In Memory of Dividend Mantra – How to Kill a Blog in 10 Weeks

Nov 18

In Memory of Dividend Mantra – How to Kill a Blog in 10 Weeks

 

DM

 

 

 

 

 

 

My other title was going to be: How to Kill 2 Blogs with One Stone.

That only makes sense when I tell you that my primary traffic source originates from COMMENTING on Dividend Mantra, which is sad…

 

01 DM Stats

 

That being said… although I still haven’t figured out how to build a blog, I have witnessed how to kill a blog in real time, and it has been super entertaining.

And since traffic is pretty light on my blog, I figured I’d write down my thoughts instead of annoying Ms. Red to Riches who thinks I am insane for caring so much about a random guy I found on the internet.

She just doesn’t understand that Jason, the King of Dividend Growth Investing, resigned out of nowhere! Why Jason whyyyyy!

 

Part 1: Fieber Fever

A few days ago, I tried to give my two cents to the new owners, but my comment was quickly deleted. And then it was posted a few hours later (and then quickly deleted again).

I was however, able to get a quick snap shot of it.

 

02 RtR Comment

Apparently this was too harsh for these new owners, which is funny when you read Part 2 of the article below. Prior to that, let’s go back in time…

 

Background

I’ve been following Dividend Mantra, aka Jason Fieber, for over a year. I visited his site almost every day. I’ll admit I loved the content… but I also live in a cubicle city for most of my waking hours which requires me to look for engaging content to keep me sane.

Jason writes about dividend growth investing and financial independence. He is/was completely transparent by sharing the stocks he buys (and why), his income and expenses, and other personal stories.

He even wrote a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jason even made it a point to comment on EVERY single comment he received. A tough task when you get over 100 comments per article. I’m up for the task, so please leave a comment below!
 

 

The Turning Point

Recently, Jason made the decision to form an agreement with a third party where they will ‘manage’ the website and he will continue contributing a couple times per month while pursuing other opportunities and freeing up his time.

What the agreement entails is unknown.

My assumption: this third party management team overvalued Jason’s blog and Jason took advantage of the opportunity. After the sale, the agreement spiraled out of control. Jason has not been in the comments or writing articles to help put the fire out. Based on this, my assumption is he either sold 100% of the website or owns so little that it isn’t worth his time to mend the many wounds the new ownership has inflicted on the readership.

If Jason would have been trying to do damage control over the past weeks, I would have thought he had more skin in the game, but I don’t think he does.

Since the transition announcement, a noticeable amount of readers have commented that Jason is a sell out and abandoned them and so on. It’s almost to the point where I think I would get more a following if I offered a support group to for Dividend Mantra Junkies. (DMJunkies.com is available).

 

Let’s Dig DEEP and Break It Down: How Much Did DividendMantra.com Earn per Month?

Websites are valued just like any other business: past trends, customer base, future cash flow, etc.

Let’s start by trying to estimate monthly revenue from Dividend Mantra.

As reported on DividendMantra.com, Jason’s online income is below  [with his comments from his blog narration in brackets]:

 

January 2015: $3,815 [probably maxed out in terms of content production]

February 2015: $2,959 [how he earns income is still relevant, just more freelance income]

March 2015: $1,502 $5,500 [net of a $4,000 tax bill]

April 2015: 3,572 [net of quarterly estimate]

May 2015: $5,420 [mentions blog is now at 350,000 page views per month]

 

The important connection to make is between the May 2015 income report and a prior post in May 2014 which was a rare insight into his actual revenue numbers.

In mid-2014, Jason posted he made $1,200 from advertising on Dividend Mantra and $100 on affiliate programs, for a total of $1,300 per month.

This was earned with about 200,000 page views per month, as mentioned in the same article.

Based on his May 2015 report, he increased his traffic to 350,000, or 75%.

Since advertising dollars are correlated with page views, we will assume advertising dollars also increased 75%.

This suggests Dividend Mantra was earning $2,275 per month on advertising and affiliate income related to the blog in 2015. More importantly, this helps us separate the website income from freelance income in the standard online income reports.

Although his monthly income reports were post-tax, the article describing his online income did not mention anything about taxes. The rest of the analysis is assuming the Dividend Mantra website earns  $2,275 prior to taxes.

 

How Much Did Jason Receive for DividendMantra.com?

The general rule of thumb I have seen suggests to BUY a website for between 12 and 36 months of pre-tax income depending on the industry.

Well, I think Jason had high quality traffic and extremely loyal fans (ie: he could have sold many of us several books, courses, etc), so let’s value it on the high end of 36 months.

36 months * $2,275 per month = $81,900

That’s a huge pay day.

Even on the low end, it’s a $27,300 pay day.

To be conservative, let’s assume he valued his website at $54,600, right in the middle. Not a bad pay day. Jeesh, offer me $200 for my blog and I’d probably ‘sell out’ at this point.

Based on my opinion of how events have unfolded, I am going to assume Jason sold 100% of his ownership to the new team.

Either way, my point is that Jason’s decision wasn’t based on pennies, it was based on tens of thousands of dollars.

It’s hard to judge until you’re in the position to take a guaranteed ~$50,000 or a risky and time consuming $2,275 per month.

Remember, Jason’s goal was to become financial independent. I know he had passion for the topic and had passion for his fans, but this decision potentially cut YEARS off of his working life, which is the true reason we are all seeking financial independence.

 

Let’s Think Like Jason!

New Team – “Jason, I want to offer you $54,600 for Dividend Mantra.”

Jason – “$54,600 * 3.5% yield = $1,890 per year of dividend income. This income will likely grow at a rate of at least 6% per year, FOREVER. I planted a huge tree that I will continue to pluck fruit off of every quarter with NO WORK.”

Excluding writing on Dividend Mantra, he was still is making $2,000 to $3,000 per month through writing. He still has a book from all of his hard work. He can still rebrand that book to a new site or with a new title.

At the same time, he’s probably spending less time managing the site and commenting on hundreds or thousands of comments per month.

I think we can all get behind the decision to make similar income with less work and less risk.

Let’s not be greedy as readers of his great blog. I do not plan on using dividend growth investing as my primary strategy to achieve financial independence, but I could relate to Jason’s desire for financial independence and his passion for helping others.

He is a role model in terms of self-discipline and the pursuit of the American Dream. His freedom fund gave birth to my Opportunity Fund and I hope to inspire even 1/100th of the people he has.

But let’s face it, events never go as planned. And the Dividend Mantra story isn’t over…

Or is it?

 

Part 2: How to Kill a Blog

Step 1

Post 3 times per week, every week, and then stop for several weeks.

03-1 Recent Buy

03-2 Recent Buy

Most blogs I’ve followed closely go through periods of inactivity due to various reasons. I won’t judge (I swear I haven’t thought about removing the date stamp on my blog posts…), but when it happens it seems like readership fades fast.

Unlike my personal situation, when you’re at the level of 400,000 page views per month, the impact is meaningful.

The lack of new posts correlated to the time when Jason was busy wheelin’ and dealin’ and maybe even stealin’ from novice website investors.

Jason went from posting several times a week to once in several weeks. The first picture is the Recent Buy article which was the last article prior to the “dead” period prior to the management change announcement. The other one is just after the management change announcement.

But let’s be fair. Half of the 166 comments were just hoping Jason was alive. Dedicated readers of Dividend Mantra will get a chuckle out of these:

04-1 Comment

04-2 Comment

04-3 Comment

^^^ This guy would be the first to join DMJunkies.com. “My name is Conrad.” –Hi Conrad!— “I’m addicted to DM.”

04-4 Comment

Tyler was the second person to sign up for DMJunkies.com

04-5 Comment

04-6 Comment

04-7 Comment

04-8 Comment

Wade even started having delusional thoughts about index investing… I had to step in.

 

Step 2

Let people (the new management team) with no knowledge of your audience begin to accept guest posts whether they are relevant to the site or not.

Guest Post 1

05-1 Guest Post

This one wasn’t terrible, but quite irrelevant to most readers since it mentioned financial independence through RV traveling. It didn’t really move the needle either way for me, and I have nothing against Mike. In fact, many of Jason’s followers seemed to be aware of him and post friendly comments… which is better than the next one.

 

Guest Post 2

05-2 Guest Post

That’s the current heart rate of Dividend Mantra……

Just kidding.

It represents the “hidden” post about a rabbit screwing playboys and some other random jokes that missed worse than mine above. But really, the new owners deleted it because it was so bad.

05-3 Guest Post

I have nothing against the language, but the style is so far off from what Dividend Mantra’s loyal fans expect it was ridiculous.

