Thursday, March 19, 2015

Twelve years a blogger..




I have had this blog since late 2002. Before that I had a personal blog talking about myself and what not. Back then a blog was like Facebook is today only you only got to see one person talk at a time. I would share things on my blog that I see others share on FB now. I know because I've been attempting to clean up the old posts, making sure links work, photos aren't broken, etc, and I'm a little amazed at what I see.

I figured it was time for a little self reflection

A few years ago I went to my first BlogPaws convention.  I am not quite sure why I went. I guess it had something to do with seeing more and more people make money from their blogs and become independent; I had an inkling that I would so very much love that. I had also met a few other cat bloggers when I went to Hills to tour their plant and I had really enjoyed talking to other people who love their cats enough to blog about them. I had come to the wonderful conclusion that cat bloggers are freakin awesome and I wanted to spend as much time with them as I could.

Truth be told, I was disheartened by my first trip to the blogging conference in regards to the conference itself. It felt like it was more for the 'professional blogger' and were talking about things I hadn't done and probably never would. I'm not sure what they could have done in 1 hour classes that could have improved my little hobby blog, so I guess I really am kinda bloggin in the wind if you will.



At the conference I also saw an over abundance of the dogcenteric focus that is so prevalent in the pet industry - despite the infamous cat ladies (and fellas) tried their best to remind everyone that this was a PET conference.. Sadly all too often pet has come to equal dog.. and I just hate that. (don't even get me started on BarkWorld which seemed far more cat friendly the year before) Not that I hate dogs. I have just come to the belief that they do not need the advocates that cats do. Cats are still considered disposable animals in our society. They are the pet of the crazy person. Cats are destructive and disgusting and aloof and mean..

oh goodness I can't even type that out without shouting in my head THEY ARE NOT!!



So anyway.. I walked away from that conference wondering what my goals were and I wanted to do with this blog, and the only answers I came up with in the two years since have been: 


I joined the BlogPaws blog share programs where you help other bloggers by visiting and commenting or liking and basically showing up. I have met some wonderful bloggers through that and read some incredibly interesting posts. I have also come to the conclusion that #3 on that list is pretty important to me. I have stumbled upon far too many blogs that appear to be simply infomercials with one pitch after another. I have no trust or faith in what they are sharing with me because they pitch constantly. To me a blog is not an ongoing commercial nor should it be.

Do you know how sponsored posts started? The reason sponsored posts came into being is because back in the day someone with a blog with a lot of readers one day said "OEMGEE I found this product and I LOVE this product, it does just what it says it does and it is awesome!"  We have all had those moments right? Well back then there was trust in the blogger when they said something like this and people rushed out and bought the product if they had such a need..  When brands figured out what was going on, they started offering free product to popular bloggers hoping they would fall in love with them and would blog about it. Then marketers started asking for a blog post about the product in exchange for a product.. then it was we'll pay you to blog about it and then... infomercials.. here say this and we'll pay you.

Well the FTC (Federal Trade Commission - who is in the business of protecting the consumer) realized that a lot of people were being subjected to these 'commercials' but had no idea they were commercials.. that is when they started cracking down on sponsored posts and requiring that people label their posts sponsored or advertisements. This started with the "mommy bloggers" and the "fashion bloggers" because there is a boat load of money to be made with those types of products.

Cats and dogs, not so much.

There are a few big powerhouses of Big Pet Products that are sinking a lot of money into pet bloggers, and sadly most of those are business I simply do not want to do business with. So it pretty much comes down to my third item on that list is really number one.

I have decided that I am an old school blogger.. and I choose the definition of that based on the definition of the term:

Blog: a Web site that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site

So I am the person who authors a website that contains personal reflections, comments and hyperlinks ;) and a few million photos.. in a series of reverse chronological order posts. I can't tell you how much I wish someone would pay me to do this on a regular basis.. but I have chosen to advocate for a throw away species. There is no glamour in cat rescue. Sometimes it is cute - heck sometimes it is freakingly adorable but convincing people that doing so is worth more than a toaster.. *shrug* You just don't ever see that every day.



I am happy to take money in exchange for blogging about a product, but I will tell you and it will be a completely honest review.. the good and the bad; personally I learn so much more about a product by how it went wrong for someone else that I always read the bad reviews first.  I'm still at the stage where I am happy to take product in exchange for a review too.. the former will be 'ads' the later will be 'sponsored'.  I want to build that trust with my reader so that when I talk about a product they trust that it is my voice and not an infomercial.. which I think is far more powerful an advertising tool than all the copyright and flashy graphics an ad-person can come up with..

