The Crash


A few weeks ago, a storm of manufactured controversy caused some major advertisers to pull out of YouTube.

My gardening videos are ad-supported, so this is not good for us. I’ve seen a drop in revenue since the trouble began and it seems to still be falling, even though my subscribers keep going up.

That’s not as bad as what just happened with Amazon Associates, though. If you read that article by Peter Grant, you’ll see that it may be getting even worse for writers in the near future.

As you may know, the main way I make money on this site is through Amazon links to books and tools I have found useful. I get a small percentage of the sale of any items that get linked through this blog, giving me about enough money to cover my electric and water bills each month. Amazon just cut its rates almost in half on books and some other items, so my commissions have fallen as well.

At the same time, book sales are down across the board. I’m not sure why, but it seems less people are reading and less books are selling.

I’m in the midst of writing another book right now and hope that will take up the slack. We’re definitely not going to starve (hey, I live on a farm!) but it’s not good to see multiple income streams decreasing at the same time. Sometimes I really miss my plant nursery business. That was a solid revenue stream that I could increase by attending more plant shows and farmers’ markets.

In our new location, I don’t have a work permit so I am tied to what I can make online.

Since multiple people have asked over the last few years if they could leave a tip, I finally set up a tip jar via paypal.

I suppose if you looked at this site as a daily magazine of gardening inspiration, the content is valuable. Instead of writing for magazines all the time, I post free info here. Maybe I need to rethink my life.

If you do shop on Amazon, you can use this link when you do and a few bucks will come our way.

I also have downloadable films and booklets for sale over on gumroad.

Some interesting new source of income is bound to come up soon. I’m just feeling the smackdown from YouTube and Amazon right now.

Stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll be doing something different and exciting soon. I’ve got some ideas, I just need to make them happen. T-shirts, for instance. They are coming!

Share this post!


  • Donation for $50.00 sent. I’m hoping someone will match? I’ve easily garnered more info than $50 off of this site. Please keep up the good writing. (Long-time reader, Youtube watcher, book buyer and Survival Gardener groupie.)

  • Any word on the paper version of push the zone? I haven’t purchased the ebook as I’m waiting for the paperback.

  • David the Good The Survival Gardener brand gardening tools

  • Keep in mind that it’s tax season here in the USA, so if the bulk of your audience is American you’ll see the flow of funds slow down until tax refunds start coming back.

    At least, that’s what I find in my biz.

  • My husband is the sole income earner too, and he always feels the pressure when something hits the paycheck. It’s an enormous responsibility to know your entire family depends on what you do for a living! Having said that, I do think the way people make ends meet, is destined to change. You would do well to see how you can change your work permit situation, and get that plant nursery started anyway. Does “trading” come under the same regulations as requiring a work permit? As in, bartering with other locals?

    Because I think when all unnecessary things, are too expensive to buy – people will turn to the basics of life again. Which is plants for food, medicine and material. If you’ve got a nursery set up, and a means to trade which meets the laws of the country, then you don’t have to worry so much what happens online. On our land, I’ve realised the one Achilles heel – the main one, is outsourcing the means to income. A lot of things can go wrong – getting to work, maintaining work or hoping the costs to go anywhere, doesn’t outgrow the budget.

    Because of this, I didn’t believe online income was the sole answer either. A part of the kit, but not the whole caboodle. So many things can change on the way to garnering income, from that outlet as well. I said goodbye to $90 recently, that I won on a virtual platform, which comes up with new names for new businesses. My entry was selected by the new business. Because they changed their policy from when I joined though, they suddenly wanted me to supply govt ID, in order to receive my payment. It’s a US based platform, so they had no way of verifying my documentation. But it does get stored on their database, which if compromised, I have my identity stolen.

    It happened to me on a completely different online platform, and I was temporarily locked out of my personal bank accounts. So I wasn’t going to take the risk, with providing my photo ID. I was looking at making that avenue a secondary form of income for our family, but it’s now closed due to policy changes. It will become harder to make money online, but we will always have a community which could use our goods or services, we garner from our land. We just have to make that happen. 🙂

    • Very good thoughts. I am planning a local business. Thinking of building a little cottage with fruit trees as a rental.

      • Will that be on the land your renting now, or the land you will buy? You make a good point that as costs get higher, those with land can make a little money with providing someone else, accommodation. As long as there are no govt regulations to prevent a second dwelling being built, that is.

        We can build a second dwelling, so long as it’s attached to the main dwelling, with a verandah. But we can’t have one, separate to the main house. But I’m sure you wouldn’t have such regulations where you are. 🙂

  • I have learned a lot from Grow or Die & Compost Everything. I am looking foward to your new book with Steve Solomon. I guess I am “old school”. I prefer paper books to ebooks. And there are no dead batteries for a paper book.

  • That sounds like a big loss of income. I will continue to purchase your books & videos. Have you considered moving back to the states and writing? Maybe find sponsorship with a garden or seed company? David, I will definitely be praying for you & family.

    • It was a smackdown, but I think I’d have to really be at the end of my rope to move back to the US. I really enjoy the freedom here. We still have savings and I have more books coming. Thank you for the prayers. Strange to see everything dropping at once.

  • I have purchased every one of your books- multiple paper copies of the food forest book! and will continue to do so for as long as you are writing and don’t completely suck. Do you think something like a suggestion subscription price for your videos would work better than just asking for random tips?

    • Heh. I will try not to completely suck.

      I was approached by a site interested in having me produce some instructional videos – I think I’m going to go for it and see what happens. I like free content, and I also think the random tip model isn’t good. A little helps get things done, but I would rather produce and sell good things that help people garden.

  • If I use the amazon link you provided in this article you will benefit, no matter what I buy?

  • If that is the case, I will use the link for every amazon purchase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *