GM-Volt.com: Making Money By Blogging About Your Passion

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The following is a guess post by Dr. Lyle Dennis of GM-Volt.com, a text book example of a blogger turning a passion into a money making venture.

The experiment began in January 2007 when I read two articles on Digg that would change my daily life for the foreseeable feature. The first was an article about how setting up a niche blog could be profitable. Included was a recommendation to start a site about a brand new technology. The second article was a top Dugg post about General Motors newly introduced Chevy Volt concept electric car.

Later that day I had purchased the domain name GM-Volt.com, and had a WordPress blog about the car up and running.

I have always been a major computer and internet technology enthusiast, and for years imagined a world without oil, for all the political, financial, social, and environmental benefits it would bring. Running GM-Volt.com seemed a perfect marriage of my two interests. Better than surfing the internet endlessly looking at meaningless stuff, it seemed better for me to use my computer time productively. Also, I saw it as a chance to help change the world and demonstrate to GM just how much enthusiasm there was for this technology so that they would continue towards production.

It started off slowly at first, I was new to blogging and had a lot to learn. Also, being that I am a physician, I had to learn about automotive engineering. Soon I began to see dividends. My readership, comments, and revenue steadily began increasing. Other passionate Volt enthusiasts got on-board. Before I knew it, within 6 months, GM took notice, and began flying me out to their headquarters to meet the actual executive engineers and designers who were building the car. As a result, my credibility began to grow.

Next came a nod from the New York Times, acknowledging my site as a top-10 green car website, I was also myself interviewed for articles by WIRED magazines blog and the New York Times. I was hooked.

Recently I have even had the opportunities to meet two of GM’s Vice-Chairmen, and soon will be in a conference call with their CEO.

Right now the site is getting around 70,000 unique visitors per month, and I had to hire programmers and designers for a soon-to-launch complete overhaul.

It is interesting that the car is still three years from production, and in the end may lead to millions of units in sales. I predict continued growth for my site. Also it is important to note that the site has made it to either the number 2 or 3 position by Google or Yahoo search for “chevy volt”. This means every dollar of advertising that GM spends actually benefits me, I joke that my site has a $100 million advertising budget. There is no shortcut to getting that PageRank though, it has taken a lot of hard passionate work, i.e. content.

For revenue, I run banner and contextual ads. I am currently looking for sponsors and considering selling merchandise.

As a fan of John Chow, I wanted to share my experience with his readers as an example of an experiment that so far has worked. Let’s hope the car does!


37 thoughts on “GM-Volt.com: Making Money By Blogging About Your Passion”

  1. Rodel says:

    wow!…
    correct me if im wrong but this article is tell’n me to frequent at digg and look for newly submitted product and have it as your domain. :mrgreen: then you’ll get FREE $100M budget for your advertising. :twisted:

    1. Etienne Teo says:

      Digg is really not for me, since the contents are write is not relevant for diggers to digg. :mrgreen:

      1. That’s amazing how GM-Volt.com can trace its roots back to Digg! I’m inspired. It just goes to show you, always keep your eyes open for that next big idea. It could be anywhere…

        Hmm, that gives me an idea! :idea:

    2. Steven says:

      Joking aside, I don’t think that’s what he meant and just because he got his inspiration from two posts found on Digg, doesn’t mean you or everyone else will find their inspiration (or even creative idea) that way either. That’s not to say it won’t happen, but definitely not the reason why you should frequent Digg.

  2. Collin LaHay says:

    Congratulations.

    I bet your blog will be [at least] twice as big as it is now when the car launches. Enjoy all of that advertising revenue. =)

    1. Yeah indeed, he could keep growing once the car gets released for sale, but than, he would be also have more and more competitors too. Well done tho ;)

      1. My thoughts as well. Nice job. Heh.

  3. Great post. Love reading stories about hard work resulting in something good. :D
    ~ Dave

    1. Oh, and also. I remember seeing the unveiling of this car, and I knew I wanted it. So I may actually keep track of your blog.
      ~ Dave

  4. Vikram says:

    Thats a nice story and you have a really nice blog. But I guess you are luckier than others, also, your blog has a very well defined niche!

