Today marks the 3,615th post in the (now) eight year lifespan of this website.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m heavily into milestones because to me they best represent certain points in life. For example, I usually mention the fact I’m on a post number with a multiple of 500 as it should be sometime in 2014 when I make it to 4,000. By the same token, almost every December 1st since this site’s first anniversary in 2006 I’ve written a piece about where this enterprise has been and where it is going. Today won’t be an exception.
One would have figured this to be a down year for monoblogue because it wasn’t an election year in 2013, but the signs point to my readership actually increasing slightly. For most of 2013 the readership line on my Google Analytics stayed 10% to 30% ahead of 2012′s numbers, aside from a barely slower summer this year. Unfortunately my Analytics was down for about a month last fall; however, I determined from looking at my StatCounter reports that naturally my October 2012 numbers were 58% higher than 2013′s but those figures from November of last year vs. November of this year will likely be nearly identical once I get the summary later this week. So I would expect October 2014 to be a banner month, and the state probably did me a favor readership-wise by pushing the primary to June, which is generally one of my slower months. It won’t be next year.
I chalk that increase up to being a better promoter of my work, although I think being named one of the country’s best state-based political blogs by the Washington Post didn’t hurt, either.
When I wrote this summary last year, I had two writing goals in mind for 2013. One was to finally make it to CPAC, and even though it was just for one day I indeed attended the venerable event held outside Washington, D.C. It allowed me to meet a number of my cohorts from around the country, which was a plus. Certainly it would have been more helpful in that regard if I could have made it to the Blogger’s Bash, but when you are an hourly employee and work comes on someone else’s time schedule sacrifices sometimes have to be made.
One way I was hoping to escape that economic necessity was by working on my second book; alas, I made very little progress on that front. Maybe I haven’t sold myself on the idea I’ve chosen, which I think is unique but requires more dedication than I’ve given it. Perhaps I’ll find a little more time in 2014 but honestly I’m not holding my breath with my current situation.
Yet I think there is a way I can provide a useful service. Not everyone agrees with my methods, and others pout about how they believe I judge moral equivalence, but those who exist behind the scenes and don’t seek to grab the headlines or attention are perhaps the most loyal members of my fan base. If my numbers went up (or at least held serve) between an election year and a non-election year, that seems to indicate I have a fair idea of what I’m doing and have some talent. Never mind I’ve also outlasted dozens and dozens of Maryland political sites – go back to this list and ask yourself where the others went.
So the question becomes one of how I improve the situation to make myself more useful to the pro-liberty movement? I know readers have helped a little here and there by rattling the tip jar or buying my book – for some reason, November has been by far my best sales month of the year – and I certainly appreciate the support. But while monoblogue serves me as a great base to practice my craft, this enterprise isn’t nearly enough financially – and that’s all right. Unless people are going to start throwing a couple grand a month at me to advertise here, I really don’t think that by itself monoblogue is going to be my financial savior. It’s a hobby which takes on the average an hour or two of my day and it makes a small profit, so I’m okay with that.
But in reading a lot of the GOP candidate websites, I have to say that their writing style and conveyance of message leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve talked to insiders who complain about the same thing, and actually alerted one of the gubernatorial candidates about a glaring error in his platform, which has since been fixed. Yet when reading the websites on the other side, I don’t often see these problems – the message may be counter-productive to the state as a whole, but it’s presented in a readable way. So maybe I can be of service? I mean, I won’t work for free, but I don’t think I’ll be all that expensive and proofreading is really your friend. Just let me know.
As for the site itself, I think it’s in a pretty good place. It may need some freshening up in spots and those improvements will come as needed. On the front I just discussed I have a couple advertising leads from candidates, but I’d love some good ads for products and services which will appeal to a potentially large Maryland-centric audience. (I can think of a couple businesses which could use exposure throughout the state, but are locally centered around Salisbury. They would be great clients if they want to take the leap.)
One feature I think will become a jewel is the one I started recently called GO Friday. (The GO stands for “guest opinion.”) It’s off to somewhat of a slow start but there’s true potential for growth there. GO Friday was intended to give voice to up-and-coming bloggers trying to build their own audiences out of my reader base, but it’s open to anyone with a good opinion. It also gives me a breather to work on other avenues, such as the aforementioned potential writing tasks.
And don’t think I’m abandoning some of my other features like Shorebird of the Week or Weekend of local rock. I think there’s still plenty of mileage left in both, although the latter hasn’t been as prominent lately.
When I started this enterprise, I said from the beginning it wouldn’t be totally political because then I’d get burned out. There are days I’ve struggled to keep pace with my personal goal of daily updates (and I missed one this year because of an internet outage) but with that rare exception it’s been one goal I’ve accomplished. Fortunately I’m not prone to writer’s block and have something I want to say so the combination works well.
Anyway, this is where monoblogue is at as it begins its ninth year. Hope you enjoy the ride as long as I do.
I think I plugged this once or twice early on, but as I wrote on the subject a couple weeks back I figured I had no shot of winning a Mobbie Award for Best Political Blog or Best News Blog simply because it’s more or less a popularity contest. I have good readership, but not necessarily within the Baltimore Sun‘s primary readership area.
So now that I lowered expectations enough, I found out last night I finished 10th of 14 in Best News Blog (won by Baltimore Brew) and 8th of 18 in the Best Politics Blog (Maryland Reporter came out on top.) Although I cracked the top 5 last year in the latter category, over the years I have generally ended with about the same overall placement I came in this year. Mine was the top finisher outside the I-95 corridor, though, so I’ll take it.
