Poem: Weeping Priest

Weeping Priest

Behold all I preach is love
yet hate fills hearts
where lips should kiss
sneers spread fear
and my piety tested
as I lie weeping
in a broken bed

Behold all I preach is compassion
yet poor are mistreated
where youth should thrive
children are enslaved for game
and my piety tested
as I lie weeping
with silent idols

Behold all I preach is truth
yet lies infect the masses
where nobility should reign
genocidal wars of hate claim
and so I lie weeping
with a silent god

Reflecting on 8 Years of Dragon Blogger

Dragonblogger.com was a labor of love I started back in August 2008 and officially made public in September 2008 where I did everything from covering technology ,entertainment, gaming and gadget related news which eventually led to product reviews and so much more.  Like so many bloggers I have had my ups and downs with inspiration, creativity and gone through lows of writers block, becoming just bored and lacking interest or even writing for periods of time losing inspiration and even desire to churn out yet another blog post.    I have seen so many of my blogging peers drop out of running blogs completely, so many sites have gone offline.  I had a click of bloggers I would network with, learn from and only a few continue to thrive and grow the work they started while others went on to bigger and better things, a few others refined and started new niches or sold their properties and moved onto something different entirely.

Technology blogs continue to be one of the hardest hit, as the blog platform itself continues to wane as social media becomes the more definitive way to spread information and connect with an audience.  No longer do the majority of audiences want to read a 3000-8000 word blog post, they want a video or live feed telling them in real time or in a quick video summary what would have taken them 15 minutes to read.  One of the bigger sites HiTech Legion is one such technology blog that actually started the same year as Dragonblogger.com.  I had followed them and they were a peer site, and now they have announced they are shutting down completely as they were unable to successfully transition to social media and gain a foothold there like their blog did back in the day.  This makes me thankful that I diversified Dragon Blogger into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and most importantly YouTube early on.  Back in 2012 I started ramping up video production and content and we produce more content in the past 2 years than in the 6 previous years to that.  The Dragon Blogger YouTube Channel now gets 3x as many video views per month than the DragonBlogger.com blog gets in pageviews per month.  I get more adsense revenue from the YouTube videos than I do from the website, but I have no plans on shutting down the blog at this time.  Even with it’s hosting fees there is something written product reviews give you that you can’t do with a video and this builds the time to show effective benchmarks, comparisons allow people to consume that content at the pace they want to read it, rather than the pace of the video.

Blogging is tough, and the hosting fees of running a WordPress blog with all the SEO optimization, Dynamic peformance and things you have to do to make sure you rank are becoming tougher and tougher.  Sites can’t just have content, they have to load quickly, render right on phone browsers, desktop browsers and tablets and they must have minimal interruptions to the reader.  I don’t use popup advertisements or popunder advertisements because I can’t stand the inconvenience, with adblocker plugins my site revenue is 33% of what it was in 2012 and just slightly covers my web hosting fees and other expenses like giveaways, promotion, marketing…etc.

The other thing is sponsored opportunities are diminishing for all the smaller blogs compared to 2009 – 2014 as well, with less sponsored opps dropping on the doorstep despite the site getting more recognized.  Part of this is sponsors are going directly to sites without intermediaries and the other part is that blogs themselves are losing traction as influences, with influencers now being looked at at Social Media properties and surprisingly an Amazon Top Reviewer in the top 100 ranks can gain many products to review for free, and when it costs nothing but time to build a profile of Amazon reviews without the overhead of hosting fees.

