What happened to the video post and survey?

Deleted it.

While the actual survey results were 60/40 positive, what spoke far louder than that was the low number of readers willing to take 1-2 minutes to answer eight questions. This blog got over 100,000 visits and just short of 200,000 page views last month and is ahead of pace to exceed that in the month of November. Absolute unique visitors is 40,000-50,000 per month.

…About 150 people took the survey. OK, loud & clear; although, I would have preferred to have had 1000 respondents to the survey, 100% negative. Far preferred. …So on some days like today, I really do have to question my sanity in terms of the many hours of effort I put into this.

But it is what it is, and those are my problems to figure out.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Russ Taylor on November 18, 2010 at 08:01

    Huh, I would have thought you’d have got many more surveys. I personally was really excited to get a chance to weight in on the type of posts I hoped to see in the future.

    Anyway, a post a week is great, anything more than that is like icing on the proverbial cake.

    Thanks for what you do, Richard!

  2. Jeff on November 18, 2010 at 08:03

    This is the “internets” as Dumbass W proclaimed. Folks get things for free as a rule and that isn’t likely to change soon. I enjoy your blog but if you decided it is too much trouble for the efforts you put into it we will both survive and get over it and move on to other things to read and learn about on this great communication tool.

    I do appreciate your efforts though and would hate to see you shut it down.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 08:43

      I’m not likely to ever shut it down, James. But it ocurrs to me this morning that I should shift focus more often. For example, I probably need to put more emphasis on capturing newbies.

  3. Jim Arkus on November 18, 2010 at 08:07

    I dunno… from a few of the posts you’ve had in the last few months, I get the impression you think this blog needs to be “more.” Now, if that’s just to keep your interest high, then I don’t know what to tell you. However, if it’s because you think this blog is stale, boring, or not as good as it should be, you’re completely wrong. How did you put it in your video for paleo bloggers? “How about you just tell the truth?” Yeah. I think you do that pretty fucking well, man, and that’s what keeps me coming back.

  4. Dan Linehan on November 18, 2010 at 08:09

    I completely missed whatever you are talking about, and I check the blog pretty frequently.

    • Jeremy on November 19, 2010 at 12:25

      Same thing Dan. I check every few days and get updates via facebook and still missed it.

  5. Mayness on November 18, 2010 at 08:19

    In case it helps give some perspective:

    I read blogs at work, so I skip over videos. I’ve never seen a single one of your videos, or a video made by any other person whose blog I follow. (Exceptions: I frequent one web site containing workout videos that happens to be formatted as a blog, and I watched some of the recipe videos during Mark Sisson’s challenge. Oh and John Durant posted that dog stealing a pork chop from a baby the other day, and the title was too tempting NOT to click.)

    I figured since I wouldn’t be watching your videos regardless of cost or quality, the survey didn’t really apply to me. I hope this doesn’t sound negative, I really enjoy your blog!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 08:45

      Just to be clear, my comments are not intended to apply to any one individual or their motivations.

  6. Elenor on November 18, 2010 at 08:53

    How long was your request for the survey up there? I check your blog daily (among blogs by Mike Eades, Tom Naughton, Mark Sisson, Jimmie Moore, Doug McGuff, Kurt Harris, and Jenny at Diabetes Update) — and I am not even sure whether I answered your survey (which I did) on the day you posted it or later… I’d suggest you figure folks are slow and you’ll likely get more answers if you leave it up a long time. I’ve watched a few of your vids, but, same as Mayness, I rarely watch any vids online.

    I enjoy your blog, I like your attitudes and honesty (although I do roll my eyes at your f-bombs), and I hope you keep going! Expansion because it pleases you is great — expansion in the hopes of pleasing your readers? Not so much worth your energy…

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 09:22

      Well, I posted it Tuesday evening and just took it down this morning. During that time there were over 7,000 visits to the blog and over 10,000 page views. At 150 responses to the survey, I figure that gives me all the info I need.

