How To Advertise on Your Blog Without (Completely) Selling Out

I was saddened to read this blurb from danah boyd's outstanding "MyFriends, MySpace" presentation at Harvard:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

That’s pretty awesome! I hope more bloggers follow that lead. I’ve sunk a lot of my own money into Subtext and other projects. Fortunately the ads on my blog have made it not be a huge burden for me.

Wow, a historic moment for Coding Horror! I have to admit that I am a bit sad, but this is always a personal decision and I do like the fact that some of the money is going to the development community. (We have ALL benefited from these sites as well as this blog). After reading this blog entry, I will be curious to see how “tasteful” the ad placement is.

There is a reason Coding Horror is very popular, let’s hope it stays that way!

That’s killer! Sam Ramji at MS might be in a position to do something as well! Cool stuff Jeff! Just when I was telling my wife you’re the Geri Springer of the .NET world…

I enjoyed your no-ad style blog. Hope the ads doesn’t change my perception.

As much as I hate advertising, at least the profits are going to a good cause. You have a courteous plan, but I would be willing to bet that most of your audience uses Adblock anyway.

Great blog!

Coding Horror is popular because the quality of the articles here is absolutely top-notch (why else would it be?). I’m completely willing to see text ads on this site and, if they’re relevant, I might even find some of the ads useful.

I must say, though, it’s also nice to see an article that explains the decision before-hand instead of just launching it with no notice.

Keep up the great work!

ditto on the weekly Ad revenue report!

I read you rblog through NewsGator - I see very few ads that way, I think? Seems like only BoingBoing content includes ads through the aggregator.

I’m fine with the ads as long as they aren’t too excessive. I’m also happy to see a portion of the revenue go to a good cause.

The stuff written here is worth seeing a few ads.

Nice. As far as I’m concerned, you absolutely deserve to receive some compensation for the high quality content you regularly produce (not to mention the entertaining conversations that frequently ensue ;).

If anybody deserves to generate ad revenue, it’s you.

That advertising levels table is very subjective to the type of site and how many monthly visitors you are getting. Small sites will have difficulty selling TextLinkAds, and really big sites will get terrible CPM through adsense.

Whatever you do, don’t use Adsense on this site… programmers simply don’t click on ads. Ever.

Will anyone even see the ads?

I have been running Adblock for so long, when adding ads to my site, I thought I was doing something wrong, until I realized that I had been blocking them :smiley:

“Is it possible to advertise responsibly, with respect for your audience-- and yourself? I think it is, if you’re careful.”

The guys at Penny Arcade struggled with this for a while. At first they took donations from their readers. When they went with banner ads, they were very selective about who they displayed on their site. Often only displaying ads for games that they played or liked. They continue to enforce that model and at 2 million pageviews/day…they have the clout to keep doing it. I believe Scott H. does something similar with the adspace on his site. He can correct me if I’m wrong. If you’ve got the traffic, you can back it up. I imagine you have the traffic. Me, I could probably sell ad space to Uncle Spiffy Jerk Turkey Fries Shack, but not anyone else. The revenue I get from my ads nets me about a beer every two-three months. But I’m not

So, the question is: what will you do with the other $25K/month? I expect to see pictures of the Coding Horror Ferrari this time next year. :wink:

I’ve tossed around the idea of ads now and then on my site as well. I don’t get nearly as many page views as many others, but it would be nice to have some extra money to pay for the hosting.

But like you, I’ve also felt ads are obtrusive and have always felt that way. While I’m not old enough to remember when there were few ads on cable TV, I am old enough to remember when there were very few ads on the internet.

Will anyone even see the ads?

You can expect something similar to what Google Blogoscoped does. I don’t think this will be blockable in the traditional sense, but it should be minimally invasive.

what will you do with the other $25K/month?

I don’t mean to be coy about the actual amount, but I think it’s unhealthy to disclose actual ad revenues-- for the same reason people’s salaries aren’t public information at any company I’ve ever worked for. It breeds strife and dissent.

I’m all for transparency, but some things don’t work that way. It is possible, in a few select cases, to know too much…

I’ve never, ever understood the anti-ad stance on the net. Sure, in some cases people may be doing it for fun but there are also people out there trying to make a living by providing you with content. That doesn’t happen if people block ads, and most of those who block ads are probably not going to pay subscription fees either.

Granted, you have the extreme where a site is more ad than content coughmyspacecough but a few ads here and there shouldn’t be a problem.

Unless you want to pay for your content, deal with it.

“I don’t mean to be coy about the actual amount, but I think it’s unhealthy to disclose actual ad revenues”

Of course. Not to mention it weakens your negotiating position when it comes to selling ads.

Sadly, 10k wont go very far next time MS is suing one of its supporters.

Good stuff though. I would recommend getting somebody to sit down and develop an application framework for ASP.NET so that there would be some solid alternative to Rails on .NET.

Even if you used revenue for yourself, it wouldn’t be problem or something to be ashamed of. delivers superb content. The presence of ads won’t jeopardize its quality.

I too don’t understand people who are anti-ads. For one, I Adblock almost every site I visit. Adblock is the Internet equivalent of TiVo, filtering out all the content for you. Anyone who is so put off by ads can do the same. The only ads I can REMEMBER seeing in the past couple months are in-line ads on forums.

I don’t really care if people are biased because of their ad revenue, if not, they are likely biased for some other reason. I mean, there’s no way that we know if, instead of advertising, a blogger gets free gifts from companies in exchange for favorable reviews. A lot of people I know are inherently anti-Microsoft, I don’t see why I should trust them anymore than I trust someone who is pro-Microsoft because MS pays the bills. What’s the difference? The perception of most people on the Internet is extremely transparent.

This isn’t product placement on ABC News we’re talking about. We’re not talking about journalism for the most part, but some random blogger with an opinion. One guy and who knows what the hell he’s thinking. To imply corruption from advertising is to assume he’s already doing a good job. No one should ever be given the benefit of the doubt on the Internet.

I think most people blow the annoyance of advertising way out of proportion. Like the first post says: advertising is already so pervasive that a lot of people don’t even see it. It won’t lead to a collapse of the Internet or the blogging community, it will lead to a collapse of current advertising methodology.