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January 08, 2008

The future of ‘Grow

Hello everybody,

I am truly touched by the many emails I received & the wonderful comments left here in the last 24 hours. I know that many appreciate my “work”, but I just don’t get to hear it often enough. Anyway, this is not the main reason why I’ve been thinking about quitting.

I really enjoy the process of blogging (Which for me consists of spending hours every day on the intertubes & simply editing undiscovered gems into small combos). If I could live doing just that, I would be a perfectly happy guy. But things change & I’ve always embraced changes.

I don’t know yet what to do with this site; I hate to erase it "Just because" (Even though it will be the Nietschean thing to do), but I feel that it needs an upgrade, or a downgrade. Or maybe a sidegrade. I am open to any suggestions, radical or not, from anybody who wants to contribute anything.

One of the readers commented that I should “monetize” the site, and this may be an incentive to continue. But really, can blogs make (real) money? If you have a concept of how to do it, please email me to discuss.

I was toying with the idea of building an adult version of this site, for members only & supported by monthly subscriptions. I could provide the same type of amazing, unusual links to Triple-X, sexually-explicit wonders. Grow-a-brain has always been PG-14, but I know of extraordinary adult things. Would you buy into something like that? And how much will you be willing to pay for the privilege? Would you pay $5 a month for a similarly-interesting “grow-a-dick”? Would you pay $25/month? If I can get 2,000 readers (The average daily number on Grow-a-brain is 15,000-20,000) to pay $10/month, I will do it.

For some reason, I have not been posting much about my real estate business here. Why? I don’t know. If I am to continue blogging, I will use it much more to promote my business, expose my listings & look for business opportunities with other investors. I really have not used the popularity of this site at all to do that.

Another comment (which I heard from many others before) is that I need to “be more in my posts, as I am mostly invisible” now. It’s true. If I were to continue, I’ll show & tell more about myself.

For now, here on the side, is the main reason why I want to spend less time on the internet -

Anyway, as of now I’m not sure what to do. As I wrote yesterday, I have about 20 days of pre-composed posts which will come online every midnight, and then we’ll see. Please let me know of any proposals that may work.

I leave you with -

Along the coast road, by the headland
the early lights of winter glow.
I'll pour a cup to you my darling.
Raise it up --- say Cheerio
, all

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January 8, 2008 in A new Direction, Website News | Permalink


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Thank you for at least considering continuing this. :)

As for monetizing it...have you considered advertisements? I have no idea how much it would actually pull in, but I do know some people who are able to make money off of blogging.

Personally, I wouldn't use an "adult" version (but that's because I have very little interest in such a subject), but I'm sure you could find at least some subscribers for such a site. I'm sure you'd be able to find quality things, if GAB is any indication!

Posted by: Thom at Jan 9, 2008 12:42:27 AM

I'm not sure the adult site thing is a joke , but I laugth :)

did you just consider reformating the site to include the "google adsense" ads it wont make you a billionaire but at least it can bring a little cash in

Posted by: alban at Jan 9, 2008 1:41:55 AM

I second the Google Adsense - an easy way of making some quick money, and relatively unintrusive as well.

Please don't kill the site!

Posted by: Will at Jan 9, 2008 2:47:01 AM

What normal man wouldn't turn away from the internet (assuming her personality is as beautiful as she is physically)! Enjoy life. As far as I know, we each have only one in this world. Perhaps a less frequent (weekly or semi-monthly) updating to BAB could be a compromise to the daily schedule you've been keeping

Thanks for all you've shared and best wishes!

Posted by: John Costello at Jan 9, 2008 3:34:20 AM

Oops! Of course, I meant GAB.

Posted by: John Costello at Jan 9, 2008 3:39:30 AM

Keep GAB just like it is.However add a big donation button and get a pay pal account.I will donate.I'm sure lots of people will.

Posted by: Matthew at Jan 9, 2008 4:28:35 AM

Sheesh. Right when we discover you!

Consider some new format, and with posts when you feel inspired instead of feeling burdened by the daily.

Posted by: bird dog at Jan 9, 2008 6:07:05 AM

I echo most sentiments above: I enjoy the "PG" version and would definitely not be interested in a so-called adult version. I guess I always thought you did this as a hobby, and I thought it was such a cool hobby.