      Onward. I’m not gonna cry about it. Fuck it! 🙂

      Truthfully, I’m kinda relieved. I suspected the response would be negative overall, but was really interested in whether there would be enough enthusiastic positives to make it a worthwhile proposition, because I was prepared to go all out with production value (nothing like the videos I toss together on a whim, now). I figured that if 500 people were interested in dropping $1-2 a couple of times per month, that would make it viable as a start-up and then it would be up to me to over deliver such that pay-per-view viewership would grow organically, i.e., more and more income from the same effort.

      I still might give it a shot, but later. I suppose the approach I’d take is to just begin doing free shows (with ads in the video stream) so that people get an idea of whether they like them enough to pay for them, and not have ads. Right now I just don’t see enough interest to take the risk in terms of the learning curve that would be required of my to do it right, high quality.

      I’m considering some other ideas presently.

  7. Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on November 18, 2010 at 09:21

    As someone who works in the market research industry, I can tell you that there’s nothing unusual about the response you experienced. In fact, based on my experience, and taking into account the context (a blog), I would say you got a pretty good response. I did start taking the survey, but abandoned it because I found myself in a position where I was being asked questions which did not include the response I wanted to give, or assumed I had answered yes to a previous question. You can be forgiven for this, since you are not a market researcher yourself (I assume.) It would be interesting to know (if it’s available) how many people dropped out part-way through, as this may have affected the overall completion rate. Anyhoo, I am sure you are past giving a shit about this now, but I just thought you might like to know that the low response rate does not necessarily reflect anything other than the accepted apathy of the general population for this sort of thing.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 09:28

      Thanks Meth.

      Yea, I recognize that not every possible answer was included. However, I did set it up so that no answer was required for any one question so one could take the survey but only answer one question.

      At any rate, it’s all information. And we’ll see how it goes.

      • Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on November 18, 2010 at 11:33

        Ah – that was my MR head working against me, because we force everyone to answer everything!

  8. MarkD on November 18, 2010 at 09:22


    I can only speak for myself, but perhaps you should have given the survey more time. I considered that the results of the survey would be important to you. After all you could potentially end up spending quite a lot of money to start the high quality videos. Therefore I wanted to give your idea sufficient consideration…..

    Cheers – Mark

  9. SLS on November 18, 2010 at 09:29

    Like someone else said, I missed this completely and read regularly. Did you cough up some survey karma before proceeding? Write reviews of recent amazon purchases? Take a customer satisfaction survey recently? Yea, surveys are tough cookies for handouts. No one does them.

  10. VW on November 18, 2010 at 09:33

    I’m a total newbie and I can’t even say what it was that brought and kept me here.

    FWIW, I took the survey. The only real reason I did is because I always figure that virtually no one gives feedback when requested and that it’d be appreciated.

  11. Ned Kock on November 18, 2010 at 09:43

    Hi Richard.

    I was reading the comments on previous posts and noticed something that is a bit off topic but caught my eye. You said that you broke through the 165 lbs bench press limit after your returned from Movnat. You mentioned before that the 165 lbs bench press was a point you were stuck at. Btw, I think 165 lbs at your weight is very good; but 180 lbs is even better.

    The fact that it happened after Movnat is interesting, and I was wondering if you have any ideas as to why that was the case? In part my interest is because I wrote a post recently on “your mind as an anabolic steroid”; coincidentally, bench press improvement was one of the key points in that post:

    So I’m wondering if your improvement was related to something psychological, or maybe it was induced by body responses to the Movnat experience.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 16:26

      Interesting post, Ned. But I have no clue. And, could have happened anyway and MovNat is just a confounding variable.

      We did do plenty of upper body stuff, like learning to to get one’s self up and over a high horizontal bar. That was actually more about technique than strength. So another explanation could be that the same sort of timing, strength conservation, balance, use of body weight that allowed me to finally get the move down after a few days of trying is also what kicked in to get my bench gains.

  12. Gabriele on November 18, 2010 at 11:12

    I also tried taking the survey, even though i am very new. I think the first or second question was what stumped me. Don’t even remember what they were. Something that didn’t apply to me……just don’t remember. But i’m a weirdo, i like surveys, and i did try it…..

