A penny for your thoughts

Someone producing a very corporate online food-related vlog contacted me recently and asked me to “review” their videocast on hogwash. I was stunned. I know I’m a little slow on the uptake on all things bloggy, but it never occurred to me that people would actually ask to be published on my little page. I didn’t really like their stuff, so I decided not to mention it, but it brought up a question I’ve been avoiding since I started hogwash.

In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t put any advertising on my blog. Yet. I’m investigating the pros and cons of giving up some space (c’mon! look at all that red on the right!) in exchange for what will probably be not so many pennies, but at least a few. Some bloggers do this quite successfully without being obnoxious in any way (some advertisement is basically unnoticeable), some are sort of annoying to read through but really acceptable to me, and some are downright embarrassing pleas for money that really affect how the blog looks. I’ve also seen blogs where the author chooses to put a PayPal money-requesting link on their site, which allows readers to just click and chip in for the creative process if they get the urge. And, of course, there’s the Amazon “my store” process, which would enable me, the blogger, to earn money when you, the reader, buy products from Amazon that I recommend by clicking through to them on my blog, like this (scroll down on the sidebar on the left side).

I’m having ethical issues. On one hand, I think blogs should be an extension of people’s lives, meant for sharing but not necessarily for money-making, and that it’s totally tacky to use them to make money, because it basically amounts to pimping your life experiences out. (In this same vein, my husband asks that I limit stories about him to one per week, lest he become a subject of daily abuse from which he receives no real benefit.) On the other hand, hasn’t writing always been, on some level, about pimping oneself out? And in my case, cooking and writing recipes does take more than a negligible amount of time and cash, so why shouldn’t I be remunerated in some way for my effort? Or more to the point, why shouldn’t income from my blog, in whatever form, pay for the macro lens I want for my camera, which I will then use to take better photos for my blog?

Part of what I like about hogwash is how purely unprofessional it can be at times. The recipes work, but I’m a total technology hack with no real HTML experience or coding skill, which means my links don’t always work, my images are never the right size for this or that, etc. Part of my hesitation lies in the imagined fact that taking advertising implies a larger commitment to this site than maybe I’m ready for.

“It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not ready for commitment.”

So my question to you: Would taking advertising be tacky or savvy? Do you think I should accept advertising on my blog, and if so in what form(s)? Do you think it’s more appropriate for some blogs than for others?

(Not-so-subtle hint: Here’s the part where you can comment below, so that everyone sees your thoughts.)

6 Comments

Filed under commentary

6 responses to “A penny for your thoughts

  1. In all honesty, nicely placed advertising- such as the examples you mentioned- don’t bother me at all. Actually, I don’t even really notice them anymore, moreso because I tend to read through my news aggregator these days.

    Now some people get their panties all in a twist about it. I say, suck it up! Advertising is everywhere, you just need to filter it out.

  2. Stephanie

    Do it. The best thing about websites and blogs is that the reader can choose to read right around the ads and pay them no heed. (except for pop-ups, doesn’t everybody hate those?) It’s not like sitting through 5 minutes of commercials during your favorite TV show. And the Amazon store thing is great, why not give people the OPTION to purchase things that you have already tested out? There’s no reason to feel any guilt from receiving some monetary compensation for sharing your thoughts, knowledge, experience, and creative process with others!

  3. Sheryl Lajoie

    Go for it. If it supports your blog, it’s worth it. I have learned to ignore ads and commercials that I don’t want or need. I agree pop-ups are annoying.

  4. Thanks for your feedback, all.

  5. SAWII

    May as well. I hardly notice them on not martha and the others.

  6. Jeff Lipsitt

    Your site is certainly worthy of corporate sponsorship, however, I wouldn’t consider it a blog anymore. If someone accepts advertising, call it what it is… an e-magazine. Look, if Campbells soup pays you to park their name on your website, are you going to write what you really think of Campbells soup? I consider blogs as uncensored thoughts and experiences. And therein lies the beauty and success of the medium. If someone wants to make money blogging they should make it available via subscription (Consumer Reports/Cooks Illustrated). Otherwise, accept sponsorships, change the format, and call it an e-mag or whatever. But I think you’re terrific and I hope you will find a way to keep this going one way or another. Cheers!

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