While it lasts, here is the link to the post in its entirety:

Step 3

After taking in all the feedback from the two guest posts above and even deleting one, ignore all of the feedback and be as vague as possible in a half-assed response.

Soon after new management took over, there were 100s of comments expressing disappointment and the reasons behind the disappointment. Some were addressable, some were not.

Instead of investing time into reading all of the comments and developing their own strategy, they had to get on their knees and beg for forgiveness.

To address the lack of transparency and the future of the site, this was their response:

06-1 New Post

06-2 New Post

Based on over 350 comments on this article, you’d think this was a hit. A closer look at the comments (here) would probably tell a different story.

And the ‘success’ of having over 350 comments excludes all the ones they deleted, including mine in the beginning of the article.

We can all agree my comment at the beginning of this post was PG compared to these:

07-1 New Post Comment

07-2 New Post Comment

It’s incredible. I am absolutely fascinated by watching the results of a live business transaction.

 

Step 4

As a new owner, make it absolutely clear you have no intention of fixing the situation.

Not much to say here, but after hundreds of comments and who knows how many emails, it seems like they are ignoring what their target audience desires.

There is still no transparency, no updates, and more importantly, no Jason.

 

 

What Would I Have Done?

If I had $50,000 of to risk on a business venture, I would have bought DividendMantra.com.

Think of this as a case study from the perspective of an outside investor: 400,000 page views and growing, 100s of comments per article, and ONLY monetized by a few Google Adsense ads, a few affiliate links, and a $5 book?

This is a DAMN GOLD MINE!

Instead of doubling the Google Adsense ads like new management seems to be doing with fake blog posts that are really ads:

08 New Ad

I would have tried to sign Jason up prior to the sale to create a Dividend Growth Investing Course or some type of product or service and split the income. In fact, he would have been required to post a couple times per month for the first year or I would not have accepted the deal. There would need to be a negotiated period of time where he was still involved and to give the audience time to adapt to new perspectives with him holding their hands during the transition.

Having 1,000+ loyal fans is a gold mine. Neglecting those 1,000+ fans and chasing after those anonymous 400,000+ page views is not a sustainable business when the content goes to shit.

I was one of those loyal fans. And guess what, knowing Jason himself is no longer involved, I will never buy any product from the site.

Additionally, I would have tried to do this business arrangement behind closed doors. I would help ‘manage’ the backend of the website and website inquires, but I would keep Jason as the face of the brand and start releasing Dividend Mantra courses, books, services, etc.

However, once everyone knows Jason is no longer 100% involved, good luck gaining any of these 1,000+ true fans’ trust back.

What About Jason’s Situation?

As for Jason, he has our trust. He CAN and DID sell us his book. He COULD sell his 1,000 + true fans a course or whatever he wanted to sell. But if it’s funneled through a group of marketers and professional web designers that have never earned a dividend and never earned our trust, conversion rates will suffer.

The monetary value of the website was the trust he had with his readers that would have resulted in him being able to sell products at a high conversion rate to his highly targeted and engaged audience.

The monetary value was not to try and fill as much white space with shitty Google Adsense ads. (Jason already had what I would consider too many adsense ads on his website… but to add more ads was a mistake on the new ownership. Loyal readers probably don’t even notice the ads after a few visits to the site).

If I was in Jason’s shoes, I would cut all ties with the new management team and either regain the DividendMantra brand or cut all ties and rebrand under his real name or something else. Maybe use a different medium? Maybe a podcast or a video series? Maybe a forum to increase engagement between posts? None of these have been done on DividendMantra.com but could expand his current audience and open up new sources of income.

At the end of the day, the new owners have a website with a bunch of articles they don’t understand.

Jason has new money in his account and the brand to continue to succeed.

 

What are your thoughts on the situation? Have you ever been part of a business transaction either as an buyer, seller, or employee? What was your experience, good and bad?

On Twitter? Connect with me.

Note, I apologize if there is any delay from the time you comment to the time it is actually posted. I can’t afford a good enough spam filter to get rid of these “buy NFL jerseys now” comments! I check many times a day and approve all non-spam comments 🙂

 

 

97 comments

  1. Thanks for posting this round up of events!

    I’d been reading DM since I discovered the site a little over a year ago. Occasionally, I posted comments but I wasn’t following because of Jason’s stock picking skills – I liked the personal aspect of his writing, of him building his portfolio, of his ever increasing dividends. I wasn’t bothered where he was getting his income from, dividends, blog or writing.

    This past week, I’ve been heading back to DM just to read all the comments – not great but like somebody said, it’s like a car crash, you can’t help but look!

    I think you could be right that Jason bit the buyer’s hand off when offered such a huge sum of money. The buyer – well, for ‘marketing experts’ they didn’t do much due diligence or research in finding out who their target audience was and what content was expected.

    Perhaps they should have offered less for the website but paid Jason on an ongoing basis per article written.

    I didn’t think the rabbit post was offensive – just highly inappropriate and irrelevant.

    Not really interested in guest posts either, unless they too are dividend investors on their own personal journey.

    As someone mentioned, it’s possible to follow Jason on FB or Twitter as he’s still writing about stocks but it really is a big shame for the DM website!

    Thanks again for summing this up.

    • Red to Riches /

      Weenie, it was fun to write and think about in a business sense. Many people get so focused on the personal aspect of things, but forget many bloggers blog to hopefully earn income from it. This includes selling the website.

      I currently have no source of income on my website. My Amazon affiliate link I have in a few articles even got terminated because of inactivity lol. But if somehow this blog has 100,000+ views in a few years, there’s no doubt I’d consider reasonable offers.

      Most people are employees and don’t experience these negotiations. But if an employee was offered 2x their annual salary to give their “job” to someone else, I bet 100% of employees would take that offer.

      I agree with your comment, I’ve been to DM several times a day just to see if anything has changed. It’s fascinating to me to see such a popular site fail due to one event.

      What I did not discuss in the article, is I think damage control can still be done. Whether the new management team brings in Jason to mend the wounds or they figure out what they actually bought. No doubt they’ll lose loyal readers, but a lot of the current traffic coming in is from existing back links, high ranked google pages, and blogrolls all over the internet. It will slowly dry up, but if they can develop a coherent strategy within a month or so, they can still make a decent return on the investment because I think Jason under-monetized the blog in the first place. Ads are one thing, but I think he could have sold other products more effectively, but he was so focused on delivering content and responding to everyone he may not have had time to explore those opportunities.

      I appreciate the thoughtful comment! Means a lot 🙂

  2. Great post Brian! As a huge DM fan myself, I laughed out loud reading this. I agree with basically everything you said – the new owners seem totally clueless, which I can’t wrap my brain around. (They must have money to burn!) It’s crazy that they deleted your comment but permitted the one with all the f-bombs…?

    There are other DGI blogs out there, but Jason’s is/was by far my favorite. He wrote in a way that was so relatable – you just couldn’t help but like the guy. For me, it was his voice and passion that kept me coming back day after day.

    RIP Dividend Mantra…

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks Charlene! I appreciate the comment and I’m glad this made you laugh. I had the idea for this post in the pipeline for a couple weeks and it was fun to write. I was able to let more of my personality come through in this type of post compared to my normal ‘financy’ posts.

      I agree, there are many similar sites. But Jason was so close to completing the journey and our brains have trouble with incomplete things (the theory of why songs get stuck in your head if you don’t listen to it in its entirety).

      Jason started from scratch, achieved comfort, quit his job to do what he loved and then……………………………………………

  3. This is a excellent summary of what happened! Though not a DMjunkie, I visited the site often for the occasional inspiration. I think he did the right thing to get to FI quickly.
    Thanks for this article! Keep it up, and you’ll be the next DM 🙂
    D4s

    • Red to Riches /

      Ha, D4s, thanks for the comment. If I even inspire a few people to think of finance differently or impact someone in a positive way, I’ll be just fine!

      But if you want to buy this site for $50,000, I’m all ears 😛

  4. I have been a dividend growth investor since 2007 but quite frankly did not pay as much attention nor know exactly how much income was made each month till I came across DM almost 3 years ago. I liked his writing style and documentation of every single financial transaction in his life. I will freely admit that after several months of reading DM in late 2013/14 I decided to launch my own blog and document my own stock trades/income and now baby DivHut’s stock portfolio too. This was all a result of DM. After more than two years of blogging myself I feel more intimately connected to my stocks and income than ever before and I think it has made me a better long term investor. It’s sad that after so many years DM seems to be coming to an end but the silver lining is in the numerous other dividend/pf blogs DM inspired to launch. Mine, yours and others.

