Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thanks For Everything! (Not an April Fools’ Joke)

Moonhee & Ron Martinsen
Copyright Unknown Artist – Kyoto Japan

In 2006 I went from a millionaire with a family to single and homeless, so I turned to friends to stay alive. They carried me long enough for me to rediscover a long lost passion for photography, so in March 2007 while facing over $5000/mo in legal bills I did something really stupid – I bought my first digital SLRCanon Rebel XTi. This awoke the fire and passion inside of man who started working as a 10 year old boy for $2.50/hr to become fully vested in Social Security by 22 and a multi-millionaire by 29. That selfish man died in 2006, but that rebirth of someone more caring of others was fueled by photography.

A Nice Glass of Scotch - The Birth of ronmartblog.com
A Nice Glass of Scotch - The Birth of ronmartblog.com

Later in March 2008 I picked up Color Efex with $250 I couldn’t afford to part with.  After a really bad attempt at a Strobist shot I used Color Efex to save a really ugly photo taken from my messy bed with very little equipment. This gave birth to my goal oriented desire to learn and help others from making the same mistakes I made during my transition to digital photography.

I didn’t have much money and I was frustrated by buying cheap products that failed me. I hated the reviews that made everything sound great when a lot of it was total garbage. I was tired of wasting what little money I had, so I wanted to shout from the rooftops when I made an investment in equipment or software that paid for itself. What started off as giving advice to friends at work in email evolved into the blog, and in March 2007 ronmartblog.com was born.

2013 was a fantastic year that almost caused me to quit my day job, but the Nik Software merger to Google and the subsequent Google ending the affiliate network took a big financial toll on the blog. This past January’s unexpected merger of KelbyTraining and NAPP into KelbyOne took another source of income off my plate. The net result of these two events and a downturn in others has significantly impacted the financial viability of this blog. I thought donations might save it, but with only $250 donations this year it’s clear that this blog can’t be my primary job.

ronmartblog.com – it’s bigger than many people realize!
Snapshot taken March 31, 2014 from Alexa.com

For 6 years I’ve worked from 10 PM to 4 AM (and sometimes as late as 7 AM) on Sundays through Thursdays while still maintaining a 50+hr/week day job to bring my articles to you. It’s taken a significant toll on my health and my family, but I did it with the desperate hope that I could turn this blog that I love so much into my full time job. Despite enjoying up to 90,000 visitors per month from over 190 countries per month and surpassing the Alexa ranking of photography legends like Joe McNally, it simply wasn’t enough.

I have no corporate sponsorship, no advertising and I only make a small commission when I inspire you to make a purchase using links on this blog. Despite this, I spoke from the heart and was a straight shooter – even when it cost me sales. Great partners like B&H helped me to get the camera gear I reviewed and many other great partners supported me by allowing me to review their products – even when my reviews weren’t always favorable. Only two companies have ever asked to see an early preview of my reviews and only one of those has challenged what I had to say. As a result, I can say in good conscience I’ve brought you my unbiased opinions based on how I see things without any external influence or motivation.

I’ve never retaliated against partners like Google (via the Nik Collection) and others who left me out in the cold with no commissions as you can see in my What plug-ins should I buy? (for Photoshop & Lightroom) article.

I’ve received numerous emails of support and a handful of really hateful emails, but I feel very good about what I’ve accomplished with this blog. I thank each and every one of you who have visited, and I especially thank those of you who have supported me via using my links, donations, and spreading the word about my blog.

Moving Forward

Effective immediately I’m scaling back my effort for this blog. I am NOT shutting it down or quitting, but rather returning it to the status of a fun side job – rather than a 2nd full-time job. While I will fulfill my commitments to existing partners to which I’ve promised to do reviews, I will take a break from accepting any new products until I’ve completely cleared my backlog and reassessed things.

Without the financial support of my partners, advertising and sufficient donations from my readers I have to rededicate myself to my daytime job. This also means that I have to get a good night sleep and work at being a more devoted father and husband to the people I care about the most. I just simply can’t keep doing two full time jobs like this anymore, and the finances just aren’t there for this blog to allow me to do this full-time (as much as I wish it was).

