors, but I guarantee you'll get less return visitors.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:17 pm 
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As a reply to the original topic, I'm not blogging for the recognition, or for money. I'm blogging because I enjoy writing, could use a little more practice (I'd like to write novels someday), and because I'd like for my guild to have something a little more personal to read other than our realm forums. Let's face it, most of my posts involve them directly, and it's nice to read about yourself from time to time, is it not?

As one of three people in my guild who are going to Blizzcon this year, I'd also like for my guild to have a look at what will go on at the convention without having to shell out for the PPV for it.


In response to the gold ads on a website, I'd never allow them on my site. I've had friends and guildmates alike hacked, thousands of their gold stolen, and there's no way I'd want these businesses to continue.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:35 am 
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In a commercial way Visin's approach is totally valid, and somewhat restrained from what other blog and information sites often do.

eg :
WoW Insider = 2 major ads before their content even starts. Massive sidebar of internal links, ads in sidebar, ads in content, and a very long trail of guff-guff in the sidebar. The footer is so off-topic to be maddening. In short: suspect layout, forced ads > design principals imho; which I suspect equates to being subservient to the money generation.

Allakhazam - dont get me started...(just see above)

And yet, very popular, with good content, and worth reading. Read it in an RSS app and you'd not suffer the ads.

[sarcasm] Coming soon to an RSS reader near you: ads in the content! What a brilliant idea....

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:48 am 
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The commercial way is the way that I have planned. =]
Note that I do not want to only create the best SEO planned topic but to keep them in mind is always a good key, for the best traffic possible.

It doesn't hurt to be smart while you write, just keep everything in check and you will be fine. As long as my information informs people and I make money, my job is done. If I make money, and I am not informing people, I still am doing something right (even though that is highly unlikely)

My own opinion,
-Visin

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:36 am 
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Yes you definitly represent a different way of blogging.

I do read Wowinsider in spite of the ads. But I don't look upon it as a blog. It's rather a news magazine. And if you want to make a news magazine you've got to be damned good. But maybe you will be one day. Maybe I'll even come back and read it then. Anything is possible. It just isn't a personal blog in the same way as most of the blogs in the BA community. In my opinion.

What I'm trying to say though I won't read it and enjoy it the same way as I enjoy for instance the wonderful walls of texts in the blog of 2ndnin. He doesn't write to make a fortune. He doesn't try to flatter an audience either. He writes because he has a passion and something to say. It sort of shines through. There's no other way I can explain it to you. The non commercial approach brings a special flavour to a blog. It's less professional but it adds something else.

With your approach I think you may get a lot of clicks if that's what you want. But you risk to loose readers like 2ndnin, who else would have given you extremely intelligent, insightful, post-lenght comments from time to time. You have made a position that will scare him off.

When it comes to readers, sometimes quality is better than quantity.

And yes, I could follow your blog in a reader, but I'm a bit old fashioned - I visit all the blogs I read and don't subscribe for anyone. I think the layout is a part of how you experience the post. But that's just me I guess.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:52 am 
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Location: USA
Server: Aerie Peak [US]
I completely understand that to the fullest and that was the decision I took when I started writing. I knew I would not be able to please everyone but to me this is not my little online diary, this is my way to collect myself and think of how I can make resources available to the masses that will both entertain and inform the World of Warcraft community.

Yes, I love to just ramble and have fun, but I like to separate this from type of play from my work, and this blog IS my work. I do everything I can to promote and make deals with bloggers all over the globe. To each his own I assume but the fun thing is that we have the choice, to be a personal blogger or to blog on a niche, and we all are aware which I have chosen.

-Visin

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Azeroth Now - The World of Warcraft Blog That Helps You
Seek Loot - The purely informational World of Warcraft blog.


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