At least I beat out Governor O’Malley.
There were a couple winners in other categories for whom I cast a few votes, most notably Chesapeake Journal in the Lifestyle Blog category and The City That Breeds in Best Humor Account.
But I would like to thank all those who nominated me and took the time to cast a ballot or two my way. I’d be curious, though, to know how this would have turned out if you could have voted for more than one in a category.
In the meantime, I hope those who attended the bash enjoyed the free food. While they were partying I was getting stronger signals that a particular rumor may be true – we’ll know for sure soon enough. Once I find out, you can bet I’ll be analyzing the effects of the change as the days pass. It’s what I do.
Well, folks, I have to admit my wheel wasn’t the one which squeaked last on the matter since the crap I described last Wednesday continues apace. So hopefully someone with a little law enforcement experience can get this din to a dull roar:
As Republican candidates in a deep-blue state, we have a responsibility to provide you with a quality message and a quality campaign.
The likely nominees for office on the Democratic side will be flush with campaign cash, aided by an accommodating media and, in the case of Democratic candidate for Governor Anthony Brown, operatives from the Obama campaign. These campaigns are not playing games and this is not a joke, they are running to install a permanent tax and spend super-majority which will bankrupt our beautiful state and drive thousands more to flee across our borders.
I write this out of a deep and genuine concern for our state’s future. Some of the parochial spats developing amongst a limited number of campaign staffs are causing unnecessary and damaging rifts within our Party while we struggle for relevancy and the support of the people of Maryland.
It’s time for us to put the games and the nonsense aside and focus on the real fight. As the head of my campaign team I promise you a relentless effort and a quality team and if either I or my team fail to produce, email me immediately at email@example.com. I respectfully request that the remaining candidates on our Party team do the same and start to prune their campaign trees of people who alienate rather than unite.
That’s what Dan wrote on his Facebook page earlier this Tuesday evening, and I (almost) couldn’t agree more. (I think we will get the Obama operatives regardless of who wins that Democratic primary because we have one of the state-run exchange states.)
But we’ve had “unnecessary and damaging rifts” for a long time, well before this campaign began. I’m going to go beyond the whole Lollar aspect for the moment because plenty enough has been said about that over the last week; in fact, the controversy over that has enabled the argument over open primaries to be swept way under the rug. People may need to be reminded we have a convention next week.
In essence, it seems to me the party lost its unity when Bob Ehrlich lost. That so happens to be the time I was elected to my Central Committee – I swear, though, this is not cause and effect – and these are just some of the political slugfests we have endured since:
- The argument over convention voting, which got so bad for a time some small counties boycotted the whole thing
- The vote of no confidence on party Chair Jim Pelura
- The return of Bob Ehrlich, which begat the Rule 11 controversy because Brian Murphy was also in the race (as was a challenger for Andy Harris, who also benefitted)
- Audrey Scott and “party over everything” – her tenure neatly coincided with the rise of the TEA Party and pro-liberty movement
- Speaking of Scott, her battle with Nicolee Ambrose for National Committeewoman
- The ongoing question about whether Delegate Don Dwyer should resign, which one of the current gubernatorial candidates used to score political points
- The referendum battles, including the times we chose not to use it
- Alex Mooney’s resignation and the bitter subsequent election for party Chair
- And now the open primary question
It’s been a constant routine of renegades, rule changes, and rancor for the last eight years – all we’ve been missing is the string of victories we need to make ourselves relevant in Maryland. The math is simple: one governor + one comptroller + 19 Senators + 57 Delegates = relevance. Anything less and we may as well not be there at all. Get that or more and maybe this state can be saved.
Now I will cheerfully admit I’ve had a hand in a couple of these issues I alluded to above; surely I’m not on Audrey Scott’s Christmas card list. But my goal is to help drag the Maryland Republican Party (insofar as it relates to the idea of enhanced liberty and freedom) over the finish line and make this more of a truly “free state.” (I’d like to do the same for all the other states as well.)
So this is why it bugs me that we have this whole power struggle between campaigns, between individuals – and even between websites. I like a good argument as much as anyone, but after awhile it gets pretty pointless. (Although I should take this moment to thank those who have supported me and my efforts – never hurts to acknowledge them! I have a support base I’d stack up to anyone’s.)
Certainly the average person, who may only now be starting to pay attention peripherally to the race (we’re months away from it being foremost in mind to probably 90% or more of Marylanders; this won’t occur until after the primary) would be unaware of what has transpired so far but right now we’re doing a damn fine job of both providing the opposition research Democrats can use in the general election and probably cheap entertainment for them as well. Doug Gansler has to be thanking his lucky stars that word of these shenanigans on our side is starting to get out because people will forget his transgressions long enough for him to rehabilitate his image.
I can surely guarantee, though, that Dan Bongino’s got enough of a struggle on his hands without having to worry about being tarred with these same broad brushstrokes. His is advice which should be heeded.
When you think about it, the number of people represented by the Red Maryland poll is generally about 1/10 of 1 percent of the potential Republican electorate in the state. So why do I see e-mails and Facebook messages from the three candidates encouraging me to vote in their poll?
