More from the editor from Issue 900

8

By Chuck Woodbury
EDITOR

Thanks for listening to me a little longer.

Although I always try to be honest, I avoid being blunt. But I will do so now. I have published the RVtravel.com newsletter for about 18 years. For all that time, I have basically given away my work for free — my writing and hard work as a publisher. I seldom put in less than 50-60 hours of work a week and it’s been that way for most of the last 18 years.

I have observed Greg Gerber’s battle with his advertisers for the past few years. It was no surprise to me that he lost their support by being critical of them (always when they deserved it, in my opinion). I realize the same sort of pressure is always coming my way.


When I first started soliciting donations — voluntary subscriptions — from readers I questioned whether they would consider it begging. It took me a full year of thinking about it before I ever requested a “voluntary subscription.” I finally realized that if people believe in what you do, they will want to help if asked. And, to date, 4,300 readers have done just that. Some gave us $5 once and that was it. Thankfully, others gave more, with probably a quarter of them setting up automatic monthly payments.

But over and over, some people write to call us beggars, or worse. It’s an angry world today, and that sometimes really gets me down. It wasn’t like that when I started the newsletter in 2001. Facebook changed everything. It provided a platform for angry people everywhere to amplify their messages (and ignorance most of the time).

I confess to you that I am worn out after a decade of reading their sometimes vile comments. I have been called every name in the book when I even touched on a sensitive subject. The four subjects we try to avoid at RVtravel.com are religion, guns, sex and politics. But heaven forbid we even casually mention one of those topics, which does happen.

I’m 72 now, with nearly 45 years of writing professionally behind me. And, frankly, I am tired of giving away my work for free, often to people who don’t even respect my efforts. It so profoundly disappoints me that so many people today are angry. I sometimes ask myself, “Who am I busting my ass for when so many of these people don’t give a damn about me, my staff, or what we are trying to do to make their RVing lives better?”

The fact is, our “voluntary subscribers” are kinder and more open-minded, and they appreciate what we do. Many of them have become my friends. I like them — not just for their money, but for their support, understanding and common sense.

SO, STARTING SOON, my efforts will be focused on serving those 4,300 member-readers, not the other 74,000 who tag along for free.

We’ll keep the ad-supported newsletter going, and it will remain a valuable resource. But I am not going to bust my aging butt much longer for people who don’t care about us or appreciate all the good that we do to help RVers.

We got a letter just the other day from a reader who said, “You saved my life.” He said what he learned from us about RV electricity may have saved his life on two occasions when his RV had dangerous “hot skin” conditions. (You don’t think this is a big deal? Read this story later to see how a hot-skin condition can kill, not just damage electronics).

Mike Sokol’s all-volunteer Stray Voltage Patrol is now 500 strong, and at this very moment roaming around America testing power pedestals in RV parks to see if they are safe, and if not, alerting the campground managers. Maybe one day you’ll plug into one of those we identified and not blow up your RV’s electronics in the process. What other website goes to that extreme to help RVers, all at our own expense?

Okay, now I have vented. And let me say that I know there are those of you who need every dollar at the end of the month. The last thing I want is your money. If you need to watch every dollar to get by, email me privately — chuck@rvtravel.com — and I’ll put you on our donor list. And to those of you who shop often through our Amazon affiliate link (available in the blue bar at the top of every page), tell me and I will put you on our donor newsletter list as well.

And if you want to enter a voluntary subscription, you can do so here.

chucksignature
June 6, 2019

8 COMMENTS

  1. Contrary to the ignorant and unappreciative minority that revel in bitterness and decisiveness your journalistic efforts have and always will be appreciated by the majority of RV public. I for one am very grateful for all your efforts and I am glad to support it.
    Thanks Chuck!

  2. Chuck, I recall that Greg sold the publication to spend more time in his ministry. I have to admit that it is very hard to see a long time effort being driven into the ground. That is probably why he tried to resurrect his publication. Maybe he should have let it die in Ronnie’s arms. (BTW – armchair hind sight is sometimes better than foresight}. You, on the other hand, are exiting deferentially. Slower. More planned. Progressive. I like your exit. You will leave the RV community with a valuable forum with many interest areas. I applaud you.

  3. don’t let the morons get you down, there are far more of us who you haven’t even an idea that are out there cheering you on and laughing at the nincompoops, idiots and boors who you do encounter.

  4. Giving away free content to a huge number of people in order to entice a few to buy your product has been a viable model on the Internet for years. I agree that it hurts a bit that not everyone wants to pay for my pearls of wisdom. The model of having a paywall and giving away a little bit has also been viable for some, but not so much. See every newspaper going out of business.

    You’ve provided a valuable resource for the RVing community, and I’m sad to see you go. Maybe it’s time for us dinosaurs to let people like Liz Wilcox take over the next new model. I wish you well in your travels.

  5. I really appreciate all the hard work of all the people that make this newsletter happen. I have learned so much just reading the newsletter. Being in Customer Service for 27 years, I can relate to the way people act. What made me really happy was when someone said thanks for your effort to solve my problem. (too bad that they are far and few of these) So a BIG THANKS to all of you for your effort and energy you put in to this newsletter to make it happen. THANK YOU

  6. I appreciate everything you do for us, I became a member within a month of discovering RV Travel because I realized the service you provide. Yes you’re right about people being angry, it’s part of society these days, and as a former school bus driver I can tell you the anger starts at a very early age. I started driving a middle school route grades 6,7,and 8; 6 th was decent, 7th was iffy, and 8th was bad. I ended my bus driving with two routes elementary and high school, elementary was good because mom and dad hadn’t had time to poison their minds, high school was terrible because they had been exposed to 14 years of hate and discontent. Parents teach these kids to be mad all the time with the pressures they bring home with them everyday. When my siblings and I grew up with parents from the “greatest generation” they had pressures of being adults, but they had been taught by their parents to leave it at work just like I was taught the same thing. I tried to leave my daily pressures at work when I was raising my family, of course there were no computers to keep me connected to work so when I punched the time clock that was it for the day. Now I guess they take their jobs home with them, maybe they sleep with their jobs also. Lol. Anyway at 76 years old I am enjoying life with my new wife of three years(today’s our 3rd Anniversary) and look forward to your daily column, so chin up, ( it’ll probably get worse) and march forth. Happy Saturday!

  7. I, for one, would probably not have lasted as long as you have Chuck and I thank you for your time and effort on our behalf out here in the RV world.

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