I've had numerous conversations and e-mail exchanges with bloggers asking me why I don't put ads on my site.
It's not that I couldn't use the extra money. After all, cashmere boxers, gold-laced shower curtains, and beluga mayonnaise don't grow on trees, right? And am I the only one who cares that the price of domestic help is starting to reach stratospheric levels? Just this past week, my personal foodtaster Toto asked for more dough because his maid needed to get the tires on her BMW rotated. So yeah, who couldn't use a little extra green in their pockets?
All kidding aside, I generally find the idea of advertising on personal blogs to be the complete antithesis of what blogging should be about and that's generally why I've shunned them on this site.
However, I've never really been able to fully articulate my feelings on exactly why I dislike the idea of ads on personal blogs. Thankfully, I have Mimi Smartypants. As she writes in a recent post:
I got into a minor debate recently about ads on blogs, because I was naively shocked to see one of my favorites with a big old honking McDonald's ad in the sidebar. I am sure when you sign up with Federated Media or any of the other blog-ad conglomerates, you don't get much of a say in what ads show up. Which is precisely the point.
When you attach your personal output (your song, your blog, your likeness) to a corporation, you align yourself with everything that corporation has ever done. In a small way, to be sure: no one is going to hold the aforementioned blog writer directly responsible for junk-food marketing to children or the destruction of the rainforests. But the fact remains that when you get advertising money from McDonald's, you become part of their business. If that is cool with you, then fine---it would be a cold day in hell, personally, but whatever.
It is not really my intent to pick on McDonald's, as my insides are not entirely Filet O' Fish free. My point is more that, through my lame, idealistic, aging-punk, Diaryland-colored glasses, I have a hard time seeing personal web pages as a business. There is something so cool about getting to read the thoughts of people I have never met, and then over there in the sidebar is this big honking ad for a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and that punctures the pleasure balloon somewhat.
Ads are fucking everywhere. It would be nice to see just a sliver of handcrafted, non-commercial, free-to-all, personal-expression space in the world, even if just on the internet.
I couldn't agree more, Mimi.
Now I might not be most objective guy to lecture anyone on the dangers of advertising and pervasive consumerism, given the fact that my apartment is overfilled with a random array of useless shit and makes Charles Foster Kane's basement look like an empty breadbox.
But you know the omnipresence of advertising in our daily lives is getting out of hand when parents start auctioning off naming rights for their unborn babies and college girls start tattooing corporate logos on their breasts.
As usual, I'm not passing judgment on any personal bloggers who feel the need to post ads on their site. Advertising is a biological impulse found throughout the natural world. Peacocks attract the attention of a mate through a multicolored feather display. Baboons signal their sexual readiness with a pair of red, swollen buttocks. And shit, my wife and I just got a great deal on some attractively priced insurance from a fucking gecko!
So yeah, you probably won't be seeing any ads on this site anytime soon (of course, should the good people over at Aston Martin feel like sponsoring the site and donating the use of one of their fine automobiles, I'll be the first in line to tattoo their logo on my ass and name my second child DB9.)
But just out of curiosity, how do you feel when you see ads on personal blogs? Do they turn you off? Do you even care? If you have ads on your blog, do you feel they're worth it? Have you ever considered removing them? In all honesty, I've stopped reading more than a few blogs because I couldn't deal with the advertising. Have you ever done the same?
An inquiring mind wants to know...