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No Regretsy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Regretsy is Shutting Down, via BoingBoing

Many of you no doubt already saw this as it happened on February 1st, like I did, but BoingBoing just posted a snippet of an interview where April describes the behind-the-scenes work of the site that really struck home with me. I've always felt a kind of kinship with April, though we've only swapped a few e-mails in our whole acquaintance, and I'm sorry to see the Regretsy community go. April ran the Cake Wrecks of Etsy crafts, and I ran the Regretsy of cakes. Save the subject matter, we were in the same business. April was and is so much braver than me, though, and I confess I often read Regretsy with a guilty kind of glee mixed with envy - her snark is as legendary as it is unrepentant. And while at my heart I know I'm just a gentler jokester, the fact is I look to writers like April to say the things I can't (or won't) sometimes, and to joke about things that make me gasp like the Dowager Countess, imagining the kind of hate mail I would get if I DARED make *that* joke - but I laugh all the same.


Seeing Regretsy go also strikes home my sense of mortality for Cake Wrecks, since Regretsy was actually younger than CW by nearly a year. It feels so strange to have outlived it, in a way, but when I think of all the times John and I swore we would shut the site down only to recant at the eleventh hour, maybe it's not so strange after all. Traffic isn't the issue; we've been at a respectable plateau for ages now, although our ad revenue continues to tank at an alarming rate. (Last month we made less than a quarter of what we did three years ago - even with more readers now than we had then. But that's how it is for everyone online these days, and it's still enough for us to live on for now, so I can't complain.) It's more what April said about the long hours and e-mails and heartache and how everything has to be bigger and badder and more shocking to please the readers - and she's right: even if you love every second of it, you just can't do that forever.

(Actually, April didn't say anything about heartache - that one's all mine.) 

Don't worry if you're a CW fan, though; I may not be able to do this forever, but I can still do it a while longer. And it's not like I'm alone; I have John and Lindsey and Sharyn to help back me up a bit. Even if I do drive them all a little crazy with my editing and general control freakishness.

Anyway, sorry if this sounds a bit melancholy; I haven't been able to spend as much time as I'd like here on Epbot this past week, and that always gets me down. (It is my hobby, after all, and has to take a back seat to the "real job.") On the bright side, one of the reasons is that pantry/laundry room makeover John and I are working on. I have a washer and dryer in my dining room, every piece of food stuff we own is strewn throughout the house, and we just hooked the water heater back up after three days for some much-need hot showers. Heh. You can bet I'll have all the gory before and after pics for you as soon as I have them, and I hope a few tutorials as well, since I've convinced John to let me try some crazy fun stuff in there. (Three words: Sliding barn door. OH YEAH.)

Getting back to Regretsy, though, go read the whole Wired article BoingBoing linked to. It's an eye-opening glimpse at the world I used to take completely for granted, until I fell into it myself. It's also a comfort to know April will still be online, writing her own Epbot, as it were, at AprilWinchell.com. Fads and memes and niche blogs may fade away, but I like to think that any strong writer who has a platform to write whatever she likes will always "stay interesting." These personal blogs may not have the viral successes, but they have something better: staying power, variety, and a real personal connection.

At least, that's what I'm banking on. ;)

Posted by Jen at 4:21 PM Labels: ,

55 comments:

  1. DON'T YOU EVER, EVER STOP CAKE WRECKS! It is like, a part of my livlihood, or whatever. No preassure. Just saying that if Cake Wrecks, ends, there better be a BIG international goodbye party with lots of tears and baby unicorns and CAKE and yacths and houses for you and John for making such a difference in peoples' lives! ;D

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  2. IDK, it is sad to see any site shutting down but Regretsy always came off as mean-spirited to me. like when people ask them to take their items down they won't and they put the emails up on the site calling them butt-hurt. Plus the comments section is like the meanest people all in one place....

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    1. That couldn't be further from the truth. April always took the post down unless the seller started commenting on the site or complained about being feature on Regretsy on their blog/in the Etsy forums. That was the policy from the start. Butthurt was an entirely different situation.

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  3. I LOVED Regretsy! It was as if April was keeping Etsy honest (and I have a lot of friends on Etsy who loved her for calling out the resellers who pretended to craft their own stuff). I also admired her unapologetic humor and how she gave so much to charities. To me she was like the Simon Cowell of crafting - saying what we all wished we could out loud. It was as if the Emperor had no clothes and April knew it and was the one screaming in the crowd that he was naked while everyone else was too timid to speak up. I will miss Regretsy.

