If you notice ohmidog! has a slightly different look as of today, it’s because I’ve purged the site of advertising.
Except for a brief period when I first fired this website up, eight years ago, advertising has never brought in enough money to cover expenses.
That was the plan, but I never invested much effort in it. And what little effort I did put into it — much like my efforts at “search engine optimization” — was not an enjoyable use of time.
Life is too short to spend it wooing Google.
So, as of today, ohmidog! — while still planning to dazzle you daily, and remain your most trusted source of dog news — takes another step away from being a business, and another step closer to being a hobby.
That said, we are forever grateful to those advertisers that have been with us from the start and helped get us off the ground. We’re hoping the fact that we haven’t charged you for four years makes up for the abrupt break up.
I’ve come to the realization that I’m not a businessman; I’m more of a storyteller. And while the two can mix, I’m not good at mixing them.
Of course, I will still advertise myself (as any self-respecting blogger must) and tout from time to time the words I string together.
Those mentions — and who knows what else — will now move to the right side rail. (The ad for Bark magazine, as I sometimes write for them, falls under that category.)
All those shelters, humane societies, rescue organizations, animal advocates and doggy do-gooders that do what they do for something other than profit are now on the left side rail.
(There’s room for more. If your group would like its logo to appear there, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
There is, of course no charge for that and, as promised long ago, there will continue to be no charge to read our daily posts, no registration required, no annoying pop-ups, no hidden links and no advertising disguised as editorial content.
If you’d like to donate to ohmidog’s continuing operation, I won’t stop you. But I won’t twist your arm, either, and I promise we won’t have a week-long fundraising drive — at least not yet.
The video above is pretty cute, but on top of making us chuckle it’s a pretty good example of what’s wrong with the news media these days.
Well, make that at least three things that are wrong with the news media these days.
First, the news organizations that have featured it on their websites in the last week almost all make you watch 30 seconds to a minute of advertising before seeing the 38-second video.
Second, the video was posted on the Internet more than two years ago, which hardly rates as news — even under today’s definition.
Third, and most annoying, almost every single news site that has picked up the old video (from Jukinmedia.com) characterizes the dog’s actions as “revenge.”
That’s anthropomorphic, and just plain wrong.
Clearly, the little girl is poking the resting dog with her feet. Quite possibly, the dog got annoyed and adjusted his position.
But we highly doubt the dog is exacting “revenge” on the girl. True, we can’t read the mind of a dog, either — much less that of a dog in a video — but the far more likely explanation is that the dog is trying to create a cooler and more comfortable spot to rest in.
Jukinmedia.com, when it published the video, described it as showing a dog getting “revenge” on the girl “by throwing sand in her face” and “making her crawl away in fear.”
Apparently, they didn’t watch enough of it to see the little girl laughing about it all.
But what’s far lazier is how, two years later, mostly-reputable news websites such as The Telegraph, ABC News, AOL and the Orlando Sentinel have all featured the video this month under a “dog gets revenge” headline. Of all the news organizations we found carrying the video, only KOMO in Seattle didn’t characterize the dog’s actions as revenge.
Are we nitpicking, or do readers/viewers deserve something better than old, innacurate, repackaged “news” when the only thing new about it is the length of the ad we have to watch before seeing it?
Are we going to accept that, or should we kick a little sand in their faces?
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, digging, dog, dogs, face, girl, internet, journalism, karma, kicking, kicks, news, news media, old news, pets, regurgitated, repackaged, revenge, sand, video, websites
Among many “old school” and unprofitable practices here at ohmidog! is my tendency to treat advertisers like well-trained, perhaps overly-trained, dogs — insisting they stay in their place and don’t dare venture into our editorial columns.
I will let my big old dog in bed with me, and I gladly do so every single night. But when it comes to advertisers, don’t even think about it.
So what’s this T-shirt doing here — in the space that I, way too ethical for my own good, so haughtily reserve for news matter?
For one thing, it’s kind of cool.
For another, with these T-shirts being the biggest ad ever to appear on our pages, I thought it would be a good time to explain this website’s approach to advertising.
