A New Door Opens

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Tim Higgins

Regular SmallNetBuilder readers may be wondering why it’s been relatively quiet here lately. The truth is I’ve been focused on finding a way to keep SmallNetBuilder going.

Like many web publications, we have two sources of revenue: advertising and affiliate payments. But to make any sort of decent money, you need lots of traffic. For a niche interest site like SmallNetBuilder, that ain’t gonna happen, at least not anymore. Most people are happy getting product-buying advice from Amazon user reviews, YouTube video "reviews" or big review sites.

For the traffic we do get, revenue has been declining due to increasing use of ad blockers and decreasing rates for the ads that do manage to get shown. The big ad bucks go to Facebook, Amazon and Google. Facebook shares nothing and most small publishers depend on the small and unknown percentage of Google advertising revenue that it shares with those of us that show the ads.

Affiliate revenue is also highly dependent on traffic, so it also has been trending downward. While I have to give Amazon credit for having the most generous affiliate terms I’ve found, declining traffic is shrinking this other half of the revenue pie.

The bottom line is that I can no longer make a living doing what I do, supported by these revenue sources. So I’ve taken on a new gig. octoScope has been one of my key test partners over the years, generously providing test gear at no charge so that I can do the in-depth testing that SmallNetBuilder is known for. Over the past year or so, they’ve become my sole test partner and now I’m working for them as a paid consultant.

The good news is that octoScope’s support will let SmallNetBuilder continue to provide the in-depth review and analysis of Wi-Fi products we’re known for. The bad is that there will be fewer reviews, at least in the short term.

The advent of 802.11ax is driving the development of a new generation of test hardware and software. So development of new test methods and test automation scripting is taking up most of my time. Once we get through this crunch, my focus will be able to return again to product reviews.

As the year draws to a close, I want to thank you all for reading and supporting SmallNetBuilder. The site wouldn’t be what it is without you. I hope you’ll continue to keep on reading, as I see what’s beyond this new open door.

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