Transparency in Advertising: How EBR Runs

Court

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Hi guys, the video below is a sincere message to you. My goal is to update you on how EBR runs, how it makes money, and how that influences what you see on the main site and some of the content posted here. With this video and post my aim is to create an open conversation about sponsored content and paid reviews. I used to run more ads on EBR but have switched to a model where companies pay a universal service fee for my work. I want to be transparent about this, just as I'm transparent about the bikes I review. My goal has always been to provide lots of objective information mixed with a bit of my own opinions and insights. I've built comparison tools and kept the comments and forum very open so that other opinions and information can be shared. Please watch and share your thoughts.


When ElectricBikeReview.com launched in 2012, I built the site myself and there were no forums. All of my reviews were done for free and I even paid people on Craigslist to let me review their used models before they got sold. I'd love to be able to do all of this for free, but over time I have run out of personal money to use and I have even hired people to help me. I think it's okay to get paid and make a living... but the question of how was a big struggle because I want this content to be unbiased. My work is not meant to be an advertisement or endorsement, more like a view into what's going on and then a deeper look into specific topics and products. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying my best... so I moved away from posting lots of ads on the site to a universal fee for the in-depth content that I produce. Most of the time, manufacturers pay this fee. Sometimes, shops volunteer to pay the fee because they really want a bike reviewed or a subject covered! I personally enjoy working directly with friends, product managers, and shop owners because they have insights to share. On more than one occasion, I have included a family member or even my girlfriend... because I love them and want to celebrate this positive space and get a fresh or different perspective. My plan is to continue as I always have been, but do so with this service fee being communicated within content.
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
#2
You don’t seem to monetize your YouTube videos with ads. That’s laudable but I’m sure people would understand if you had 1 or 2 ads per video. The advantage of having YouTube ads is that you generate revenue that’s not coming from the bike industry. The ads are just random, and not necessarily related to biking, so it’s not tainting the review process.
 

NDB

New Member
#3
Thanks for making this, Court! This website was absolute integral in me choosing the right first e-bike to use! You put A LOT of time and effort into this and you deliver A TON of value to so many, you deserve to be compensated (well) for what you offer. Online ad revenue can be confusing for people, and can even seem "scammy" to individuals who are not familiar with how it works, so releasing videos like this are a great way to help others understand how and why you have them!

Thanks for all you do!
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
#5
Is this change why the ad at the bottom of the forum page no longer shows my local bike shop, but instead only displays shops in CA?
Hi Alan! That might be a bug... The local listings are another source of revenue that helps to keep my review prices reasonable and spread things out during seasons where there might not be as much traffic etc. Can I request that you reach out to me via email so I can put you in touch with my programmer friend, Tyson? I'm traveling in California for reviews right now and know that he would be able to help test and fix this with you. You can reach out with the contact form here.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
#6
You don’t seem to monetize your YouTube videos with ads. That’s laudable but I’m sure people would understand if you had 1 or 2 ads per video. The advantage of having YouTube ads is that you generate revenue that’s not coming from the bike industry. The ads are just random, and not necessarily related to biking, so it’s not tainting the review process.
Hi JayVee! I do have one default ad that may or may not play at the beginning of YouTube videos (and they put ads on the right rail and stuff) but I have chosen not to do multiple ads and not to allow unskippable ads in order to create a better user experience for visitors :)
 
#7
Court I love watching EBR and think you and the new guy do a spectacular Job. What ever works for you as far as monitizing this product works for me. I think you are a great spokesman for the ebike community. I feel with the quality of reviews you put out, given your sincerity and honesty speak for itself. You ever need a hand in Chicago just let me know. Keep up the good work.
 

DDBB

Well-Known Member
#8
I'm just happy I found this site.. I am still searching for my first ebike and it's a daunting task with all the offerings from so many manufacturers
 
#9
You don’t seem to monetize your YouTube videos with ads. That’s laudable but I’m sure people would understand if you had 1 or 2 ads per video. The advantage of having YouTube ads is that you generate revenue that’s not coming from the bike industry. The ads are just random, and not necessarily related to biking, so it’s not tainting the review process.
I'd happily turn off Adblocks to drive ad revenue for you. I really support this website and the ebike movement.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
#10
Hey @Court , I have an idea! How about PSAs? You could do little videos featuring how ebikes change lives for the better. In your spare time, of course! :D Hmmm ... what would be a good series title ... hmmmmm .....
 
#11
Court, anything worth having is worth paying for.
If payment comes in the form of our having to see some ads, so be it.
Your time is valuable and your content is valuable. You have brought so many people so much great information, and created a such a great community. If anyone thinks that you should devote your life to a cause for free, they aren't being reasonable. Thank you for doing such a thorough job for so long!
 

Johnny

Active Member
#12
Court, you are doing such an amazing job on promoting ebikes, expanding the community and you are even taking time to talk to us in person from time to time. That is nothing short of a herculean effort.

You deserve much more then just sponsorship. I hope ebike community grows much faster and you get to the point that you deserve(You should have your own camera person a long time ago etc.).
 
#13
Court you are performing a great service introducing and providing general information about ebike brands and specific models. I don't always agree with your assessments and I don't care if your views are slanted or not. The information you provide is of prime interest. Anyone influenced by a review without test riding the bike is not doing their due diligence. Keep up the good work.
 

Bruce Arnold

Well-Known Member
#14
This is a great site, both the reviews and the forum. I've learned so much here, I'd pay a subscription fee if I had to. You provide a great service and deserve to be paid in any way that doesn't change your objectivity, which I'm sure is as important to you as it is to the rest of us.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#15
I'd second the subscription fee.

One other suggestion is that in your copious free time, you could produce and sell EBR-branded swag. Such as t-shirts, bicycle jerseys, water bottles, or Buffs.
 

Feliz

Active Member
#16
Your time and effort is appreciated Court! This forum got me interested in eBikes and now I own five.....I buy them all the same colour so my wife doesn't know how many I have I just have to remember which friends house I've left which bike.