To Ad or Not To Ad

I get lots of email from “people” asking me to link to their site, or that they’d like to “sponsor” my blog, or that if I display their widget, they will pay me to do so. Some name a price, some don’t. Some say it will be “mutually beneficial” others are more blatantly commercial.

When this blog went live, there were very few blogs for and about writers. Now almost every writer has a blog. Even some of the literary ones:) It is a “platform.” It is a “marketing tool.” I get the feeling that sometimes, for the writer, her blog is a necessary nuisance. That’s not why I blog. I blog to connect with other writers. And I like writing about writing. Call it a quirk.

I have not done any research on how prevalent these emails selling ads to bloggers have become. For a new blogger, and sometimes for a not-so-new one, some of these pitches are enticing. I just got one that said they’d give me a $50 Starbucks card if I linked once to their grammar site (I teach grammar) in a post. I will do almost anything for coffee, but not that.

I like the look of my ad-free blog. I used to be an “Amazon Associate” figuring I link to them anyway, so why not use their ad-link? Three reasons: 1. they look like ads. 2. they don’t pay much. 3. they are kind of a hassle.

Just not worth it. OTOH some people get paid very good money from ads. If you have a huge readership and outstanding content, if you can name your price and do it in a classy way, if you believe in the product you are hawking, then sure, make money off your blog. Make a very good living off your blog. Cheers.

Once, early in this blog’s life, I got an email asking to place a small text ad in my sidebar for six months. I could name my price. I asked Mike, my son & webmaster, what to do and he said “think of the highest dollar amount you’d like to receive, then tell them that’s your price.” I came up with $1200. They sent the money to me immediately through PayPal. Mike put up the text ad and “sponsored by” in the sidebar and we split the profits. After six months, they did not renew (guess I didn’t sell very many used laptops). I have not accepted an ad offer since.

Here’s why. Mike, among other IT things, builds corporate websites for a living. He is my expert. I forward him the more delicious sounding offers and he always says “I wouldn’t.” So I don’t. I was telling him about the guy who said “if you’re ever in my city, I’d love to meet for coffee.” Mike says it wasn’t really a person, it was a “bot” and what I thought were real human interactions were in fact spam. He said not to reply at all.

It’s up to you, but if you’re a writer, think about advertising. Your own work, for sure. In a subtle classy way, of course.

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