(It is not one I recommend to anyone seeking to make money through their website.)
Basically, this middle section of the website is for news, and despite many requests from advertisers to link to their services and products here, I just don’t do it, because it strikes me as sleazy and deceptive.
The rightside column, with all those logos, is for non-profit animal welfare and animal rescue groups, and serves to link the public to their websites. There is no fee for that.
The leftside column, the one clearly marked “advertisements” is for, you guessed it, advertisements.
When ohmidog! started, seven years ago, the hope was that advertising would cover the costs, and maybe even lead to a profit.
That almost worked when we were headquartered in, and focused on, Baltimore.
Then we went and hit the road and ended up living in North Carolina. A few of those local Baltimore ads remain, but I no longer charge those advertisers — partly out of gratitude for helping us get off the ground, partly because fewer Baltimore eyes will see their ads.
Today, most of our ads, including the t-shirt ad at the top, are what are called affiliate ads.
The advertisers pay nothing for them, but if a reader clicks on one of them, and ends up buying something during that visit, the company sends a percentage of their profits my way — generally pennies on the dollar.
So far, those pennies haven’t amounted to much. And as business models go, ohmidog! — even when I wanted it to make money — has always been a prime example of how not to run a website.
We’ve always been all about the content (though I prefer the word “stories), and, while I don’t promise much else, we always will be — without any ads popping up on you, without any links misdirecting you.
What I started out doing for fun and profit, is pretty much becoming just about the fun.
In the months ahead, I’ll qualify for — and plan to start receiving — early social security. So I can only make so much money before having to turn over all the rest to the government.
So, if you must buy a T-shirt, go ahead and click on it, or any of the others now featured in our banner ad.
Just don’t buy too many.
(Photo: The I Love Dogs Site / Sunfrog.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ads, advertising, affiliate, animals, business, dog, dog websites, dogs, editorial, ethics, love, ohmidog!, pets, profits, rescue, t-shirts, websites
Go Daddy previewed its Super Bowl ad today, but hours later decided to drop it amid a flood of criticism from dog lovers who said it was tasteless, mean-hearted and irresponsible.
The video of the ad was taken off YouTube, where hundreds of commenters had blasted it, including top officials of animal protection groups.
A back-up ad will be used during the 2015 Super Bowl, the company said.
The ad was intended to poke some fun at Budweiser’s puppy ads — both the highly acclaimed one that aired during last year’s Super Bowl, “Puppy Love,” and a follow-up ad that the beer company will during Sunday’s Super Bowl, called “Lost Dog.”
The 30-second Go Daddy ad featured a retriever puppy finding its way home after falling out of a truck, only to find its owner has used Go Daddy to set up a website that lets her promptly sell the dog to a new owner.
Many in the animal welfare community responded, pointing out that dogs purchased online often come from puppy mills. (For a sampling of their anger, check out hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy, or read the comments left on the YouTube page where the video itself has been deactivated.
The ad was made by Barton F. Graf 9000, but heads of the agency declined to comment.
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving responded to the ad’s critics on Twitter this afternoon, vowing “we will not air it.”
Earlier in the day, though, Irving had defended the ad, according to AdWeek, saying, “Buddy was purchased from a reputable, loving breeder, just as the ad suggests. Sell or adopt, both need an online presence.”
Around 6:30 p.m., Irving posted a statement confirming the ad won’t run, and that another ad will be substituted.
“You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh,” he wrote.
The YouTube video was removed around the same time.
A petition launched on the website Change.org by animal rights advocate Helena Yurcho demanding the ad be pulled had more than 42,000 signatures by afternoon.
“Essentially, GoDaddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse—to be euthanized,” she wrote. “They are also encouraging purchasing an animal online; the animal could be sold to someone who runs a fighting ring, someone who abuses animals, or to someone who cannot adequately care for the animal. Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such is cruel and irresponsible.”