    • Red to Riches /

      I agree, he seemed to put dividend growth investing on the map. Between the comments and his blogroll, I found a lot of great blogs and resources, including yours!

  5. One has to figure taking a monthly profit over a lump sum, similar to winning the lotto. I would not sell out, because sometimes ya just can’t be bought. A lot of people are sad in the DM community, but what’s done is done. Time to go to other financial websites like mine http://www.thefinancemaster.com
    Nice page by the way it has answered a lot of questions that have been bugging me.

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks for the comment. I agree, many people took it very personally when I like to look at it as a business decision. I’ll be sure to check out your site as well.

  6. I do not think anyone would have found fault with Jason taking a good price for his website. After all his journey is for financial independence. It is the way he did it, and who he sold it too. I have lost the trust I had in him now.
    He was so great because we felt like he was honest and this move has been so dishonest and even now, I checked his twitter and fb and it is like an rss feed from other websites telling you what stocks to buy. Dude, you can get better advise off Yahoo finance. I am out and done with anything to do with Jason now.

    • Red to Riches /

      Mike, I agree, it went from 100% transparency to 0% transparency which I think was a shock to the loyal readers.

      I haven’t looked at his twitter or facebook, but I heard he’s still writing about stocks like you said. That wasn’t the interesting part for me so I haven’t checked it out.

  7. I was a fan of Dividend Mantra for sure. I’m not a dividend investor, Vanguard index funds are my cup of tea, but I loved hearing about his journey and his down to earth mentality about it all. In my line of work I deal with companies buying and selling companies all the time. Most of the buyers do a TON of due diligence to ensure the purchased company will continue operating at or above current and historical trends. This team missed that step. Oh well, Jason gained some cash, and can concentrate on writing now.

    • Red to Riches /

      Like you, I do not consider myself a dividend investor either. My 401(k) is with Vanguard index funds while I do have some funds (my Opportunity Fund) in individual stocks, I don’t plan on using this as a long-term strategy as I continue to generate wealth. That said, I enjoyed reading his analysis based on my background, I enjoyed his story, and he had a unique perspective on financial independence.

      You hit on two great points. One, if you’re going to buy a company, know what you’re buying. In my article I wanted to get the point across that this wasn’t a $1,000 deal. This was a meaningful dollar amount that Jason, and all readers, would want to consider.

      Second, Jason did get some cash and continue on his journey. We are all writing and tracking our progress toward a goal. If an event can help expedite it, why wouldn’t we consider it?

  8. Thanks for the laugh. It does appear that the DM site is doomed to fail. Jason is a smart guy and I’m sure we will hear more from him in the future under a new pen name. Jason inspired so many new blogs that follow his writing style. We have other great options out there thanks to his lead.

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks for reading! It will be an ongoing story, but it was fun being able to watch these events unfold. A year from now, I doubt many will remember this with the fast paced internet environment. However, I do think it’s important to learn from the events and put yourself in each position. Who knows, maybe one of our blogs or other side business could be in a similar situation a few years from now. Or maybe you want to buy a website or business down the road? This will be a good reminder to do your due diligence.

      • I’ve seen DGI sites get sold and transferred to management companies in the past. It rarely goes well, so this is not a surprise to me. I suspect they will bring Jason back to be the primary writer to keep the site alive. It could be a win-win for Jason, sell the site and then get paid to come back.

        Regardless, I am not sure if it matters. Jason inspired tons of great blogs so there are similar options out there. I gave up on the new Div Mantra because they keep deleting my comments; not a good way to build a following.

        BTW – I really like your blog. Adding it to my blogroll now.

      • Red to Riches /

        InvestmentHunting – I would agree if they brought Jason back they could help mend the situation, maybe even remedy it completely. I think of sites like MrMoneyMustache where the posting frequency decreased, but at the same time the readership is engaged (likely due to the forum as well). It’s definitely possible to keep a decent amount of traffic and the loyal fans if readers know Jason will be writing every other week or something.

        On your second point, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one moderated out!

        I really appreciate the compliment, it means a lot. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I will stop over soon and get you on my blogroll once I start it 🙂

  9. Hey Brian,
    Good job on this well-written article. I’ll try to shed some lights on what happen as a website buyer/seller. But first a small disclaimer:I’m French Canadian (excuse the grammar mistakes) and I’m the guy who wrote the first guest post (the RV guy 😉 ). I’ve been known by some to buy and sell websites (I actually bought The Dividend Guy Blog back in 2010 and author it since). Unfortunately, I didn’t know DM was for sale as I would probably bid on the site as well. Here’s how I see the transaction (I don’t have any hindsight of what really happened).

    I think you made a pretty good job on the transaction cost. It is very difficult to sell a website over 3 years of income. Actually, even 3 years is a lot these days. Therefore, a 50K figure is probably right.

    However, I hope Jason received more than that for the blog as it represented a lot more than a simple blog for readers and for him too. Imagine that you own a money printing machine in your basement. This machine prints roughly $2,500/month of new money. It requires technical maintenance and some of your time, but you are almost certain this machine will keep printing money for several years ahead, if not forever. Even if you are tired of taking care of the mechanical stuff (while you truly enjoy the printing process), would you sell this money making machine for $50K? This is a good pay day today, but you will receive nothing for the rest of your life. It doesn’t sound too much of a good deal for me. Plus, Jason sold his brand (Dividend Mantra), he can’t claim it back, it was part of the package. Everything linked to the website is probably now the property of the new owners.

    From the new owners side, it makes sens to purchase such high quality website. However, they run it in a very strange matter (leaving the blog without any sign of life for 2 weeks). They can certainly put ads everywhere and Google will send enough traffic to DM for a few years that they will get more than their money back. However, they could make a lot more if they would have hired Jason on a “transition contract” of a year with 2-3 posts per week. The transaction with other writers would have run smoothly (such as Get Rich Slowly) and most of the readership would have stayed. I actually thought this was their plan… but Jason doesn’t seem to be around DM anymore and I never got an email back regarding my next post I was supposed to write for them. Strange moves…

    Still, I hope there is some kind of deal going on we don’t know about and we will see Jason coming back shortly!

    Let’s hope!

    Mike.

    • Red to Riches /

      Mike,

      I’m glad you stopped by! You are getting famous :). That’s interesting to read from your perspective. Weird that they aren’t getting back to you. At least they left up your post, too.

      Who knows, maybe these new guys are super smart and trying to cause all this drama. Then Jason will come in with a few fresh articles and all will be good in the world.

      I agree with you that they can probably get back a decent amount back just by all the back links to DM and SEO. It’s all speculation, but it’s always fun to share opinions.

      • Brian,
        I’m not sure about doing this on purpose. Most readers are frustrated and each day, there is irrevocable damage done to DM readership. At this point in time, I would love to buy back DM and manage it properly! I hope I will have this opportunity 🙂 hahaha!

    • Thanks for your post Brian, and comments Mike.
      Brian,
      Given Jason’s personal connection with his readers, this methodology for “carrying on” the DM brand is surely flawed. As must be abundantly clear to the owners/operators now, readers connected with Jason and his journey….not his domain address. Still, I was shocked at the hostility. Speaking as a guy who lives near Jason and met him a few times…..I was disappointed and moved on. I am sure he will resurface once his contract noncompete is done.

      Mike,
      Thanks for sharing your story, and your knowledge of blog valuations. I had assumed a 2 to 3 years of earnings, but 1-3 years of gross revenue makes sense I guess. That figure is certainly easier to ballpark. I’m looking forward to your RV trip posts…..and our spring travel as well. Keep in touch.

      -Bryan

      • Hey Bryan,
        The valuation of a website greatly vary since it’s not a “liquid market”. Therefore, it is often hard to find similar transaction. I’ve personally paid up to 4 years the earnings for bigger and stronger website. This might have been the case for DM. As a buyer, I would have negotiated DM price based on the fact that most of its value is linked to the current owner. Therefore, if the owner (Jason in this case) is out, DM value diminishes greatly.

        I’m preparing a “cash flow” report for my RV trip. This is another way of looking at financial freedom (instead of focusing on what is sitting in my account, I’m working on a cash flow machine that will support my lifestyle in the months/years to come).

        cheers,

        Mike.

  10. I must say that I was sad to see the demise of DM. His site got me into thinking about passive income as opposed to just accumulating a million bucks and then spending 3 or 4 percent each year. The DGI strategy seems to allow for a bit more in the way of income stability without having to sell big chunks of the cache of cash. I’m sticking with the strategy.

    • Red to Riches /

      Chris, that’s great he was able to help your thoughts on financial independence. My strategy is different, but the end goal is all the same for us.

