Elite Blogger: Rendezvous With Al Carlton

And today we have another familiar face mentioned in 2007 Round-Up of Elite Blogs with us. Al Carlton, the inventor of CoolestGadgets (CG) plus the caretaker of 25 other blogs to name some CoolestReviews, GameAddicts, CoolestToys, SelfMadeMinds, SayNoToCrack that would soon take a shape of a community under a brand called CoolestMedia has witnessed a geometrical rate of growth in his streamlined business of blogging. Having experienced the pleasure of being in an eight-hour job was fired from 2 jobs and confesses to have been fired from 3; Al holds a substantial stay of 14-years in the internet industry.

Kindly lend all your ears to Al, especially evolving bloggers if you wish to shake hands with success.

Introduce yourself to my readers and take us through your flow of day.
Hi, my name is Al Carlton and I’m the founder of Coolest Gadgets and CEO of Coolest Media. I’ve been using the Internet for 14 years and make my living from my portfolio of sites for the past year or so. My general day involves managing my sites and writers, researching new markets and making the odd blog post.

What led to the launch of CoolestGadgets?

I’ve always had an affinity for gadgets and when I was looking for a new niche to blog in it just seemed a natural choice.

What all factors you keep in mind while hunting for prospective news to be posted on CoolestGadgets?
My main criterion is it must be cool and not plastered all over the Internet already, other than that anything is fair game.

Are you handling it single-handedly or there is a team behind it?
CG started with just myself but we now have a team of very talented writers and an overall editor. I found in the first month that extra hands were needed as I also had a day job back then.

What should be the ratio of style specks to tech features that manufacturers should consider while developing any gadget?
I think that depends on the gadget and either end of the scale can work. For example the iPhone isn’t that technically advanced but the style makes up for it whilst the older Archos weren’t exactly stylish but made up for it in functionality. Both are highly successful products.

At EliteChoice, we have captured a list of 80 world’s most expensive things including gadgets. At personal front, how open are you for inking pricey deals for outlandish gears?
I’m a sucker for gadgets regardless of price. I’ve spent/wasted $200 on a WiFi Rabbit, $300 on a robotic dinosaur (which is now the family pet) and $500 on a universal remote for the living room. I do have the excuse that they are for review purposes on coolest reviews but the girl fiend is often far from impressed

Al CarltonWhat other areas interest you?
I enjoy travelling which works well with blogging as you can blog from anywhere; I’m a firm believer in entrepreneurism and enjoy creating new site, services and businesses.

Is CoolestGadgets your only medium to earn money or you have a running alternative?
No I run around 25 sites and am in the process of setting up a blog network (Coolest Media). CG is my most profitable site at this time.

What is the business model of CoolestGadgets? From where do you tag monetary innings?
The current business model of CG is advertising and affiliate sales; we do pretty well with Google Adsense and are exploring other options.

What is the concept behind your gadget forum?
It’s nearly 2 years old now so not exactly new, the main purpose is for our readers to discuss anything they want about gadgets and technology in general. It does need a push and refocus at the moment.

What are you doing at SEO front to invite more readers?
We do very well from the engines and don’t do anything special SEO wise anymore. We try to report on cool a new product which attracts links organically which results in better SEO.

Pen down those three gadgets that you can’t afford to miss while stepping out.
My phone, Inka Pen and Tom-tom if in the car I can get lost in car park), My phone also has a built in GPS which is very useful when navigating around London

Your views on Traditional Journalism V/S Blogging.
I find blogging is much more personal and spontaneous, there are many things bloggers do that journalists wouldn’t be able to get away with.

What all turning points have you come across since the launch of CoolestGadgets? By the way, when was it launched?

We launched August 2005 and have grown steadily ever since, our first Digg front page (April 2006), which a great experience and when I first took on paid writers it made it much easier to update regularly. For me personally the biggest turning point was being able to quit my day job.

Pen down your daily online-reads.
When time allows I read a fair few gadget and tech blogs, I also enjoy reading marketing, self improvement and entrepreneurial blogs.

Provide my readers with two of your favorite posts from

a) CoolestGadgets
It would be our first Digg front page post about the cool GPS tracker
Also, Current crop of water slides are just cool.

b) Others
Do it F****** Now

What is the USP of CoolestGadgets? Amongst gamut of gadget related blogs, why should one digg in here?
We only report on cool gadgets, we are always looking for gadgets to report on that hasn’t been seen all over the web before and all of our writers have a passion for the latest tech

What tips would you like to give it to bloggers with running gadget blogs so that they can also make big.
Be persistent and unique; don’t write about the same as everybody else

One Hidden Truth
I’ve been fired from 2 jobs but really should of been fired from 3

What were your first geeky toys when you were kid?
Star Wars figures, wasn’t that every bodies?

Where do you see your blog after five years from now?
Bigger and better and just a small cog in a much bigger network.

What piece of advice you would have given yourself five-years ago?
Start now

Share one of your unfulfilled desires with us related to gadget world.
I want a tiny laptop with a usable keyboard and screen

What’s next for Coolest Gadgets?
We have a major addition planned and in progress for CG and more of the same really. Most of my time is now spent on marketing and expanding the network.
Small thing, I would like to share. The other day I went through his article about 2008 goals and action plans for CoolestMedia and thought to share it with you.

Give us your honest views on EliteChoice.
Cool site, your interviews are though which is cool for the reading but a tad time consuming when answering :)

You can ask me one question.

How do you plan to expand Elite Choice and what are your ambitions for it?
We are working on increasing our readership as I truly believe that the core thing that can help a blog grow is savvy readership. I wish to see EliteChoice a renowned member of blogging community, which is happening gradually.
Al Carlton

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