If Adsense or a donation button can't get you past a break-even point, I will sorely miss GAB, but can't afford to subscribe right now.

Posted by: NancyJoy at Jan 9, 2008 6:15:35 AM

Say it ain't so! Google ads? Anyway, thanks for the ride, it's been great.

Posted by: fixedgear at Jan 9, 2008 7:00:04 AM

There's a woman who runs a site called the Dooce. http://www.dooce.com/ She says her family's income comes from her site and started a company to run her blog as a business. Apparently she does well they recently bought a new house.

Posted by: nsolo at Jan 9, 2008 7:26:26 AM

Here's a quote from her site. "In October 2005 I began running enough ads on this website that my husband was able to quit his job and become a Stay at Home Father (SAHF) or a Shit Ass Ho Fuckingbadass. He takes both very seriously. This website now supports my family."

Posted by: nsolo at Jan 9, 2008 7:32:47 AM

Ive been lurking for about 3 years visiting semi regularly each week, i personally agree with both the google ads and donation button (paypal) and as far as an adult version, i'd actually visit a site like that but wouldnt be likely to pay and subscribe

Posted by: josh at Jan 9, 2008 8:24:52 AM

Firstly, I absolutely love the site and always have. I hit it damn near every day, and as a fellow link-gathering blogger, I've found many treasures here as well. Naturally, I'm quite sad to hear you're thinking about shutting down.

I don't know what kind of traffic figures you're seeing, but I'd be willing to bet you could make a tidy profit from using Google AdSense or the like. I have a friend who knows a bunch about those kinds of things, and if you want some pointers, I would be happy to ask him how to get going.

The adult version is intriguing...

Posted by: r3tr0 at Jan 9, 2008 8:35:30 AM

are you kidding? with any service like google adsense, or anything else, + 12 million hits, you can bring in a nice paycheck.

Posted by: bokharni at Jan 9, 2008 9:07:17 AM

Yes. Add ads. You'll make money. I personally don't have a problem with them, and I'm sure visitors would understand a need for a little compensation.

An adult version, on the other hand, should be a backup plan. You can make this work! You're in a unique position. You should take advantage of it, but don't alienate anyone.

It's a wonderful site as it is.


Posted by: Fred at Jan 9, 2008 9:44:10 AM

One way is to network - it sounds dreadful, but it's the way to make money. My site - www.anorak.co.uk - is a showcase for other writings. But it gets traffic. I've been working with an SEO who has told me some thing that have helped.

Feel free to email me and talk more...

Posted by: Paul at Jan 9, 2008 10:03:25 AM

you gotta do what you gotta do, but we are a silent majority who should be less "silent" and more vocal in thanking you for the hours you spend putting this thing together.

You introduced me to Alizee - how can I ever thank you enough?!

Anyway good luck making a decision, maybe one day this site will resurface on a .nz domain . . .

Posted by: dave at Jan 9, 2008 10:05:33 AM

I apologize for joining this conversation late, but I just stumbled upon your blog. I saw that you are considering monetizing your blog. I have been looking into the same thing, to a degree, and I came upon a blog at www.bloggingexperiment.com. He answers your question about if you can make real money blogging or not. I'm not affiliated with him in any way, so I'm not trying to pitch you anything, but his blog is interesting and has made me take a new look at how I run mine. I hope that helps.

Posted by: Nathan Blair at Jan 9, 2008 10:06:30 AM

If it doesn't do it for you, then it just doesn't, but I'll sure miss your work. Thanks for everything.

Posted by: L at Jan 9, 2008 10:46:57 AM

here's a suggestion... maybe you can provide the topic, and your readers can provide the links. or perhaps make a "co-op" type site where people make the posts, and if you like them, you post them.

thanks for blogging.

Posted by: cobra commander at Jan 9, 2008 10:52:26 AM


I love this blog! I am put off from commenting because of the 'comments' button that comes AFTER the SEVERAL story links. On most blogs I log onto there is one story/link and the opportunity to comment on the single topic, and I am interested in others comments regarding the topic, so I comment and read the posts. IMO, the uncommon situation at GAB waters down my interest in posting because I may only be interested in one or two of the stories enough to comment on it. Other posters might write about a link that I find only marginally interesting.

