If you’ve been following Life On The Hook™ for a while, you may have noticed a recent change. We installed a plug-in that allows Google to embed ads in our posts. We didn’t originally intend to try and monetize this site. The cost to own a URL and manage a blog is really pocket change in the grand scheme of things. But here’s why this became important.
As we mentioned in The Evolution Of A Possible Plan, we intend for Cuba to be our first stop when we leave Florida. It makes life so much easier to be able to use Cuba to work your way east to the Caribbean or west to Mexico rather than having to avoid this 760 mile (1,200 km) landmass directly to our south. But there are still some restrictions in place for Americans who want to visit the island nation. You have to have a legitimate reason to travel there. And “tourism” or “it’s a convenient stop on our way to Mexico” aren’t on the list of reasons that the US Government will accept.
But we can self-certify under the “journalist” license and travel to Cuba to do research. Now normally this would require you to hold actual journalist credentials for a recognized network or news organization. But the rules are constantly relaxing as the definition of “journalist” changes to meet modern realities. More people get their news from blogs and websites now than from newspapers, afterall.
So here’s where the ads become important. Now that we’re allowing advertising to be placed on the site, our writing is providing a small but steady income stream. This means LOTH™ is now a commercial site, and we are basically professional writers (because we’re earning income from it, afterall). So viola, we can self-certify as journalists under the general license and legally travel to Cuba! As long as we write about it (which you know we will), or do research for future books or articles (which is sort of the plan). And being able to point to a tangible site that’s actually generating income that’s reported to the IRS makes it real and indisputable, rather than just a possible future intention.
We hope the type, number and placement of the ads doesn’t detract from your reading experience. Let us know if you’d like us to change something, and we’ll consider it. In the meantime, if you’d like to help us move closer to our goals, please take a moment to visit (click on) any of the sponsored links that peak your interest. It won’t cost you a thing (except the half-calorie you’ll burn twitching your index finger) and will help us show the government that we are indeed engaged in legitimate journalistic activity.
I should mention that there’s still the issue of the temporary export license for the boat that the Department of Commerce requires to sail your own vessel to Cuba. But I couldn’t help but notice that the latest issue of Cruising World featured a cover article about a group that sailed to Cuba. In the article, they admitted that they hadn’t obtained the necessary export license. But they felt comfortable enough about it to allow the magazine to feature a picture of their boat sailing in Havana harbor on the cover.
As Bob Dylan once said:
Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown. The times, they are a changin.