A note about the hats

So there’s this hat thing going around (a hat movement!) where people seem to want JeffGluck.com-branded hats.

It started as a sarcastic Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweet, and others joined in on the fun. He later continued the prank — a well-executed troll job, to be sure! I thought it was pretty hilarious.

But now I’m getting a lot of tweets along the lines of: “Hey, that was funny, but we actually do want hats. When are the hats coming?” On top of that, no less than nine people (some very reputable!) have already reached out in the last 24 hours with offers to help me create and produce hats.

That’s all very nice, and I’m certain many of you are serious that you would actually buy JeffGluck.com hats. Super cool of you to be so supportive!

But here’s the thing: I don’t feel totally comfortable with selling hats. Or T-shirts. Or any merchandise, for that matter.

Look, I’m absolutely THRILLED people are so pumped about my new adventure, and it’s going amazingly well so far. At the same time, though, I’m still a journalist covering your favorite sport; I’m not in the sport.

As a media member, I’m supposed to be a go-between linking you with the drivers, so you can find out more information about them and get insight into their personalities. My job is to observe the show, not to be part of it.

I know at times that line has been blurred — especially after the Las Vegas fight video put me in a brief spotlight — but the mission with this site remains a journalistic one more than a business one. I want to have fun with you while watching everything unfold together.

So for now — and I say this despite much respect and appreciation for your wishes — there aren’t going to be any hats. I don’t want to rule out merchandise at some point in the future, but we’re only two months into this whole thing and I want to keep building the website/podcast in a respectable way — not cheapening it with JeffGluck.com coffee mugs and keychains.

51 Replies to “A note about the hats”

    1. Jeff
      Thank you for actually doing your job the right way and not giving opinions like the fake media but actual news. We are Making NASCAR Great Again.

  1. Darn now I want a coffee mug haha. It’s all good Jeff totally understand. But I admit I am enjoying the fun with the drivers since it shows to me they like and respect you or they would not do it… See you in Richmond

  2. This is totally right and I completely agree and understand.
    Having said that, have you considered bobble-heads and temporary tattoos?
    I know what you’re thinking but these are premium quality bobble-heads and totally classy tattoos.
    Call me.

  3. On the topic of hats will the new era 59fifty hats that a lot of drivers seem to be wearing now ever be available to the masses?

      1. I’m wearing one right now super comfortable, and it actually looks good. I love that New Era has turned down the obnoxious level of NASCAR hats. So, yeah, on the topic of hats… thanks New Era!

        (Also, I still want one, Jeff!)

  4. Did someone say keychain, I collect those (I have about 2 thousand). So whenever you want to do those, I’d buy one.

  5. I completely understand and agree with you. I am enjoying the drivers (especially Dale Jr) joking with you though.

  6. Much respect Jeff. As I pinned you, when I reached out to you on twitter in a DM about website name a few months ago, you are a stand up, head strong guy. Keep on bringing us the good stuff and support will keep building. Workings of an empire my man.

  7. Jeffgluck.com is a business. Jeff Gluck is a journalist. There is nothing wrong with advertising your business.

  8. Well, but NOW you must market your new business…….not you, but the link…….People are taking the high road here and agreeing with your maturity, but not me. I want a hat……..You’re a “brand” now…….Plus, you’re leaving out how cool we all feel that we are connected with our very own NASCAR reporter…….we wanna’ brag about your work FOR you……..I had to say my piece

    1. I agree! I have been following you for a few years, and have soooo appreciated all of your reporting, questions, ideas, photos and tweet-ups. You ask the questions the fans want answers to, and we are all so proud of you, and are grateful to get a chance to support you. I would love a tshirt to show my pride! Just consider it. Still think you’re THE BEST!

  9. Even the New York Times sells swag. I respect your decision, but you’re missing a big marketing opportunity and leaving cash on the table. I can’t imagine that anyone with any sense would somehow think your reporting is somehow tinted by your marketing.

    Seriously, you’re writing for a audience that pays money to emulate the walking and rolling billboards of their favorite teams and drivers. These are people that eat at Zaxby’s because that is who sponsors their favorite driver. Ok, that was too far. My bad.

    Give the people what they want. Sell hats, go to more races, write more stories.

    Heck, why not add a full outfit as a perk to a large Patreon donation level?

    1. This kinda reminds of the girl who was wild and free with her body until she finally decided to start charging for it. when asked why, she said she realized she must given away a million dollars wort before she realized she could sell it.

  10. C’mon Jeff you are breaking new ground by being independent. You need to allow your fans to buy things to show that they support you. Break some more new ground and quit disappointing your supporters/fans.

  11. I think the perfect venue to debut the hats would be the Bristol night race in August. I bet Boss Man Dale would close the deal with someone to produce your hats. Heck I’ll buy tickets, come to the race, and sell hats for you!

  12. I agree with the pro hat people. Loosen up a little. Have some fun. Make some money. Have the merchandise division pay you a salary and after that the profits go to charity a la Bill O’Reilly merchandise. Thanks for your great journalism. Been a fan of yours for years.

  13. I agree. Well said. But I would love to see your name out there for people to see. And maybe some day as a reward/thank you for being your loyal supporters.
    Just keep building the podcast and the website.

