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Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

December 10, 2008

We need to talk...

I've got a question, actually a few questions, that have been stuck in my head and I just can't seem to find an answer to them so I want to hear your opinions. As far as I can tell, some people are for it, and some are against it, I tend to the former, but am wondering if I am missing something.

So what's got me so puzzled? Ad's, banners, potential revenue streams and the opposition to such. What's the deal with them as far as blogs are concerned? I know that some people that read this blog - and you know who you are - place banners and adSense links on their blogs and I have no problem with that. Others have Etsy accounts where they peddle their crafts or photos and such and I also have no problem with that either. Other blogs I've read, are seemingly adamant in having no such "corporate" advertising on their blogs; there's one campaign that even allows the author to declare such through a banner of their own.

As said, I don't have any issues either way other than when the ads are so prevalent that they take away from the content of the site or if they are "hidden links" (The kind that look like they are a link to another article or more information relevant to the blog, but are really just ads), but I do wonder why there has become such a seemingly common distaste for allowing alternate revenue streams to be gained through the blog format?

Many of you are familiar with the issues that have just faced one of our own due to the downturn in the economy and issues with the bank. I'm not going to go into it, If you know you know, if you don't you don't, she's a friend of mine and it's not my place to go posting it all over the web. My point is, this is a person that has a huge amount of knowledge and practical experience that people all over the world (presumably) have an interest in accessing. She offers this information to the world for nothing. There are no "fees" or "memberships" required to access her knowledge base, just a web address. I agree that this is how it should be, but can see no reason that she should not be able to at the very least attempt to gain some revenue through Ads that may relate to the information on her page, or though specifically chosen advertising's for companies that she believes in.

I am, as I have said many times, a free-market sort of guy. I also believe that we have an obligation to give of ourselves and of our experience freely to help others, but don't agree that that service to others precludes us from being able to also use one of our greatest assets to our benefit either. What's your opinion on it? Make me understand. I don't have ads, banners or shops on my blog, but can't say that I've never thought of it and may still, in the future, decide to include something like that. Would that devalue the information or opinions that I write? Someday I'd like to be at a place where I am able to write, not for a living necessarily, but certainly for additional income. Where's the difference between a hobby and a "side job". If I decided to charge for the gardening class that I offered for free last year would that have made me a bad guy? (BTW local readers... no plans for that OK, settle down...) Where's the line?

I want your opinions. whether your a regular reader, or someone that just popped in. If you had linked here and I had ads, banners or shops in the sidebar would it have changed your opinion of the blog? Have you ever quit a regular read because they decided to include them. Or perhaps your an author. What's your experience been with them. Why did you decide to go that way?

Thanks in advance for helping me resolve this. I've debated over an over whether to even address it or not, the logic being that it's my blog and I'll do whatever I want with it if that's something I decide to do. The thing is, the more I think about it, it's not just my blog anymore. Oh sure I'm the author, designer, photographer, etc, etc. and at the end of the day I make the decisions, but I get as much from you as I offer to you and I want your thoughts on this.
Thanks all.
P~

19 comments:

Eilleen said...

Hey P! I think in monetising anything whether its a blog or a discussion forum or whatever), you have to think about your audience and how the ads will affect your audience's interaction with the medium.

The other thing to think about is that almost every move by a site to monetise something will piss someone off. One has to balance whether the audience base is large enough to cop a (hopefully) temporary fall in traffic.

A model that I've seen work quite well is when you keep the current site free of ads but offer something extra that people would have to pay for - whether that's access to a new part of the site or a personalised email service. (I'm not sure what your friend does so I'm not sure if she is able to do this).

If your friend *does* decide to put up ads/banners, I think she will need to manage the change *with* her audience. That means letting her audience know of the changes, giving them time to voice their concerns (or support), and answering those concerns.

Anyway, I have realised I have not answered your question. If it was your blog and suddenly I pop in (and I pop in regularly) and you have noticeable but still discrete ads on the side bar, I would probably be surprised but will keep on reading... that is provided that the ads you have on your blog are of companies/products that reflect or complement the values of your articles/theme.

If the ads you have on the site are totally against what you write about - eg. ads Battery Hen/Cage Eggs, then I'd probably stop reading because I can no longer believe in your messages.

Anyway, I hope I have helped and all the best to your friend.

spelled with a K said...

I'd have to agree with eileen, I wouldn't leave a blog because of ads unless it was something completely contradictory.

That being said I hope A~ is feeling better and the entry about the rubber band guns really took me back. Yet another reason to "get around" to cleaning the garage so I can actually make productive use out of it.