I continue to consider to build more niche microsites, I think affiliate sales with Amazon, CJ, ShareASale are still going to be the best long term options for monetizing without having to inject scripted auto-ads on websites, but it takes time and energy to build out sites, optimize them and put that together.  In the meantime, I considered possibly using a WordPress.com blog with custom domain name, and working around needing plugins and avoiding the hosting fees, as well as other options like Tumblr and such.  Blogging isn’t what it once was, and actually in retrospect 8 years later I wish I hadn’t chosen the name dragonblogger as I have had a hard time with some partnerships with brands that specifically didn’t like the “blogger” in the site name or domain name, something with tech or something else but blogger.  I still think though that this is just personal choice, and dragonblogger name and brand for me is strong after 8 years.  I think it is all about site traffic and growth, after all reaching 2 million plus views on our YouTube channel and being able to sometimes affiliate sell over $10,000 worth of Amazon product per month from my affiliate tags is not nothing, it just takes time and a good team.  I am fortunate to have some people who help write and create content for dragonblogger and do it because they love to do it, and they do such a good job.  This site is a labor of love as I have said and is for the enthusiasts who really enjoy sharing their opinion of a product, game, service or software and learning how something works, what works, what didn’t live up to expectations and is still fun and exciting to do.

8 years later and the one thing I wish is I had more time and more energy, inspiration to churn out 4-5 high quality articles per day on dragonblogger.com instead of 1-2.  We have leaned very heavily toward doing mostly product review posts and I would like to go back to including more editorials and future thinking posts, posts that generate engagement, ask questions, offer help or how to solve an issue and more.  These of course take the most time to write, but I still enjoy writing, creating videos, reviewing products and sharing my opinions with the world and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

First Amazon EU Affiliate Check Came – 2 Years in the Making

I have been a global Amazon affiliate for about two years which means I own affiliate accounts in global Amazon stores not just Amazon.com but Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca…etc basically all of them that I could register for and though it takes a lot of time to setup and you benefit from using services that take advantage of Global Amazon stores you can gain extra income from your Amazon affiliate if you globalize your product links instead of only relying on the U.S. Amazon.com affiliate linking.

So after 2 years my Amazon.eu payment came from Amazon.co.uk and it was for $50.40 pounds.  Now though I say it took 2 years, actually most of the earnings were gained since using the Prourls.com tool since January 2016 and I had more earnings in the six months using that tool than the 18 months using manual link building methods or even EasyAzon plugin for WordPress.

The reason why is most of my views and clicks are coming from my YouTube videos now, not from my blog and with the EasyAzon plugin you are limited to only globalizing WordPress hosted products and links.  So I needed a service to create globalized affiliate links in YouTube, Social Media and more.

Two services I used, GeniusLink and Prourls and both have their pros and cons, but Prourls is the one I use most often because it has the least cost involved. GeniusLink is expensive and at $10 per month it really can drain your earnings before you have a chance to collect them in my opinion so is a better option if your site is already making over $80-$100+ in Affiliate earnings because you don’t want 10%+ of your earnings going to having to pay for GeniusLink.

ProURLS focuses on the Amazon stores and has search for product functionality built into the engine but it lacks iTunes affiliate integration which GeniusLink can also do if you affiliate iTunes apps, music and games as well.    With ProURLs I was able to show with absolute proof how my non-US Amazon affiliate earnings dramatically increased clicks and purchases, and I have income growing in quite a few of my global Amazon affiliate stores.  I won’t say it is a lot of income, we are talking about $10-$20 per month average but this is still money that would just not exist and it can only keep growing.  There is an inconvenient fact that when collecting payments from global Amazon affiliate stores you have to get a paper check in the mail, there is no direct deposit or PayPal option and I often forget to check my global affiliate stores to see how they are earning.

But hey, it’s a start and it is another way to make passive income when running a technology blog online.  I still recommend EasyAzon if you do most of your linking in your blog as it automates the process but Prourls is fairly simple and recommended as well.