Besides that, Hannan, not many blogs have Zappa links. No, you may not shut this site down.
Nope, forget about it buddy.

Posted by: scott at Jan 9, 2008 11:17:05 AM

You are under *no* obligation to post daily. Just do it when you feel like it. People have you bookmarked. They will look; they just don't comment.

Posted by: cathy at Jan 9, 2008 11:18:44 AM

Thank you all! I will address many of the individual comments & suggestions. However, so far it looks like there's very little interest in a seperate adult version of this site....

Posted by: Hanan / growabrain at Jan 9, 2008 12:21:05 PM

Didn't figure you to be a greedy type. i'll delete the bookmark after I send this. Good luck making money, since that's what appears to make you happy.

Posted by: Tom at Jan 9, 2008 12:27:24 PM

Pay for porn???? You gotta be kidding! :)

Posted by: Chappy Joe at Jan 9, 2008 12:49:18 PM

I've sent you a private email. Certainly try Google Adsense and a PayPal donation button for a while and see what happens. What do you have to lose?

I can help you set them up if you like.

Posted by: Tom Geller at Jan 9, 2008 2:16:50 PM

She looks lovely..and I can imagine that she could make you want to make changes. But does she know about all of us? How much you have brought to so many people?
I hope you do what makes you happy. But I can't help feeling selfish and wanting this to go on just as it is. And maybe she would want that too?

Posted by: Tina at Jan 9, 2008 2:25:50 PM

She's beautiful! And I couldn't think of a better reason to have less time... I'm very happy for you.

Considering your traffic, Google Ads might be profitable. Even with my small amount of traffic, they support my site expenses. But with your stats, you might qualify for other ad services that only go for higher-traffic sites.

As for the adult pay idea, you'd pretty much have to generate original content in order to get people to subscribe for a monthly fee.

Posted by: Miss Cellania at Jan 9, 2008 2:44:16 PM

I will be sorry to see you go, but it has been very enjoyable along the way. I think you should use ads to support this site. But if you don't have time for it, hope your days are filled with the things you love.

Posted by: Yara at Jan 9, 2008 3:51:20 PM

Growabrain is my favorite website. Creative, fasinating, informative. I would be very disappointed if you pulled the plug. Good luck. A devoted fan.

Posted by: Ruth at Jan 9, 2008 4:21:29 PM

don't do the adult site... there are too many out there that are just "another one of those." don't just become "another one of those..." there's too many of those. what you have going is great already. i think blogging should be in personal interest and sharing... bringing people together. i'm not a fan of ads, but if you're looking to make money with this, that's how you would do it. subscriptions would not do.. you would lose more than you would gain, and i'm not talking about money. i also hope you reconsider, but as always, do what's best for you. peace.

Posted by: holly at Jan 9, 2008 5:58:20 PM

Seriously, AdSense could make you some bucks. I have a friend who runs a site that probably gets about 10% of the traffic and she has a new car, she got a complete dental makeover and is wearing a LOT nicer clothes - all ad revenue. Plus, she's gained weight! Watch out for that!


Posted by: Moon at Jan 9, 2008 6:07:04 PM

Whoa. You just lost me there. I've been a fan of your site for quite a while, and one of the things I like about it is the relative LACK of adult content. As many other commenters have pointed out, there are waaaaaaaaay too many adult blogs out there already. And frankly, they're getting boring as hell. Your blog is far more original without the porn than it would be with it. I'm a little depressed that you even suggested it.

It also looks as if you might lose the majority of your rather sizeable audience should you choose to make the switch. I would recommend finding a way to make some money off the site you already have. (As both Neatorama and Splurch must.) 12 million visitors must be worth some cash.

Posted by: Kirsten at Jan 9, 2008 6:21:16 PM

I'm pretty sure the guy over at Kottke.org (a great site) was going through something like this and made the jump to earning a living solely through his blog. I don't know how he does it exactly, he's got an ad or two on there and sells fonts I believe - it might be worth asking him.