Well, before I answer that question, let me state that as a blogger I understand the reason behind the poll. Truth be told, it’s not necessarily to provide an accurate barometer of the race – it’s to bring eyes and ears to the Red Maryland blog and network, respectively. It’s the reason I’ve done polls, and often I see a bump in the numbers if I put up an interesting horserace. It might even attract a little notice for me outside the blogosphere.
But Lord knows none of us have the scratch to come up with a scientific method of gauging the true snapshot of the electorate – not that it can’t get blown out of the water by potential events anyway – so we do the next best thing. If they have 500 or 600 responses to their poll, well, that means 500 or 600 people read their website over the period in question. (Obviously some read the site without responding to the poll, so in reality they have hundreds more who stop by during the week they have it up.) Same goes for the radio show where the results are revealed. I may be a dumb country hick from the Black Swamp of northwest Ohio, but I can figure out that much about marketing.
So let’s take this e-mail Ron George sent out as one example:
The November Red Maryland Poll is open for the next two days, so please cast your vote for Ron George for Governor. With your help, Ron came in 1st place in the October Poll, and we look forward to winning back to back months.
Not to be outdone, David Craig mentioned via Facebook:
Maryland deserves a leadership team with vast experience and a real record of accomplishments. Please take a moment to show your support for that team by voting for “David Craig” in this month’s Red Maryland Poll.
I haven’t seen anything from Charles Lollar yet, but he and the Red Maryland crew probably aren’t the best of pals right now anyway. Last month he came in just south of “undecided” but he had otherwise polled relatively well there. (Along with “undecided” all three polled in a narrow range between 20 and 30 percent.)
Of course, these aren’t scientific polls so we have no clue how these candidates would do with a “real” electorate. I guess the real value of the poll – as I have said on occasions before, which holds true in this case as well – lies in the poll providing a gauge of passionate supporters. So, at least in October, Ron George had the largest number of passionate supporters, although no one was really short on them overall. Insofar as that polling has shown, it’s been a solid three-way race throughout.
Winning an internet poll may not give you a boost in the real polls but it provides some good press for the winning campaign, so there is that.
Now, speaking of polls, for the fourth time in five years I’ve found myself nominated for a Mobbie Award. (Actually, two.)
I harbor no illusions of winning an award, seeing that it’s essentially a popularity contest and my website is probably not nearly as well-read as some of the others nominated. Let’s face it: a blog discussing Ravens football is going to cream mine in readership and probably voting as well. Even among the nominees in the News Blog and Political Blog categories, I’m sure other contenders have higher traffic (although I enjoyed a somewhat better than average week last week, with nice consistency. Thanks, folks.)
Knowing that, I don’t figure on winning the Reader’s Choice Award. But I don’t want to finish last, either. So if you feel inclined to do so, I would appreciate the support. If you can’t bring yourself to support me, vote for Raging Against the Rhetoric (Jackie Wellfonder’s site) because I nominated her in the political category.
Someone might get the perception I have a halfway-decent website if I happen to win, and who knows? It may attract a couple dozen advertisers and other major sponsors. You can beat the rush, though, and get in on the ground floor – just go here for details.
Perhaps it’s a sign that we’re outgrowing our britches, but a couple recent developments have shown that dealing with new media can make for a dangerous servant and – particularly – fearful master. (Indeed, under the person in question government may become even more forceful.)
In browsing the internet yesterday I came across this post on the Maryland site DMV Daily. written by Hassan Giordano, which alleged that Anthony Brown’s campaign denied his requests for comment on what they considered “slanted coverage” favorable to the campaign of opponent Doug Gansler. “(We) were rebuffed our attempt with the firm statement that ‘the Brown campaign doesn’t acknowledge or respond to bloggers’,” Giordano wrote.
Of course, that assertion came with the caveat “they would make an exception for the senior political writer of this publication,” for which Giordano wisely refused the bait.
So let’s compare this to the way new media is treated on the Republican side.
In compiling my dossier on candidates for future publication, I’ve come across candidate interviews for all three GOP hopefuls (as well as a possible fourth) and participated in a couple myself. While I use Jackie Wellfonder’s Raging Against the Rhetoric site as an example, the candidates have been open to other sites as well, particularly Red Maryland and their various radio shows. Certainly I’ve found the candidates willing to speak with me and answer questions; in fact Ron George woke me up this morning responding to a Facebook post (because my phone whistles with these notifications.)
I’ll grant that all candidates, regardless of party, have their list of bloggers and media people (in both traditional and new media) that they have found friendly or at least fair. Even back in the early days of this site there was the question of whether untrained journalists could be fair, and the situation continues to this day despite the fact new media is much more prominent and (almost) mainstream.
So this leads to my question of the day: if a candidate doesn’t want to answer legitimate tough questions from citizens, is he or she worthy of support? I would certainly place a black mark next to their name.
I think I’ve trod down this road before, but a post Sunday by DaTechGuy (aka Peter Ingemi) brought the name Jimmie Bise back out. And the points he made echo the points I made when I wrote my piece in early 2012 and the thoughts Bise had back in 2009. So I wouldn’t call this a tragedy – because Bise is still very much alive – but more like a case of lessons not being learned.
Yesterday I wrote at length about a piece in the Baltimore Sun which was repeated by a fairly liberal blogger who happened to be a statehouse reporter for decades. I don’t know who else, if anyone, wrote about this report but considering the paucity of Maryland-based conservative outlets it’s pretty likely I was the only one. (I checked a few and indeed I seemed to be the only one paying attention; then again, it fit in with my interests.)