On YouTube, the clip received more than 800 comments, many of them negative. Dog breeders and animal rescuers alike were critical of the spot for sending a negative message.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2015, advertisement, animals, bad taste, budweiser, complaints, criticism, dogs, go daddy, humor, irresponsibility, lost puppy, online, petition, pets, pulled, puppy, puppy mills, satire, selling, super bowl, super bowl ad, websites
A German photographer is taking some heat — at least on the Internet — for a series of photos capturing dogs in mid-air.
Dogs used in the photo shoot didn’t plummet too far, apparently only a couple of feet or so, after being dropped by their (off camera) owners onto a mattress.
The photos were picked up by more than a few media outlets, including the Daily Mail, which called them “hilarious,” and the Huffington Post, which termed the dog’s faces “precious,” pointed out no dogs were injured and noted, “We’re betting some of them even wanted to go again, since dogs are just awesome.”
Readers, almost unanimously, had, an entirely different view of it. Almost all those leaving comments on the Huffington Post post, called it animal cruelty, with many noting the fear they say is evident in the dog’s eyes.
Nearly 100 dogs and their owners turned up at Christe’s studio after she issued a call for canine models — and none of the owners apparently had any problem holding their dogs in the air and dropping them onto a mattress.
Christe (left) said she was seeking a unique perspective for her dog photos, and that all the dogs who took part seemed to have fun doing so.
“The dogs were dropped by their owners onto a mattress from as low a height as possible, and the impression of flight was enlarged by wind machines,” the photographer explained in the Daily Mail.
But as some commenters noted, even light landings can be hard on small dogs like dachshunds, and — regardless of how far they’re falling — the stress and fear it causes constitutes cruelty, some say.
“It’s actually incredibly dangerous for doxins to jump, let alone be dropped,” wrote one. “Their backs are very fragile and can break. This is more about a photographer wanting the spotlight, than it is art. Shame on you for putting your ego before these dogs’ safety and well being.”
We’d go a step further and say it’s also about websites who pander to dog lovers without pausing to think about what they’re pasting onto their sites — the ones that, in their haste to get more hits, slap an “adorable” label on anything dog-related and share it, failing to apply anything close to critical or responsible thinking.
“I really love animals, and so everything was safe, I would never take a chance on them getting hurt,” Christe said in the Daily Mail article. “…I feel the photographs show off both the grace and elegance of the dogs, which makes them appear in a slightly different way than usual.”
For all those pet photographers who would put a dog at risk so that they may achieve a new artistic perspective, we’d suggest they fling their own selves through the air, or turn their own selves upside down.
Because all those down-to-earth dogs are perfectly happy with the perspective they already have.
(Photos: Julia Christe / HotSpot Media)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airborne, animal welfare, animals, art, cruelty, daily mail, danger, dog, dogs, dropped, fear, flying, flying dogs, german, germany, hazardous, huffington post, internet, julia christe, mid air, perspective, pets, photographer, photography, photos, repsonsibility, risk, risky, websites
Here’s a video that has been posted and reposted to YouTube in recent days, showing a shiba inu (or is it a golden retriever?) in Thailand (or is it Taiwan?) trying to save (or bury?) a fish out of water.
Yes, we humans are at it again. We all think we know — despite the lack of any factual foundation, despite living on the opposite side of the planet, despite being of another species, despite our inability to get straight what few facts there are — what this dog is doing, and why he’s doing it.
How do we know? Because we’re humans, dammit.
On its surface, through human eyes, it seems a most touching scene — as if the dog, by splashing water on the lifeless fish, and nudging it with his nose, is trying to revive it. (All this, we’d note, as humans stand by idly, giggling and taking video.)
And maybe that’s exactly what he’s doing.
But we do not know that.
We don’t know that, and yet, in our vanity, we are willing to express our interpretation as indisputable fact — whether we are the original observer, a watcher of the video, or a blogger in search of hits.
“This Dog Trying To Save A Fish Will Make You Say Aww” reports BuzzFeed
“Kindest Dog Ever Tries to Save Fishes by Splashing them with Water!” says the Inquisitr.
I’ve bemoaned this phenomenon before, and will bemoan it again — because it’s a little presumptious, and a little vain, to proclaim we know what’s motivating the behavior of animals. And it’s a little disingenuous of us to to let ourselves be moved to tears based on a rash, and possibly erroneous, interpetration.
