Paul L. Caron

Monday, May 16, 2011

Seven-Year Anniversary of TaxProf Blog and 'Blogger Burnout'

Happy_anniversary_1Last month (April 15), TaxProf Blog marked its 7-year anniversary (and the TaxProf Email Discussion Group marked its 16-year anniversary). I hope the blog has at least partially succeeded in its mission (announced in my very first of 19,600 posts here) to provide both (1) permanent resources & links, and (2) daily news & information, of interest to law school tax professors and students, tax lawyers in private practice and government, accountants, and others in the tax community. The following chart shows the blog's continued growth over these seven years:

                                                                TaxProf Blog (4/15/04 – 4/15/11)


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7




Per Day

v. Prior Year































Page Views


Per Day

v. Prior Year































Several prominent bloggers recently have discussed the dangers of blogger burnout:

Winds of Change (Marc Danzinger), Whither Winds:

I've always considered my blogging habit to be a hobby, rather than work. While it has opened professional doors to me and taught me things that I use in my work, I've never made any significant fraction of my income from blogging. ...

[F]or the last few months, it's been a struggle rather than a joy. I've tried hard to power through and rediscover the pleasure but with no success. ... I'm just bored and unmotivated. And since I've always been an amateur at this, the difference between a professional - who delivers when bored and unmotivated -- and an amateur -- who doesn't -- is pretty significant.

So here's my plan. I won't be writing here for a while, if ever.

Belmont Club (Richard Fernandez), The Ten Thousand Rule:

Marc Danziger at Winds of Change says he’s going to take a vacation from blogging. ... It’s the ten thousand rule.

Once, at the first and only time I ever sat on a panel in New York City, I described the pressure that comes with having a modest readership. “When you’ve got ten visitors a day you can say what you like. When you have ten thousand, you become very careful.” The other rule, which Marc has probably discovered, is that at ten visitors a day you don’t give a hoot whether you write that day or not. When the site gets to a certain level of traffic, that luxury disappears. You have to show up every day because you know ten thousand readers will. The only thing worse than having your own business is having a moderately successful blog. ...

Neo-neocon, Blogging and Burnout:

I don’t have a readership of ten thousand readers a day, but I have considerably more than ten. This blog could definitely be described as “moderately successful,” and I understand the feeling of not wanting to disappoint my readers, many of whom come here not just to read me but to talk to each other.

A very successful blog, such as Instapundit, is more like a job, and probably a fairly lucrative one at that. Although money is hardly the entire impetus that drives it, and most likely wasn’t at the blog’s inception, it can mightily reinforce the desire to continue.

But a “moderately successful” blog can never be the monetary equivalent of a job, despite the wonderful efforts of readers ... to help out as best they can. So it will always be mostly a labor of love—or perhaps of OCD. ...

I haven’t yet freed myself of the tyranny of the sitemeter, although I don’t check it all that often and I’m not ruled by it. ... But it’s still hard to watch that sitemeter climb ... It would be so very nice if traffic just built and built and built, instead. I know life is full of ups and downs, but a sitemeter is so—well, so graphic about showing them. ...I’ve been doing this for over (gulp!) six years.

Don’t worry, I have no plans to follow in Danziger’s footsteps and quit blogging, although I might take a few days’ vacation here and there. No biggee. But I think I understand quite well what drove him to make that decision, and I wish him the best.

I have followed Glenn Reynolds' advice for avoiding blogger burnout through "an occasional change of scenery" (e.g., here and here).

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I feed your blog entries into my kindle each day for the morning commute -- invaluable.

Posted by: Laura | May 20, 2011 4:04:59 PM

What kind of tax person has time to start a blog on April 15th?

Posted by: Woody | May 17, 2011 1:58:42 PM

Great Blog- do not quit-I am reccommeding to all my students to get the TaxProfFix!

Posted by: Nick | May 17, 2011 9:00:27 AM

Jim Maule doesn't allow comments on his blog so I'll take the opportunity here. His opinions and his analysis of selected tax issues is also a valuable resource, and would (will?) be missed, some day, not soon I hope.

Posted by: Scott Bonacker CPA | May 17, 2011 7:50:58 AM

Happy anniversary, and many more. I appreciate the variety of information that you bring to the table here with your blog. Your judicious selection of items to mention is a valuable resource for me. Thank you.

Posted by: Scott Bonacker CPA | May 17, 2011 7:47:51 AM

Paul, as always, it's hard to improve on Maule's viewpoint, but please accept another ardent reader's encouragement that you should keep stroking along with the immortal TaxProf Blog.

Posted by: Jake | May 16, 2011 3:44:50 PM

Congratulations! As long as you keep doing this, I'll start my workday with my TaxProf fix.

Posted by: Joe Kristan | May 16, 2011 3:01:50 PM

Don't even think of stopping, Paul. And how can you stop, when every day brings all sorts of tax news, new things to ponder, new issues to dissect? As long as I have a brain and fingers to work the keyboard, I intend to keep blogging, though I suppose at some point my postings might not follow the Monday-Wednesday-Friday pattern I've established.
Tax is eternal. We're not. When it's time to hang it up, I'm sure MauledAgain will vanish into the ether. But TaxProf blog serves a wider audience, and I suppose eventually will come the day when you hunt for a successor to carry on.

Posted by: Jim Maule | May 16, 2011 1:27:03 PM

This Forum is a great source of news and views. The only complaint is that it is sometimes so complete and comprehensive that it is difficult to find the time to follow all the interesting posts.

Posted by: Sid (real one) | May 16, 2011 12:40:40 PM