CourtHi @Ddewsbury, thanks for this request and all of the great comments! Yeah, I really wanted to continue working with Chris on reviews ongoing, but he hired a videographer and has been doing them on his own now so he can control the message and branding. It made me really sad, I've worked hard to be authentic and cover lots of companies and taught Chris what I knew about YouTube and filming. Chris has done a great job scheduling and connecting me to companies because of his status as a dealer. Frankly, the way I run EBR can get overwhelming and I haven't been monetizing it as aggressively or doing affiliate programs because I've wanted to remain objective. Now that I'm growing my team, I've needed to figure out more of a business model, and that is still in progress. I like the Patreon idea from @dblhelix and had actually created a "donate" button with PayPal here in the forums a while back, but the dollar value ended up being less than $150 total after a year or so of testing.
Right now, I make money from some YouTube ads, but try to keep those minimal too, the local listing tool is great but requires a lot of engineering and support costs, and the category promotions are good, but have been under priced so I could get the best bikes to be promoters. Even those ads can impact my objectivity a bit... but I really try to be authentic and true when I do my reviews. Earlier this year, Mikey, Tyson, and Brent all helped to film some reviews, because I needed to focus on some programming tasks... but as great as some of the content has been, they just don't know the library of reviews to add overlays and references the same way, and don't have the historical perspective I do, so I often feel uncomfortable with the results. In Brents case, I was getting some negative feedback from companies who felt that he got some specs wrong... and this became a distraction and additional discomfort for me. So, I paid him out for the remaining reviews and he kept the camera equipment I had given him, and now he does his own thing and sort of competes with me. I wish him luck, but felt sad about that one too.
I've been justifying the extra help by saying (rather have an extra bike that's a bit less thorough than no extra bike at all!) but I'm starting to re-think that. This is why it's so nice to get user reviews and comments here. I've built this space to be ad-limited and welcome critical feedback, videos, photos that communicate truth, but I don't sell any bikes and have more limited ways to make profit than someone like Chris. I'm holding on as best I can to that authenticity I actually begged Chris to keep working with me, and offered to let him post his own videos on the site here so we'd have the stats and comparison tool in tact, but it was going to be awkward with his branding and we just couldn't come to an agreement. A couple of the companies that had scheduled reviews with me this year ended up getting the bike to Chris first, and then skipped me completely. Chris and other shops will do the review for free, and can then sell bikes to make up for it. Other companies like Electrek will review new players and cheaper bikes that have affiliate programs, and I've even seen them link one companies bikes to another companies affiliate program for Black Friday (they did this for Rad bikes and linked to Juiced affiliate pages. This type of thing feels uncomfortable to me, so I'm just trodding along and trying my best to adjust my model and be thankful for what I have... definitely planning some more Trek, hopefully R&M, Specialized, and other reviews... just in a transitional phase right now. I'll keep an eye out for the Superdelite, and Chris has offered to still review with me if I'm in the area, so hoping that works out. I like to review with many different shops to get a variety of perspectives, so we could see someone from Seattle or elsewhere. Thanks again for your encouragement! My goal is to bring truth in the ebike space and to be constructive and professional about how that's done.
I think Ravi is pretty objective reviewer. His forum contributions are helpful, frequent and his knowledge spans all brands. I respect his contributions and experiences. Especially the endurance ebike ride a few years back.
For what it’s worth, and in the spirit of monetizing EBR, how about an “ask an expert” feature? I see these on car part websites for DIY repairs. You can chat with a mechanic for $15.00 for basic technical advice. Others run a meter for helping DIYers. I think you could set it up and still avoid specific Brand/Model endorsements. A $ 25 - $50 consult fee is negligible for anybody serious about buying a first, or replacement ebike. Not everyone has a knowledgeable LBS and no doubt would pay for unbiased technical queries when starting out.