Phelan said...

It really depends on the ads. When I first started blogging I used an ad program. It didn't feel right. Side bar ads, as long as they are fluid with the rest of the blog don't bother me. I do have a cafepress account, that I really don't use, mainly because I am a writer, and ain't real good with those sort of things. My blog is free, but I do get paid for writing for ezines, and I do advertise my articles on my blog. The more people that read the ezines, the more pay I will get (as in raises) it isn't much, writers get paid very little.

The ads on blogs that really get my goat, are the ones that act as if they are a post. I have stopped reading a Blog because of that.

I am sure your friend is thankful that you didn't out her here.

Margaret's Ramblings said...

My only problem with anything of this nature is if it interfers with my ability to move around the site. I agree, you should be able to do what you like, it's your blog, just make sure that the add ons don't slow your site down too much or interfer with what you are trying to say.

farm mom said...

I have to admit, I'm one of those people who are turned off by ads. Not the unobtrusive sidebar ads, or the etsy shops, cafe press, or even the ezine plugs like phelan was talking about. None of that stuff bothers me. I do have a problem with sites that seem to turn overnight into one giant ad. If you have to search all over the place looking for the actual blog, the posts, I am very turned off. If the whole focus of the blog page, and in turn the writing seems to have turned focus toward making money, I will quit the blog. In fact, there are quite a few blogs that are popular with some of us homesteading bloggers that focuses on recipes and the like that I just cannot get into because it seems so comercial. I'm more interested in people's real experiences. And I guess all the pomp and ads makes you question a person's motives for sharing. Makes you wonder whether what is being shared is real, or whether it is a money making scheme.

As a writer of a blog, I have always avoided the ads for those reasons. I like to think of what is going on between bloggers as a sort of community pool of information, if you will. But, I have to admit, I have been tempted, particularly of late. But there has been nothing proposed to me that makes any sense (like I'm not going to do adds for CAFO beef etc..) so I have avoided them.

MeadowLark said...

I have a always been a fan of the tip jar or the "buy me a cup of coffee" button. There are times when I have some spare dollars sitting around and I think "hey... I really appreciate this person's knowledge" and then I can easily share it.

As far as ads, I'm like you - I don't want to be 'tricked' into clicking and I don't want them 'screaming' at me, but otherwise, I don't care. I will say I never click them.

ilex said...

Blog ads are like TV commercials- I'm free to ignore them, and I usually do. But if it gets to the point where ads are the dominant content, I just won't go back to that site.

Solorn said...

As someone who reads blogs through Bloglines and Google reader I don't have an issue with ads. Even when I visit the actual blog page I can just blank out ads. I am much more likely, as many others are too, to quit a blog due to automatic music players. Good luck with ads, Googles Adsense is quite a good place to start.

MeadowLark said...

Solorn brings up a good point. I actually read most of my blogs in Sage - a standard firefox feed reader - and I rarely see any ads. Plus, I use no-script so most ads don't show up anyway when I actually visit the blogs.

But music players.... AAAAAARRRRRGH. !!!!

Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Paul ~
This is an issue that's near and dear to my heart! In my professional life, I have a blog that is read by thousands of people. It has launched many careers and really steered people in the quickest and easiest direction. I shared what I had learned in a how-to format, for FREE. I didn't charge anybody. I've gotten a few comments of thanks and even got a $5 card to Starbucks. But, I sat and watched as other people took my info along with other free info, and packaged it into ebooks and paid websites and they made money... lots of money. I still choose to offer it for free, I belive in Karma :) But as far as ads go, I ignore them. I scan quickly for the info I want and I have NEVER clicked on an ad. I appreciate when someone talks about a book - I check it out from the library, I don't click the link to buy it from Amazon. I truly believe the demise of our economy was rampant consumerism. So I wouldn't put ads on my blog because I'm anti-consumerism. I mean I know that we all have to spend some money, but not in the excess that we've seen in the last few decades. It has to stop. If it doesn't, I know I'll have a long line of friends and family waiting to move in with me and my fully stocked pantry. :)

jimmycrackedcorn said...

When I'm reading blogs in google reader, I don't expect there to suddenly be an unrelated ad banner from Borders.com at the bottom of the text. It actually offends me to the point of removing that feed from my list.

However if the whole point of a particular blog post was a book review, and then in your link to Amazon you use your Associate code, I am not bothered in the least.

Jason & Jackie said...