      Thanks for stopping by

  11. The new team doesn’t get the audience. We are not there for sponsored ads and generic finance advice. We were there for the journey. Why would they reduce his role? I talked to him on Facebook and his role was reduced by the team.

    So now I’m following his journey on Facebook and hopefully he’ll have another blog soon.

    • Red to Riches /

      Jaime, I wonder what “reduced” role means and why they thought that would be the best way to move forward.

      Time will tell.

  12. I saw this near the end of the comment stream on DM:The last post. I thought it was a good read. I realize the whole post is mostly conjecture and educated guesses but it seems very plausible. The death of the website is spot on.

    Here is what I don’t get: Jason had already quit the job that he hated and while not completely FI, he was doing what he loved and earning well over the amount he needed to live and continue to invest regularly. When you do what you love you really aren’t working. So why sell the website and FU the cash cow that is supporting you? Especially when, according to your own calculations he still wouldn’t be FI after selling?!?

    I know he said he hated the back end stuff and while I have no figgin’ idea what that entails, I would think that it wouldn’t be that hard to find someone who you could hire to not only do that part of it but even reply to all the emails and posts on the website. Basically a manager of The DM website. Heck, I bet he could have gotten a true DM junkie that had tech background that could’ve done it for a fair price. It seems to me that MMM does something like that. He only answers a few posts in a 100+ comment thread.

    That would have freed up a shit-ton of time that he could continue doing what he claimed he loved, writing articles. Not to mention some of them are slapped together pieces “recent buys” can just have the stock ticker symbols switched out, he could have done a series of which stocks in his own portfolio go ex-div next week.

    He could’ve personally vetted his own guest writers that fit his blog. Too many things that could’ve been done but weren’t. I think he totally f’ed up his site and maybe had a mental breakdown. Just had to get away from it all. I noticed some of his comments near the end we’re basically, “so what, go elsewhere if you don’t like it” when people didn’t agree with him.

    Personally I had mostly replaced DM with SA, 1500 days, the conservative income investor, and a few others. I’ll take a look around your website and see if it makes it to my regular reading list.

    Ciao

    • Red to Riches /

      Ed,

      You have several valid points. He seemed to have it pretty good, and I agree, he could have reached out to his email list and see if anyone was interested. Back in the day, I had a website in need of a major overhaul. I got to know a few of my customers and knew one had a design background. He updated my entire site in exchange for some free of charge merchandise. Something similar, either website exposure or actual cash payments, could have helped him find someone to manage the backend.

      It seemed like there were a lot of options available, and for him to want to give up 100% of control, or at least enough control where he doesn’t care, doesn’t make sense to me either.

      As you’re looking around, let me know of any feedback, would love to help make the site better.

  13. First post I read here and I like it. If all your stuff is this good and funny, I will definitely keep coming back.

    Also, maybe you can write a post on how you think DM can be saved.

    I promise I will come back to you again not linked through DM.

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks Arrie. I can’t promise all of it is good and funny, but I can promise I do my best to share real experiences which hopefully entertain, educate, or inspire.

      Ha, thanks for the promise to come back not through DM 🙂

      I’ll consider writing how it can be saved, but shouldn’t I be getting paid for that??

  14. I too am a loyal dividend mantra fan. Hopefully your posts will fill my DM cravings. Cheers

    • Red to Riches /

      Ha, Chris, I hope they do as well. I’m a bit all over the place and not a dividend growth investor, but still trying to write my journey and help others learn from my mistakes and successes.

  15. I believe there are several positives and negatives to take from this entire saga. The thought process that went into picking individual stocks and building a portfolio was interesting, but the emotional draw was the story behind the actual portfolio. Most of the readers could relate to the rags to potential riches of his ongoing struggles and were cheering for him in a way that was almost us against the establishment, with him playing the part of us. When the site was sold, and our hero was gone, we felt the battle was over & we lost. It was sudden, and came as a shock, and as per the comments, it varied from now what do we do to you sold us out. Picture yourself cheering for your favorite NFL team, in the Super Bowl and your team is down by a few points, in the closing seconds, but you are on the opposing 2 yard line and the ball is snapped, and your quarterback takes a knee. Game over you lost. Why did he do that? Who knows, but the game is over. There will be another season next year, the same as there are other investing websites, so life does go on, but it is hard to get that feeling of loss out of your head temporarily. I don’t want to second guess any man I never met, but he does have a pattern of making spontaneous moves in the past. He left Detroit for Florida, not having a job or knowing anyone, with no where to live. He quit his job at the dealership without knowing the future. He left his gf & son in Florida and went to Ann Arbour & Grand Rapids suddenly to decide where he wanted to live alone. He decided to move back to Florida & resume where he left off with his gf & then married her. He builds a good following in his blog then suddenly sells the site and leaves. I’m sure he is a very nice man, but it is no wonder his personal life often took over his investing life on the blog, and sometimes I think that it was the reality show that unfolded, is what a lot of people miss, even more than the monthly numbers. I wish him the best.

    • Red to Riches /

      Ah I love a good football analogy! I wouldn’t put it past my team to pull something off like that.

      I never put the spontaneous acts together as you did. It’s a good point, and I can relate to that urge to mix it up once in a while.

      Thanks for dropping the note.

  16. I found your article through the DM comments – so you are still getting readers from him. (You now just have to keep me.)

    You put a lot of work in this article, thank you for this.

    I currently enjoy checking DM just to see what the new owners come up with next to upset the followers even more. (Stooges picture and the Rich Rabbit article and his comments were a great start – NOT!)

    • Red to Riches /

      Thomas,

      I appreciate the comment. This article was a living creature for a few days while I was putting it together. It was fun to try and put numbers to it, but it’s still speculation in the end.

      Not going to lie, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine right now to check the comments every day. It seems like it’s dying down now. Looking forward to the next move the new owners make.

      And the Stooges picture, lol. My article could have been another 1,000 pages if I dove into that.

  17. I have been a fan of Jason’s blog since 2012. He has inspired me, and countless others to prosper, invest, and live a frugal lifestyle with the ultimate goal of financial independence. This transaction was extremely unfortunate for his readers, his integrity, and his brand. I do still follow Jason, and i give him full credit for inspiring thousands of people. I hope that Jason can get back in the saddle after this horrible business transaction. He seems like a genuinely good dude who made a bad decision. Time will tell. Unfortunately, the blog as we know it is gone.

    • Red to Riches /

      Josh,

      It’s hard for me to tell how horrible it was for Jason. If he thought it was horrible, I thought he’d be in the comments trying to calm the crowd, but with complete absence from him and little acknowledgement from the new management team, I’m a bit confused.

      We just have to remember this was a business transaction. Maybe the outcome was bad for the readership, but if he got paid enough money, it may not have been a bad deal for him. At the same time, I do not think his intention was to sell out and not be involved. I don’t like being this speculative, but it’s fun to put yourself in the shoes of each side.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  18. It’s sad to see what happened to Dividend Mantra. I’ve been a fan of that website for a long time, and was happy to review his book over at my blog. Dividend Mantra is the reason that dividend growth investing is my primary early retirement strategy. It was my favorite blog for over a year and I’m sorry to see it go.

    I don’t blame Jason one bit. Everyone is complaining that he “sold out” and “betrayed his readers”, as if they all show up to work everyday for some altruistic purpose and not solely for the paycheck. Personally, I don’t think that Jason planned things to go down like this, but we have to understand that he likely isn’t a master business negotiator and probably didn’t read the fine print in the agreement until it was too late. He spent years in the automotive industry; negotiating contracts and business deals wasn’t part of his job and isn’t part of his skill set.

    Oh, if anyone wants to offer me $50,000 for my blog, drop me a line. And then look out for my NEXT website, Angered Retail Banker! I’m sure there would be no copyright issues whatsoever.

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    • Red to Riches /

      ARB,

      I think he inspired many readers to use the dividend growth investing strategy. Although that’s not my particular strategy, I understand it and I understand the excitement around seeing dividends hitting account balances. I honestly can’t even remember how I found his blog in the first place, but I stuck around for his articles on financial independence, the journey, etc.

      It’s funny how angry some readers are about how things went down. Some seemed to take it way too personally.

      You should shoot an email to the new team and see what they’ll offer ya!

  19. Mike A. /

    It is interesting you are driving a lot of comments from your posting on DM. Good for you. I have been waiting for some blogger to comment on that train wreck but none have. I suppose they want to preserve their relationship with Jason by being silent. Who knows.