So I have come to accept that TFK will probably never make me rich, and I'll have to win the lottery in order to quit my full time job.. I just hope you'll enjoy the journey with me and help break a few stereotypes along the way.


57 comments:

  1. This is a very powerful post.
    I've turned blogging into a full time job, but I completely write from the heart and I write about what I want to write about. Sure, I just did a sponsored post through PetSmart but I only applied for it because it's a topic that I truly believe in.
    I have 2 cats and I also have a guinea pig. Although my blog is Dog Mom Days, I often talk about my cats (as they mean the world to me) and my piggy. I am involved in animal rescue and have been for 8 years - including guinea pig rescue.
    I don't want to sell out either, but I've managed to make blogging my full time career while sticking to my guns and not having a million sponsored posts. I still will write reviews in exchange for product if it's a small business or if it's a product that I love and swear by. It's not all about the money.
    My blog itself does not give me a full time income. I make an income from other opportunities that have come from my blog, such as my dog AND cats being spokes animals for ProPlan. There are lots of different career avenues to take.
    With that being said, I don't make nearly as much money being a blogger as I did as an investment banker but I am no longer miserable. I think the only way I'm going to continue to succeed is if I keep my voice and keep writing from the heart. Today one of my friends messaged me about switching some of his cat products to the ones I suggested in my blog - and that's why I blog.
    Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher and a writer...now I teach people through my writing.
    Keep plugging away - I love your kitties and your blog.

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    1. I'm really quite chuffed for you Amanda, it could not have been easy.. I think it helps being a dog blogger because there seems to be more opportunities and more money in the dog portion of the pet industry..

      at least that is what I tell myself :)

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  2. Your blog began about the same time as Sparkle's... and now it's into its second generation (me!). I can't believe that humans consider cats discardable. My human does not particularly like dogs - in fact, she thinks DOGS are "destructive and disgusting," along with being annoying. She does not hate them, and if she sees one in need, in person or online, she will try to help. But she does not really want to be around them. So there is a real need for bloggers like you, who advocate for us kitties, and help people to realize how awesome we are! I'm so glad you put so much thought and integrity into what you write and publish online.

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    1. I've been known to help a dog.. I've even kissed a dog and I liked it.. :)

      Thank you for your kind words

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  3. Congratulations on 12 years of blogging, Connie.

    I actually prefer to read posts that are "old school." I'm not interested in blogs that are selling to me and usually steer clear of them.

    So I applaud you for sticking to your guns and maintaining your integrity, even though you can't quit your job.

    BTW, I wish someone would pay me for traipsing through the woods and meadows (I'd have to move out of the city, of course), pay me to commune with Nature every day. I call it my Disney life, that wished-for life. LOL.

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    1. your photos are beautiful and I bet you could easily sell them for canvases or cards or even stock ..

      I too strongly prefer 'old school' blogs.. it gives me faith that there are really good pet owners out there.. it is hard to remember that when you are so deep in to rescue..

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  4. Concatulations on 12 years of blogging. It's hard to figure out the balance of earning vs feeling you sell out. I have discovered that the more brands I meet and the more I know about the industry, the more complex my feelings and thoughts are on the whole thing. But in the end, it's important to stay true to yourself, whatever that is, and part of the reason I enjoy reading your blog is that I know you'll stick to your guns and say what you think... and I have HUGE respect for that. Looking forward to your blog becoming a teenager in another year!

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    1. oh goodness no.. a teenager?? eeep!

      complex.. yes.. that is a good word..

      Thank you for your comment, it means a lot to me that you enjoy my blog

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  5. Congratulations!!! When I see you do a product review, I always make sure to read it because I know you don't sugar coat it. Thanks for speaking for the cats, we need more people in their corner.

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  6. Keep up the old school blogging!

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  7. You are such a true advocate for cats, which ,I and I know many others, truly appreciate. You also have a tireless commitment to cat rescue. Thank you! I think you're doing all the right things and it's very confidence invoking to know that your reviews are honest.

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  8. I agree wholeheartedly with what Fuzzy Tales said.

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    1. you want to take pictures of the outdoors? :D

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    2. okay that just made mommy laff.

