If I sell out, does it mean I have any less to say?

about my sites, blogging, technology

I’m spending over $1,000 a year on my SmileZone site.

Given my expenditures AND the fact that I’m still unemployed, I decided to do something seemingly unholy… adding text and small graphical advertisements to my site, including my blog. My main site had contained advertisements previously, but I had hesitated ‘sullying’ my blog.

Have you ever seen a blog with corporate-type ads? I mean, besides this one now. I haven’t.

Sure, I’ve seen blogs begging for donations, but the only other ‘profit’ orientedness I’ve seen is the occasional commission-based amazon.com link or text-ad bought by fellow bloggers.

Why?

Are profits and quality writing perceived to be mutually exclusive? Do people fear that when they put up an ad for, say, auto insurance, that anything they say about cars or insurance will thereafter be suspect?

Or do people figure that their faithful readers will turn up their noses and run away in disgust and/or horror at the blog author’s “selling out”?

Maybe it’s something more goofily practical; perhaps most blog owners are less savvy about selling ad space or assessing and using affiliate programs, and so on.

Or maybe bloggers just figure they don’t have a big enough audience to make more than a buck or two a year off of ads.

I really don’t know.

What do you, my humble readers think? Do you view blogs and their authors differently when the blogs contain ads? How does the content or format of the ads affect your perceptions?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this. Oh, and in the meantime, it wouldn’t kill you to click on an ad or two. 🙂

UPDATE, June 21:
I take back my earlier suggestion inviting you to click on ads on my site. Though earlier ads on my site were based upon CPA (click-per-action) — meaning that advertisers wouldn’t pay unless you actually bought something — newer ads on my site (in particular, the Google ones) cost advertisers money when you click on them. Therefore, it’d be unethical and bad-karma-inducing for me to advocate willy-nilly click-thrus. If there’s an ad on my site that you’re genuinely interested in exploring, great! But please don’t click on ads for any other reason. Thanks! 🙂

3 comments… add one
  • Anita Rowland Feb 25, 2003

    haven’t rates for ads really collapsed? I don’t think we were making much from them at my last job (two *sob* years ago). weblogs would have much lower traffic than our site did!

  • Adam Feb 25, 2003

    Yes, you raise a good point.

    However, I should make it clear that I include AFFILIATE-LINK based ads on my site, not ‘pure’ ads.  I’m sure there are better terms for this, but I can’t think of them at the moment.

    What’s the difference?  Well, with pure or regular advertising, an advertiser (like Dell.com) or an advertising network (like Burst) pays a publisher (usually a big one, like cnn.com) to put ads on their pages.  They’ll pay $x for [y] impressions of ads, or on they’ll offer x cents for every click-thru, etc.

    This is similar to the newspaper or television model.  A company pays to get their message out, and payment’s not contingent upon whether that ad is actually successful or not.

    With affiliate linking, affiliates (from large sites and small, including yours truly) make an agreement with individual advertisers (like amazon.com) or—more commonly—affiliate networks (like Linkshare.com or cj.com) to run one or more advertisements on our pages.  However, we Webmasters are typically paid ONLY when someone actually buys something or signs up for a service.

    For instance, I get a commission of around 6% of whatever anyone buys at Amazon.com when they get there via a link on my site.  *I* choose what type of links to use, graphical or text, and with most affiliate programs, I can even write the text links or make up my own graphic links in a manner that better resonates with my particular SmileZone audience.

    Affiliate programs, in principle at least, are win-win.  Companies only fork out money when they get revenues, and Webmasters have an incentive to use or create ad copy in such a way as to make it honest yet enticing.

    As for the profits nowadays… you’re definitely right, they’re MUCH less than it used to be!  Let’s just say that my current revenues are less than one-tenth what they were two years ago 🙁

    But—while it’s no longer anywhere near enough to live off of—it’s still thankfully a bit more than chump change 🙂

  • casininio Apr 1, 2009

    I wonder how many bloggers actually make living out of their personal blog without paid posts or other commercial relationships like selling text links and so on

What do you think?