  14. I think you’re making a huge mistake. Jeff Gluck branded hats are no different than a USA Today billboard, a New York Times sweatshirt, or a Fox News coffee mug. It’s an advertisement that informs others what news you like to consume. I don’t think it will blur any lines. In fact, I think the NASCAR community will benefit from the advertisements, as others go to your website to get the helpful information it provides. That you’ll make money along the way does not undercut that conclusion.

    You should take advantage of the reputation you’ve developed in the NASCAR community. I won’t buy a hat. But I hope others do. And I hope you benefit from the decision.

  15. Dude, you need revenue to survive, and you need to build awareness about your site and your brand. It doesn’t cheapen it, it MARKETS it! You’re missing the boat, IMO, and I think you’ll eventually regret this decision. Your call of course, but I think you’re making a huge mistake. I wish you the best and am rooting for you to succeed, which is why I want to see you capitalize on this opportunity!

  16. Hmmmm, FOX, NBC and ESPN have hats and other merchandise and they are considered journalists and entertainers. Why not you? An aversion to advertising or earning $?

  17. Dumbest thing I’ve ever read. You said this thing is paying your bills, but you don’t think it’s a business? Are you retarded? And do you really think you’re not part of the show? Do you not know that you and your colleagues (just like at Vegas) are the ONLY source of bringing new fans in the door. Or, in my case, rehiring fans who quit years ago. You brought me back. (Before Vegas). Now get off your ass and get to work. There’s nothing wrong with the start up donation your readers are giving you now, but it’s not gonna last forever. If you can’t run your own business, then scratch 100% of your travel budget be hire someone. You’ve gotta get some cash rolling in before the charity dries up. And it will. The hats won’t make much, but at least it will push you away from your liberal views begore you end up homeless and heading you toward the truth… veryone in the media center, while proud and passionate, is there for one reason: to make money. Lots of it

  18. Yeah, I get it Jeff, but I happen to agree with some of the “pro-hat” comments here.

    When you were with your former employers, they had marketing and advertising agencies that handled things like this, leaving you free to be that which you describe well in today’s post. However; now you have to “wear all the hats” that were distributed amongst others in those companies you used to work for. I strongly urge you to reconsider based upon the business of making money. Which is what you are needing this venture to do, right?

    I think there is a way you can have what you want, (described above), and market merch AND feel okay about doing all of that, because it is, ultimately, a business.

    Your number one aim should be sustainability, and to do that you need money. Selling hats, (or any merch), doesn’t “cheapen” the brand you have if you still operate with integrity and honesty. This I feel you do and will do.

    I say go for selling the hats.

  19. If your going to put food on your table by working for yourself, you need to market your “brand” which is your name. Think of it as a good business decision and offer your hats.

  20. An honest question for the loyal denizens here who are pleading with Jeff to stop with the website stuff and JUST START SELLING HATS:

    Would you like him to spend less time providing you with NASCAR coverage and more time selling you hats?

    Because there is a zero-sum game factor here — even if he turns the hat-making over to someone else. Starting an ancillary business in the first two months of hanging out his own shingle naturally will detract from his primary mission of serving his subscribers, the public and the greater good.

    Perhaps it would be felt in ways that would be imperceptible but still have an impact on the coverage that he is striving to deliver to you, dear readers.

    It is impossible to do it all. The newspaper industry consistently has proven this while weathering difficult economic times for the past two decades.

    Jeff didn’t start this site to sell hats. He started this site to cover NASCAR.

    If you would prefer that he do the former at the expense of the latter, perhaps you should reconsider why you purchased your subscriptions.

    1. Right you are Nate, way to look after your friends best interest. Jeff, you keep following your heart and it will lead you to great places.

    2. Nate, that’s a great question. Here’s an answer. Limitations.

      I can certainly understand where your reservations are coming from, but when you are a “master of your own destiny”, as Jeff now is, you have to do just that- Master it.

      Selling some hats could go a long way in making this site better known, a good thing, I think. It could do some revenue building, something I think Jeff is keenly aware of and needs to carry on. So, master your time. Sell some hats for a little while. Set up expectations ahead of time. See how it goes.

      If it doesn’t work out, then you can communicate why, and I think everyone would understand that.

      If selling anything to raise revenue and promote this site is simply impossible because time isn’t available, then you are right.

      1. Guitar Ted, I appreciate the reply.

        The point isn’t that selling stuff is impossible because time isn’t available.

        It’s that time shouldn’t be made available for it (at least, not yet). Because the point of the site is journalism. Not hats.

        I’m sure you and many others have wonderful stories of entrepreneurial spirit, and I commend each of you for that. There are lessons and advice to be gleaned there. But it doesn’t apply to what Jeff’s primary mission is here.

        You’ve heard some form of the saying, “Stay true to your goals and ideals, and the success/winning will takes care of themselves”?


        1. Thanks for your perspective, Nate.

          Then there is the Jeff Gluck.com embroidered hat on Dale Jr’s Twitter media timeline.

          Clearly someone of import thinks this is a good idea. (<==read with extreme sarcasm)

          1. Hahaha, Ted. Touche!

            I think Dale Jr. is enjoying himself with an all-time troll job. It is entertaining to joke about. (As long as the joke ends someday.)

  21. Even NPR has hats, Jeff. Who doesn’t respect NPR? Like many have said, the hats and other merchandise will advertise your website and podcast and add revenue to your growing business. Or think of it in terms of NPR, it’s a way to spread the word and raise funds to continue providing quality content.

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