The end of the road for PetrolBlog?

It’s around this time of year when PetrolBlog normally rolls out its seasonal message, complete with festive photo of Santa behind the wheel of a Citroën AX GT.

This year, there will be no such message. Instead, I’m here to say that PetrolBlog’s days are numbered. The chances are, it won’t make it into 2017. Sad times, eh?

I could make some remark – laced with false modesty – about it being no big deal and that nobody will miss it. Heck, PB has had more false starts in 2016 than a Vauxhall Viva on a wet morning. Yes, I’m speaking from experience here.

But the fact is, I know a few people have enjoyed the waffle and bunk over the past six, nearly seven years. I know this, because I have the emails, messages and support to prove it. To the PB community, I say thank you.

It has been fun. Somehow – against all the odds – PB has managed to occupy a small corner of the internet, assembling a loyal band of fans and followers. You know who you are. Some of you are kind enough to slap a PB sticker on your car.

From the early days, it has punched above its weight, but has never taken itself too seriously. It has made a bit of cash along the way, but nowhere near enough to cover the outgoings and expenses. But making money was never the point of PetrolBlog. It was all about the joy. Which is why you’ll find no ads on the site.

Things change. When PB was established, it was an escape from the day-to-day. It didn’t need to generate any money.

But through extreme good fortune, not to mention the odd case of being in the right place at the right time, I find myself in a position where writing generates the vast majority of my household income. Keeping PB alive is like writing for free.

And writing for free isn’t a sensible idea when you have a wife, two children, an increasing number of animals and an ever-expanding fleet of cars to support. It’s a harsh truth, but PB has to pay its way.

Only it can’t. I’ve never chased hits, page views and whatever else keeps advertisers happy. And I turn down opportunities to place sponsorsed posts on the site on an almost daily basis. Being commercially savvy was never my strongest attribute, but at least you know the waffle on PB is authentic and not paid for by an SEO agency.

The landscape has changed, too. Back in 2010, car blogs were few and far between. Today, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of them. I can’t help but think PB has become a minnow swimming in a very large ocean.

And that new DriveTribe thing stands a very good chance of sweeping all before it, like a basking shark swallowing plankton.

Being brutally honest with myself, I’m not entirely sure PB is quite the force it once was. I look back at the some of the early posts with a touch of pride. I can’t say the same about much of the content over the past couple of years.

So, what’s best? Let it die a slow and painful death? Remove it altogether? Hand it over to somebody else? Decisions, decisions…

Right now, my head says pull the plug and move on. My time is needed elsewhere and PB can be filed under ‘good while it lasted’.

But a small section of my heart is telling me to sleep on it. Give it until the new year, then make a decision fresh from a Christmas break filled with eggnog and cheese footballs. I do have some ideas that could generate some cash in return for the waffle. At the very least it would be good to cover the cost of keeping the fleet alive.

If nothing else, this might help to explain why PB has been so quiet of late. Maybe you’ve moved on already, I don’t know. But this isn’t a retirement speech. Yet. That might come later.

In the meantime, have a very PetrolBloggy Christmas.

Here, have a photo of Santa in an AX GT. You know, just for old times’ sake…

Merry Christmas from PetrolBlog

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

9 comments

  1. December 14, 2016
    Pawnsacrifice

    Sad times. One of the first motoring blogs i followed, and about the only one i still refer to. but, times move on and I am delighted to read that you words, elsewhere, are feeding the family and fueling the fleet; more than once now i have read something on MSN only to realise it was your work, sir. PB has been excellent but you, your words deserve a bigger stage, not to mention financial compensation.
    this could be taken as the obligatory niceties when something passes on, but did PB really mean that much to me? Well, it was Gavin and mysterious contributor failcar that led me to buy my 924 S, and what opportunities that led to. Not to mention a great day at the Pentillie Festival of Speed.
    god speed, sir.
    matt

    Reply
  2. December 15, 2016
    John Midgley

    Putting the welfare of your family before internet strangers is admirable. Good luck in the future, Pb will be missed.

    Reply
  3. December 15, 2016
    Simon

    As someone who has given quite a lot of free time to internet projects, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I can appreciate your feelings. MOVING ON and making money and being happy is the next natural step. PB will always be remembered fondly and it’s the reason you are where you are today.

    Reply
  4. December 15, 2016
    rotation

    Well, it’s been a good run, I can’t complain.

    Cup of tea?

    Reply
  5. December 17, 2016
    Paul

    Noooooooo!!!!!,although I was rather late to the party,Ive always enjoyed a look over the good old petrolblog,especially as many blogs were dedicated to those lovely yellow french headlamps and the mk1 Renault clio! will be very sad to see it go but needs must i guess! as an aside,while my wife is away with the girls next may,i shall be visiting l`manoir d`l automobile as seen in your fine blog!

    Reply
  6. December 18, 2016
    Mick

    Will be very sorry to see pb go. I really enjoyed reading the general bunk in particular. Where can we find your work now? Thanks. Mick

    Reply
  7. December 21, 2016
    Alvaro

    greetings from france. please put as many ads as possible to keep tje most original website on tje planet, Even it has been really qiiet I kept clicking on my saved bookmark, hoping not to find what you wrote today…
    Gavin, we need you.

    Reply
  8. December 25, 2016
    ANTONIO

    please don’T GO…I HAVE PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE MYSELF OF DONATING TIME FOR FREE TO INTERNET SETS, WHICH NOT ONLY COST MONEY BUT preVENT YOU FROM EARNING THE STUFF, SO I CAN FEEL WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM. BUT I’M SURE THERE’S A WAY OF KEEPING IT GOING THAT DOESN’T TAKE UP TOO MUCH TIME…IT’S TOO GOOD TO DIE!

    Reply
  9. January 8, 2017
    mIKEo

    thanks FOR ALL THE “INTERESTING” ARTICLES. IT’S BEEN FUN READINGS AND FOLLOWING YOUR BLOG. WHATEVER YOU DECIDE TO DO… GOOD LUCK. AND THANKS FOR ALL YOUR EFFORT OVER THE YEARS.

    Reply

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