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  4. i love EPBOT... and i hope your right about staying power because its the best. i like Cake Wrecks too but EPBOT is more relateable. keep up the good work :)

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  5. I agree with sevenmarie. Regretsy stopped being fun long ago. I used to read it every day (first CW, then Regretsy), but I had to stop when I started feeling dirty after every sexual-deviancy-themed post. And the comments section read like a meeting of the Local 485 United Under the Bridge Trolls. Please don't think you have to get bigger, badder, more shocking. Bad cakes are funny; you and your fellow writers are hilarious; your community is an admirable combination of snark and restraint you seldom find on the interwebbys. You follow your bliss, Jen, and we'll read about it.

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  6. The last few sentences echo my thoughts exactly. One day Cake Wrecks will have run its course, but I hope that Epbot (or some incarnation of it) will be around for many, many years to come.

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  7. I found Regretsy really funny, but agree with Igraham011 that it also often left me feeling like a mean-spirited perv, so I really only read it a few times. But it was one of those sites that I thought would be around forever--practically an institution!--because there is always ridiculous crap out there, and it was SO refreshing to see some of it getting what it deserved. And "Regretsy" is just such a wonderful play on words, just the name itself always made me chuckle. ; )

    On a completely different topic--once again, Jen, I am amazed by how we think alike. Because I was designing my penny floor for my bathroom before you blogged about your desk, and I have picked out a sliding barn door for my bathroom door too! Everyone is going to think I am just a really big Jen fan. Well, ok, that is true. But I'm also completely capable of coming up with my own amazing bathroom designs! ; )

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  8. Regretsy was funny once in a while as a guilty pleasure but it never made me want to spend time with April. Cakewrecks is both funny and fun with no guilt attached and I have often thought it would be fun to invite you and John for tea and, well, cake. And possibly a crafting session. Stick with it. (At least until the negatives begin to outweigh the positives and then find yourself a new niche and a new source of FUNds.)

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  9. My question is how can a regular user increase your revenue from internet ads?

    That sounds trite, but I really would like to know. I must admit I tend to read both Epbot *and* cake wrecks from a feed reader so I rarely click on the page unless there's a video or I want to link it to someone; so I wouldn't see the ads on every post. Also I must admit I have ad block because annoying internet ads are annoying in most places; but never thought that that could affect adverts on sites such as these (which is silly because it must do!).

    If something as simple as disabling ad block on your sites, and clicking through to view the posts on the web page as written would help then I'd be glad to do it.

    p.s - I know you say your still making enough to live on; but it's not about that really and if it keeps dropping then you might not be able to do that. You provide a free service with lots of laughs and if I can help you out by doing 2 tiny things (one of which I'll forget about as soon as I add you to the exclusion list on ad block) then I'd love to be able to do it.

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    1. Yes, that's it! Disabling adblock and visiting the page are exactly the ways you can increase a site's revenue, for all blogs. (Even if an RSS feed has ads, they pay pennies on the dollar to what a site's ads do.) And I really appreciate your asking, and your willingness to help support CW & Epbot - truly. Thank you.

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    2. FearTheFool, people who have ads on their sites are often forbidden from discussing or bringing too much attention to the ads on their site. Simply remember that if there are ads on the site, you're paying with your eyeballs on the ads, so it's polite to look at them. Users of ad blockers are shooting themselves in the foot, because getting no revenue discourages their favorite sites.

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  10. I agree that Regretsy just seemed mean-spirited. I am an Etsy seller, but beyond that I just find something pretty awful in publicly humiliating people because of their life's work. Cakes that look awful? Sure. It's more anonymous for one thing. To me, saying "man, these cakes at Safeway sure suck" is a lot different that saying "man, this PARTICULAR PERSON sure sucks"

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    1. That's always where I draw the line, too, and why I'm careful to edit out bakery labels (with one or two notable exceptions, heh) and try to never resort to name-calling. Like I said, I'm a lot gentler with my snark - but I still admit to admiring the balls-out guts it takes to write some of the stuff April did, if only because I've been taken to task for some of the most innocuous things over on CW. When it seems the whole world finds offense with just about everything, sometimes it's a guilty pleasure to see someone who just doesn't give a flying fish. ;)

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    2. I'm missing the difference. Maybe because the whole time I've been reading both sites, I've never seen either blogger claim anyone "sucks". Whether it's a cake or a craft, someone made it.

