What a long strange trip it’s been…Well not too long. Two years to be exact. It was January 7th, 2010 when I posted the first article on THE Weed Blog. It was titled Marijuana Policy In America. Here is the article below:
“It is detrimental to American society to keep our current policy on marijuana. It is considered to be a level one narcotic by the federal government, decriminalized in certain states, some states you can have a medical card, and even then, medical states differ greatly on their programs and laws that pertain to them. This leaves a tremendous amount of loopholes for the black-market, it is extremely hard to tax/regulate, and the problem is growing exponentially. I KNOW THAT PEOPLE WANT AN ALL OUT LEGALIZATION, BUT COME ON FOLKS!!! Politics is an incremental game. You can’t get a 100% victory out of nowhere. Supporters would have to pick their battles and over time legalization would come due to momentum in popular support and several smaller laws. NO FEDERAL LEVEL POLITICIAN IS GOING TO RISK THEIR CAREER TO FIGHT FOR A CAUSE THAT IS SUCH A RADICAL CHANGE WITH NO GUARANTEED RETURN. Face the truth; stoners don’t vote consistently, and fighting on behalf of a voting bloc that doesn’t exist would be political suicide. So what do we do? As someone that wants a functional, safe system, I ask the question; WHAT REALISTIC OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE???? I look forward to seeing the comments.”
It was such a simple blog post, and apparently I didn’t feel the need to use separate paragraphs ha ha. There were only two comments, both from people I knew, the first one of course being co-creator Ninjasmoker. There were no pictures, and at the time of the blog post, there were no keywords or meta-links. I have fought the urge to alter the article to be a better reflection of the work that we do now at theweedblog.com, but I keep it in it’s original form (other than metalinks) to remind Ninjasmoker and I how far we have come in this endeavor.
I think many people in the marijuana community would be surprised to know the story behind theweedblog.com. Ninjasmoker and I had been involved in every facet of the marijuana culture except media before we launched this website. I had recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration (summa cum laude) and Ninjasmoker was working at a call center. We would spend long hours consuming large amounts of marijuana and talking the toke.
I would ramble on and on about the marijuana court cases that I studied in college (I was a Legal Studies minor), about how 2010 is was going to be the biggest year in marijuana’s political history, and most of all, how I wish I had a job, any job. I graduated from college in 2009 as a non-traditional student, which of course was the worst time to graduate from college. I couldn’t find a job if my life depended on it, and after watching a movie about a blog, Ninjasmoker and I decided to create one about marijuana to help us cope with the life hate that we were experiencing.
Ninjasmoker has always been good at computers, but he had never built a website before. I know a lot about politics, public policy, and marijuana law, but admittedly, I know very little about computer stuff. We both knew a tremendous amount about marijuana culture because we had lived it day in and day out in the marijuana friendly state of Oregon. After several energy drinks, who knows how many grams of marijuana, and tireless hours of researching, Ninjasmoker finally text me to e-mail him my first article, the site was ready for a post.
I will never forget the first time going to our site and seeing something that I wrote for the world to see, for better or worse. The next big milestone was when we got our first readers that we didn’t know who they were. We had been tracking Google Analytics for a week or so, and we started to see hits from towns across America (and then the world) that we definitely didn’t know anyone from. We did all of our marketing through social media, mainly Facebook when we started.
Finances have been extremely simple from the beginning. I put up the original $80 to get the domain name through justhost.com. We started using Google Ads shortly after starting and made back the original investment in a couple of months. Due to the quality original content that we were posting, our obvious love for all things marijuana, and Ninjasmoker’s tireless pursuit of social media knowledge, we were up to 7,000 pageviews a day within seven months.
That’s when the bomb was dropped. We had exceeded our bandwidth with justhost.com, and they essentially tried to strong arm us into renting a dedicated server from them for $150 per month or stay offline. At that time, we were barely cracking $100 a month on Google Ads, so we were at a crossroads. I vividly remember talking to Ninjasmoker in a very somber tone saying things like ‘it was good while it lasted.’ We smoked bowls ‘in memory of theweedblog.com’ and tried to come up with other things to do to pass the time.
Twenty four hours from the time we got chopped by justhost.com, I started receiving texts from Ninjasmoker saying that he might have enough parts around his parents house to build a server to house our website. Within 48 hours he had it built, and within 72 hours we were back online. The server sat in my living room (which it still does) churning out pageviews. I remember being so excited because now we didn’t have to deal with the horrible company that is justhost.com. We house our own site with our server and go through godaddy.com for our domain name. FYI to anyone looking into starting a site, DO NOT GO THROUGH JUSTHOST.COM!
Since we had such a strong social media base to rebuild from, and we were still posting quality content, we were back to spreading marijuana news and information to the internet. I get a lot of e-mails from people telling me that my articles are good and thanking me for spreading awareness, but the true credit really needs to go to Ninjasmoker. If it wasn’t for his ability to research and implement creative technological solutions, we would rank so high on Google returns, we wouldn’t have an Android app, we wouldn’t be on Google news, and we definitely wouldn’t be on hardly any of the social media sites that we are on. I would still be sitting on my couch looking at marijuana stories online, only posting my rants and reflections in the comments sections of media outlets lol.
On our second anniversary, theweedblog.com is very healthy. The server is in a safe location, putting out an endless hum that constantly fills my living room. To be perfectly honest, theweedblog.com is almost a bit too healthy for just two stoners that have nothing more than a full bong, two laptops, and a pieced together server. We get innundated with more e-mails a day than we could ever keep up with. There are more stories that we would love to cover, activists and industry people that we would love to network more with, and events that we would love to blog from.
It’s hard when life gets in the way, since we both work full time jobs and side jobs as well to cover the bills. We no longer have Google funding (we were flagged for inappropriate content), so we are doing this purely for the love of it. I think that kinda works to our advantage though, since we are doing it for the passion, not for the paycheck. We have always strived to put the plant above all else, and we will continue to do so.
I am confident we will get to where we want to be soon enough, mainly because of our fantastic readers. Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for TWB readers, I would just be sending these blog posts into the black abyss right? I really hope our readers know that we appreciate you more than words could ever express, and that we are here to help the marijuana movement above all else. Ninjasmoker and I will continue to do everything that we can to keep this website going, and to keep fighting the good fight. THANKS FOR READING THEWEEDBLOG.COM!
BY THE NUMBERS
Since January, 7 2010:
3.91 million page views
1.59 million visitors from 211 countries and territories
Almost 2200 articles
(Est) 110,000 likes on Facebook
(Est) 124,000 retweets on Twitter
259,247 Stumbles from Stumbleupon
80,991 Reddit points on Reddit
Numbers from Google Analytics
Google pagerank: 5