Thursday, January 03, 2008

To Ad or Not to Ad?

How do you feel about advertising on blogs?
Is it an issue that divides the community?
Do you understand the other side's point of view?
What irritates you?
What do you like to see?
Is the financial gain worth the downside of having ads on your blog?
What's the difference between professional and non-professional blogging?

This Post was written by Sam by request from Kitty. (see previous post's comments)


cookiecrumb said...

If somebody wants to run ads, fine. It doesn't bother me morally (besides, I've learned not to see them) but it does clutter up an otherwise clean design.
I don't run ads because I want to own my blog, not share it with corporate voices. Imagine a future where Amazon comes after me saying, "We found one of our ads on one of your pages where you said very stupid things, and we think you should change it or give us all your money." Far-fetched, I suppose, but hey, keep da man out.

DawnsRecipes said...

I don't mind ads as long as they are tasteful and kept to a minimum. I use BlogHerAds on my site, which I find to be visually appealing. They impose restrictions on the styles of the ads, and they always seem to match well with my site's theme.

On the other hand, ads that automatically pop open and cover content, or that play obnoxious sounds are enough to drive me away from a site.

Andrew said...

i have no problem with ads - i use them and earn a nice little chunk from them. As with dawn anything that has a pop-under/over/outer is a no no in my book. Music is just as bad.

Derrick said...

No ads for me, though ask me again after a year of mortgage payments. I object to their profusion on every conceivable surface, and I choose to hold up a sieve against the flood of meaningless messages.

Cate said...

I don't mind a few ads here and there that a) seem to relate to the site's content b) are not obnoxious (like pop-ups, music, etc.) and c) don't detract from the actual site's content. I have Google AdSense on my own site, and we have BlogHer and Google Ads on all the Well Fed sites. I don't think they detract from any of the sites message.

Sam said...

As far as I am concerned everyone can choose as they please. However if I notice an Ad, it is sure to irritate me. In addition to those pop over ones, I am rather unfond of the ones that surprise me by being hidden in the comments.
I generally prefer the look of sites without ads. For me I work so hard to make every little inch of my site my own - I don't think could mar it with an AD. Luckily for me, i don't *need* the money (neither do I think I am owed anything from my readers or anyone else because it is my own free choice to do this hobby in the first place).
If my situation was to change to the state of desperate anytime, however, I could see myself adjusting my opinion. I am never going to be one of those rich people. Wanting more money is one of those things in life that lives in my dreams, not my reality. To be honest, I am not really comfortable with making money out of people which is why I become so incensed at the number of people who think they can commercially use my blog for their own financial gain. So I just say no.

Deb said...

I think there are a lot of things that can be issues with ads: in-text ads blur the lines between advertising and editorial (a no-no in any publication), as does not disclosing any ad partners as you mention their names or products. Either would repel me as a reader.

Other ads are simply annoying such as popups and ones that travel across the screen, but if a site owner is willing to ruin their users' experience like that, I suppose that's on them.

But--as having them on my site should tell you--I have no problem whatsoever with people tastefully making money from their hobby. I work tremendously hard on my site, and while I could be putting that same time into freelancing for publications, I'd rather put it into this thing I have built. Ads help me balance that, allow me to keep my posting schedule up, help me justify hiring people from time to time to make my site even stronger and give me financial padding, as I work in a somewhat volatile industry (one that makes its ends meet by ad dollars, so it should come as no surprise that I feel blogs can work the same way).

Of course, to each their own. There is no mandate that anyone should sell space in their sidebar. But very often I think the issues around ads get muddled and in my mind, ads implemented tastefully and ethically are not the enemy.

Amy Sherman said...

For me it comes down to three things:

1. Maybe it's because I work in marketing, but I like having my little corner of the world be "ad-free."

2. It's not that I am morally opposed to ads, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find them distracting.

3. I can't imagine that they would pay enough to be worth it and I'd hate to think my efforts would become more about optimizing my content to sell ads rather than content for contents sake.

Bottom line I blog for the fun of it, not the money. Why mess with that?

Vanessa said...

I tried ads (amazon and google ad-sense) for about 6 months. I often found that the messages the ads displayed were exactly the opposite my content was sending...that was a huge problem. Also the ads were ugly and ate up my white space thus destroying my design. Now I'm proudly ad free.

