Happy New PetrolBlog: what next?

General Bunk
PetrolBlog ponders its future... again.

It turns out that killing something isn't as easy as you might think. A typical Nordic Noir drama makes it all seem rather simple – terminate your victim in the middle of the night, bury it in the depths of a Scandinavian forest, and you've got until the end of the tenth episode before a lady in a woollen jumper consumes enough coffee to solve the mystery.

It won't take the combined efforts of Sarah Lund and Saga Norén to deduce that PB is still very much alive and kicking. OK, so it has lost a couple of cylinders, but it's still here and definitely not buried in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Malmö.

Announcing the demise of something is going to lead to one of three things. There might be a public outcry, such as we saw when the BBC hatched a plan to pull the plug on 6Music. Or, as in the case of the Capri 280 and Corrado VR6 Storm, folk will cry into their copies of Auto Express, before voting with their wallets and leaving the last-of-the-line models to gather dust in a showroom.

The third scenario is one in which the news is greeted with a collective shrug of shoulders and a lonesome tumbleweed rolling across the road. Fortunately, this hasn't been the case with PetrolBlog.

To say that I was overwhelmed with the response to the news that PetrolBlog was/is about to die would be an understatement. While everything is relative and some perspective is required, it's clear that a decision to kill PB can't be taken lightly. I should have consulted a few people before deciding to go all Terminator on you.

I've had calls, texts, emails, messages and the odd fax telling me not to let PetrolBlog die. People I haven't heard from before, folk I haven't heard from since the early days of PB, professional types from automotive PR, fellow writers and some companies have said PB should stay alive. There have even been a couple of commercial enquiries, but so far no money has changed hands. More's the pity.

Seriously, thanks so much for the love. It's tempting to stick to my guns and allow PB to go out on a high. Quit while it's remembered for the good times, rather than becoming something akin to an end-of-the-pier entertainer. That said, a mint Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow with a personalised plate would be most welcome.

But where does that leave PB? In reality, nothing has changed. Messages of love, support and thanks are wonderful and quite humbling, but they don't alter the fact that PB must generate some kind of income. I'm sure Tom Jones enjoyed having knickers chucked at him (most of them, anyway), but knickers don't pay the bills. Note: PB hasn't received any knickers.

Here's the thing: I still love writing words for PB. Few, if any, outlets would welcome the general tone of voice and subject matter found on here, so if I close it down, I'm effectively kicking the soapbox from beneath my feet and removing the batteries from my Tannoy system. Note the capitalisation, for any Partridge fans.


PB can put food on the table, but the fear has always been that by turning it into a business, it removes the sense of fun and freedom. That said, it's probably a risk I'll have to take. But what can be done?

Well, Patreon is one idea, but I've seen mixed results from fellow blogs I respect in the industry. Transport Evolved has done well from it, but Green Motor and HubNut have shown that there's no guarantee that an income can be generated. My biggest concern is that nobody would really want to pay to read PetrolBlog.

Sponsored posts are another idea, but with them comes the risk of upsetting readers, not to mention disappearing from Google rankings. Ads – well unless PB becomes just another blog churning out rehashed press releases, it's never going to generate the number of visits required to make ads worthwhile. But hey, the past month has shown that there's a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase here, so some kind of site sponsorship model might work.

I also have a few other ideas, some of which would require investment before any income is generated. They're exciting, that's all I can say.

Look, you don't come here to read about in the inner workings of PB and my struggle to make it pay. But I just wanted to say thank you for the feedback. Genuinely, I had no idea it was liked (and loved) by so many. The PB net has spread further than I could ever imagine.

You own a restaurant, you get to hear what people think of your food. You run a hotel, people will say what they thought of their stay. But it's hard to gauge what people really think about a blog. Stats tell you the numbers, but the vast majority of people drop by without leaving a note.

Maybe an old-school guestbook is required…

What happens next? There will be the odd post over the coming weeks. Esteemed writer David Milloy has sent some words, while Caterham has asked me to review a LEGO Seven 620R. If only man could live on LEGO sets alone.

Thanks for hanging around. I hope the next post is announcing a glorious future for PB and we can get back to filling the internet with automotive waffle and bunk. Happy New Year.