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

written by John Chow on December 16, 2007

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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!

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{ 35 comments }

Rodel December 16, 2007 at 3:44 pm

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:

Etienne Teo December 16, 2007 at 6:43 pm

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

Misinterpreted December 18, 2007 at 2:04 pm

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:

Steven December 16, 2007 at 7:02 pm

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.

Collin LaHay December 16, 2007 at 3:46 pm

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. =)

SEO Optimization December 16, 2007 at 5:25 pm

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 ;)

Affiliate Unleashed December 16, 2007 at 9:07 pm

My thoughts as well. Nice job. Heh.

Affiliate Marketing Podcast December 16, 2007 at 3:52 pm

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

Affiliate Marketing Podcast December 16, 2007 at 3:53 pm

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

Vikram December 16, 2007 at 3:58 pm

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! :)

lisa coultrup ( kystorms) December 16, 2007 at 4:00 pm

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:

Can't Get Rich December 16, 2007 at 4:00 pm

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.

Nate K December 16, 2007 at 4:20 pm

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

WordPress SEO December 16, 2007 at 4:58 pm

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.

Bruce December 16, 2007 at 5:10 pm

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.

Mike December 16, 2007 at 5:50 pm

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

Etienne Teo December 16, 2007 at 6:45 pm

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

Patrick December 16, 2007 at 5:53 pm

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.

ImageGag December 16, 2007 at 6:02 pm

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

ram December 16, 2007 at 6:03 pm

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

ram December 16, 2007 at 6:04 pm

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

Steven December 16, 2007 at 7:06 pm

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

Fat Man December 16, 2007 at 6:45 pm

good to see someone making money doing something they enjoy.

Contest Beat December 16, 2007 at 8:04 pm

So how much money are u making? :D

Shaun Carter December 16, 2007 at 8:05 pm

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.

Jay, writer MemberSpeed.com December 16, 2007 at 8:24 pm

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.

Bathroom Hero December 16, 2007 at 8:36 pm

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

Affiliate Unleashed December 16, 2007 at 8:42 pm

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.

Mike Huang December 16, 2007 at 11:20 pm

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

ArahMan7 December 16, 2007 at 11:30 pm

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.

Mark December 17, 2007 at 11:08 am

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.

Affiliate Confession December 17, 2007 at 11:16 am

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!

Lyle Dennis December 17, 2007 at 5:21 pm

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:

Free Blogroll Link December 17, 2007 at 8:16 pm

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

Xbox 360 December 18, 2007 at 4:51 am

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.