Vanessa said...

I tried ads (amazon and google ad-sense) for about 6 months. I often found that the messages the ads displayed were exactly the opposite my content was sending...that was a huge problem. Also the ads were ugly and ate up my white space thus destroying my design. Now I'm proudly ad free.

SusanV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

I don't have any problems with ads on my site or others. I really like and appreciate my readers, and they seem to feel the same way about me...(well, most of the time...)

I spend a lot of time, energy and money on my blog and site maintenance and don't mind being reimbursed for it. And what I write isn't influenced by the outside ads that appear on my site in the least.

As almost anyone with a blog will tell you, the cash payoff is rarely equal to the amount of work that one puts into it.

One can spend time pitching to write an article for a food magazine and get paid for it (where it will be edited and there will be ads alongside), or one can write for themselves and do as they wish, without editing and with the freedom to do as they want.

While I would like to only have ads for products that I personally choose, when you have random ads, that takes away any stigma of 'favoritism'--with the main ad system that I use, there are products that they allow me to block, and I do.

Both ideas have merit and it's silly to squabble over which is best. I appreciate that certain bloggers updates their site and spend the time and money on things like good photography, well-written stories, and recipes. I also read sites that don't have ads, and some that are funky and fun, and appreciate them just as much.

I don't think less, or more, of anyone who does or doesn't have ads, as long as they're tasteful and well-integrated.

(But don't play music, or dance across the screen.)

Sam said...

It's very interesting to hear you can block ads you don't like - that's interesting and most welcome. And for people whose job it is, ie "pro" bloggers, then clearly a necessity. Maybe Ads are what distinguishes now between the amateurs and the pros. I am strictly amateur, I even profess so in my byline. For me it's just a hobby, I do it only for love and for myself, so I wouldn't expect to be paid.

Thinking about this subject over the last day or so has brought some funny thoughts into my mid. I suddenly thought of artists incorporating Ads into their paintings.

I realise it would be totally pretentious to call myself an artist, but in a way, this is my kind of art, it's certainly my major creative outlet in life, despite having a day job as an "artist" and unless this hobby ever becomes a job, I shall endeavour to keep it commercial free.

Elise said...

I support ads on blogs. I support no ads on blogs. Thank God we live in free societies where we can each do what we see fit for our own blogs.

What I don't support is the statement of that "corporate advertising on blogs devalues the medium". Ridiculous. Blogs are just websites, nothing more.

In fact, I find the first two tenets of that movement to be extraordinarily self-righteous and insulting to me, and others like me, who choose to earn money through advertising placed on our blogs.

That said, as more and more ad networks come on board and make it easier and more attractive to put ads on your site, I think that those of us who do put ads on our sites will need to choose consciously where we draw the lines. I turn down hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of advertising every month because it is either for products I don't support, or the ads would interfere too much with the reader experience on my site.

Sam said...

Elise - I agree the wording may seem strong, but it depends how you look at it: I personally feel it would devalue MY medium, and that is my choice. It may just be a 'website' to you, and a job. But for me it is personal creation which I feel would be devalued by commercialism.

However I would prefer it if it said /my blog' in the official statement rather than 'blogs' (as in general) because as I have said before - i think it is obvious these days that some blogs are professional websites geared to making money which is quite acceptable.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I've always subscribed to the "Live and let live" principle. I'm a relatively new blogger and thus, not much of an expert, but I don't see a problem with ads on a blog if they are tasteful and relevant. That being said, I do not have ads on my blog. I consider my blog to be a creative outlet as opposed to a job. Besides, I can barely figure out how to get my own posts up without having to worry about ads too!

I don't feel that having ads on your site determines whether you are an amateur or a pro. Your content and the quality of your writing, photos, etc., should determine that. There are bloggers out there hosting ads from day 1. How does that make them more professional than someone who chooses not to do that? I've never noticed any Google ads within the pages of War and Peace or any other great novel.

I have seen many sites, like Elise's, where the ads are there, but they are not intrusive, which I like. I have also seen all too many that are just plain distracting and obnoxious, which I hate! I especially dislike the adds that are smack in the middle of the post text or comments.