And when I say paucity of conservative outlets I think it’s safe to say that our combined efforts – and by “our” I’m including the dozen or so regularly updated conservative sites in Maryland, including this one – might reach an audience perhaps 1/10 of what the Sun draws for its print edition daily (about 170,000 readers). Note that doesn’t count their online services, which probably draw another 100,000 or so per diem.
So what if some conservative bought the Baltimore Sun? This isn’t completely far-fetched, since there was some interest in the Sun‘s parent company from the Koch brothers, but the likelihood of the owners selling to overt conservatives is slim.
That leaves the internet, which is the venue of choice for most of those whom we want to reach anyway.
It’s helpful for this exercise to remember that a person is only allowed to donate a maximum of $10,000 to Maryland candidates this election cycle, with $4,000 the maximum to a particular candidate. If you figure even $1,000 per person donated to the ten most conservative members of the General Assembly (or conservative challengers) that’s going to give you 10 members of the body out of 188, assuming they were all elected – and in the state’s current political climate that’s one hell of a crapshoot. If you want to build a conservative movement in Maryland, you have to do better and begin with spreading the message among the populace.
I know Bise talked about running a national news agency on $500,000 a year, but if you took even half that money and spread it around the twelve or so top conservative sites in the state we could build a tremendous online following. We could work day after day pounding home the proper message, pointing out the frequent hypocrisy of the liberal state regime, and figuring out new ways to reach the desired audience. It would be an investment repaid eventually in better opportunities for all who live and work in Maryland.
As it stands, we in the conservative blogosphere along with a handful of talk radio hosts around the state probably feel like the 300 Spartans desperately fighting our own Battle of Thermopylae against the hordes who would tax and spend Maryland into oblivion, driving away the productive and leaving only the parasites who feed off the government and those producers unlucky enough to be still stuck here.
And it’s not just Maryland, either. Most of the northeastern part of the country, the West Coast, and pockets of the Midwest suffer the same problems our state endures. Certainly there’s a conservative movement crying out for help in those areas, with the thought that changing hearts and minds make winning elections down the road much easier.
People tell me that we may as well give up on Maryland, but I cede no ground. It doesn’t take a majority to “get it” to instill change, just a majority of those who vote. If we don’t have the conservatives in Maryland ready to not just dash to the polls the moment they’re open but also grab their like-minded friends and neighbors to do the same, we’ll be in for yet another four-year cycle of misery. And contrary to popular belief, our misery doesn’t love company – our special brand of misery drives company away.
We can do much, much better, with a little help. (Why not rattle my tip jar? My annual server fee is coming due soon.)
While I was helping the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and my friends Jim and Michele Hogsett by attending and supporting their (Save the) BreastFest fundraiser last night in Ocean City (more on that in a future installment), Friday the 13th also marked the quiet return of a local voice in the blogosphere. I’m pleased to see that Right Coast Conservative is back, or as they say, “baaaaaaaaack!” (Generally it’s one contributor but she has a number of guest posts, so I refer to it as a collective.)
Julie has been more active locally in the last few weeks, so it’s not a complete surprise she’s returned. Few can walk away after that bite of the apple, and she still has the passion:
My intent is to focus primarily on Maryland politics and local news. However, if something strikes my fancy, I may just go off the reservation now and again. I won’t be twerking or anything, but I may not always stay on task.
Her first piece is on a new candidate for Wicomico County Council, Marc Kilmer. If you’ve read my website for awhile you may have seen Marc leaves the occasional comment and once in awhile I will use his op-eds as a starting point for my thoughts. If you could find someone more qualified for the job than someone who looks at public policy for a living, well, good luck. I also have it on good authority that another quality young candidate will be formally announcing next week.
Quietly our fair county is in the process of turning over a new leaf of leadership to a younger generation, and that process will likely accelerate now that three longtime members of County Council are leaving – between Council members Sheree Sample-Hughes, Gail Bartkovich, and Stevie Prettyman the Council loses a combined 36 years of experience; there is the potential that we could see a turnover comparable to the 2006 election where none of the four Democratic incumbents at that time chose to seek re-election, (That was the year the county shifted from a commission-style system where County Council served as the executive body to having an elected County Executive.) After the 2006 election Bartkovich and Prettyman were the only holdovers from the previous Council because the other person who sought re-election lost in the primary.
But I digress from my main point: it’s good to gain another voice on local political affairs. Having seen the contentious times which marked the infancy and adolescence of local blogging, here’s hoping the discourse stays on a more mature level. Welcome back to the Right Coast Conservative!
Sitting here and catching up from what was an extremely busy week (with next week promising more of the same) I had something of an “aha!” moment – not to be confused with the ’80s pop band by the way – where two seemingly disparate pieces of information just clicked together.
Let’s examine piece number one, shall we? For days (or is it months, or years? I sense a continuing theme here) Maryland Republicans have been divided into a number of camps, tribes which rarely come together except on a small handful of issues. In the last year, I think resistance to Martin O’Malley’s draconian Second Amendment upheaval (legally and laughingly officially known as the Firearm Safety Act of 2013) was about the only issue drawing universal resistance from Republicans, and even then they parted on how best to fight its enactment, whether through the court system of via referendum. In the end, the court system won out but, as it stands, in a month the law will take effect.
