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So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

July 25th, 2009 · No Comments

Image by Zest-PK

I’ve been wrestling with this for some time now but I’ve taken the decision to close Twenty Steps.

The simple fact is that I’ve not got the time nor motivation to keep the site running as a going concern. My life has moved on from where it was when I started this three years ago and, if the truth be told, keeping the site active has become something of a chore.

I’ll outline all the reasons and the next steps after the break but, if you can’t be arsed to click on the Keep Reading link, I’ll thank you for taking the time to stop by and wish you well.

OK. So you’re still with me. Good.

Deciding to close Twenty Steps wasn’t easy for me but it all boiled down these three things:

  1. Lack of interest in subject matter
  2. Spam
  3. Change of personal focus.

Lack of interest in subject matter

Blogging itself has moved on since I launched this site. I outlined a lot of this in my post Why Blogging Is Like The Norwegian Blue. In my opinion, the one man blog is no longer as relevant as it once was.

A lot of the blogs I used to read that were authored by one person either no longer exist or now feature guest writers.

I covered 3 topics on this site (blogging, making money online and search marketing) and the fact is that they now bore me shitless. I can’t find the motivation to write about them any more.

With one or two notable exceptions I no longer subscribe to any of those make money online blogs. It was the same old crap regurgitated from one to the next. Ultimately the way these guys were making money was to get you suckers to buy the latest fad via their affiliate links. Over time I lost all respect for them as their thinly veiled sales pushes became less palatable.

I’m not saying affiliate marketing is dead. Quite the opposite. However writing about ways to make money through affiliate marketing leaves me cold.

I’ve never purported to be an SEO. In fact I’ve referred to myself as a searchspotter on a number of occasions. Sure I make money by offering SEO style services to some of my clients but I was more interested in the methodology behind SEO and, to a certain extent, the people who were the movers and shakers in the field. That’s changed as I see more and more people jump on the SEO bandwagon and, crucially, a change in attitudes in the people I once respected. The SEO sphere has become a bitchy place that I want no part of.

Besides, why waste my energies on writing about these 3 topics when I would be more gainfully employed actually doing them?


The sheer volume of shitty spam comments I’ve been getting here over the last few months was one of the straws that broke this particular camels back. I thought I would maybe find the motivation to continue writing but I began to resent Twenty Steps because it was taking up my time editing/deleting/flagging all the spam I was getting.

Maybe it was my own fault in enabling DoFollow (something I have now removed) and for trusting in people to play the game. I won’t make that mistake again.

Email spam, comment spam and social media spam are getting worse. I launched into a rant on Twitter this evening because I saw the phrase “RIP Harry Patch” was trending. Harry Patch was one of the last remaining WWI veterans who passed away today, in case you didn’t know. Well the majority of the tweets I saw using the phrase were parasites using his death to market their shitty websites or services.

How much more fucking disrespectful can you be?

I’ve had all sorts of crap masquerading as legitimate comments on this site since enabling DoFollow. I’ve had idiots posting comments from the same IP address using different email addresses and different spammy affiliate sites who then send me hateful messages via the contact form because I’ve deleted their comments.

Keep going, fellas. You’ll soon kill the goose that lay the golden egg.

I’m seeing more and more blogs/sites that require user registration to leave a comment or are simply not offering the option at all.

Change of personal focus

I’ve had a real problem juggling my balls for the last 12 months. That’s not a medical condition, before you ask. No, as any long term reader or someone who took the time to read the old About page will know, I combined blogging with my film work and client work. Over the last year I’ve found that I’ve spread myself too thin and something had to give.

I’m not going to become an online recluse or anything like that but I am certainly going to scale back my online operations. I had too many sites that I was simply not investing enough effort in to make it worth maintaining. That’s not just websites I owned, I’m talking about social media platforms, forums, online communities.

My online persona was becoming a watered down version of me that I no longer had the time nor inclination to fix. Well that’s got to change.

Next Steps – Me

I’m going to be selling off a number of my domain names and sites on Flippa over the coming months. I’m going to be cancelling my accounts with a lot of the social media sites I was previously an active member of. I am going to focus on the areas that I have a genuine passion for.

I guess in a lot of ways I’m looking to rebrand ‘me’ online. A lot of my thinking is covered in the link above but I don’t believe that I can be me whilst trying to be multiple version of ‘me’.

I’m probably going to scale back my online activities (with the exception of Twitter. I Goddam love it!) and focus more on my writing and film based work.

Ultimately I guess I want to stop being a slave to the Internet and go back to enjoying it.

Next Steps – Twenty Steps

Over the coming weeks I will be deleting a number of the more personal posts. The ones that relate directly to me. After that, well I’ve just renewed the domain name for another year so the site will remain active for that time. I’ll no longer be accepting comments on the site. If you want to get in contact then do so via the contact page.

Is the site up for sale?

After I’ve deleted the personal posts then yes. Yes it is. How much? Make me an offer. I’m not going to go into figures here. Drop me a line if you’re interested. The site has been quoted on a number of mainstream publications and still gets a lot of love from Big G (despite the recent bitch slap) and some of the social sites. As an example the last 48 hours have seen 2k+ StumbleUpon visitors for a two year old post that ranks 3rd out of 120 million. That’s gotta be worth something, right?

In Closing

I’ll be honest and say this hurts. For a period of time this blog meant the world to me but, like a lot of relationships, the infatuation passed and I could see it’s faults and even though breaking up is hard, I know it’s the right decision.

I want to thank a few people here. My old business partner who has previously been referred to as Bill but who is really Richard for introducing me to the concept of blogging for money. Damn you, Richard! My online buddy BlogBloke who, despite his often curmudgeonly approach to making money blogs, still stood by me. To Andy Beard for being the only person from Poland who didn’t leave me comment spam. To Michael Gray for writing the excellent article on How To Shut Down A Blog. To Darren Rowse and Jeremy Schoemaker for not only proving that bald is beautiful *koff* but for being the only two “gurus” that I actually pay any attention to after three years in the field. To Rand and the guys at SEOmoz for being an invaluable resource although the outing needs to stop, m’kay? To Danny and everyone at SEL for being my #1 source of all things SEO.

And most importantly to all of the people who have come to this site over the last three years.

It’s been emotional.

Tags: Twenty Steps Site News