The bottom line is that everyone is free to set up their sites as they wish. The rest of us are free not to visit the ones that we don't like. (How's that for sitting on the fence?)

Cybele said...

Like David, I'm happy to spend my time on my blog and writing things that I think my readers share an interest in instead of fretting over how to get that next freelance gig.

I don't think less of writers who have ads, but I appreciate it when they acknowledge them and have some sort of policy about them.

I recently took on a publisher for my site so that I don't have to talk to anyone directly who wants to advertise lest that taint my view of their products or services. (I used to have a rule about taking ads from companies that made products, before I was only taking ads from candy stores, which I figured kept me rather objective, they didn't have anything particularly invested in any good or bad review.)

Once you get popular if you have your own domain/host and have lots of photos or other bandwidth chomping media it gets VERY expensive for reliable services. As an art or hobby, it's a serious financial drain. (I also make two trips a year, one to the All Candy Expo and one to a Fancy Food Show ... plus I buy a lotta candy.) I also pay my programmer and designer living wages, I don't want the work that goes into it to be "favors" curried from pals.

I think of my blog as my own personal magazine.

I do have some bloggy friends who have no ads and instead have a donation bucket.

I don't think I've ever decided not to visit a site soley on the ads if it had good content. But I've certainly shunned sites with bad content ... ads or no ads.

If having some ads means someone can afford a new camera or a couple of nights out at new restauarants maybe some kitchen appliances, who am I to argue. It might make their blog better with a little extra dough reinvested.

That said, I resent affiliate advertising when it's not announced. I don't like pay per post and I don't care for in-text ads that popup stuff when you rollover. They don't necessarily keep me from reading, but they definitely keep me from engaging. (So I can understand how some others can feel the same way about the ads on my site.)

Yes, I find the "ad free" has a bit of a superior tone to it, but I don't think it would change my opinion on the writer if I was already a frequent visitor of the blog.

I like to think of my blog as something of a profitable passion (that's technically not profitable yet, but the passions all there, baby).

rokh said...

i was never against ads on blog as long like many says it does not obstruct the reader. i was ad-free for bout 2 years until in Malaysia, there were two companies offering services to serve ads for local bloggers, so i just tried it out as it was easy. so far it did not earn anything big but i can at least see some money growing. maybe someday then i can get my own hosting from it.

David said...

I'm not sure I know what the difference is between a professional and amateur blogger. Is it if you don't have another job and that's your full-time job? Or is it a supplement to your other jobs? My blog, which I consider a running editorial, is part of my life and also encompasses and augments my work, which is a major part of my life that I live and breathe. But I don't consider myself a professional blogger.

Even the food blogs that I know of that are making decent revenue, I know they exist because the writer loves what they're doing. (Since I know the authors.) And it's great if they've found a way to be compensated for it. I make it a point if I need to buy something from Amazon to do it via their site, to support them.

Much funding for the arts is corporate-sponsored, such as Altria (Phillip Morris), which was a big-time contributor to the arts in New York. (Although that ended, and caused a lot of consternation in the arts world.) Most major art exhibitions are underwritten by multinational corporations as well.

Yes, some ad networks allow you to opt-out of certain ads. I do it because personally, I don't want certain products on my site. On the other hand, I've bought food magazines with ads for products I disagree with and I turn the page. But if I write for that same magazine, that company is indirectly paying my wages. Yes, I'm working for "the man"!

Similarly with Amazon; I provide a link to them and do suggest certain products I like, but they also offer some items I find distasteful (books by Anne Coulter, for example). Still, it's up to my readers to make that decision whether or not to click, and whether or not to buy.

matt said...

I must echo David's sentiments. I remained blog-free and damn proud of it for quite some time. As Amy put it, I've been in marketing for over a decade and while my blog is a part of my whole being (food & photography) it was also my little ad-free space on the web. I appreciated that.

I felt that sometimes the ads were inappropriate to who I was or obtrusive. I dismissed the thought for quite some time because I felt, if not done right, it could be very tacky.