In the meantime, we couldn’t even get the GOP to vote as a group against Martin O’Malley’s bloated budget – yet we call ourselves the party of fiscal responsibility? I understand our alternative budget is DOA in the General Assembly, but at least put up a united front against O’Malley’s principles.
The long introduction I just completed leads me into an Examiner post by J. Doug Gill, where he takes a long look at how the party has been divided since the Ehrlich era of 2003-07. This “bare knuckle brawl for irrelevancy” makes a number of valid points, although I don’t agree with its somewhat pessimistic outlook for the future. As Gill notes:
Any citizen of Maryland who has had it up to their well-spelunked pockets wants a strong, vibrant and relevant opposition party – and there are untold numbers who don’t care if it’s the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Tupperware Party.
The sooner some entity – any entity – sorts itself out and provides a credible opposition to the Democrats the better for all of us – including our friends on the left whose bank accounts are just as empty as ours – well, save for the union leaders and cronies and appointees, and, well, you get the picture…
But right now, and in its current incarnation, the only thing the Maryland Republican Party has learned from history is that they never learn anything from history.
Yet it’s not just about credible opposition – it’s also about creating a choice. This is something the majority party won’t do.
There was something about this Ballotpedia report which caught my eye. See if you can spot it, too – I’ll give you a moment and even put in a page break for the fun of it.
Because there isn’t a whole lot of interest yet in the race, polling from reliable sources doesn’t exist yet in the Maryland gubernatorial primaries. Since none of us are privy to internal polling done by the campaigns – if someone is, he or she’s not talking – two state websites have attempted to step into the breach: the old reliable Red Maryland and the upstart Red White and Blue.
In both cases, their polls show a spirited three-way race, with David Craig holding a 7.5 point edge over Ron George on the Red Maryland poll. But on the RWB poll, Charles Lollar leads by 4 points over Craig.
Having done polls myself, I know the results are rife with manipulation, as the campaigns exhort their supporters to vote in the respective polls to make their cause look better. A victory in these polls can prove to be a little lift in the real polls, as success tends to breed success.
However, I approach these with the theory that the more passionate supporters who would vote in these internet ballots exist in rough proportion to those found in real life, so I accept the idea that it’s a three-way race. A simple averaging of the polls in question would put David Craig at 33%, Charles Lollar at 30%, and Ron George at 23%, with the rest supporting one of the other candidates. As it turns out, the numbers for Craig and George are fairly consistent on both sites, but Lollar’s fluctuates by 16 points between the two.
Yet if you do a little digging into the actual numbers as I have, you may find that these polls are perhaps propping up one of the contenders to an outsized extent. The RWB poll is better for calculating this because the numbers are broken down not just by county in percentages, but the actual number of votes cast for each county. Unfortunately, the Red Maryland poll doesn’t provide the same crosstabs, but it does break down responses by county enough so I can make an educated guess as to how things really are.
Let’s begin with the obvious: there are three counties which are ridiculously oversampled in both polls, and all of them directly benefit two of the candidates. Both Harford and Talbot counties favor David Craig in an outsized manner, which is natural because Craig is Harford County Executive and running mate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio comes from Talbot. The other county is Anne Arundel, which benefits Ron George as he represents a portion of that county.
As it turns out, Anne Arundel (and to a lesser extent, Harford) are so oversampled that they suck the oxygen out of a number of counties – many of which tend to favor Charles Lollar. Out of nine counties significantly undersampled on the two polls, Lollar carries six of them, Craig two, and George one.
So when I adjusted the data to fit a more realistic turnout model (based on the RWB poll results, which featured the necessary raw data) I found that Lollar picked up four points, Craig lost four, and George (somewhat surprisingly) gained one. If you made that adjustment to the Red Maryland poll, you literally have a three-way battle which is anyone’s to win: Craig 28%, Lollar 26%, and George 25%. On the RWB poll, Lollar would have a commanding 42%-30% lead over Craig, with George lagging behind at 23%.
Truthfully, I don’t think Charles Lollar has 42% of the vote right now, but I don’t see him as third place either. At this stage in the game, it’s all about getting activists and volunteers, and I can give you an example from the Farm and Home Show this past weekend.
You may recall these pictures from my Facebook page:
I can tell you that the David Craig signs in the top photo and the literature on the upper right edge of the bottom photo all came courtesy of Craig’s county coordinator, who was my second volunteer of the weekend Thursday night and already there with bells on when I came by to check after work; she was an hour early for her shift.
The Ron George signs came courtesy of the candidate himself, as he stopped by sometime Friday to drop them off. I had some Ron George literature sent to me prior to the event, but it appears to be supplemented by the inserts; moreover, I had no bumper stickers or palm cards when I started. I do now.
Meanwhile, the yellow Charles Lollar palm cards and business cards in the middle of the second photo came via a volunteer who took time out of her trip to the beach to drop them off on Friday. (She would have also brought a big sign, but I advised her against it.) Now that’s dedication, and that’s why it’s important to get an early start on a campaign so the word can be spread.
So perhaps these are the polls of activists, but if Ron George only has support in Anne Arundel County and David Craig rests on his laurels assuming the Baltimore area is his, they may not even make it to the primary when there’s the possibility of Larry Hogan and Michael Steele to consider. I don’t see both of them entering the race, but one of the two may make the field too large to support. Worth noting, though, is even if Michael Steele took his 6% support in the Red Maryland poll, added the entirety of the undecided, and got the Blaine Young supporters to back him, he would still be fourth.