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  9. Congratulations on 12 years of sharing your love of cats and keeping your integrity.

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  10. Bravo!!! What a great post. Congratulations on blogging for 12 years. Bless you for advocating for cats they are wonderful. I just like being an old school blogger and have been for several years not all of them on Blogspot. I love reading the old school blogs. Hugs! Maggie

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  11. Apaws, apaws, apaws. 1) For sticking with your blog for so many years. Mom had never even heard of "blogs" that long ago; 2) For not selling out; 3) For having the main premise of your blog to advocate for cats and tell their and your stories. Our mom never started blogging to make money, and she hates the blogs that are rampant with advertising. She likes the perk of receiving free products that we kitties can use and enjoy, but we only give honest reviews. Keep up the good work. Mom hopes to see you at BlogPaws. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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  12. Your blogs is one I know I can trust. I have learned so much from what you've written over the many years I've followed you. This August will be 10 years for me writing only a personal blog. I'm old school and I'll never "develop" into a brand or anything like that because I realized after I lost my muse, Abby that the my sole reason for to document for myself through photography mainly what our day to day life was like. After her loss being able to go back and read every single post was immensely important for me. I guess it is a digital scrapbook of memories. But I am sidetracked. I just want to express that your blog posts have always been very much a voice for the "CAT" and for fostering. In addition you have imparted some excellent advice on dealing with many difficult topics. I am so glad to have you to come to as a resource. Thank you for giving back not just to the cats whom you are an advocate for but also for all of us.

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    1. Thank you so much.. your trust means a lot!

      I too have used the blog as a digital scrapbook and been so glad I had those past memories documented in one place..

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  13. Congratulations on 12 years of blogging! I definitely love to read the honest review on products, both good and bad. True voice counts.

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  14. Concats on 12 years of really keeping it real. I know I’m a whore, but I try to make it fun. We have to do it because TW was forcibly retired and Pop is down to part time work. I wish I could find a product I really like who would work with me but that isn’t the case. I do, though, talk about the products I really like. BTW, I can’t believe you went to the Hill’s factory knowing how you feel about them.

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    1. LOL.. I was so sure the offer was some way to try to scam me that when I realized it was real I was almost too shocked to say no.

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    1. I am glad you are able to make money with something you are so passionate about :) that has to make it so much more fun.

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  16. I want to add my congratulations both on 12 years of blogging (heck, 12 years of anything is an accomplishment!)...and on not selling out. I'm another reader who has learned so much from you over the years. For example, your recent post on testing for diabetic cats. So, in addition to showing the joy, beauty and love that is cats...you are building better educated cat owners (aka staff). Thank you! And thank you for all the smiles, the cute, the honest product reviews, and for the hard and self-reflective moments too. It's all good and is making me a better cat person, so my current four felines thank you too.

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    1. Thank you Amy, I am glad i was able to help you learn new things..

      And tell the Fab Four Felines that they are very welcome :)

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  17. Happy Blogoversary from all of us! I remember that BlogPaws and the Flat Me got to meet you. You have one of the best blogs going so keep doing what you do best!!!

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  18. Great post! I especially liked the phrase: "Blogging in the wind." I might like to use it sometime.

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  19. One of the things I really like about your blog is that I know I'm going to get the straight scoop from you about whatever product you're reviewing, and that's worth a LOT. (Also really really like the educational posts, because I know that you do your research, and you ALWAYS suggest that people do their own research. And I always learn something new!)

    Also, if you had a dollar for every person I've sent to your post about how to pill a cat, well, you wouldn't be a millionaire, but there'd be enough for a month's worth of litter at least. :)

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    1. Thank you Robyn, that means a lot. and wouldn't it be nice.. a month worth of litter is nothing to sneeze at.

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  20. 12 years,thats a long time,I wonder if I will still be here in twelve years?who knows,being a rabbit blogger means you can't make money from it,I do the odd Sponsored post but its mainly for charities,pet companies don't really see small animal bloggers the way they do with dogs,but that is not why I do Speedy's blog.for me its about have fun and sharing the joy he brings with those that want or need a bit of cheer.Keep at the great work you do,you are amazing,xx Rachel

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    1. Bunnies are awesome.. it is sad there isn't more opportunities for them.