That changed for me when Martha Stewart's peeps asked if I wanted to join their ad program early on. As a marketer I felt comfortable with the MSLO brand and found a way to approve or deny ads I felt weren't really my thing. All those thoughts of "will it clutter my site" (I take pride in the appearance, as do most of us in our sites) didn't really come into play , nor did the thought of being directed by some corporate heavy hand. Now that it's been two months it's been nice to earn something to offset what I put into it and to meet new people. It's been nothing but positive.

And this is from someone who was EXTREMELY anti-advertising on blogs for a long time!

I do take exception, however, with the tone in which the hypothetical questions were asked. "what irritates you?" "devalue" seemed a bit on the snarky side to me.

To each his own, luckily this blogosphere is big enough to welcome all of us, whether we chose to advertise or not.

A good blog is a good blog is a good blog, dancing icons or not.

matt said...

P.S. And yea, what is the difference between a pro and non- pro blogger? I honestly don't know.

Anyone, anyone?

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I primarily use Adsense and occasionally link to Amazon, but so far, the results have been underwhelming as the ads aren't always super appealing (e.g. food blog + botulism lawyer ads....want to try my recipe? :o ). I'd been hoping to make a couple more bucks to somewhat offset the time I put into the site, but it has me considering axing the ads entirely. I'll probably give it a few more months to see if the benefits of having ads increases with readership or not...

Sam said...

matt - I am sorry you felt you had to take exception to an open-ended post i threw together in less than 5 minutes at the request of a commenter in another post. The intention was simply to start a lively debate and generate thoughts. (success, I think)

Snarkiness was not or never my intention or tone, sorry you read it that way.

And as for irritation? It seems that bloggers with ADs are hugely irritated by bloggers who dare to say they don't like Ads. I am just trying to be honest - I don't like Ads, but I like blogs and bloggers with Ads.

No, I don't like ads. Full stop. Yes I for one did prefer the blogging medium back in the day when no one had ads. Yes I understand some people make a living or part living from this and I understand and I still support. I even specifically bought David's book via his Amazon links precisely so he would make money from the transaction. I have bought things from Heidi's recommended Amazon list for the same reason - I am supportive of my friends in the blogging world.

Even though I don't personally like ads I do love a lot of bloggers who have ads, yes I count them as my friends (though looks like maybe I have lost a few of them today?)

Elise said...

I'm not irritated by bloggers who say they don't like ads.

I am irritated by a cute icon that when you click on it basically states a position that is a value judgement against me and my blog.

What if I posted an icon on my blog that represented the view that having NO ads on your blog "degrades the medium"?

Personally, as a confirmed capitalist, I find not monetizing a site, given all the work that goes into it, to be nuts, but for the most part I keep that view to myself, and certainly don't display it on my site. Because regardless of what I think should be or should not be on someone else's website, my commitment to the freedom of individual choice trumps everything else. Who am I to judge?

When I see the "ad-free blog" icon I feel slighted. It appears to me that the person displaying the icon is proud to be something that I am not, as if being ad-free is somehow morally better than being ad-supported. I don't believe it is.

Kalyn said...

I see I am rather late to this party, and a lot of people have already said things I might have said. Obviously I think it is ok to have ads on your blog. In fact I'm grateful every day that I'm able to make some money doing something I love to do. Sam, I'm also glad to hear that people who don't want ads still don't mind if others do have them, even if they don't really like the ads. That's what I call freedom of choice, something I am very much in favor of! I totally respect your position on it, and am happy to hear you feel the same.

Here are my thoughts on the topic, some of which have already been expressed (but I like to get my two cents in!)

1. I can't imagine why any other blogger would care at all if I have ads on my site, just as I don't care if others choose not to have ads. Therefore, I guess I fail to see the reason for the "ad-free" icon. I don't see it as a moral issue at all, but to me it seems like it's attempting to make an issue out of something that's a non-issue. Still, I respect the right of someone to use it if they feel differently, and I also appreciate Sam raising the issue here because this has been a very interesting discussion.

2. Ads would never stop me from reading a blog where I like the content, just as they don't stop me from buying cooking magazine (which are often half ads) or even watching Sex and the City reruns on cable, even when it drives me crazy that there's an ad every 10 minutes. Ads are just a part of life. I even have ads displayed when I check my e-mail, so why would I object to an ad on a blog?