    Many bloggers (including me), dont have very well defined niches, so wandering in too many directions doesnt bring in mucg\h attention from anyone!

    A well defined niche about which you know a lot and are interested in, is the best topic to blog about! I have learnt it with experience and would implement it!

    Good Luck with your blog! :)

  5. How truly inspiring to read that someone had a passion, went with it, learned about the passion and is doing well blogging the topic, thank you… I needed to see the this post today of all days!

    :smile:

  6. I’ve wanted a Chevy Volt ever since I first read about it a few months ago. It seems to be the perfect car for me (work is only 3 miles away, and I don’t drive long distances often).

    Until then, my Chevy Cobalt will have to do.

  7. Nate K says:

    Not bad, the fact that it takes hard work may be under-emphasized though lol

  8. Let’s hope they don’t cancel the car.
    Seriously ladies and gentlemen, at least pick something you really like and care about. This car weblog would be a hard slog otherwise.
    I don’t think I’d like to spend three years of my life writing about a single car model. I don’t care how much you paid me.
    Lyle seems happy though so hats off to him.

  9. Bruce says:

    This is an inspirational post. Shows what can happen when you seize an opportunity and then have a little luck to go along with it.

  10. Mike says:

    These stories are very inspiring! I hope we can hear more of them.

    1. Etienne Teo says:

      More of such stories is good to inspire the group of us.

  11. Patrick says:

    Nice Post, and Smart guy. My problem trying something like that would result in not knowing enough about to become the expert in order to write intelligent articles. Guess if you do your research anything is possible.

  12. ImageGag says:

    Great job Lyle. Sounds like GM should be paying you.

  13. ram says:

    Question that comes to mind after reading this piece –
    Does Ford, Chrysler, BMW, etc have a similar model?

  14. ram says:

    is there another ‘ram’ cause that’s not my avatar?

    1. Steven says:

      Shouldn’t be because the avatar is produced by a combination of all 3 fields, your name, email, AND url. Unless the other “ram” has the exact same 3 info you put in, theres no way it would give you another avatar unless MyBlogLog screwed up

  15. Fat Man says:

    good to see someone making money doing something they enjoy.

  16. Contest Beat says:

    So how much money are u making? :D

  17. Shaun Carter says:

    Sounds like Lyle made a great move with the Volt blog. Especially since he has the full support of the owner of the copyright! It’s a win-win. I hope he can monetize it well and I wouldn’t be surprised if GM hooks him up with one of the first Volts to roll off the production line.

  18. Three cheers for GM-Volt! The success of one person becomes the success of others. Not only has Dr. Lyle Dennis made his niche blog a hit, he has also made one big step for the environment. Stories like this never fail to amaze me. There’s something so moving about starting from nothing and being able to reach places one step at a time.

  19. good advice, but there are other ways to find money making ventures.

  20. I saw this car when I went to San Francisco. They had it on display at Pier 39. It was awesome!!! :D I took some pictures with my iPhone.

  21. Mike Huang says:

    WOW! This is simply an amazing story. I guess if you never give up your hopes, you’ll end up like John Chow too :)

    -Mike

  22. ArahMan7 says:

    I’ll bet John Chow gonna change his banner to Chevy Volt soon, and more money to Dr. Lyle and John Chow. This is the classic example of the concept of synergism in action.

    Dr. Lyle tastes good.
    John Chow tastes good too.
    Put them together, they taste great! Yummy!

    Greetings and lotta loves from Malaysia.

  23. Mark

    says:

    Kudios to GM for allowing you to use the domain. From what i understand domains this close to actually company name might have trademark issues.

  24. I love it. Dr Dennis you are a seriously passionate blogger about the GM Volt and this is what it takes to write a blog every day and a good one at that. Way to go!

  25. Lyle Dennis says:

    Thanks to all for the positive comments.
    It seems like it was good timing for me, GM had just begun taking a serious interest in and notice of social media, and make it a priority.
    They don’t seemed to be too concerned about the domain name…yet :grin:

  26. Very encouraging. Awesome to see he had a blast in the process.

  27. Xbox 360 says:

    It’s interesting, and encouraging to see a site take off like that. It’s a great post, that just goes to show what is possible.

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