I put my personal Scentsy web site on there so I can hopefully earn a little money to supplement our family income it seems like everything I do or don't do these days is to try to help my family with a little extra cash. No hair cuts, extra work, I guess it looks pretty cheap to some people I have to admit I put an ad thing on my blog to get extra money and it has not been clicked EVER! and as far as I know no one has looked at mu scentsy stuff either so the question is does it work?

Anonymous said...

Paul,

I guess I am a weird one... I like blogs with ads on them. I like seeing what other like. I would expect that the author of the blog would like the ads also?

I don't mind clicking on ads. Why wouldn't I want to help someone? It is not my money?

I don't understand why others think ads as something bad. Maybe the person putting on the ads needs a little extra money?

I think it is a great idea..anything to help your family right?

Oh, by the way we have ads on our blog and we don't make much. I make a few dollars each month.

A Blog Friend

Andrew S. said...

P,
You have seen my blog. I have ads and while I don't make very much from them, it pays for the blog. Did they bother you? I would like to know if they did.

I have changed my ads around a lot, especially when a vendor keeps placing irrelevant ads on my site. Recently I signed up for the MSNBC Green network and got pummeled with ads from Car dealers wanting a bailout. I dropped it even though it was earning me the most money. Most of the green networks with decent and applicable ads won't take a small site like mine. I need 50,000+ readers a month to be accepted. Someday I will be there, but for now, google, Amazon and Avantlink it is.

I am a stay at home/work from home dad. I would prefer to take the work part of that out of the equation so I am not toting the little boy to so many meetings. Hopefully someday that will be the case and my blog will bring me a livable wage. I look at my blog as the keep G out of daycare fund.

I guess I wouldn't stop working, the blog would just become my work. ;)

rhonda jean said...

My point of view is that it is hypocritical of me to promote spending via advertisements on my blog when I’m living a frugal life and recommend it to others. Having said that though, I sometimes use Amazon to get points to buy books - my only source of new books. When I have enough points, which usually takes two weeks or so, I remove it.

I used to get a lot of emails from people wanting me to promote their products as giveaways and endorsements but since I put up my no ads banner, I don’t get nearly so many. That is a plus. When I go to other blogs, if I see there are a lot of obvious ads, I leave. I don’t judge those people for having them; it’s just my choice not to bypass advertising while I’m trying to read.
I have a problem with Mr Linky.

If I see blogs using it, I leave, but that’s another story.

Overall, I believe everyone has the right to run their blogs as they choose. It is also my right to read or not. I really hope advertising doesn't become the norm in blogland and I hope there are many others who want that too.

Robbyn said...

Hi P,

I'm tired of gimmicky things and for some reason the sidebar clutter seems to annoy me if it's got a lot of a certain type of ads, bloggy widgets, and things designed to up the readership count alone. It's not any one thing, but my preference is a blog that hasn't "gone professional." I like homespun. When it gets too big and slick, despite what's on the sidebar or not, I usually tune out. On the other hand, I like seeing handmade goods like Etsy shop items, handmade soaps, family farm sites that sell family-made goods, or even people's favorite book lists on Amazon. I have one of those Amazon carousel widgets on mine with some books I like and others I'd love to have in our library down the road. It's not an income-maker for me because I don't have the readership a lot of other blogs do as far as numbers, and that's fine with me. I simply put there what I like. But I don't want to be bombarded with ads and popups. It's like chatchkes...I don't like clutter for clutter's sake. I have absolutely NO problem with people selling things they make, or write, on their own website unless everything they write seems to be pitching a product. If I like a product and for some reason it gets mentioned in any of my writing, it's not for the sake of selling it...I don't get any income from anyone for mentioning things I like in passing. If for instance I purchased a particular garden hoe that I loved to work with and I mentioned it in post, I'll just put a link to it within the post.

RedStateGreen said...

I have google ads on mine, and have had it for over a year. I think I got 27 cents so far.

If you actually have something to sell then go for it but don't think you're going to make any money putting the ads up. I'm thinking of taking them down to make room for other things.

Timothy Latz said...

I find that the blogs that do well are the ones that are focused on a particular subject and don't get caught up in trying to cover too many subjects. A few ads that are relevant to what you are writing about would not be a bad thing. I do find that those people who focus too much on making money, don't end up on our editors choice list of green themed blogs. As the old adage says, do what ya love and the money will follow. =)

anne said...

Hi, just discovered your great blog. I'd say leave it unhinged by ads, unless they could be of a personal/handcrafted nature that fits with what is dear to you. Perhaps you should consider if the act of linking to impersonal commerce would influence your expectations and enjoyment of your blog...it would for me and mine.