  13. michael on November 18, 2010 at 11:19

    Hi Richard,
    I am not sure if the lack of interest in doing the survey has anything to do with this, but…and I could be wrong, but I think there seems to be a sort of apathy or disconnect in the whole Paleo Community these days. I think you’ve said it before about how many times can you write about the same things all the time, or something like that. I think some of the excitement of this movement is slowing down. Many of the blogs (PaNu, Dr. Eades etc.) are running out of new things to write about. I think you are “on to something” as I think you are searching for something to keep yourself interested and the readers. I do not think the interest in Paleo is slowing down, (at least for me) but I find myself skimming through my usual blogs, rather than reading every post in blogs since its inception like I did a year ago. I hope this is something that “blows over.”

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 11:43


      Yea, good observation and I’ve noticed it too. Whether or not it will blow over I don’t know, but it’s definitely in a different stage.

      I have some definite ideas of what I plan to do in the relatively short term in order to liven things up a bit, at least here.

      But I’m keeping those to myself, for now.

    • anand srivastava on November 18, 2010 at 12:38

      That is what it looks like. There is need to bring in more people, but that cannot be done bringing in new data. It needs to come by reaching new venues. I don’t know how we could get into more magazines and newspapers. I saw one article today on Epilepsy and Ketogenic diets on the NYT, and I have posted it on FreeTheAnimal.

      Stephan and a few other researchers are still bringing in new data, and that is good for us sort of old timers 😉 (if you can call two years a lot of time).

  14. TPSW on November 18, 2010 at 11:54

    I had seen the headline said video and knew that I would have to wait until I was in a place to actually watch before responding. Busy day yesterday. I would have done the survey, really, I would have.

  15. Patty on November 18, 2010 at 18:19

    I’m just waiting for your book.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 18:31


      I will eventually produce one. It is on process, but I’m watching at the same time. I don’t really NEED the money one will bring but I nonetheless want to more than anything make it super accessible for the absolute beginner.

      At this point, counting Mark’s, Robb’s and Art’s books, I can afford to wait and observe. They are going to hugely increase the market share.

      • Patty on November 20, 2010 at 07:31

        That’s great Richard! And I’ll be first in line to buy a couple of copies for some of my loved ones. And then I hope you write the hard hitting one that covers topics like why you don’t vote. You are the first person that I have come across that had the guts to say it to the world. So THAT’s the book I’m looking forward to. 😉

  16. Gilroy on November 18, 2010 at 18:19

    I missed the survey. I read your blog through a RSS reader at work. Videos are blocked. I would have said I have enjoyed your contributions so far. I only started following a week or two ago.

  17. Jason on November 18, 2010 at 18:47

    I read FTA using Google Reader, and I intended to take the survey, but well, last night didn’t work out that way. Regardless, I want you to keep this up. I enjoy the hell out of this blog. When I was searching for information about nutrition, this was one of my entry points to paleo.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 19:30

      thank you very many, Jason.

      This is really what I live and love for, in this endeavor.

  18. Marc on November 18, 2010 at 20:04


    You changed my life. I found your blog in January and have since lost 60lbs, and seen numerous health improvements. I will send you a full report toward the end of the year but thought you could use hearing some appreciation about now.

    You are appreciated. People may not share it enough but what you are doing is more important than surveys on a blog. You really are helping people lead better lives.

    Thanks a million!

  19. Tony on November 18, 2010 at 21:24

    Hey Richard,

    I started taking the survey. I think it was only a minute or two after it appeared via FB feed. Did you receive any early reports on anyone having trouble viewing the complete survey post? After the second question I ran into a problem: the post simply ended, even after reload. No more questions, no submit button, just your usual bottom of page content.

    Like a few others, I view here and there while at work. If the workday had developed differently, I would have returned again later in the day to give it another shot. I figured time would heal whatever it was. In hindsight, it could have been beneficial to you to get immediate feedback of a possible problem to keep others from hitting it and maybe turning away. However, it just as easily could have been an issue on my end.

    Regardless, I respect your willingness to try new things and get value from them no matter the result. Your resilience is a quality statement about the paleo lifestyle.