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    3. I never thought that mean spirited comments are particularly courageous. There are plenty of people who will back the person laughing at others so they can feel safe being included instead of being laughed at. What really takes courage is being honest about uncomfortable things that nobody might back you up on. Like some of the stuff you shared here, Jen. I didn't really enjoy Regretsy the few times I tried reading it, but I did respect how they took on PayPal. People are complicated. Everyone has brave moments and not so brave moments. Sometimes it's actually pretty brave to give a flying "fish", too, rather than not.
      —Sunflower

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  11. The Regretsy people are some of the biggest hearted people I know. And April has been kind enough to keep the forums going, even though Regretsy is no more. Anyways, I love Epbot and am glad you will still be around!

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  12. To anyone using AdBlocker:
    I know most blogs and sites you love would never ask you to do this, but they should!
    If you know and love a site, please disable AdBlocker for the domain. That means you will still see ads on your fave sites, but it also means that the site owners get paid for you seeing them! Besides, writers like Jen and John make sure the ads are decent and unobtrusive, anyway.

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  13. thank you for giving us a union name.

    *goes back under the bridge to tell the other trolls*

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  14. I love Regretsy, Cake Wrecks, and Epbot. I read them frequently. And I'm also, apparently, a mean unionized troll because I've been a commenter at Regretsy for a while. I love that community of people. They are hilarious, supportive, intelligent, and caring.

    You are who you are, Jen. And April is who she is. There is a place for every type of humor. Beyond just humor, though, is personality. When a person's personality shines through their written words, they are special. That's why I read your blogs, Jen, and also why I read April's.

    Keep being amazing, Jen!

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  15. I can understand why there are some people who will not miss Regretsy. It was a very polarizing blog. You liked it or you didn't. I started out thinking it was hilarious but then the more I read, the more vulgar and offensive it became. It was almost like another blog which makes fun of people who shop at a certain large megastore. First couple of times I laughed, too. Then I realized the authors were making fun of people who may or may not have known any different than to look that way in public. I don't visit that site any longer. I enjoy Cakewrecks and Epbot and I do look at the ads. I'm happy that it supports two adults. Working from home. Doing what they really enjoy. (Did I mention I've been unemployed for FOUR years? Am I jealous? YOU BET!)

    I'm sure something will come along that will fill the void left by Regretsy just as something will come along when you decide to abandon you readers and stop Cakewrecks and Epbot. After all, there is that thing about nature and a void, you know...

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    1. For what it's worth, Lindsey, it was Regretsy's association with that very blog that stopped us from joining their humor network. John and I refused to be associated with People Of Walmart in any way, and told the original network bloggers that if PoW was in, we were out. I've never once regretted that decision.

      And rest assured: Epbot will be around LONG after CW is gone. I'm never going to stop writing, so I figure this is as good a place as any to do it!

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    2. I always thought you and John were classy folks. That just confirms it! Now if we could just get you to adopt a DOG...(no offense Tonks and Lily!)

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    3. I am very, very glad to hear you say Epbot will be sticking around for a long time (at least that's how I'm reading that). I, uh, like Epbot better than CW (not that I don't love CW, as I fully enjoyed Regretsy as well). It leaves a very empty feeling when a blog closes.

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    4. "Classy" is the word I often find myself using when describing the Yateses to others.

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  16. It was sad to see the main site shut down but at least the forums are still going strong.

    Also, my last "captcha" included a photo of a blurry house number LOL

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  18. Lots of new information - I'm happy to click away on ads for my favorites! Epbot and Cake Wrecks are the top two on my list of favs. I don't make comments very often, but rarely a day goes by that I don't read what's new.

    I know what you do is a job, but like any job, it's nice to be appreciated. Thank you for blogging! Thank you for making me laugh, for posting things I've never seen, for putting yourself out there, in the interwebs... I'd heard of steampunk before, but reading Epbot has made me fall in love with it. I'm not exactly a geek, but am married to one, and if the degree to which I enjoy all the girl geek stuff on Epbot is any indication, *gasp* I've got one Converse in Geekdom. All that's to say, I'm grateful for you and what you do.

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  19. I had no idea that blocking ads (which I do by default on all websites) would actually decrease your ad revenue. I guess I had naively assumed that just looking at the website would count. I'm going to disable ad blocking for your two websites right away!!

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  20. How do we unblock ads for a specific site? No clue. We have an ad blocker for everything. Anyone know?

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    1. if you have adblock plus: under "tools" there should be an adblock section under that there should be misc "disable" options (disable on this page only, disable on epbot.com, disable everywhere)

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    2. There should be an icon for your ad blocker somewhere on your screen. Mine is at the bottom left-hand side. If you click it, it asks you what you want to do, and one of the choices should be "Disable on epbot.com". That will tell your ad blocker that you want to see everything on this site.