3. In the time I've had ads on my blog, I've never had even one reader tell me they didn't like the ads, and my traffic has continued to grow. Obviously there are plenty of people who aren't bothered by ads.

3. I am happy that I don't have to accept ads I don't want. Even the most basic type of ad, (Google AdSense) allows you to block ads you don't want. I was appalled to see an ad for Wal-Mart pop up on my blog (a long time ago) and immediately blocked it.

4. If you have a brand new blog where you're not getting much traffic yet, no it will not be worth it to have ads. But if you have a well-designed blog with good content and pretty good traffic, yes you can make enough money that it's definitely worth it. Would I stop blogging if I stopped making money, of course not, but I'm also thrilled to be able to make money from something I love to do. And I have people tell me often that they appreciate what they're getting from my blog, so I feel like I'm providing good value for the money I'm making.

5. I've noticed that a few blogs that don't have ads will do "reviews" for books or other items that are sent to them. To me this is the same as giving a lifetime ad for that product on your blog for free. I don't object, and often I appreciate hearing how someone else liked a book I might consider buying, but I do think it points out how much "gray area" there is in this discussion.

Totally Nuts Ad Free Blogger said...

"What if I posted an icon on my blog that represented the view that having NO ads on your blog "degrades the medium"?

I'd laugh!


Cate said...

I don't think that those of us that *have* ads are irritated by non-ad bloggers who choose not to have ads. I think it's only the perception that some may think that ad-free blogs are somehow better than those that have ads.

Obviously content is key. As long as time is still spent to maintain an attractive site and deliver solid content, I think readers can overlook an ad or two, especially when they're done tastefully and carefully so as not to be in your face, you know?

matt said...

You'd never lose me as a fan, Sam. I love you too much :)

Kitty said...

Thanks for posting this discussion, Sam, particularly since it was at my request.

Personally, I choose not to clutter the look of my site with ads, which financially don't make sense to me. If I thought I could quit my full-time job, that would be another story.

The "ad-free" logo, however cute it is, seems judgmental to me.

Dolce Cucina said...

I agree with all of the above. I've only just started to blog my cooking endeavors. I have no intention of including ads, but I don't object to them on other sites as long as the line between the blogger's thoughts and ideas are clearly distinguishable from the advertisements.

Cheers to all you guys for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and yummy recipes!

Rev. Biggles said...

From the point of view of an old crankypuss, I like to see ads about as much as rancid guac in my mouth. Do I shy away from blogs with 4+ columns filled with flashing dodads? You bet. Do a few well placed ads turn my stomach? Not usually.
Semi-recently one of my favorite blogs showed up with a flashing, rotating something or other, I said something about it and waited a few months to return.
Meathenge may be an old, sleepy, archaic little place to visit, but them so am I. Meathenge is me and I will fight ads at every turn.


George said...

This is a tough question. Sometimes I absolutely hate ads on a blog, sometimes I like them. I think if the ads are relevant to the topic, they are alright because sometimes a combination of the blog and the ad may inspire a person to do something.....tough call.....

Athena Foods

Rachael said...

I too feel as if my point of view has been stated here, but I will add one thing...I chose to have a single ad on my blog 8 months ago. Now, I hardly get many visitors, but for 8 months I have been waiting to hit their minimum pay-out mark so I can get my moola and take it down. Lordy, it may take ten years at this rate...LOL. I suspect this is part of how they keep a blogger hooked on their lil ol scheme...

As for the Ad-Free blog icon, it sure is cute, but seriously, what do they get out of it? I bet even they have an angle...even if its just popularity...I mean, really...

*fanny* said...

I used to have a strong position about ads on foodbeam. But then I saw the hosting yearly invoice and started to think differently.

As 40-hour a week student, I have to time whatsoever to get a job, even part-time and thus I have no income, except what my parents give me for basic needs, like food and school.
This is why I started accepting ads on foodbeam, it's not for me to make money, it's just to pay the hosting and I suspect that it's the same for most bloggers. At least, I hope so.

x fanny

nika said...

To quote the oft-busted Rodney King - "Can't we all get along?"

This whole comment stream is a good reason for NOT encouraging the stratification of bloggers via some label on the ad-fullness or lack thereof on any one blog.