Pokemon Go and the Future of AR Gaming

So I was heavily into Pokemon GO like so many when came out a few weeks ago but this kind of tapered off a little as the distraction was taking time away from doing blogging and product reviews after hours.  Though I did enjoy clocking the 40KM of walking in 6 days which is way above my normal run/jogging distances for such a short time frame.  I have seen all of the media frenzy around Nintendo stock skyrocketing and then plummeting as people realize that Nintendo doesn’t make the game (never did, don’t even have a logo on it) and only a small share of the profits go to Nintendo from microtransactions.  The frenzy however behind the game has fueled everything from conspiracies (government agencies using it to track and catch people) to agencies or companies wanting to turn Pokemon GO players into Sheeple.

In truth, Augmented Reality games are on the verge of breaking out along with Virtual Reality games, this one just happened to hit on the niche of that explosion of interest.  It is likely to be that AR is going to come out and be a big hit with casual players like the Nintendo Wii was and then after a few years the market may become so saturated with AR games that the buzz and hype just die down.  One thing I did appreciate about Pokemon GO and see potential for is that there is a real desire for casual gamers (especially on mobile devices) to congregate and connect in person.  People are social creatures and sometimes just socializing online on chats isn’t enough to really bring that closeness.  This is why I personally have always loved couch co-op play where a split screen side by side with 4 people where you can be in the moment instead of just hearing someone.  Being able to share a drink, pizza and just game together in person harks back to my days playing Dungeons and Dragons and the connection of friends playing together in person is lacking in the online MMO space in my opinion still.  This is one reason why I don’t like consoles reducing the number of co-op gaming forcing online only copies, and I miss the days where all PC games had local co-op or LAN Play modes where you only needed to connect the PC’s on your local network to get friends over for a LAN Party.  Warcraft 3 was the last such game where I had engaged in local LAN parties and there were some great times.

So Virtual Reality gaming with headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and such will create more immersive virtual worlds where people are still at home gaming and only connecting in the virtual/digital space.  However, AR is where I believe the interaction with real people and the real world begin to blur and getting people together to meet up and play an activity in person yet augmented in some way can be amazing.  Imagine if Pokemon GO were played on something like Google Glasses where you see them in front of you at all times while you are chatting with friends and you can all point and go chasing them together in a park, simply tossing your arm or pretending to or actually throwing a softball to catch them.  The one thing I don’t like is having to hold the phone up in front of my eyes to augment the reality around me, once we have the display moved into thin glasses that are comfortable and virtually indistinguisable from regular glasses we will usher an era into new interactive environments.  Of course the catch is the era of distraction, ensuring that people’s tendency to multi-task and get distracted pull them away from properly driving, or even walking across roads in many cases.  Can we learn to have limits, or have technology that is aware enough to put a pause when an unsafe situation is encountered?

I would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to visit our Facebook Page and share your thoughts on AR and where you think it will be headed, good, bad or just stupid?


The Killer SEO Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC]

SEO can be a brutally complicated thing to understand if you are just getting involved in working with online properties or CMS systems.  For WordPress bloggers many who just start out have no thought put into how to optimize their content to maximize the chances their content will be found on Google Search and other Search Engines.  This little (understatement) SEO Checklist does a great job showing 75+ steps involved in helping optimize your content for SEO.

For the uninitiated

  • SEO = Search Engine Optimization
  • SERP = Search Engine Results Page

Killer SEO Checklist [Infographic] by the team at Capsicum Mediaworks, LLP

Killer SEO Checklist

You can read full article here.

T-Shirts and Art on Mountain of Strength

One thing I love doing is showcasing artwork and this is especially true of Fantasy/Sci-Fi art that I run across in doing my normal product reviews.  So recently  I was contacted by an artist named Aaron Hover who provides artwork services as well as sells some of his artwork over at MountainofStrength.net and I asked him to send me some examples of his work and I would be happy to share it with my friends and fans.