      I had no idea it affects the revenue so much. I hate looking at ads, but I would happily take the time if it means Jen will be doing Cake Wrecks a little longer. :)

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  21. what about when you use a smartphone to look at sites? does it raise as much? I usually use my phone for everything so I dont want to be adversely making it harder for you to make money

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  22. While I love reading Epbot, you give me a lot of much needed laughter with Cake Wrecks - if the ad revenue becomes too low to keep it going for financial reasons, maybe you can do more books - you don't have to do book tours, I would still buy every CW book you sell.

    I'm thankful for every day you keep doing CW, for as long as you do it. You're such a talented, funny writer, that I'll follow you on any blog you write.

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  23. I love CW and Epbot! Those are the two blogs I check daily (besides my FB account). I'm looking forward to seeing the barn door pantry/laundry.

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  24. Cake Wrecks is so special to me. Thousands of others may find their humor readily elsewhere, but I really cannot imagine it for myself. Please always do what's best for you, and in my innermost heart I hope the includes as much warning as possible when Cake Wrecks does go.

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  25. John's letting you do some crazy fun stuff in your laundry room? Hmmm...steampunk washer and dryer? That would be kinda awesome!

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  26. I'm always so amazed that you are able to keep CakeWrecks going! And while I love your "work blog", it's Epbot that I couldn't live without. =)

    One of my other favorite blogs has been going since May 2005! I didn't find it until about a year ago, but blogs like it give me hope that other blogs can last. (If you like vintage stuff, check it out at http://thevintagetraveler.wordpress.com/)

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  27. New Motto:

    "And you know, life is too short to just mock one thing. There is so much shit out there that needs to be made fun of, and I'm not getting any younger."

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  28. Just to confirm - as long as I can see your ads, does that mean you are getting "full credit" for my views? I saw something on another blog I read a few months ago mentioning that using the RSS feeder didn't count, so I always click through now. I can see your full page, including ads. I just want to make sure that is getting you the credit you deserve.

    Thanks so much for both sites. CW makes me laugh, I love the crafts and geek stuff on Epbot, and your discussion of your anxiety has really helped a good friend of mine. I'm sure at times it can get overwhelming, but please know your work is appreciated.

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  29. I use Flipboard to read blogs and one of my bloggers recently switched to partial posts where you have to click to read more and she gets credit for the page view. I would do that to read your blog. I usually don't bother to comment because 10 people already said the same thong I was thinking, but I read every word of epbot. It's one of the few blogs that I read like a book and don't just look at the pictures. I resell stories from your blog all. The. Time. And if I'm laughing out loud it's always about cake wrecks. I always wonder how you can keep going without running out of cakes or jokes... But they just keep coming! I hope you are able to keep cake wrecks going a long time, but for sure my favorite is epbot. Thanks for writing and sharing what you do!

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    1. "...switched to partial posts where you have to click to read more and she gets credit for the page view."
      Jen, please don't switch to that system. One of the blogs that I visit has done something similar and I find it very frustrating, particularly for blog posts that include pictures. I would stop visiting a web page if it was too much work to read an entry. In fact, I think I'll go email the other blogger and ask why she changed to the format she is currently using and if she can change it back.

      As others have said, I'll disable Ad-block for your blogs and see how things go. I visit the blogs while I'm at work, which is moderately acceptable, as long as nothing offensive is displayed. Some websites claim they can't control which ads are displayed and occasionally ads that aren't quite workplace-friendly do pop-up. I'll see what happens with your blog.

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  30. I applaud you for this post. I think it is important to us readers that we understand how much work goes into a blog. I tried to blog and failed. It takes a very special person to keep one up that has as many readers as both of yours do. While I am bummed that Regretsy is going away, I know April will continue to keep us laughing! I first found you through Cake Wrecks, but Epbot is where you have most of your impact for me and I know you will continue to keep us entertained with your girly geekiness and host a haven for us that aren't as mainstream as most!

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  31. I also use my smartphone to view the internet - as a student I'm never home, and usually too lazy to dig out the laptop when the phone is so convenient - so I'm curious to know how that works. I only see one ad at the top of the page. Do we just need to see the ads or do we actually need to click on them? Love your blogs & want to help keep them as profitable as possible :)
    ~linzi

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  32. I read about Regretsy shutting down - it makes me sad, because not only was the blog absolutely hilarious, the massive following it had was doing some good in the world as well. And please, please, don't ever stop blogging, at least not anytime soon - I read both Cake Wrecks and EPBOT religiously, and was even inspired by EPBOT to make my own nerdy-crafting blog! So, thank you for writing, and please don't stop anytime soon!

