May 31, 2007

On Blog Advertising and Double Standards

Chart detailing daily growth of blogosphere courtesy of Technorati

I have received more than a few emails and comments about my decision a few months ago to accept blog advertising on this site. Most of the feedback has been negative, but I sort of expected that. Advertising is annoying, and no one actually likes to surround themselves with ads, save a few Madison Avenue wonks.

I suppose I have been most puzzled by the blogosphere purists who hold on to idealized notions that sites such as this should somehow remain "above" the seedy world of competition for ad dollars. The blogosphere, goes the argument, should be a world untainted by commercialization, perhaps the last refuge of pure communication.

Of course, such people access other media on a regular basis, yet they do not lambaste television and radio stations, newspapers, or magazines for accepting advertising dollars. When was the last time you saw a group of concerned viewers protesting a TV station for making a profit?

There will always be a part of me that wishes the world was a place of plenty, where no one had to work and everything humans needed grew on trees.

We do not live in such a world.

Thus, like everyone else, I am forced to accept compromises in my life, and one of those satanic handshakes involves blog advertising. Were I not able to justify the hours I spend on producing blog material in some fashion, I doubt that this site would still be around, or at least not in the form it takes.

Besides, has my perspective been changed in some manner - or has my writing been corrupted - by the inclusion of advertising? I write what I want to write, irrespective of the sensibilities of any advertisers who might surf here. True, if I dislike a product that I am paid to review I am not going to describe it as "the most vile piece of human-inspired excrement since the release of the Billy Ray Cyrus song 'Achy Breaky Heart,'" but I also do not smack my boss upside the head if I disagree with her, either.


Suss said...

People are complaining about any and all advertising? Or the inline posts?

historymike said...

Most forms, although I have yet to experience someone complaining about the Amazon ads on my sidebar.

Then again, I have made less than $10 by hosting Amazon ads, so they mostly serve to delude me into thinking people actually care what I am reading and listening to.

Not a week goes by, though, without disparaging comments or plaintive emails regarding posts-as-ads or posts-containing-ad-links.

Admittedly, I did take a few more ads than normal on this site over the past seven days, but I was overawed at the amount of blog ad cash floating before my eyes. At this rate, I might eat meat once a week.


Hooda Thunkit said...


I'm not going to email you, I'm going to post it here for all to see:

Knock yourself out buddy, whatever it takes to pay the bills.

I have looked at and clicked on a few ads that I was interested in, but I have scrolled right past MANY more.

Tell me a little more about these Internet purists, do they ever get spam in their email boxes?

It takes no special knack to ignore an ad that you're NOT interested in; I do it all of the time. It's called selective viewing and is almost automatic, with practice.

And, I close with a question; what Amazon ads?

Nuff said.


HumboldtsClio said...

It seems a shame that you have to keep apologizing for doing what everyone else does daily: try to make money. At least you identify which posts are sponsored. I get spam that looks like they're from sites I'm interested in.

I think there's no reason to apologize.

Ronnie said...

I am guessing I am one of the offenders you were writing about. I have no problem with with ads or from you Amazon links. I do have a problem with the idea of pay per post .

I understand why blogs are such great tools for advertising - the placement on Search Engine Results are top notch. When I found your article about not making the trip to the Outer Banks, I thought I would write a comment on why the high gas prices would not really make that much of a difference. Then I saw the link to a local rental company (that widely uses pay per post or pay u to post) it raised a red flag in my mind. Then I saw the link on your sidebar where people can pay you to post about whatever. My initial thought was - Is this guy serious about not making the trip to the Outer Banks because of high gas prices or is he just looking for a way to include this link in his post?

I don't believe I am a blog purist. I don't fault you for deciding to accept money to post. But I do view the credibility of that post differently because of the possibility of you writing the article to get paid.

historymike said...

No, Ronnie, only in the sense that you reminded me of a couple of blistering emails I recently received.

And you raise good points about the motivations of bloggers who accept advertising. Some of the paid ads offered are so odious (get-rich-quick schemes, male enhancement) as to be nauseating, and I have to pass.

PS - I truly love the Outer Banks/Coastal Carolinas, and I will be sure to return in the future. The last place we stayed was in a house in Atlantic Beach, and it was seven of the best days of my life.

Lisa Renee said...

I really love the Outer Banks too and if we make enough doing paid posts maybe we'll actually be able to go. :-)

Technically I guess it's my fault since I'm the one who told you about most of the paid blogging programs. However, it has helped both of us make some needed money and I don't regret my decision because I've been able to do some wonderful things for not only my children but others and every now and then myself thanks to doing these reviews on all of my blogs but two.