Some thoughts on turning Pocketables profitable

Since I purchased Pocketables way back in the Pre-Covid times the ideal has been the same – don’t take money or stuff to endorse stuff, don’t give a good review to sell stuff, don’t make deals with companies to promote things, and basically remain as absolutely untethered to the things that make other sites profitable but in my opinion bias their coverage.

TL;DR – Paul invites you to share opinions on possible changes in advertising / income model

Additionally I didn’t ever sell any of the products I received, although I did trade some for Guinness so make of that what you will. The people who write here besides me do their own thing, we have a set of rules such as not getting Paul sued, but generally we’ve been very un-sochmeed bloggy about things.

For the sake of complete honesty here I sold some three year old theITbaby products and a couple of two year old Pocketables review items I needed out of my house in the past month.

For me it’s been a fascinating hobby of testing things out, researching news, and generally attempting to pay myself back for what Pocketables cost. As long as it was making something and I got to play with these fancy toys, it was what I wanted. Google advertising and some Amazon sales (mostly google though,) paid for the hosting, the couple of plugins we have to pay for, and allowed me to pay some people who made stuff for WP (eg, bought a theme, bought a plugin, etc).

For the longest time Pocketables also had extremely low cost hosting. This was due to my work, but unfortunately Pocketables is getting too big for that and I must once again migrate the site and now pick up the tab.

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I’d slapped some more Google ads up, we’ve monetized YouTube content, popped up a Patreon (which has a total lifetime donation balance of $134.63, which I’m not complaining about I really do want to thank everyone who supports us) but it’s obvious we’re small scale and between Patreon and Google’s inconsistent income I’m looking at paying to write at this point.

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Reason Google’s income wonkiness is they keep claiming I’m generating fake traffic any time one of our articles gets popular. I think I’ve traced the vague claims of fraud to when I did the review for the Vizio V705x-H1 70″ class UHD TV and got a *lot* of traffic because I was one of four sites on the internet that had a review on day one of the product hitting Walmart. This killed us during Christmas, the one time of year we generally make money. The next time they decided we were fake traffic appears to be because I posted a link to a two year old article in response to XDA reporting something as news (it was, it was also news two years before, it got a lot of traffic, it wasn’t fraud or an attempt to make that big Google $2 in advertising.)

Either way, our advertising income keeps getting shut off for two weeks at a time over what appears to be roughly $7 in increased income over two events. The timeframes they did it mean that we’re out hosting money for ~7 months. Christmas is big for some reason.

And so I sold out

I haven’t sold out. I’m not even sure what I consider what I’m considering at the moment but I’ve been contacted by a couple of places that connect brands to bloggers, guest posts to blogs and sites, and pay to post heavily marked “this is a paid advertisement” sort of posts.

At the moment I’ve been offered enough money to pay for hosting for 7 months for cutting and pasting two sponsored posts. Both are… not going to say good, but they’re not against what Pocketables writes about and would be tagged as sponsored.

I’m honestly wondering at this point what people think about sites similar to ours that do these things. We’ve done our own thing for so long now that change just seems odd and I’m wondering if I’m overthinking taking obviously sponsored posts and being contacted directly by brands to do reviews (most likely paid as well,) as opposed to PR firms (which we do / unpaid).

The paid blogging opportunities which exist in the brand contacts are where I cringe a little. I think I’ve seen evidence of people not feeling they can give a negative review for fear of not being paid.

Pocketables has been we can do what we want, we’re not getting paid and the only incentive to be nice is if we’re trying to get something else from the company (which we’re not if product A was bad I can tell you.)

I don’t know, what do you think?

Yeah it boils down to a couple of marked ads that are posts, possibly anyone who authors for Pocketables being able to get paid with a brand review, the occasional “why is this even written and how are you getting paid for it?” post which as far as I can tell involves the assumption of domain authority.

I’d love to make enough money that Pocketables could afford to purchase some random products, review them without *any* strings, and give the authors here some incentive.

Yeah, what do you readers think? Am I just out of touch, is this a bad idea, is this a great idea, is Paul just posting this to create engagement and therefor justify paying over $100 a year for Disqus because he’s too lazy to delete 9 out of 10 comments that are just spam?

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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4 thoughts on “Some thoughts on turning Pocketables profitable

  • Avatar of Daniel D.

    Well, well, well… You’re making a painful point there!

    On one side Pocketables is small, tiny even. But it has good content! Honest content! Nothing too fancy, but at the end of a good read you know that it was an honest to God text, personal experiences, true opinions.
    On the other side I see big sites (I tend to follow some big Android related names) popping out articles that have absolutely nothing to do with the usual content! And then you’re wondering “what the duck?”. Is this actually content or was the site hacked and someone sneaked in an article about “best gaming laptops” on an android site?

    What I would do in order to please both the cabbage amd the goat (Romanian saying) is to create a section specific for monetising. Sponsored (but honest) reviews, maybe some promos… Pocketables related stuff… But not everything that could fit inside a pocket…

    Let’s see how it goes!

    • Yup – whole thing with those “best gaming laptops” and “5 things every construction software developer should learn” type of articles that don’t fit are probably attempts to capitalize on domain authority (a ranking Google and the like give your site) – right now I’ve got offers that would get hosting bill paid for 5-7 months (think I did the math up there) that do not directly pertain to what I cover and are in the software development field.

      Not entirely sure I could divide into sections based on our WP setup, but could tag and preface everything with “this is a sponsored review as in we get paid for it”…

      have to go deal with a work crisis at the moment

  • My opinion since you asked (and I appreciate you asking your readers): Everyone needs to pay the bills, but the key is to not breach the trust and rapport you’ve built up with your readers all these years.

    I think “Sponsored Posts” are fine. You plan to clearly mark them. They are especially good if they are for products that you would actually like and/or post about anyway. A sponsored post about an item or product that you personally would recommend against had they not paid you would be a breach of trust IMO.

    Similar reasoning to being paid to do a review or getting free items to review. If the review is honest, then OK. If they incentivize you to lie by paying more for a good review or only using you when you write good reviews, then no.

  • Turned down $270 to post word spaghetti, discovered how the word spaghetti guest post world works with random agents. I knew I’d caught one a while ago, just didn’t know independent SEO placement specialist was a thing


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