  20. Rob on November 19, 2010 at 00:02

    I’m overseas, w/internet topping out @ about 20 kb/s so anything w/video I fly by, because unless I’ve got an hour or so to buffer, well… regular reader though.

  21. michaelf on November 19, 2010 at 06:17


    I was one of your 150.

    I don’t know what everyone elses daily cube life is like, but mine includes no access to video, and a lot of pictures are nixed from pages that do load. I had to take the survey on my home computer between my wife and kid screaming at me about getting the fucking steaks grilled. I have about 15 to 20 blogs I run through every day to see if anyone has written anything new that I can waste a few minutes reading. I have a very boring existence in my cube, but a great job that I have no intentions of giving up because the cube part of it sucks. Why do I tell you this?

    I don’t give two shits about surveys or videos. Put your feelings down in words. I like those. I know just about everything out there has been written about. Fuck, I’ve read most of it. Therefore dont spend your quality time fucking around with silly shit like surveys. If you want your serious readers opinions about what to do, put it down as a question in your text. Or like my favorite war/political/comedy blog Ace of Spades have little question boxes mixed in with your text. His are usually comedy, but occasionally he gets serious about something. I don’t know what program he’s using for his survey boxes but its a hell of a lot better than that one the other night.

    I’m sure most of the folks out there are just interested in soaking up your opinion more than they are about expressing theirs. I know thats why I come here.

    That grass fed meat looks delicious. My wife and I just bought a half a cow from a local farmer here in town. That worked out to about $4 a pound.

    Thanks for the opinions!

    P.S. – Speaking of town, if anyone is in the Dallas, TX area and would like to get their hands on some kefir crystals, I am growing an army of them in my kitchen and am looking for a good home for some of my little soldiers. Email me.

  22. Sonya on November 19, 2010 at 08:30

    I also took the survey but answered every question – relevant or not – because I did not know we could skip questions. *shrug*

    I can’t watch video at work and when I’m at home, I’m moving around too much to sit still and watch video. I do listen to Jimmy’s podasts while walking the dog, which is how I found you. 😀

    I love your blog and read voraciously like Michaelf, but it’s in spurts. I may go days without being able to get online and then will spend a day catching up on my favorite blogs. Some blogs I only check once a month or so, but I would miss them terribly if they were to go away.

  23. […] enough about me. First, let's see the comment Marc dropped last […]

  24. Gethin on November 19, 2010 at 13:33

    I was one who did take the survey. Also (if you remember) I sent a message few months ago expressing my appreciation of what you are providing. I want to reiterate that appreciation.

    One thing that appeals to me about the paleo enthusiasts out there is that so few seem to have a heavy commercial slant on what they are doing. I fully appreciate the need to get some return for your efforts, but personally I would prefer if you did not go down the ‘pay per view’ route.

    I really like the personal anecdotes and self-experimentation that you do.This differentiates the blog from some of the others. Links to the science etc is also great, but the personal slant on training, cooking and the outrage at the BS out there provide plenty of entertainment.

    Keep going – I’m sure there are so many like me out there who visit your site every day.


  25. Duncan on November 20, 2010 at 03:34

    Richard – I love your blog, mate, and how your journey informs mine through your writing.

    Pay per view vlogging a dead horse / Going down the DeVany road…

    For what it’s worth: feedback from this reader-foraging, hunter-gatherer that your questionnaire just wouldn’t permit.

  26. Sean on November 20, 2010 at 10:29

    I admit it, I was too lazy to take the survey.

    Richard, it seems like you are a lot less motivated to blog lately. Isn’t this vlog idea a way to revitalize an interest which has been flagging?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 20, 2010 at 19:17


      Actually, I believe I might just be more motivated than ever. The problem is that i would rather not bog that regurgitate, or put out stuff everyone else does.

      That said, I believe I have an increasingly better handle on the way forward. Every experiment is a success. This ended up being good information, which is what I was seeking.

      • Sean on November 21, 2010 at 03:53

        Glad to hear it Richard.

  27. […] is a little late, I promised you in comments that I would send you my story by the end of the year but life got busy. Maybe it could still be […]

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