    When I first started reading DM the ONLY comments were from fellow DGI/FI/PF bloggers and it was mostly a love fest. High fives, no matter the subject. There were maybe 30 comments, 14 from bloggers, 14 responses from Jason and maybe a few other non-bloggers who just were readers. All the bloggers hoping to get on his blogroll and adding him to theirs to hopefully drive traffic. I notice almost none of them are posting at this point (unless they are doing it under different names), but some are still responding to some of his tweets.

    Hard to know how to feel about how rapidly that site imploded for me. As I said in my comments on the last thread at DM, I had my own issues with DM and chose to not comment or view his budgets and income/expense posts. Those were a joke in my opinion. He was also VERY thin skinned, tolerating zero contrarian views. He even stopped posting on SA and commenting there and said many times he could not handle that free flowing forum. He complained bitterly on many of his articles about the comments. They were not that bad (the usual on SA) but he just could not control those so he said adios to SA rather than deal with it like others.

    He was inspiring and that is what kept me reading the other stuff. Total enthusiasm– and man that is catching.

    However, there are many other good blogs out there. I will keep checking in here. Nice job on the article. Maybe others will start to pick up the story—and it is a story.

  20. Red to Riches /

    Mike A,

    I wish traffic came more organically, but I’ll take this while it lasts :). Maybe this qualifies me as a “professional marketer” like the new owners.

    I never read any of his SA articles, but that’s an interesting observation about the criticism. I do agree, most of his comments were ‘cheerleading’ comments. I honestly can only remember a handful of critical comments in over a year, probably yours haha. I’m guessing most people that disagreed with him such as index fund proponents, which includes me, knew it was not a battle worth fighting. His following was essentially self filtering in that sense. Just like it’s probably hard to find index investors commenting on trading blogs. What I thought was important was that he had a strategy that he believed in and helped him save money and be motivated to work hard. He inspired both of us in that sense.

    Now I’m just trying to look at the aftermath from an objective point of view. Most people were so attached they feel betrayed or angry with Jason and the new owners. If I put myself in a similar position, I understand why the deal was attractive to each side.

    I appreciate the compliment. Would love to hear any feedback as you check back here.

    • Mike A. /

      Hey there–you don’t quite understand my message. Comments on blogs don’t come organically. They come as a result of doing something. You hit the gold mine.

      DM made other blogs traffic heavy by linking and commenting on their blogs– but that took time (and that was early). Look at his early blogroll. Those blogs have prospered off him just by linking and commenting.

      However— look what you did. You generated a commentary 4000% above your usual by taking a risk and commenting on the train wreck that is DM.

      More will come to your site as a result. Be brave. Don’t let the DGI Brethren sway your comments. For me, I don’t want to read anything–paper, blog, whatever unless it has the capacity to criticize.

      I already know what I know. I think that is the best but I am all in hearing other viewpoints.

      • Red to Riches /

        Definitely not a bad plan to try and piggy back off of successful blogs in the beginning. It’s free traffic. Looking at his blogroll, it looks like a “commenting” community. New readers like to see some level of engagement on blogs, so it’s an easy way to fulfill that and try to get exposure.

        Regarding the risk I took on this article, it’s easy for me to write whatever I want because I don’t rely on this site for any portion of my income and my blog has nothing to do with DGI. Like you mentioned, most of his following wouldn’t want to write something like this and risk Jason coming back to DM and isolating them.

        And don’t worry, my next article isn’t going to be about how I came to realization DGI is the way to wealth.

        To be honest, my biggest surprise is that no one was offended by my modification to the logo.

      • “However— look what you did. You generated a commentary 4000% above your usual by taking a risk and commenting on the train wreck that is DM.”

        I can personally testify to how true this is. Simply by posting a comment on how a larger comment I had posted that explored my feelings towards Dividend Mantra’s downfall, I saw my traffic triple over the past couple days. I wasn’t even planning to do that; I just wanted to comment because I had an opinion.

        Now I have almost 100 views today! Does this make me the next Dividend Mantra? 😉

        Sincerely,
        ARB–Angry Retail Banker

      • Mike A. /

        No, it makes you creditable. You were a long time poster on DM—And you made your comment. Now people are coming to you. Unlike Dividend Diplomats below. Another poster on DM (shorter time than you) but is not commenting there, but here.

        Just be brave all you DGI bloggers. Don’t idolize–say your peace and do your own thing. Be critical if the situation calls for it.

      • Mike A. /

        BTW RTR, you need to fix the structure of these comments. When comments follow comments they get smashed up to the right way too far. Almost unreadable.

      • Red to Riches /

        I noticed as well, not used to this many comments… if anyone knows how to fix it easily, let me know. Otherwise that will have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

        Edit – I think I fixed it… how does that look?

  21. TayDiggsMoney /

    This is probably the best thing in regards to Dividend Mantra that I have read since he announced the sale/partnership of the site. I’ve recently been stuck the past couple of days quickly skimming the last article to hopefully see a reply from Jason or the management team announcing a return to normalcy. Anyways I spotted your article in the comments and I must say that I have been thinking a lot of bloggers get their traffic through DM. You basically proved my point.

    Alas the situation is a disappointment, but I can do nothing but move on although it is hard at times not to check the site and see if something new is afoot. I was actually in a mode where I accepted that there would only be one article per week going forward. I hadn’t checked in awhile until this past weekend. I am thoroughly disappointed because I would have loved to read the train wreck from the Rabbit that everyone is talking about, but I missed it. I follow Jason on twitter and I’ll wait until I see his return announcement there.

    Otherwise I hope those asshats who bought the site fail in achieving a positive return in investment from the site. Also at the same time I hope there is no future financial harm to Jason through this unintelligible acquirement by these investors. These fools got in without any idea of what they were buying thinking they could implement their will. Jason might be a man with many goals, but there was one underlying goal that drove everything: The Race to Freedom. With this understanding I applaud the sale/partnership of the site as this was just another stepping stone to get closer to freedom. Based on the lack of any response on the site it would appear 3 possibilities have occurred:

    A. He took a lump sum and was promised additional incentives for future posts (which can be written off at this point).

    B. He is now a minority owner with no control (only downfall here would’ve been the size of the initial lump sum, but he could basically hand over his remaining control for nothing and walk away)

    C. He truly has a partnership, but was forced into a weird legal agreement where there has to be unanimous agreement on what is posted on the site (Jason would safely own still 80% of all future revenue and is currently abiding to the terms and hoping these guys can agree)

    For the most part I think the situation is leaning towards option A. and I hope Jason can just walk away and start something anew and enjoyable to produce meaningful income. If it is the dreaded options B. or C. he can basically absolve himself of any true work (they already have all but dismissed him) and let these guys do what they think is best and passively collect income off their work. This situation falls in line with his recent article about Living many Different Lifetimes. He is now off to the next adventure although it will just be tougher for us voyeurs to watch.

    • Red to Riches /

      Your B and C describe some components that would definitely be a lose-lose situation, but could be plausible. The lack of responses on either side don’t make sense to me with any scenario, so it’s hard to speculate.

      I think it’s harsh to hope the new owners drive into the dirt, it’s still pretty early in the game to see whether they can turn it around. I do agree they’ve mismanaged it so far, but they have a decent flow of visitors to make something out of it if they take it seriously.

      The good thing is he inspired many other blogs, so there are many other journeys to begin to follow.

  22. Great article RtR. It’s a shame to see what is happening to the site. I think that the great majority of the DGI community either started their journey because of dividend mantra or used it as a way to stay focused and disciplined.

    I really don’t blame Jason at all for what he did. I was always amazed how he could reply to every comment on his site, comment on other sites, AND write all of his articles. I don’t care how much you enjoy it, that’s got to take a toll on someone after doing it for several years.

    The goal was financial independence. The website turned into an opportunity to help reach that goal. I say well done Jason!

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks FreewillFinance.

      I agree, I was impressed he commented on every comment. Especially ones that were just saying “great job.”

      I fell behind on replying to every comment and I didn’t even have half as many as he normally does!

      Indeed, the goal was financial independence. Sometimes you need to make tough decisions to reach it faster.

  23. Raymond /

    RtR,

    Good post, I’ll have to scroll through your comments when I have a little more time. DM? I’m not sure what to say about the site anymore; however, being the train wreck it has become I do check on the comment section out of pure entertainment. To say I’m disappointed in how Jason treated his own brand and readers/loyal followers would be a understatement, IMHO. My IMAGE of Jason is now of a sell out, if the site became too much of a job there were many other paths that he could have explored. Maybe he was blinded by his own investing that he was blinded by the offer? I also find it strange that there are two TWITTER accounts for Jason, one that is very much the Jason we all got to know and the other, well, kind of strange and almost “R” rated with some of the re-tweets, very sexual. I was leaning towards the second account being “fake”, just speculation on my part. In either case, IMHO, Jason’s character is in question in regards to understanding the meaning of LOYALTY. At the end of the day, I’m not even sure if Jason understood the very blog he created. JM2C.