That would be the penalty of getting into the race late, banking on name recognition but not having the grassroots support needed for victory at the polls. Money can do a lot, but it can’t always win – otherwise we’d have a new Senator named Rob Sobhani.
On a completely unrelated note, you are reading post number 3,500 in the series I call monoblogue, Not bad for nearly eight years of work, you think?
It’s time to comment on more idiocy from people who have something to sell. Let’s begin with this gem:
I work In business development with Newsmax Media, in Boca Raton, FL. I just wanted to drop you a line and say I am a big fan of your site, and I am interested in a digital partnership with Monoblogue
The goal of this campaign is to place a 300×300 box on Heavy for pay.
Newsmax can generate a substantial amount of passive revenue by adding a small, but valuable bit of content that your readers will enjoy.
We currently have over 700 publishing partners, You can see examples of our “newsfeed” on (redacted)
By adding the newsfeed, you are generating a tremendous amount of guaranteed revenue, you are increasing run time, you will be engaging your readers longer, and most importantly, you will not be cluttering your page with ads. We value your sites readership and will provide world class health/finance/world/ political news for them to enjoy.
The newsfeed is a non-performance based model, unlike Outbrain and Taboola which are perforce based or ppc products, we will guarantee you a fixed monthly fee every month for hosing the newsfeed. It doesn’t matter if the newsfeed gets 1 click or 1,000,000 you will receive your fee.
As far as compensation, I would be happy to review your traffic , and discuss the revenue Newsmax can generate for your site. We pay a $.50, CPM, because this is an editorial based module, we pass less than banner or display ads.
When a reader does click on a newsfeed story, a new window will populate, helping increase your sites run time.
During the test period we track clicks/impressions, our long term goal is to come to a 12 month agreement.
Please let me know what you think, all feedback is welcome. Please let me know what I have to do, in order to satisfy your needs.
Thank you so much for your time and efforts.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Admittedly, this guy is apparently a living, breathing human being. But I think I need to make a little more than a couple dollars a week since that’s what 50 cents CPM would translate to. In fact, for most sites it would be pocket change, although at one time Newsmax was getting 3.8 million pageviews a month – that would be $1,900 in revenue based on their own calculations – and they’re a PR7 site with a top 300 Alexa rating in the U.S. I don’t read it all that often, but Lord, do I hope this guy doesn’t do their actual writing.
But if you think that offer is funny (or insulting), the skewering this guy gave them was priceless.
Even so, I actually made this guy’s e-mail look a lot better than it was – it came double-spaced but still riddled with the errors you see there. As I often say, proofreading is your friend. I’ll grant you probably sent this out to 200 blogs at a time (hence, the way the field took the word “monoblogue” with an additional space) but there’s no excuse for some of these errors.
So, Kevin, my friend, if you are out there and you REALLY are a fan of my site, you would see that I have a menu item up top called “Ads.” In it, you would see that an advertisement such as the one you seek is $100 per year. My public school math tells me that’s $8.33 per month, or revenue in your case from 16,666 impressions. If you “value my site’s readership” you should be falling all over yourself to pay that premium to advertise on one of America’s best state-based political sites (not my words, it’s in the Washington Post.) I’m not just some schmuck out there.
Oh, and for the rest of you: feel free to clutter my page with ads.
Apparently I’ve also become popular with Mike Thomas, the “Success of a Salesman” pitcher from last time. He reminds me of that bit from Animal House with the hapless fraternity pledge being whacked with a paddle: “Thank you sir, may I have another?” Well, here you go:
My name is Mike and I am hoping you can show your support for fair trade by mentioning this fair trade directory. I had done some searches about fair trade and found this page of yours where you talked about it:
I was hoping that you wouldn’t mind just adding a link to the words fair trade in here to the directory:
Maybe there is a better fit page or you would like to add something to your blog. If you would like, we could write an original post on any topic related to fair trade for you.
Also, if you would like to be added to the directory you need to become a member and contact us to add your company. To do so you will need to first link to the directory and than we will add your company. That is all it takes to get more traffic to your site coming from this directory.
Let me know which option you would like to take and I really do appreciate your time in helping to show your support for fair trade. If you have any questions or comments please let me know.
I about busted a gut laughing at the idea of getting “fair trade” from a Shorebird of the Week post. Upon reading the piece in question I figured it out:
There’s no doubt Branden Kline would like to go to Baltimore and ply his baseball trade as a member of the Orioles, but his next step would be to go home. (Emphasis mine.)
Talk about a deep search! Of course, now that I have mentioned those key words in this post, Mike will be writing me back in a few weeks and pestering me about adding his content to this post. No thanks; shoot, you’re not even dangling the princely sum of 50 cents per CPM like old Newsmax Kevin above.
I probably don’t get a player to be named later in the trade, either. Then again, I may be negotiating from weakness as evidenced by yet another SEO guru wishing to help:
- Your site has been affected by Google Penguin due to over optimized with poor quality links. There is more than thousands of anchor text links found in poor quality directories and bookmarks sites.
- As per coding error validation, there are errors in coding found. This creates big problems in the path of search engines crawlers when they visit and navigate through your website.
-Your site has Alt-tag missing. You need to optimize the images from search engine’s point of views.
- Keyword stuffing: There are over use of keywords in your site which is all spamming.
-All your pages haven’t been indexed. Only a few pages have been indexed. It shows Google has banned some of your web pages.