Moving forward you can expect new articles, but they will most likely be shorter and less frequent than you’ve seen in the past. Your support by sharing links to your favorite articles and using my links when purchasing will be appreciated more than ever before, so please do not stop doing that!

After spending some time just enjoying photography again as a normal guy and not a gear blogger, I hope to clear my plate and get my life and health back in order. At that point I’ll reassess the performance of this blog and my return on my time investment to see what’s next for me.

Your Support Is Greatly Appreciated!

My Personal Wallpaper
My Kids – It’s time for me to start spending more time with them again!

I hope to be back at this full steam ahead one day, but until then I need your support more than ever by using my links when making a purchase. You can use the links in the articles, my discount coupon code page, the B&H search box or contact me if you need help ordering. You can also continue to show your support by bookmarking this site and sharing links to this blog so that it doesn’t fade away during this time of reduced activity.

To the 2.6 million people who enjoyed over 4.3 million page views from over 227 countries (many of which I’ve never heard of like Nauru) – thank you!

Ron Martinsen

P.S. Just so there’s no conspiracy theories, this was not motivated by any recent review or activity at my day job. This was a personal decision that purely had to do with my family. More importantly, this is NOT an April Fools’ Joke – it’s a coincidence this just happened to occur on April 1st.

Other articles you may enjoy


Please use the index on the right side of this blog and the previous post archive at the bottom right (photo shown above) to see my past articles. Don’t forget the blue header bar at the top either (shown below)!



This blog is funded by donations and commissions when you order products using my links. It doesn’t cost you a penny more. If you don’t give it here you’ll give it to someone else – someone always gets the commission on the web!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity


Daniel Haber said...

Ron, thanks a ton for your reviews, I feel guilty about following your blog for years and not supporting you more. I had no idea about the amount of time you spend. I am a hobbyist and amateur enthusiast and I have really enjoyed your reviews and articles over the years. I am going to immediately make a donation, the least I can do. Keep it up and don't go away and cheers! Thanks for your effort!
All the best,

Clay Horne said...

Health and love of family first. Photography is the icing on the cake. Enjoy your life...

Kevin La Rue said...

Ron - It was great seeing you at CES earlier this year and I have to say it's been a distinct pleasure working with and hearing "the truth" from you for years. Your feedback has consistently been thought-provoking and has improved the products with which I've been involved.

No doubt, taking care of oneself and time with the family trumps all this tech stuff.

Best of luck, safe travels and all of that, amigo! ;-)

(VP Marketing, Macphun Software, former Nik Software marketing manager)

Ron Martinsen said...

Thanks for your support!

I'll be around on a much less frequent basis as I post using my spare daytime hours, but it'll be tough giving up the job I love the most when I'm at the top of my game.


Michael Pottiger said...

Ron, one of the few photography blogs I follow on a daily basis. Thanks for the excellent reviews and tutorials. Your insight will be sorely missed.

Having maintained a few web sites myself I can appreciate the time commitment. As other have said, health and family come first.


Ric Cederholm said...

Will miss your great blogs and product reviews! You have to take care of what is most important first -- family!! Your kids and wife will not remember your great review of the latest Canon or Nikon camera but they will remember how much time you spent with them and how present you were. Good for you and good luck!

Ron Martinsen said...

Michael and Rick,

I'm not gone - I'm just not going to be posting as frequently as I want to resume sleeping again so I can be a better dad for my son.

Thanks for sticking around for my future articles.


J. Griffin Stewart said...


Thanks for all your advice, reviews, and most of all, your friendship. I am sorry to hear that the blog did not work out financially and that you will be sticking with the day job, but am excited, relieved and glad that you will have more time for your family, friends and personal life as well as much needed sleep. You work harder and longer than most everyone I know and I am glad you will get some well deserved rest and can finally have a decisive answer on weather or not the blog could be a full time job even if it may not be the answer I would have hoped for you. Keep in touch and looking forward to reading your articles as you have time. Talk to you soon.