    • Red to Riches /

      Raymond, I agree he could have explored other options. Many business owners become “sell outs” when they decide to sell their company, but I wouldn’t necessarily change my view of someone just because of it. It’s hard to judge without all the details.

      Interesting about the twitter accounts, I haven’t seen the “R” rated one, but I’m guessing you’re right in saying it was fake.

      We can only sit back and see how it all turns out.

  24. Great post RedtoRiches. I’m glad you took the time to give your thoughts on it. What sucks in this situation is that we don’t know the full situation. We want to hear from Jason what is going on (at least that’s what I think). Nobody will judge and heck as you said, most of us would have considered a cash offer for tens of thousands of dollars. The hard part is that we followed this journey over the years, getting to know Jason, his passions, his struggles, his successes, and his failures. All of which were geared towards his pursuit of financial freedom so he can live the life he wants. We all wanted him to reach the finish line and do what he wants. If this move was the final step that was needed to be made, then kudos to him for doing what he had to do! I hope it is. I just think the negative reaction is a result of the way this story has ended.

    I have learned a lot over this episode for me and the website Lanny and I are building. Its about the journey and the relationships you build over time. Anyone can write a dividend stock analysis or discuss what stocks they just bought. Anyone. But what is unique to you and no one else is what motivates you and the reasons why you are building a dividend portfolio to begin with. Lesson learned and I am excited to be a part of this great community.

    Anyway, that’s my quick take on it. I’m sure every move was calculated and made with the end goal of financial freedom, which is an outcome that we have to respect since we all followed the journey and cheered along the way. Thanks again for taking the time to write this article.

    Bert

    • Mike A. /

      DD, just curious–where are your posts on the current DM article? Why did you post a high 5 “great buy” on every other article on DM (even if he was overpaying) but now you don’t post your honest feelings on what looks like the last post on DM?

      Also, don’t you think Jason is responsible for you not knowing what happened? Why are you and other DGI bloggers who clearly started your blogs as a result of him not holding him accountable? I just don’t understand that.

      • Mike,

        I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. I don’t want anything I say to sound combative, so if it comes off that way I apologize in advance. This is a great conversation to have.

        In regards to your comments about the “high 5s” we are giving Jason. For the most part, I like the stocks he has bought over the last year (for the most part). Outside of a few that seemed outside of the box and weren’t part of the mold, there weren’t too many companies that he purchased that weren’t solid, long term dividend payers. Some of the few that come to mind are the Armino Foods and low yielding energy/utility stock he purchased (I can’t remember the name off the top of my head). His and my investing strategy focus on building a portfolio around these stocks, so of course there isn’t going to be much of a disagreement when he buys shares in companies like JNJ, OHI, etc. One of the things that Jason did really well was explain his thought process in detail and walk you through every aspect of the purchase, which is something I could do a better job of myself. Even if I didn’t agree with a purchase, you could tell he performed his research and determined that the stock fit his investing strategy. In my opinion, if it fits his strategy and he is comfortable with the purchase, then it is a great buy because he invested in a stock that works for him. It was never “I feel like owning X stock regardless of price, so I felt like purchasing it.” There was a lot more that went into each decision and if the multiple was trading higher than others, he typically explained his thought process.

        The reason I’m not posting my honest feelings on the last post is because it wasn’t Jason that wrote it. I don’t feel connected to these people, which is a sentiment shared by many others in the community. We are talking about writing an article and sharing our thoughts that way. If Jason writes an article, such as his monthly summary articles I will respond and discuss it there because I am corresponding with him, not the new team.

        You bring up a fair point and Jason is definitely accountable in this confusion and the chaos that has occurred over the last few weeks. However, I’m not just going to start going on his blog and commenting about how upset I am or throwing him under the bus. If he made a move that secures financial freedom, then I am happy for him. I don’t know the full story, so I’m refraining for commenting about him or his new situation until more details emerge (if they ever do). One of the things that drive me nuts about politics, sports, or other major events that occur (and I know there are major differences in these situations compared to a blogger going rogue) is that everyone rushes to give their opinion while the facts are being settled and details are coming to light. The majority of the time the story changes or the real motives are discovered and it is different than the original scenario that people assumed when they commented initially. Anyway, that’s my personal reason for not commenting on the situation on his website. I don’t want to rush to judge, sling mud, throw him under the bus, or applaud his move on his website just for the sake of commenting just to learn that every assumption I made was wrong at a later date. So that’s why I am personally refraining. Lanny may have a different reason and so many others, but that’s my personal reason anyway. Whether or not you agree with me, I just wanted to explain where I was coming from.

        This article was a great article and gave one heck of a breakdown by R2R. At the end, I was asked my opinion on the matter so I gave it and started to share what it meant to me. Commenting on this blog versus Jason’s is much different because Red to Riches is a member of this community and puts it all out there/on the line in a similar manner to Jason, us, and some of the others in the DGI journey. Even though I haven’t actively commented on this website in the same way I did on Jason’s or others, that doesn’t mean I haven’t read the articles or noticed the participation in the community. I don’t mind sharing my thoughts here and based on this, I am going to be coming back to this website more frequently. It is much different than responding to a group of guys that purchased a website and do not share my passion about being frugal and investing my way towards financial freedom.

        Anyway, I hope this help answers some of the questions you had in response to my post. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way that really was not my intent. Conversations like these are very constructive.

        Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

        Bert

    • Hello Bert,
      Unfortunately, Jason probably sign a non-compete / non-comment clause in his contract. We will not get the full story for that reason. Each site I bought, I make the owner sign such clauses: non-compete for a year and non-comment on the transaction forever ;-). As a buyer, you don’t want the previous owner to disclose how the transaction went.
      Cheers,

      Mike.

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks Bert. It’s funny because we all start out writing about our own journey to document the progress and hopefully inspire others. We also do it because we enjoy it.

      The few that become extremely popular will be difficult to sell because the nature of the writing.

      At some point you either have to neglect certain readers and comments, or you have to spend more and more time to keep everyone happy.

      At that point, your options are fairly limited. You can put your trust in someone and create some type of partnership, or you can write less and the community will be disappointed because you’re “too busy” for them.

      It’s a tough situation to be in, but at the same time, it’s a good problem to have in my opinion. I guess we learned how to NOT handle it.

  25. I’ve tried my hand at blogging a couple of times before, but I wasn’t able to last more than a few months each time. So I can understand Jason’s frustration with backend stuff. For example, I could easily spend three hours trying to fidget with some wordpress plug-in or answering random emails. Then I’ve got to put the blog down and get back to work and life. All of a sudden I found myself with no time left to make content.

    Since Jason decided to become a professional blogger, I would have expected that he would have planned for this.

    All that being said, Jason does have a history of giving up and walking away whenever life gets too hard. He left Michigan for FL, despite the lack of a job / friends / family / anything other than the promise of warmer weather and a lower cost of living. He put his blog on a several month hiatus a few years ago for undefined personal reasons. Then he quit his full time job to be a full time blogger. Then he did that weird thing where he ditched his girlfriend and life in FL and moved back up to Michigan just to turn around a few weeks later and move back to FL. The current sale seems like the next instance of this pattern.

    It’s just speculation, but I wonder if he had one blogging frustration too many, took a look at his DTA writing income, threw his hands in the air and said “screw it.” Maybe that happened just as the new owners were making their pitch to him. All the stars being in alignment, he sold the blog, took the money, and ran.

    He always seemed like a descent guy to me, so I hope everything works out for him in the end. I hope he’s a lot happier now. I just wish that him and the new owners could have sat down and come up with a real transition plan instead of just throwing some generic crap up there and hoping no one notices Jason’s gone. The total lack of a transition plan is one more reason why I suspect that the current sale was more of a freak out decision rather than a well planned exit strategy.

    Also, good luck on your blog. Maybe I’ll stop by a few more times and see what you’ve got going here.

    • Mike A. /

      Good points VGA, most (certainly the new bloggers) didn’t follow his blog as long as you and I have. You are right. It was very uncomfortable reading when he left his now wife to go back home. I was shocked she took him back.

      You make other good points of him quiting—something I had not thought of before.

    • Red to Riches /

      VGA, the struggle is definitely real trying to balance life.