Above mentioned are some of the most important issues which need to be taken care of, if rectified, these issues can rank your website on the top of search engines like Google and you can easily dominate the market.
If you are interested, we can help you to recover and improve your site.
Oh yes, I’m sure I can easily dominate the market. But I don’t feel like dealing with the “more than thousands of links” and “errors in coding.” Really?
Listen, I just write. I don’t write to please a Google Penguin master, and I don’t have a lot of time for “Tania Delmar” with an address of website (dot) marketing (dot) sales (at) (common e-mail provider) – who, by the way must suffer from multiple personality disorder because he/she has a Skype handle with “Tony” in it as well. Maybe he/she is related to marie felipe from last week.
But it’s interesting to me if Google indeed banned some of my web pages; after all, I am a conservative so I suppose I can wear this with a badge of honor.
Perhaps this is the start of a new business idea, though: I can take the vast sum of money Newsmax is promising me and open a new website, hiring Mike Thomas to wrote all the content, and getting Tania/Tony/Sybil to optimize it for SEO. That’s the ticket, problems solved!
I’l just sit back, collect a cut off the top and laugh at the dog chasing its own virtual tail.
As is often the case, it was exceedingly hot, quite humid, and a sprinkle of rain fell on the Somers Cove Marina. But thousands braved all that for crabs, clams, and hot and cold running politicians. This is my story.
On any other summer Wednesday afternoon, one can stand near the Somers Cove Marina and see that sight. But yesterday it looked more like this.
The brand new Craig/Haddaway signs were in evidence, as were a handful of shirts.
However, the pair in question didn’t show up until the event was somewhat underway. Their entrance was rather understated compared to some others, as I’ll show later. I caught them just as they entered the gate.
Fellow GOP contender Delegate Ron George had long been set up by then, with his own tent.
He may have had the best giveaway item as well – ice cold bottles of water stashed in a cooler behind the palm cards and brochures.
Ron proved himself to be a man of many hats. Okay, at least just a woven straw one.
A more modest presence was shown by draft candidate Charles Lollar, who brought his wife Rosha along. Here they pose with Wicomico County Republican Club president Jackie Wellfonder.
Later I caught Charles chatting with host Delegate Charles Otto (left, in hat), who represents Somerset County in the House of Delegates.
Another would-be Delegate making her Tawes debut as a candidate was Mary Beth Carozza, who’s seeking the District 38C seat. She had a few assistants in tow as well as an attractive sign.
She was one of many local Republicans and activists who were well-represented in their tent.
We even had the infamous “pin the tax” sign. Too bad we didn’t have it out where more could see it, but it would have been soaked by the misters thoughtfully added by the Somerset County folks. Did I say it was hot?
Observing all this was state Republican Party Chair Diana Waterman, who indeed was carrying a bottle of water.
Also making a presence was Larry Hogan (right), whose Change Maryland group now boasts a 50,000-strong Facebook following. He was making no indication of a possible political run today, but it’s intriguing that he took the time and came down to Tawes.
Hogan has made the point that his group is not restricted to Republicans; a significant portion are independents and Democrats. And the latter group was well-represented at Tawes, too.
Front-runner and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown was also casually late, but had a gaggle of young supporters trailing him. He’s sort of obscured in the center of the photo.
Brown’s first stop upon entering the gate?
There were more modest presences from Attorney General (and gubernatorial hopeful) Doug Gansler and Comptroller Peter Franchot, who considered the race for the top spot but opted to seek re-election. (My photo of Gansler didn’t come out well.)
One other Democratic gubernatorial hopeful whose presence surprised me was Heather Mizeur, pictured here with Salisbury City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell.
Her formal announcement must have been a brief affair, as she and a small band of supporters made the trek down to Crisfield. Mizeur told me it was about her tenth time attending – obviously first as a statewide hopeful.
Also carrying the Democratic banner was the State Senator from District 38, Jim Mathias. He had a decent-sized group of supporters who must have been busy putting up a half-dozen 4×8 signs along Maryland Route 413 leading into Crisfield.
Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton (right) was sporting a “‘bury” sticker to represent his town.
I found Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt enjoying his lunch early on.
Pollitt explained that it’s easier to eat on the pavilion side because he would be greeted by more people in the party’s tent. Makes sense to me – same reason I eat a little at a time.
In fact, a large percentage of those enjoying the food were well away from the political. They were being entertained by the DJs on the left of the photo.
A number of other businesses were represented at Tawes as well, although to me the number seemed down from previous years.
Still, lobbyist Bruce Bereano had his corner. Bruce Bereano ALWAYS has his corner, and it’s always full of Annapolis politicians from both sides of the aisle.
It also always has this nice touch and tribute to the late Somerset County Delegate Page Elmore.
And of course, there was the media. Tawes was crawling with them.
In WBOC’s case, not only did they have the remote truck and the flyover by Chopper 16, the ‘Outdoors Delmarva’ crew was there too. Also covering the event was competitor WMDT-TV channel 47, WBAL radio, and reporters from the Salisbury Daily Times and Baltimore Sun, among others I probably missed.
That doesn’t count the alternative media. The Red Maryland crew was interviewing a number of Republicans – here it was Ron George’s head fundraiser Hillary Pennington of Stratgic Victory Consulting.
Brian was also kind enough to query me, so we’ll see if mine made the cut this evening.
