The Cost of Being Online

| March 11, 2014 | 6 Comments

This post is simply one to ‘set the record straight’. I have been running, on my own, a review site for nearly four years now that focuses exclusively on book apps for kids ages 2-12. The site is

Many of you are familiar with it or even regular users.

This website, our deal site ( and the blog you are reading now ( are not technically ‘non-profits’ because we don’t file taxes as such, but these are ALL endeavors which bring in no reasonable income for any of the writing and reviewing we feature. This is an entirely volunteer effort, for all intents and purposes. Our bandwidth costs more than the income we get from having the average of 3 ads that we carry, paid, on our sites at any given time. Expedited reviews defray a tiny portion of the cost, but only of the time it takes me, our sole staff member, to spend time with an app and write about it – but that’s about it.

We average 2-3 expedited reviews/month because we are very picky about our content and have editorial standards that are not based on our bottom line. We have equipment costs, too, including an expensive Mac mini that scans prices for our sites, in our home, four times a day. We do this because it matters to us and we care about the literature kids are reading in a digital environment. We are parents and run this site primarily for other parents, educators & librarians. We did not found these sites as a source of PR for app developers. I love collaborating with content creators and helping them make the best products possible for little people, but I am not in the business of ‘selling apps’.

I am so sick of people contacting me and asking for support, promotion or other ‘help’ promoting their eBook or app without any regard for my personal time. You are not ‘doing me a favor’ by telling me about your new app, asking me to tweet about it or feature it for my readers. You are not offering anything, let’s be clear. I am not a journalist (not that I wouldn’t like that moniker, but I don’t get paid in any way for my writing, so it isn’t accurate). Any notoriety I have or influence I wield is entirely from the efforts I have put forward in this new industry, not something other people can buy or bargain for. Anyone willing to put in the kind of effort I have over the past several years is welcome to critique my work and I will listen. However, most of the criticisms come from people who have no idea what it takes to maintain a blog, keep an audience and gain respect in a new industry.

If I can do it, anyone can. But by that same measure, if I am willing to put in the real effort, you too will be expected to pay your dues. “New Media” is no longer a “new industry” … it is maturing and only the more mature players will be around in the near future.

Okay – done venting! How was your week? 😉

Category: 100+ Reviews ... What I've Learned So Far, All About Apps, Our House

About the Author ()

Carisa Kluver is the the editor of, an iPad children's book review site. She has a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MSW from the University of Washington. Before starting this project, she was a school counselor, health educator and researcher in child & maternal health.