Over a decade ago, before anyone not a geek knew what the Internet was, a couple of cat lovers from MIT created a mailing list called fanciers. Time passed, and more cat breeders and exhibitors joined, and they set up a Web site. This was entirely an amateur effort (I mean that in the old sense, not in the sense of novice or shallow), and right on through the .com boom, fanciers.com just kept puttering along, making information about cats and cat breeds, written by experts, available to everyone. About the closest it got to flirting with commercialization was when I took the list of cat books, slapped in some affiliate links to Amazon, and directed the checks to the Winn Feline Foundation. (At our peak, WFF was getting somewhere around $4k/year. These days they're lucky to make $120/year.)
Well, I got uninvolved with the cat fancy, and then all the mailing lists that had been hosted on the site for so long got sent to yahoogroups.com in fall of 2001. But I still had this web site, and the content wasn't changing, and sierra_nevada was kind enough to perch my old Alpha on the other end of his T1 line, so why break all those links?
Well, about six months ago, I was getting tired of deleting link-spam from the site (which not having been redesigned since 1993, is looking rather dusty and neglected) and was thinking that handing the whole thing to someone I could trust not to do something horrid with it sounded pretty good. So I approached such a person, and she agreed. But actually moving it was on the back burner. Got around to it last month... and she'd changed her mind. Something about being afraid that the traffic would raise her hosting costs without driving people to the money-making parts of her existing site.
At first, of course, I said "Argh!" and cursed my procrastination and lugged the albatross around some more. Then someone on elbows reported in about http://www.google.com/adsense/ and said his site was turning in about $20/week.
$20/week? Well, that'd cover my coffee habit, that's for sure.
It's hard to tell, since I haven't converted all the useful parts of the site, and the parts that have been converted haven't even been up for 24 hours, but $20/week might just be accurate. They're plain little text ads, nothing too annoying, you can just scroll by and keep reading if you like. For example: the Maine Coon FAQ.
Goodbye, amateur effort. Now, if I can just stop wincing at the kittens for sale ads...