Well, Aaron provided me with a few T-Shirts, one for my oldest son and one for myself.  Which I will showcase below, but more than just selling some artwork on his store which includes T-Shirts, Posters, Pillows, Mugs, phone cases…etc.

mountainofstrength (1) mountainofstrength (2)
mountainofstrength (4)

So my son received the Let’s Get Kraken T-shirt Blue, and I received the Little Dragon 2 T-Shirt Red.  I have to tell you that not only is the artwork fun and creative, the T-Shirt material is incredibly soft and comfortable so whichever T-Shirt supplier he is using behind the scenes make comfortable T-Shirts.


I bought my son some Jinx T-Shirts for World of Warcraft and he says these shirts from Mountain of Strength are more comfortable and prefers them.

But it isn’t just Aaron’s store I wanted to showcase, you can actually hire Aaron to do artwork, graphics design or illustrations for any project you have and this can be for things like Book Cover illustrations, Game Design, Board Game or Trading Card artwork and more.  I have wished I had artistic talent and you really should check out some of his portfolio work if you want to see the types of images, design and artwork he comes up with.


Honestly, I was impressed with all the illustrations by Aaron Hover and I encourage you to take a look at his stuff over at Mountain of Strength.

You can also Follow Mountain of Strength on Facebook and Twitter.

A Gaming Dad’s Sunday

Sunday was a rather interesting one and started with a long drive back from Ensenada, Mexico where my wife and I spent our 20th Anniversary of the day we met together celebrating.  We left at 2:30am to arrive at the border by 5am’ish and crossed into US and was back home in Encinitas by 6am.  Lack of sleep didn’t stop me, and Sunday turned into an epic gaming day with the boys.

Some Fallout 4 Far Harbor Play

In between doing laundry, and grocery shopping since my wife was feeling a bit ill.  I kicked off the day Live Streaming Fallout 4 Far Harbor, then my son and I dove into The Elder Scrolls Online for about 3 hours together, while my other son and I went on to play Uncharted 4 for about an hour and a half before we all culminated in some PS4 Sports Friends gameplay to cap off the evening.

Some Uncharted 4 Play

A spectacular gaming Sunday in where it was spread across 4 games, and I am looking forward to a Memorial Gaming Weekend with Overwatch releasing today, and finishing Far Harbor and more of Uncharted 4.  Gaming Times, Gaming Times.

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The Blogging Conundrum and Shutting Down 4 Sites

I am one who always loves having pet projects and this has lead me at one point to have over 7 blogs simultaneously running and trying to keep up producing content and information and experimenting in growing in different niches and areas.  Unfortunately this left me scattered and not able to be dedicated and focused too much on my smaller sites and many had gone idle over the past year and a half.  This combined with my work becoming more complex and needing more hours and time, I realized that I had lost my favorite activities “gaming time” by being consumed keeping up with all my sites.  This mean’t my gaming hours were whittled down to less per week than I have fingers on one hand.

This also mean’t I was paying hosting fees for several providers many for sites I as producing 1 post per month on as of late.  As a result I have made a very heavy decision to discontinue and shut down many of my sites, sites that I knew would not be sellable as there was no income model they were more for fun and just experiments.

This included Wanderer Thoughts Poetry which was one of my creative poetry outlets as a blog, though I used an excellent plugin to convert all my poems into Word documents and will be using them to flush out the next series of Kindle Books which I already had 2 published, I can turn those poems into the other series of Kindle Books, so those aren’t lost.  Though I do miss doing the Random Twitter Poetry game, I had no time to do it anymore and contributions became so infrequent even when making calls I wasn’t getting the engagement in previous years.

The Chefs Cookbook was a culinary blog originally started by my wife who went a different direction with her career and didn’t want to continue it, I maintained it because it still had 500-1500 views per month and had some active interest, but it gradually whittled away as I am not a cook, I can’t really create my own content easily and the guest posting content provided wasn’t sustaining it.  It wasn’t really a sellable property other than the domain name, because much of my wife’s original content and personally created content made up the site which we didn’t want to be sold.