We are quite a harmonious community, its a shame to see discord over this (this is so extracurricular and unnecessary).

Have ads.

Don't have ads.

Don't for a minute imagine you are better because 1) you have them or 2) you eschew them.

Either attitude is lilliputian.

I respect each blogger's choice to ad or not to ad.

I certainly do not have a bad first impression of those who have ads nor do I consider their content and integrity diminished in even the very slightest of measures.

I judge the blogger's blog by their content, just as I would ask others to judge my blogging.

The minute this is all about conforming and rat-race and all sense of humor is lost, thats when blogging loses all charm and authenticity.

ejm said...

I am not a big fan of ads and have chosen not to display them on my blog. I'm lucky that I don't have to have them. (I do understand that they are a necessary evil for some people who can only have a blog if others - ie: the advertising agencies - pay for the space.)

The reason I have chosen to be adfree is

a) no control over content
b) no control over images used

I particularly dislike it if the ads are displayed half way through a post (as they are on blogher) If one must have ads, please keep them to the side and if the advertising agency uses sound on its ads, contact the company immediately and tell them that their ads will be removed unless the sound is taken off. (I HATE it when my computer suddenly starts talking in a disembodied voice!!)


tammy said...

I really appreciated this comment thread a lot (Thanks, Sam). Good points were brought up all around.

I don't have ads on my blog and won't for as long as I can afford not to. The reason is simple: I'm territorial. This is the only public space that's mine, all mine. I want it a certain way.

However, I'll do what I have to do going forward to keep the blog afloat. And I certainly respect how other people have decided to draw their lines.

sillysausage said...

oh lordy - now I know why I really didn't want to start this thread.

I am glad we still do all get along - even when we don't agree - and heck we can't all agree on everything all the time else the world would be a bland place.

This discussion has made me realise, cute as I think the logo is, I am not 100% on board with the Ad free blog org because I think the wording behind it is too strong in parts. I think I will replace it with a paragraph on my about page explaining why I don't wish to have blogs on my page and let it be my own personal thing, just as everything else on my blog is.

thanks everyone for helping me come to this decision.

Sam said...

oops - sorry - that silly sausage was me signed in through a different account.

Bri said...

Thank you so much everyone for your interesting experiences and points. I am someone who would like to make money from my blog, but it really has to be just right. There are a couple things I've been considering, but I'm starting to feel like they need me more than I need them, and at a fraction of a penny per click, I'd need tens of thousands of people a day to make it worth it. I so appreciate the points people brought up, and also the possibilities (Matt's experience with MSLO) and how long people waited to put up ads, and then chose them carefully. Since my site is only 6 months old, and I'm just starting to get me blog legs, you all have helped me to patiently wait until just the right situation presents itself. Thanks!!

*fanny* said...

there is just one point i need to clarify
when you guys say that ads = no control over content
what do you exactly mean?

this is something i definitely don't get nor agree with
how could an ad have an impact on the content? this is just silly and the fact that some people think this way kind of annoys me
i think you're fooling yourselves

Elise said...

Hi fanny - I could be wrong, but I think that comment was in reference to the fact that depending on the ad network you choose, you have little control over the content and the images of the ad. For example, I don't control what text ads Google puts up there with Adsense. I can choose to block ads I don't want, but I don't pre-approve them. Different ad networks have different policies.

maki said...

I have a system on my Just Hungry/Just Bento sites where people can register (for free of course) and once logged in, can choose to block certain ad blocks. Interestingly, no one has been using this option so far, even though at this point the site has hundreds of registered users. (Certain ads are not displayed to logged in users by default.)

I think this means that most people really don't mind ads. I've even had a couple of people thanking me for certain ads that helped them find a company that offers products they were looking for. To my mind, a well-fitting ad does not distract from a site. I've found a lot of interesting sites and products and books from ads I've clicked on other sites myself.

Since none of my income really comes from a steady fixed salary, my whole day becomes a time=money situation. My food blogs certainly do not pay enough to make me rich or make it possible to quit doing my 'day job' work, but they do pay for their keep. Perhaps if I were paid a nice salary, or had a rich spouse/parent supporting me or something, I'd think different :).