Eventually the crowd began to trickle out and another year’s Tawes event was in the books. There was actually a light shower as I was leaving, which didn’t bother me in the least. A lot of fellowship and fun was had by all.
The vibe of the event promises to be different next year. An earlier primary now means that the Tawes event will occur once the major party nominees are known, so it’s uncertain how much time and expense they will invest in the gathering.
One other note of interest: while I did see Blaine Young there this year, the presence he had was minimal. This leads me to believe he may be stepping aside from the gubernatorial race to concentrate on a local run; otherwise he would have had a tent space as he did last year.
Speculation aside, the Crisfield Chamber of Commerce put on another wonderful event – kudos to the volunteers who make the event one the late Governor can indeed be proud of.
A few weeks back I poked fun at the hapless people who have plenty of advice on how to build my business through link sharing and SEO suggestions. They didn’t get the hint, so I decided to make this an occasional series and really ridicule them.
First off, someone’s Maryland site needs help:
My name is Marie and I am the site administrator of the site (redacted). I’m emailing you because our site is quite new and we need help from our fellow Maryland blog.
Can you please let me guest post at your website’s blog with the link of our site at my bio at the end of the article. Since your blog is about Maryland news, I can write about that or I can write about any topic you would want me to write.
It would be a pleasure if you would allow me to guest post at your blog. Thank you and I’m hoping for your positive response.
If Content Is King, Then Keywords Is Queen…
Number one, who in Maryland uses the salutation “good day”? I think “marie felipe” is somewhere across an ocean.
Second of all, why would I mess up my brand by awarding guest posts willy-nilly? I have had guest posts in the past, but they are germane to the broad subject at hand. Moreover, if you could write about any subject I wanted, it would likely have nothing to do with the site you claim to represent.
But the postscript gives it away. To me, content IS the absolute king and keywords might be the royal taster. Or maybe it cleans out the royal stables. My keyword is integrity. And shouldn’t it be “keywords are queen”? Seems awful plural to me, although I suppose the analogy would have to be extended to “keywords are queens” and that may raise the ire of some special-interest group.
Speaking of keywords, these damn SEO experts still seem to think my Google page ranking isn’t high enough. By the way, aside from redacting the free advertisement I post these exactly as written.
Dear Website Owner,
While searching the web we found that your website does not rank page 1 on google. 85% of users searching the web will never find your website unless you’re ranked on first page of Google, MSN and other major search engines. On the top of this with all these google update animals around ( Penguin & Pandas ) Its not easy to get page 1 and stay there to keep getting business.
Would you be interested If we can help you rank your online business first page of major search engines ?
Our company is on the first page when you search on Google for our primary search term “SEO Company.” We would like to do the same for your web site so you can come up for your main keywords as well? All of our processes use the most ethical “white hat” Search Engine Optimization techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized.
Leave aside the fact this is poorly written and came from an e-mail address with “carolyn” in it but was signed “Billy S.” There is a conundrum they don’t address: how is it they found my e-mail address and website if it wasn’t on the first page of Google? (And yes, Billy/carolyn, Google is always capitalized. Proofreading is your friend, although being actually fluent in English would be a close second for you.) Obviously I have enough of a ranking they felt they had to address the issue.
So why does my website: monoblogue.us needs SEO? (Yes, that’s the way it was written in the subject line.) Hell if I know, so I think I’ll pass on the generous 15-day free trial they offer. So far I’ve done well enough with the 2,700+ day free trial of building my audience from scratch in an SEO-free manner. And by the way, my wager is that they are Page 1 because they sponsored a link. If I wanted to pay I could be on page 1 that way as well.
They didn’t even argue content was king.
Finally, we have this:
My name is Mike and I noticed you talked about sales success and CRM software so I thought you would be interested in this infographic resource on the Success of a Salesman.
The reason why you want to post this (besides the fact that people like visual resources) is because it has a lot of great statistics and information for those interested in sales. For example, searching for information takes up to 24% of a sales person’s time which costs approximately $2.6 billion a year in lost revenue for a Fortune 500 company. Having an infographic like this will bring traffic to your site for years to come.
If you want to post it, all you need to do is copy and paste the text above the graphic. If you have a piece of content that you are trying to get out there please let me know. Also, to return the favor, let me know the URL you post it on so I can build links to your page, increasing your traffic, rankings and authority for that page.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know. I look forward to hearing back from you.
I’m not sure I’ve talked all that much about sales success, but I can pretty much guarantee you I’ve been silent on the subject of CRM software, well, until today that is.
The one thing Mike failed to mention is just how “an infographic like this will bring traffic to your site for years to come.” Now I will admit this seems a lot more legitimate than most offers I receive in that Mike had contact information at the bottom of the e-mail and the company he represents has an internet presence selling – you guessed it – sales CRM software. But I have several pictures and cartoons on my site and all they seem to bring me are spam comments. Yes, they are there to tell a story so they are indispensable but the one he was marketing did not.
And I think I know how I attracted their attention. This is from the company’s PR release announcing its American operations:
At the foundation of the development of the company and the Pipeliner product is a business philosophy based on the Austrian School of Economics.
With my somewhat libertarian leanings I’m sure my site has devotees who favor the Austrian School. This one wasn’t so bad but I simply have no context in which to place their infographic. Now if they want to buy space, we can perhaps work something out.
Maybe the Google search for “libertarian-leaning sites which poke fun at spam e-mailers” struck gold with that one.