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  21. Congratulations on 12 years of blogging and inspiring and caring and saving! I'm only heading into 7 years as a blogger, and in the beginning I said I wouldn't write about cats. HA! That didn't last 2 months... Like you I'd love to make a living at blogging, but I'm not interested in self-promotion. So I'm doomed, in other words. Good for you on having clear goals and following a chosen path while I work in a fog of obscurity, partly self-imposed. But blogging is fun... and good discipline, even if it will never lead to fame and fortune, so I keep at it for those reasons. I look forward to your next batch of kittens, by the way....

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    1. oh goodness.. the ol SP.. yeah, that is so not high on my list of things I like.. :)

      aah.. kittens.. I can't wait either. I've already got someone lined up to adopt one

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  22. I agree with you on the dogs vs. cats thing. I don't know why it's that way =/ Even worse is the lack of recognition for other types of pets as well. Small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, etc. I've been asked to review maybe one small pet product before, but that never even happened. The company never got back to me about it. Maybe it's for the better anyways, because so many small pets are not cared for properly.

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    1. maybe if there was more call for products to blog about, maybe the owners of small pets might learn so they could take better care of them. I've been doing a blog about bunnies each year around Easter.

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  23. Concatulations on 12 years of blogging ! We love your honest reviews and we learn a lot about fostering and caring of cats with special needs by reading your blog. Purrs

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  24. Congratulations on 12 years! Talk about durability. Keep up on your old school blogging.

    Emma and Buster

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  25. Applause applause!!! Well said....and know how much we love reading your posts...from cute kittens to making us smarter. Mom recently had a conversation with another blogger about how much to put "out there" and mom remembers a conversation with you about being honest. And we respect you doing that....good or bad. Concats on 12 years!! Keep up the great work.

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    1. it is a fine line about what to put out there.. but I think it is important to share what can go wrong with fostering because that is when I learn so much.. I know some fosters who only want to share the good, and I can respect that,

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  26. Congrats on 12 years of blogging. That is quite the accomplishment, no matter what. And we enjoy reading about your foster kitties and everything you do for them...and your honesty. We've learned from you. We've been blogging for a number of years...though not as many as you...and we hope we don't sell out either. We blog because it's fun...and we love to tell stories and share stuff about ourselves.

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  27. We love reading your blog, and trust you believe in what you write about.

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  28. I love reading your blog, because your posts are always thoughtful, honest; and you always research thoroughly and provide alternate points of view if relevant. Ideally, some day the right sponsor of a product you believe in will partner with you and shower you with green papers, but in the mean time you are making a huge difference one kitten at a time, and sharing your valuable knowledge with many of us who are eternally grateful for the information you share with us. Plus, the pictures of your beautiful fur children always brighten my day.

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    1. thank you. and I'm a little partial to my kitties too.. :)

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  29. Wonderful! **claps hands**, I just loved this post -- very insightful. If only other bloggers could see through this. I am a new blogger (kinda) and have been blogging for 1.8 years, and I am ALWAYS 100% honest in my reviews (and posts). Always.


    My best advice to anyone (new blogger or old or even no blogger at all) is to just show yourself, show us you and only you; not who you want to be, not who you can be, not who people want you to be...just you and only you. When I first started out with my blog, I had someone tell me "bloggers don't like it when other bloggers post more than once a day" (I use to blog twice a day), but more so to the point is that she was being a rude and cruel person. Because really I was **ahem** am, being myself. Anyways, I love your blog and what you do to help these amazing animals.

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    1. thank you.

      and what an odd comment to say that bloggers don't like it when other bloggers do something.. I will have to agree with your assessment as to why you think she said it. Going back through my blog there are some days when I posted three times in one day.. :)

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  30. Congrats on 12 years of blogging, that is an incredible feat! I appreciate your posts as you've taught me a lot Of course I love the pictures of the Crew and the kittens too.

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  31. Twelve years, chronicling not only your journey but what you've learned and sharing it with others - that's such a huge milestone. And yes, it was pretty amazing that Hill's sent you to Topeka - but we're SO glad they did, since that's where we met you!!!

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  32. My sentiments exactly!! :) And congrats on 12 years. I agree with you that cats really need to grab more of the spotlight. I love dogs, I will always have a dog, but it's the suffering of cats that really gets to me... which I guess is why we now have 13 cats and counting. They are such wonderful creatures.

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  33. Wow Connie, twelve years of blogging is totally amazing, what an accomplishment! Thank you for helping so many kittens and cats and caring for them so well, that is very special.

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