The only problems with ads to me are aesthetic and technical. Some ad code can break a page, and some ads are not that pleasing to the eye. (And, when there seems to be an unobstrusive ad option like Text Link Ads that seems to fit unobstrusively into a site, along comes Google to blind side siteowners who carry them...what can you do.)

At no point though has ANY ad affected the content of my sites. I write what I feel I want to write about, and what my readers want to read. I'm sure if my readers thought I was 'selling out to the man' they'd be leaving in droves. My stats say otherwise.

Also, to address a couple of points that have come up in the comments:

- Just because _your_ site does not see much revenue does not mean that 1. no other site/food blog does, or that 2. ads are not worth it. From my experience, getting the most out of ads takes time and effort. (Ad optimization is a whole big issue and you can find all sorts of sites and blogs dedicated to that subject.) I estimate that I spend at least a few hours a week reviewing the monetization issues on my sites - placement of ads, content, and so on. I'm always experimenting with different types of ads, reading up on it, etc. Some have worked well, some haven't and have been jettisoned.

- With contextual ads like Google Adsense, it's possible to block ads that you find particularly objectionable. Also, the more relevant the text on your blog is (including the alt text on your images) the better the ads you see are going to be.

In any case, I do hope that there can be more intelligent discussion here on how to monetize our blogs, for people who choose to, without having to be judged for our decision. I feel that food blogs have their own particular needs and quirks, and I would love to read other people's experiences with that aspect.

*fanny* said...

Thank you Elise for clearing up. But then I don't see this as a problem since the blogger makes it clear that those are ads.

x fanny

ejm said...

Thank you, Elise. That is indeed exactly what I meant by "no control over content".

What I object to about ads is that they sometimes have a tendency to take away from the content itself. Face it, the advertisers' goal is to get people to go to their site and buy their product(s). They will use whatever they can to make you look: moving images, clever slogans, colour, flashing text, sound (brr).

I also object to ads being inserted half way through the content (as it is on blogher)

But it's easy for me to say this; I am lucky enough that I can operate my blog ad-free, without advertising that it is ad-free.

And my feelings about the distracting aspects of ads on blogs is not going to stop me from reading a blog with ads that interests me. If the actual content of the blog is there, I'll be there too....

Tracy said...

I don't have ads on my blogs for a reason that's a bit different. My hobby is to enter cooking/recipe contests. Most of these contests are open only to amateurs -- usually defined as people who derive no income from the food industry (whether as a chef, food writer, etc.) Some sponsors consider bloggers who accept advertising to be food professionals. People who have made a pittance from ads on their blogs have been disqualified by contests with large prizes because they are so-called professionals.

I never say never, but right now I'm staying ad free.

As for reading other blogs, I don't object to ads. But if there's a ton of advertising, if it's intrusive, and it's from bottom feeders, I stay away. Generally those kinds of food blogs seem to go for quantity of posts over quality, so I don't think I'm missing much.

Eve Fox said...

I don't feel terribly strongly about it either way though I don't like the idea of using up precious space to run ads - it all feels a little too cramped without ads.

That said, I have two more questions:
1. People have mentioned Adwords and Blogher (and there is also a new one called Foodbuzz that is doing fairly agressive outreach right now) but does anyone run ads through the service run by Henry Copeland? Blogads allows you to choose which ads you want to run so you can just reject anything you don't want on your blog.

2. Can you actually make a living through ad revenue on a blog? What have people's experiences been? I would think that Adwords only pays based on a per click basis, right?

Sam said...

Hi Eve - because this is an old post I suggest you make your excellent and valid questions into a new post maybe you will get a better response?

SteamyKitchen said...

oh wow, am I late to this conversation or what?!

I support either. I choose to put ads on my site because one of my goals was to make enough money from blogging (something that I love) so that I don't have to worry about where the heck I'm going to get money this month for mortgage.

So far, it has worked well. I know. I 'm 'selling' out - but I guess if certain readers object, they don't have to come knock on my door anymore, right? There are soooo many great food blogs out fact, so many that there is no way I could even keep up with the ones that I categorize as "must read."

I love that we live in a world that allows us the choice of making money blogging or not.

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