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  33. I agree that the personal sites have so much more personality and staying power. No matter how much I like cake pictures or silly sites like the Cheezburger network, it's the blogs that I start following for the crafts, ideas, pictures, home design that have a touch of the personal life infused that eventually make me cry, cheer, inspire me, and make me think. No matter what happens on CakeWrecks, please keep writing Epbot. that's where the good stuff is. We love you, Jen!

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  34. I found this entire posting very interesting, Jen and everyone. Apparently I've been under a rock for the past 3 years because I wasn't aware of Regretsy until you posted this. I have to say I find it hilarious and will probably put off grading papers too many times as I look through the archives.

    What I found most interesting was the interview on Wired and your comments above, Jen. I can't imagine the stress that it must be to try to be consistently funny, clever, and entertaining EVERY DAY. (God, some days I can barely take a shower let alone be "on" and alert!) Somehow, you've managed to pull it off with CakeWrecks (a site I turn to first thing every morning) and I truly admire you for it. I agree with Haiku Joy and others that while your posts have quite pointed humor, you're never mean-spirited. "Classy" is a good word, I think, as well as conscientious. But I can also see why you and John might someday want to move on to something else, and I look forward to whatever that "something else" is if it's as creative as CakeWrecks is. I hope you keep CW going, of course, but after reading your post and April's, I can see how someday the price of continuing will outweigh the enjoyment it brings.

    Thanks for the reassurance that you want to keep Epbot going for the long term, though. I am not crafty at all, nor (frankly) am I into cosplay or steampunk. But I love the sprit of this site, the inventiveness, and the originality of this site, and keep coming back to read your posts and the comments. I've learned a lot and hope to keep learning.
    So thanks for CW and Epbot, your honesty, and your decency. Much appreciated.

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  35. My son is 3, and I have been reading "blogs" such as STFU Parents (also a decline in post frequency, and the author has come out and explained why), CakeWrecks, and Regretsy during my pregnancy. I totally mirror your comments/thoughts/feelings on regretsy shuttering. I was a recipient of the mess that was the 2011 toy drive. Also I have made "friends" through the Regretsy site also (largely on Facebook but eh). I really enjoy "your" writing, and I am so pleased that the internet has provided forums for people who like laughing at wonky cakes. Thank you for sharing and being honest.

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  36. I think this may have been covered, but do you have to click on the ads, or do the ads just have to be present on the page? I have always wondered this. I use blogger for my blog, (mainly middle school ranting by a 29 y/o, it's my angry journal when I don't have access to it!) and it has a adsense ( i believe) button that I can toggle on and off. while the two people who visit my blog isn't rolling in the fraction of the pennies, but does just viewing the blog count for money's or do I actually have to click the ad. I somtimes clic the ad because I think it will help profit.. Anyway

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    1. It depends on the ads, Cara, but for mine you only have to view the page (without an adblock on) for them to count. A lot of smaller blogs have pay-per-click ads, though, which are exactly what they sound like, and also affiliate ads, which only make the blogger money if someone clicks through and then makes a purchase. There are also ads that are a combination, where the blogger makes a little for page views, and more for click-throughs. It gets pretty complicated pretty fast, believe me!

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  37. As for me, I appreciate the regularity & predictability of CW posts, & the randomness of Epbot postings timing. Sort of like having a friend you talk to everyday & a different friend who pops in every once in a while. :)

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  38. We all love you no matter what Jen <3

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  39. Try Nuffnang, they're awesome! Please don't close down your blog :(

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  40. I'm coming in a little late here, but I've been a long time reader/lurker on CW. But it was there that I saw the link to Epbot, and I've been checking here (almost) daily since you started. While I love CW and still check it on a daily basis, I come here first :) . While the cakes are hillariously bad, and yours, and your teams, comments are hillarious, I enjoy the more personal side. After all, it was you and your writing that got me hooked on looking at those cakes anyways. I agree totally with FM. I don't know how you do it. I couldn't imagine the tremendous pressure of trying to outdo the last post, or come up with something new and fresh every time. And I admire you for it. But I admire you most for your honesty, not only in this post, but in others as well. It takes a lot to bear your heart in front of everyone all the time. And this is why I will happily read along with whatever you put out. Not because it's pictures of bad cakes, but because it's coming from you.
    Nikki T

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  41. As other have said, I was am a long standing CW reader and I started reading Epbot when you first announced it's appearance on Cakewrecks. While I still find CW hilarious and it's a daily must read, I do prefer Epbot.

    I do feel like I know you and we could be friends, which is weird. It's such a one sided friendship becuase you know nothing about me!

    If you shut down CW I'd be sad, but if you shut down epbot I think it would be worse!

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