It would be a shame to see this site go down, I just discovered it recently and bookmarked it immediately. I make a living as an interactive writer at an ad company so spend a ton of time online looking at sites (and writing for clients' sites) and it's VERY rare that I find a site I like enough to bookmark (read: worhty) - this site is pretty special.

I hope you work out a way to keep it going, turning it into a little money maker seems like a great way to do it, if you can figure it out.

Good luck!!

Posted by: Greg at Jan 9, 2008 6:30:26 PM

I hope you decide to continue - although I fully understand the time and energy it takes to keep up a blog (even a crappy one). I think you've got so much great material out there... that you should absolutely entertain 1)ads 2) donations and 3)integrating other content (like your business) and just see where it takes you. Maybe it's just time for G-A-B phase 2. Maybe get a partner to blog with you and take off some of the pressure. A year or so - popsugar.com blew up into a SUGAR empire. You might be able to see how they "made it" on the web. It happened fast and seamlessly to readers.

Either way, thanks for all the time you've spent keeping me occupied (and supplying great blog fodder) over the years.

Good luck!

Posted by: freelulu at Jan 9, 2008 7:07:10 PM

It breaks my heart that you are considering stopping this. I know growabrain could ABSOLUTELY make enough money to make it worth it for you. Meantime, if you want to, have a second site that's adult. I, too, visit this site daily. I also visit boingboing, and have clicked on some ads there. It is do-able. I don't have the expertise, but google adsense seems to be a good way to go.

Posted by: Cheryl at Jan 9, 2008 8:48:02 PM

My email and grow-a-brain, the two sites I visit daily. Life wouldn't be the same without you.

Posted by: Kate at Jan 9, 2008 10:44:43 PM

Leave the site up and take a break. You can always come back or just check your hit counter ever once in awhile.

You have a body of work that will last...

Anyhoo, thanks for all wondrous postings - and if I ever make it to Riverside I'll look you up.

Peace out!

Posted by: scaramouche at Jan 9, 2008 11:07:59 PM

You can't go now!! I just pimped you out to my entire family like, the day before yesterday. Put up some ads, I'll click on 'em and buy stuff. Put up a donate button, I'd gladly give a few bucks a month to read your stuff. That times how many? Might make it worthwhile.

Posted by: forge at Jan 10, 2008 5:25:11 AM

H.L., my dear, you've done a wonderful job over the years of entertaining and enlightening us with your obscure links. Do whatever keeps you smiling.

Posted by: Anne at Jan 10, 2008 9:41:00 AM

I wouldn't try the adult site if I were you. Don't get me wrong, I love porn. But there are hundreds of thousands of great porn sites that are free.

Posted by: Bill Fleffingham at Jan 10, 2008 9:18:08 PM


I have to say yours is THE best blog site on the internet...bar none, and I'm not kidding. I have talked about your site and sent the link to it to numerous friends of mine all over thew country for an eclectic, interesting and odd source of info and entertainment. It has never failed to make me smile or find appreciation in it and the work that you must put in to making it what it is.

Rather than write and plead with you to NOT stop it; I thought I'd try and come up with alternatives. The "XXX" site is beneath you for one thing.....there are kajillions of sites like this on the net. Why don't you start a use-participation site. Users can submit their content to the site....x-rated, g-rated....whatever. I personally love being able to just 'hit' your site and start reading.....I love the open access....love it. It's easy, free and the content is amazing. Don't change it....whatever you do...at least leave this site as it is, and start a new one if you need to do something different.

I'm a physicist.....I enjoy the eclectic stimulation...whatever it is. So many blog sites are so poorly done they are almost unreadable; let alone the content usually sucks.

If users submitted their own content it might make a super-version of Gr*w-a-Brain, and it may offer you less work, and everyone can still enjoy the format. Once you achieve perfection.....you can't improve on that. Please, please pleeeeeease don't get rid of this site or change it....lol...PLEEEEASE!?

How about some ideas' How about a gr*w-a-Brain version of a dating site?


A political site.
A current events site.
An opinion site - users can write and bitch and complain about companies that suck....or their neighbors that suck....or their girlfriends that are demons, or husbands that are evil......

What about that?


Just trying to pitch in.


Posted by: fizixx at Jan 13, 2008 12:21:21 PM