WPCypher was a dedicated WordPress, Web Development and Internet blog where I had originally was shifting WordPress, Blogging, Code and Plugin reviews off of DragonBlogger.com to this site, but I wasn’t able to keep active and produce enough content to justify keeping it operational so I ported over some choice content that did well to Dragonblogger and shut the site down.

GiveawayContests also was a site that was good in theory but unneeded, which was meant to simply be a consolidation of giveaways and sweepstakes found online, instead I was able to accomplish just as much with dlvr.it feeds to the Facebook fanpage and just retire the WordPress site itself.  The reason is giveaways have such a short duration of validity and having a site that just has thousands of expired giveaway posts is simply a waste of a database, so to me something like this was better to run as only a social media channel where posts are short lived, and you have limited time to view/enter without any need to keep track of expired giveaways in outdated posts that just waste space on the Internet.

Now this site, JustinGermino.com is one I struggled with deciding what to do with.  I considered shutting it down but obviously I would never let my own name DNS name be released, and just park it, it doesn’t generate much traffic or income, but I do get enough requests for local product reviews or servicers (more when I lived in AZ since moving to CA) and since this site is all about me and my own thoughts, decided to basically merge anything I would put on Wanderer Thoughts Going forward into this site as my personal blog.  So this site will remain my only other site that I maintain besides Dragonblogger.com for the foreseeable future.



Blizzard and Starcraft Legacy of the Void

I am in the middle of the campaign for Blizzard’s Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void and I can say it doesn’t take much for me to remember why I love Blizzard as a gaming company and what makes the Starcraft universe so special to me. I first played Starcraft when it released and I remember taking a whole week off work back then just to play the game day and night falling in with the story of Raynor, Kerrigan, Tassadar and others. I named my cat at the time Tassadar who kind of looked like a Protoss in the face to me, and the story and campaign while borrowed from other Sci-Fi genre was backed by amazing visuals and the same real time strategy style which made Warcraft so popular.

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Blizzard always had a knack for CGI between missions and creating compelling characters you care about and follow on their journey, Starcraft always had a hold of me, more so than World of Warcraft which was ironic given my D&D history and love of fantasy, I just never did “feel the MMO” like I did traditional RPG games.

So far I am most impressed with Legacy of the Void and am enjoying the game very much, if you were a Starcraft 2 fan then picking up the final chapter is well worth it and you won’t be disappointed.

Life Can Teach So Many Lessons

If there is one thing that I can say for certain is that life is about expecting the unexpected and that you will be faced with challenges and decisions that you may never think you will ever have to face or could ever face. This is where people learn who they really are and find where their strengths and weaknesses lie and while many make it through most of life’s tests intact, there are others who stumble and falter and the tests lead to decisions and mistakes that have devastating consequences. The thing about being human is that we are not living some pre-programmed existence like a worker bee whose genetic programming is to do a single function for the hive cluster. We are individuals and operate individually off of our own experiences, thoughts, trauma, learned behaviors and modeled behaviors we see and think are the acceptable norm.

Learning, Loving, and above all else showing compassion and respect to all others is the key to redemption if you find yourself in one of those situations where the road forked and you went left instead of right. Though the road may be broken and you may never end up making amends or achieving full redemption you can at least leverage mistakes to change course and do the right thing going forward. Some consequences are severe enough you can’t undo or recover from them, you have to pick up and move on and improve in every way possible.

It is all too easy to give up and walk away from consequences, hide from them, drown them out or simply ignore and delay accepting accountability and the changes that are needed. This is the time to rise up and become the strongest, bravest and most determined person you have ever become in your life. The time to walk the right road after you may have ended up in circles, where you started or simply in the wrong location.

Carry your burden, while some would say you need to forgive yourself and love yourself, don’t do this too quickly. Acknowledge and accept the burden that comes with mistakes and then find the path to redemption and even if there isn’t a clear one, find the path on how you can at least try. Is it really so hard for one to simply look at every person they encounter every day and simply have empathy and compassion for each other soul struggling to make it through this harsh life?