      Currently, my financial position requires me to first focus on my real job and make sure I’m completing those responsibilities prior to having the luxury to write random articles for free.

      However, if you go full-time blogging, I would also expect you begin to treat it like a real job with self-created deadlines and processes.

      I agree with Mike A, you brought up some good points about the almost sporadic decision making shown in the past.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  26. Mike A. /

    Looks better, but the “reply” button doesn’t exist now at the bottom of that comment. Look into that. I could not comment to your reply there.

    • Red to Riches /

      Ahh, no wonder why Jason hired out the backend… will keep working on it.

      • Mike A. /

        LOL…I totally get it about the back-end stuff. I don’t fault Jason at all for not wanting to do that –but its part of the deal. I don’t have DGI blog, but I have another Blog about another theme. I get it.

        Just be transparent to your audience.

  27. @ Mike A.

    Love your comments. Thought much the same as you for a long time. Like many I liked Jason’s story. He was masterful at catching a readers attn. I think he is a genuinely good guy. However, you have hit every nail on the head above. If you disagreed or asked any questions that were not “Pro-dividend”, you received a very defensive or dismissive answer. I always felt Jason protected his little brand more than he answered questions honestly. Always directing the negative stuff away for fear of it possibly hurting the cash cow. Someone above mentioned, “The Conservative Income investor” blog above. I think he (Tim) is even worse. His articles sound well written but they are all pretty well just fluff… Disagree with him and your post gets deleted. “If you had a time machine and bought just 20 shares of Exxon Mobile in 1960 and reinvested all the dividends, today you will be generating $90,000.00 a year in sweet US currency… blah blah blah”… rinse repeat…

    After stumbling across this mess today, I have to say I’m pretty surprised by all this, Somehow I can’t help but think this could all be just an ingenious marketing ploy, and Jason will ride in on a white horse and save the day. Then the well wishers are simply all chumps if that is the case. Like New coke and coke classic reboot!

    In any case I find Dividend ONLY investors can be summed up with the old religious joke… A fellow dies and goes to heaven. He gets a orientation and comes to a big huge stone wall. He then asks what is behind the wall.. He is told its someone of a different religion that likes to believe they are the only ones up there…

    To me a lot of dividend investors act like that. They won’t listen to any other view. I always wonder is it always because they believe only in their style of investing or are they simply protecting their blog and it’s spin-off businesses?

    Great comments Mike.

    • Indexfan /

      I agree, dividend investors sound like a cult.

      It is so sad they fail to see the light that indexing is the only correct way to make money.

      Indexing is the true way to make sure you earn market returns. Everything else is speculation.

      • Goldbug /

        Actually, dividend growth indexing AND indexing are both wrong!

        Gold is the only true and sensible way to invest your money because Goldz is the only asset that keeps its valuez.

        Indexerz are just as blind as dividenderz.

        My point of view is the only correct one.

        Indexerz, especially Bogleheads, are like so cult like in their belief of pure index.

        Geeze… just buy some gold and bury it in your backyard! Trust me. Believe me.

  28. Good post-mortem on Dividend Mantra.

    I liked Jason and thoroughly enjoyed reading his story. He was one of the people to inspire me to start my own journey which I have done this year.

    I guess only time will time what really happened and why it went down like that.

  29. Boy, not sure how I missed this point, great stuff Red to Riches. I’ve been following Jason’s blog for a while now and it’s a shame that I haven’t had the chance to meet him in person. If I were in the same shoe as Jason, I would have sold the blog and maybe started a new one. But perhaps it was in the agreement that he couldn’t start a new one. Who knows.

    • Red to Riches /

      Thanks Tawcan. It is an interesting situation. It would be more interesting if they tried to revive it to see what kind of strategy they use and to see if it’s successful.

      Like you said, who knows what happened, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to have benefited anyone so far.

  30. I tip my hat to you sir for that altered DM logo – I almost spat out my coffee laughing when I first saw it.

  31. Red to Riches /

    About damn time someone noticed! lol I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    I thought it was the best part of the article, yet 70+ comments later, this is the first real mention of it haha.

    • Bochephus /

      Red –
      Just noticed the middle fingers. That is freaking hilarious. You win the Internet tonight. I’ll keep poking around your blog as I like the cut of your gib.

      Peace,
      Bocephus

  32. Their introduction was the absolute worst:
    “We are a team of marketing professionals…to impact a wide array of websites” And that photo…this should be a course in business school of WHAT NOT TO DO.

    I still like Jason and congratulate him on the money grab. This sale was baked into the cake from day one or at least in the back of every bloggers’ mind –the pay day.

    I have to say Jason was the best & had classy replies to all posts, even the naysayers.

    It seems stupid to buy such a personal blog, it’s like taking a singer songwriter’s name and then making crappy songs under it. We are a bunch of marketers releasing songs under the name Neil Young –Neil Young sold us his name BUT we want to hear your ideas.

  33. Thanks for posting this summary of what happened. I’m not a dividend investor, but I had followed Jason’s blog because I thought he had an interesting perspective on frugality, and I enjoyed watching his progress.

    I unsubscribed from the DM RSS feed the day the new owners posted their first tone-deaf announcement, and today is the first time I had checked back to see what happened. What a disaster for the idiotic new owners. I feel bad for Jason. It’s got to be shitty to see your project collapse, and this has to have hurt his personal brand for any future projects.

  34. It’s hard to resist money, especially if you are not financially independent already. This is a large reason why so many bloggers who started out poor sell as soon as they get an offer. In this low interest rate environment, people should be BUYING cash flow assets like blogs, which are being sold for incredibly low multiples.

    Even if DM was sold for $100,000, at most it will return risk free is $2,500 a year.

    Focus on the joy of writing and connecting folks. Not the money!

    Sam

    • Indexfan /

      Financial Samurai,

      You seem to be writing exclusively FOR the money. You constantly pitch questionable products like peer to peer lending, sliced investing hedge funds, motif investing etc.

      And while you try to make yourself look like a successful investor, in reality you made your money because you earned a six figure salary and bonuses. This is the truth, no matter how hard you try to spin it with stories about growth stocks where you supposedly made a killing, speculative stocks where you supposedly had a 10 bagger overnight etc.

  35. I have to say I had you beat by 5 days, although yours is much more elegantly written. It comes down to the brand – which is now destroyed, or at least worth a fraction of its former self. If resurrected by Jason, it is unlikely to achieve the same level and/or status it once enjoyed. Although he was hypocritical at times, he still inspired a number of people to start investing – which is a good thing.

  36. Now, the question is, was that the real Jason above or an impostor?

  37. Got a new mail from the DM website in my inbox today. “10 free ETF growth strategy tips” was the subject.

    Whoever Jason sold out his site to, is so out of touch with his fan base. A public comment area is not to be found on the page (for obvious reasons). What a total fail.

    I have seen that Jason is on twitter still posting his purchases however. I guess he must have signed some kind of non competition clause and can’t start something new officially. Personally I would just put everything in my girlfriends name, or a friends (or new partner) name and ghost write until the non compete time period was up. Who would ever know?

  38. Certainly respect Jason’s decision to sell. Maintaining a blog is a lot of work! His blog (like for many others) was really an inspiration.

    This was a great article by the way — really captured everything that happened. Found it while looking for info on what was going on. Will definitely come back.

  39. I’m not sure if the comment from Jason was in response to mine. I was simply stating that I had received a new update (and one each day since delivered to my mailbox).

    From what I see so far with the first posts of the “new” Dividend Mantra” there are bland generic posts that could simply be copied out of any business section of a newspaper or taken out of a chapter of any book you could find at Barnes and Noble. It’s simply recycled crap.

    Jason has to understand, his followers created a connection to him from his intertwining his life experiences into his posts. By doing so he developed a “trust” between himself and his readers. He wrote how his was the ideal lifestyle, being able to write a post from a Starbucks outside seating area in Sarasota. For his followers working 10 hour days not able to do the same, getting “burned out” from this seems hard to swallow for some.

    In his final days of Dividend Mantra he wrote these words… (I simply cut and pasted just below here). Very little of these words below have actually transitioned into reality. so forgive myself or anyone else being a little frustrated by this.

    “While I haven’t been writing new content three times per week like you readers have long come to expect, I have been working hard behind the scenes to solidify the future and legacy of this site and its message.”

    “What Won’t Change

    Everything else will continue on like normal. And that’s what I’m most excited about. This deal cements the this site’s continuation for years and years to come.

    You’ll still be getting regular content that’s as high quality as it gets. I’ll still be here to provide the best stuff I can while updating my results all along the way. And the community we’ve formed will obviously still be here as well.
    Conclusion

    All in all, this site will take the best of everything it’s ever been while augmenting that in a fresh, new way that is really exciting.

