BTW, for any of you who criticize him (and I often find myself in that group), his site has an Alexa ranking in the top 5000 for US and top 8000 globally. He could choose to monetize that with Google ads (and make A LOT of money), but he doesn't. Yes, he posts affiliate links and solicits contributions, but no one is forced to give a donation or click on a link. Just saying...
Probably because he already lives so well off it as is, why toss in ads and risk killing the golden goose. I don't know if it is true, but he claims to not need to work because of his website and yet he lives in a big house in one of the fanciest and most expensive towns in the entire nation and has many kids so his website must be doing more than fine just with the links and donations (assuming he is not just joking around with his claims about not needing to work because of the website).
So I guess he is a genius in a way.
I think he says his wife works, and while I haven't seen all of his family photos, I've only ever seen two children.
He also does, or assists at, workshops. He is an inventor who holds at least one patent, probably more.
He sold a condo in San Diego which he bought for nothing. If you know anything about California real estate, even after the bubble burst it was worth a lot. So moving to a nice area on Long Island may not have been as huge a stretch as one might think. I have a pharmacist and a school teacher across the street from me in a 5500 square foot house plus a detached garage with living space above. They did it in a similar fashion. They certainly could not afford a seven figure home on what pharmacists and school teachers make here (combined under $150K).
I don't think "tossing in ads" will reduce traffic, especially only one or two per page. Look at this site's Alexa ranking
and it's mostly just a bunch of people throwing out uninformed/nonsensical opinions, whines, and complaints, with the occasional review and excellent observation tossed in, and lots of ads inserted into every discussion. It's also relatively young compared to other sites, the domain name was registered on February 1, 2007. Look at photo.net's Alexa ranking
and it's loaded with ads, perhaps including an occasional super-annoying pop up. And the pièce de résistance is drpreview.com's Alexa rank
, and it is also ad heavy. I'm fairly certain KR's site would make a ton more money with just Google ads, unless he's making a super commission on his affiliate links and believes that content relevant ads would siphon that away (though he could always block Google ads from places where he is an affiliate - content publishers have that right).
Of course if you believe Alexa, there are a lot of school kids on this site at least as compared to others. Somehow I am not surprised...
Like KR or not, any webmaster would be happy to have created a personal site that's in the top 10K worldwide, and, I would wager, most are drawing more revenue than kenrockwell.com.