It’s as if we don’t want to let facts or reason get in the way of our “awwwws,” or when something is going viral.
The video, and snippets thereof, have been posted on YouTube by dozens, all it seems in the last couple of days.
One of those post reads, “In the city of Phetchaburi in Thailand, a dog discovered the fish out of the water and unconscious on the pavement. It will try not to let them die by spraying water with its snout. Besides the fish are few puddles. The dog will then sprinkle the fish, as if he wished they would not die. Touching!”
The original poster of the video, or at least someone claiming to be such, explained on LiveLeak “Hello we took this video on a short trip to asia. The dog here … hangs out at the docks (and) is trying to keep the fish alive. He understands they need water to live and it made me a little sad inside.”
(A short trip to Asia? Could they be less specific?)
Others who have posted the video say it happened in Taiwan. Some describe the dog as a golden retriever; others suspect it’s a shiba inu, but they all agree the dog is engaged in a valiant rescue effort.
Some of those commenting on YouTube are pointing out that may not be the case:
“Sorry to burst your bubble but.. the Dog isn’t trying to save the fish. He think’s he is burying it. He’s using the water to bury it but doesn’t realize that water is not dirt, and hence he cannot successfully do the job properly. Canines are not intellectual enough to know that a fish needs water to breathe or survive.”
Others — caught up in the “awwww” of it all — refuse to accept that theory, or even consider it: “He is trying to save the fish,” asserts one. “He’s nudging it with his nose at 0:39. He’s trying to get the fish to move again and doesn’t understand why it won’t.”
There’s nothing wrong with speculation — as long as we admit it’s speculation, and don’t get too carried away by it.
Here’s mine. Assuming this dog is a regular at the wharf, maybe he discovered one day that he could revive dying fish by splashing them with water, and maybe he remembers that. Maybe he is trying to get them to move again. Maybe that’s because death saddens him, or maybe it’s because they’re more fun to play with when they’re flopping around.
Most of us are taught — in school, and in training for careers — to avoid using the word “maybe,” as it could maybe make us appear uncertain and plagued by self-doubt, the sort of person who would flip flop.
Not to splash water in your face, but I think, just maybe, that’s a mistake.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 14th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, awwww, buzzfeed, certainty, docks, dog, dog and fish, dog trying to save fish, dogs, emotions, fish, fish and dog, humans, internet, interpretations, maybe, pets, reality, rescue, revive, save, speculation, taiwan, thailand, truth, video, viral, websites
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a computer was working, not even a mouse
The connections were tight, all plugged in with care
But even after rebooting, my desktop was bare
There was no way to email, no access to data
No Facebook on which I could update my status
Without any Internet, there was no way to Tweet
And that Obamacare deadline would be tough to meet
There was no YouTube, no Google, no Huffington Post
No Instagram, or Tumblr. I missed Amazon most
For last-minute gifts, there was no online shopping
That meant going outside to do some store hopping
The traffic was awful, but lucky old me
I found what I needed at Target for cheap
It was with things looking up and with nothing to fear
That I handed my credit card to the smiling cashier
Back home I felt something quite close to bliss
My computers were working, my shopping finished
But my website I learned was nowhere to be found
The server had crashed, I realized with a frown
I had a poem in my head, some good cheer to spread
But ohmidog!, on the web, was for all intents dead
I started shouting un-Christmas like phrases:
Dagnabbit, gosh darnit, fiddlesticks, what the blazes?
Far be it from me to say there is no St. Nick
I don’t think his magic is all just a trick
What I believe in much less is the Internet
For something to count on, your dog’s your best bet
(ohmidog! wishes all its readers the happiest of holidays, and apologizes for recent server-related downtime.)
(Image: From the Etsy website of artist Todd Young)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 'twas the night before christmas, animals, christmas, computers, dogs, greetings, holidays, internet, obama care, ohmidog!, pets, poetry, seasons, servers, shopping, target, technology, web, websites