    And I happen to think this is a really great move that benefits everyone. It benefits me by reducing my workload down to a more manageable level and allowing me to focus on that which I truly enjoy. Meanwhile, it benefits you readers by virtue of the content staying fresh and new, the site continuing to run and grow past my ability to run it, and potentially new features brought about that could add to what’s already been built here.”

  40. R2R,

    I won’t really comment on the subject matter or the guesswork within this article. I will say that I’m a little disappointed in this and some of the comments herein. But I’ll certainly keep that in mind when I get a new platform up and running later this year.

    I only came over here because someone just today alerted me of this article and asked about my comments. That wasn’t me above. If Red to Riches wants to allow someone to impersonate me and comment on his article, so be it. It’s his blog. But that’s not me above. I’ve already had to contact Twitter about someone impersonating me, too. They’ve temporarily suspended that account. I honestly don’t know why there is some small number of people that have developed some kind of weird fascination/obsession with me to the point of pretending to be me, but that’s their problem(s) to deal with.

    I only wanted to come over here to say that I didn’t leave those comments above. Not my style to be like that. I’ve always tried to show my appreciation for all of my readers by going out of my way to respond in the most meaningful and heartfelt way possible. I’m disappointed in how some people are now questioning my genuine nature when all I’ve ever done is produce the best content I could for free of charge for all of you. I’ve had offers to go to a membership site and do some things that were all about the money, but I always passed those things up. The reasoning behind what happened to DM wasn’t driven by money at all, but I’ve already said all I can say about that. If people don’t want to believe that, that’s their thing.

    Anyway, I can now see who’s with me and who’s not. And that’ll be kept in mind when I start a new project up later this year, which I’ve already announced on Facebook. If anyone wants to see if this is really me or not, shoot me a message on FB or Twitter. I’ll be happy to answer. I’m also logging in with my information (which should shoot over from Gravitar), so I’m not sure what credentials the person above was using. I’m guessing they simply copied my picture and used my name. Honestly, it’s just creepy and weird.

    If anyone is still unclear about what happened, I laid it out in detail on Facebook. R2R and everyone else can guess, but I’ve already talked about it.

    Although some of you have really tried to make this thing a circus, I hold no ill will. I’ll just simply keep these comments in mind when I watch who’s stopping by the new blog later this year.

    Wish you all the best.

    Cheers!

    • Jason, I think it was obvious and clear to my readers that the numbers were estimates.

      You’re entitled to feel “disappointed” that people noticed and expressed their opinion on the sale of your website. However, I don’t have a problem writing about a situation and providing some entertainment especially with the strange events that unfolded. And if you think my comment section is “disappointing,” you should have seen your old website’s comment section at 800+ comments long of crazy shit before it was removed. Your actions, not mine, resulted in those comments.

      And after all, this may be the one and only time I EVER get to see such a large business/blog transaction crash and burn in real time… well, at least until you sell your next project to some fool in a few years)…….. Woo… that was a joke… and I found it funny, so please forgive me and don’t be disappointed.

      If you read the article, most of it was poking fun not only at myself in the beginning, but primarily the new owners while I defended your decision.

      FYI: Removed the other two comments, verified this comment is your IP address. I agree it’s weird someone felt the need to copy your picture and email address.

    • Arthur Dayne /

      Jason,

      There is no need to be so condescending towards R2R and to everyone else commenting and reading this wonderful topic. R2R has actually given you more credit and assumed more ethics on your part than you deserve.

      You wanted your payday from the buyers of Dividend Mantra (they own it now, not you) but instead of being honest about selling out your fans for the money, you stalled by keeping silent at first then later spun some bizarre stories by being vague and very unclear, making up lies too.

      You lied about there supposedly being some “deals” and “partnerships” to continue the “legacy” of Dividend Mantra, blowing smoke up the butts of your fans and other readers but not everyone is so stupid to believe that nonsense.

      Simply put your actions were:

      1. Sell out your site for around $50k

      2. Keep quiet about it to give yourself time to think of a story and later post vague wordy comments about “continuing the legacy” and “partnerships” to make yourself look like some victim with no blame or accountability because the site now is just an advertisement vehicle.

      Now if you were honest about selling out for the money and moving on, that would’ve been fine and dandy because it shows enough respect & consideration to be honest.

      But you weren’t honest about it- you wanted your cake and the option to eat it too, you wanted your payday and your fanbase to continue following you too.

      So you chose to lie.

      Can’t have it both ways in life, you sell out and some fans will disagree with your actions and break away, bad mouth you and no longer hold you in any regard. It happens and lying about it might save some face for a time, but this is the information age and information gets spread around pretty quickly.

      The truth prevails in the long run.

  41. I’m glad I was able to follow and enjoy the Dividend Mantra site before it went South. Jason had a great blog and replied to all comments which is amazing considering how many comments his blog received. I’m glad to hear Jason has a new project started.

  42. James /

    Jason,
    I went over your blog recently and R2R is correct the strange events that led up to you selling and the owners doing what they did was kind of ridiculous. I read the last few months posts and comments and see you had a lot of people following you(hence why they went crazy and people are pretending to be you when you just bounced). I could have told you that would have happened with that many followers and you just ended I guess your life story. What were you expecting? You ended it like a Goosebump book/ drove off of a cliff and no one heard from you from what i can tell from your blog.

    From what I see from your blog with what you said before you disappeared and those comments I don’t see how that is genuine nature. lol but to each there own. These comments are great entertainment from R2R site and from your old site? lol but I hope you can start something new but once again how you handled the last part of your blog was just down right horrible and it was funny to see like R2R said to see it crash and burn in real time.

    Also no one made this a circus except for you and whoever owns your blog now. lol Good Luck

  43. Indexfan /

    Jason,

    You left a very condescending comment towards R2R. I sincerely hope that your new venture never gets the type of traffic that R2R gets.

    Noone owes you anything, and you are no longer in charge of Dividend Mantra. So you cannot act like a big shot anymore. Your site became popular, which obviously got to your head.

    You make poor decisions, and you are unwilling to listen to anyone else. You sold your site for pocket change, and yet you refused to acknowledge to your readers that you actually sold it. Instead, you dressed it up as “a partnership” ” help with back-end support ” etc.

    I am questioning whether the “portfolio” you claim to have really exists. I wouldn’t be surprised if you turn out to have never owned the stocks you claim to have owned.

    Personally, I think that you are a disgrace to the investment community. I do not understand why anyone would read your new site after you sold your loyal readers for 30 silver coins. But then again, a sucker is born every second.

    • Dividend Miracle /

      Right. LoL The way everything went down was just so crazy and if it wasn’t about money then why did you do what you did, you could have got help but didn’t have to sell the site? The way you did all of that in 3-4 months time was just horrible and I am pretty sure you can say what happened on here in 2 or 3 sentences but I guess you rather not? Also those 800+ plus comments on your site were too funny but guess you missed that one.

      Terrible how all of it ended just TeRrIbLe! Haha

  44. Paul N /

    I guess I’m still on the DM mailing list. I got the latest post in Spanish today. Talk about a mixed up site… 30 silver coins? $450 bucks or is that an old quote? Never heard that one before.

  45. I used to read DM quite often as I liked the fact he would interact with all the readers and reply to every single comment – no matter what it was. It had a sense of being 100% genuine. I haven’t been following the site lately but it sounds like readership is way down, which is too bad because it had a ton of potential. My guess is (as mentioned above) Jason had a non-compete clause and perhaps a non-disclosure as well so he can’t really explain what happened. In the end though I still say good for him, it sucks for DM but the readers will move on (elsewhere) and Jason will be one step closer to his main goal – financial freedom. I hope he does reach his goals and continue to invest in dividend stocks that will keep paying him those juicy dividends we all love.

  46. DM was a huge inspiration for me as well, He is probably also the reason I started my blog. It is a bit sad that he doesen’t operate his blog anymore. I still do follow him accasionaly on Twitter. He is still dividend investing at the same pace as before.

  47. Holy frack! I was about to recommend the glorious DM to some friends when I uncovered the tragedy that has befallen them.

    Your detailed analysis was cute and funny. And spot on.

    I appreciate your even handed “good for you, Jason” along with the “congrats marketing team that killed it”. Heh.

    You may have snookered enough to start following your site. Best wishes.

  48. Interesting to read this 🙂 I was one of thouse DM adicts my sekf. I gave to admit i started this dividend invesrin my self and a blof due to DM. Then sadly DM was sold.

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