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July 13, 2007


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I guess, for me, it all depends on what the ads look like. On amalah.com, for instance, I hardly even notice the ads in her right sidebar. But other blogs, where they are right at the top, blinking, flashin, ugly, etc., I'd have to think their writing was just unbelievable to keep reading. Because, it's really just distracting (and also, it seems so "hey, look at me; I write for the MAN now, because I'm more awesome than you all).


I freaking hate seeing ads on personal blogs. I think it's turned the introspective nature of individual writing into a commercial affair and it detracts from the enjoyment of reading blogs. Like Janssen said, the writing has to be damn good for me to keep reading.


I don't notice them unless they're blinking or pop-ups. So I totally don't care. I figure, hey, if you're getting enough ads to quit work and support yourself by blogging, go for it! It's the american dream....


Ads disrupt us in what we are doing. I visit blogs for enjoyment, not for the Discover card they're offering me. If I wanted a Discover card I would have gone to Google and searched for something related. Ads waste my time. That is annoying; really annoying.


Hey MD. Good post. I have never stopped reading a blog because of ads, but it turns me off a little. That being said, I'm also turned off by the "This is an Ad-Free Blog" buttons that you see. I'm committed to no advertisements on my own blog, but folks should be able to do what they want.


As long as they do not blink or pop up and fit the design of the site, I do not mind. But some are pretty annoying and I have quit reading some blogs over annoying and intrusive advertising.


After reading Paula's New List of Blogger Salaries (via a Citymama commenter), I'm ready to sell my soul. I would be psyched just to get my monthly parking paid.

That being said, I agree with Janssen. As long as the ads don't interfere with the blog itself, then it's cool. Otherwise I get annoyed.

As Citymama herself pointed out, she is putting something out there so yes, I believe she should get paid for it. Hell, I'd put up with you hawking anything from scotch to Chuck E. Cheese (as long as you don't put a big f'ing cartoon mouse in your header) to read your posts. I know I'm not the only one.

If your posts are interesting enough, I don't give a shit with whom you've affiliated yourself. If your posts make me laugh or make me think, that's all I want.


I think I know which blog Mimi Smartypants was talking about and I had the same (visceral) reaction...along the lines of "what the fuck?"

Just as I don't doodle company logos in my diary, blogs should be advert free.
With certain parenting blogs in particular, the ads seem really incongruous.


Yeah, I don't really mind that much, to be honest. I tune them out, and if they help some poor mom get to BlogHer, then so be it. I'm sure I'll never have them, because I don't think they'll cut checks as small as mine would be. What's $0.000001 times 4 readers? :)


Hooray for you. I couldn't agree more. I respect people's decision to put ads on their blogs, but it rankles me that they continue to claim "this is a private blog" after they've done so. When you put advertising on your blog, you become a spokesperson for those companies. Don't like that role? Ditch the advertising. You can't have it both ways.

Andy Broyles

I am with you on this one all the way.

Never had em, never will.

I have also run a sports enthusiast discussion forum since 1998 and have only taken donations to fund its operation.

Way to much loss of control if you go the ad sales route.

6th Floor Blogger

I've only been blogging four months now, and we're only up to about 80 visitors a day. I don't know that I would get that much money from advertising, so I haven't. I'm still up in the air about whether or not I would advertise. Google AdSense isn't the most evil thing in the world, but do I'm not sure I want it tarnishing my site just yet.

As for viewing it, I honestly rarely notice. I've become so accustomed, and not just on blogs or the internet, to tuning out advertisements that I barely notice. You could give me a list of the blogs I read to guess whether they advertise or not, and I'd probably only be right 50% of the time. Some sites do overdue it, when you have to search for the actual content, then it's a big deal. It should always be site with ads, not the other way around.


As long as the ads aren't big and flashing, I really don't care. I read because the writing is good. If the ads detract from that, well, I go read somewhere else. But, like Citymama says, she's putting something out there and it's certainly worth getting paid for.

Papa Bradstein

As others have said, it all depends on how irritating the ads are and how good the blog is.

I just dropped some Google-generated ads in my sidebar recently, hopefully in an unobtrusive enough style that all six of my readers can ignore them to focus on my blabberings. The other things in my sidebar are there as the result of reader requests or because they amuse me, but the ads are there as an experiment for work, just as I originally experimented with Blogger as part of testing blog software for work--then got hooked, damnit.

The ads are certainly not there for the money, since they'll return about enough to buy 3B half a pack of onesies by the time he's in high school. To make real money, I'd have to have lots of big flashing ads all over the page, which would certainly irritate me more than any reader. But for those bloggers who want to afford the full pack of onesies before high school, I figure they can go ahead and put those ads on their blog--my feed reader only displays the posts, not the ads, so I don't see the ads unless I go there to comment.

Most irritating to me are those bloggers who don't put their full post into their feed. I know they do this to force me to click through to their blog to see their valuable ads, but it results in me never reading their posts and consequently never clicking through to comment (and see those valuable ads). I'm not irked by bloggers placing ads around the thoughts that they're sharing as much as I am by bloggers who don't freely share their thoughts in whatever format is easiest for their readers to read them in. To me, that violates the sharing spirit of blogging more than bald-faced crass commercialism.

Oh, and let me know how the Aston-Martin deal works out, and if they need a similar ad outlet in the DC area.


I find it ironic that all the parenting blogs I like to read are the ones sporting those giant Federated McDonald's ads. 'Cause you know, McDonalds is such a healthy place to take your kids to eat. Just slightly hypocritical, no?


I think people should be able to recoup costs of hosting the blog -- tastefully. Not everybody does that, as the above comments attest.

Some people seem to be what I'd call "ad whores" and produce the ugliest blogs on the planet as a result. They should indeed be shunned.


It is a bit jarring to see ads on what's essentially someone's online diary. Some of them manage to have smaller, less distracting ads, but the majority are pretty glaring and take away from the personal nature of blogs.

I can understand wanting to earn a few extra bucks, though. I briefly considered putting ads on my blog, but with a readership of about nine, any money would be a lonnnnngggg time coming. Also, I didn't like the idea of how crowded my blog would look -- ads on top of blogrolls, my Flickr badge, my email app, etc.

Good luck with that Aston Martin!


What about your iPod ad?

I just recently added ads to my blog. My opinion will be a direct result of whether or not they make me any money.

That said,I don't mind them on blogs, as long as they are out of the way and not distracting.

The ads that I don't care for are the posts where people push items that they've been paid to review.

The fringes of a blog are one thing, but the content should be genuine.

**This comment was brought to you by Sparkletts water and Nabisco.

Woman with Kids

Ads on blogs don't bother me. It's the blogs that seem to be nothing but ads for different companies that drive me insane. If I wanted to see more commercials, I wouldn't have unglued myself from my television.


As I think you know I have a famous blogging cousin and she and I had this very conversation a few days ago. She was adamant that I put ads on but that I market myself like a magazine - meaning I choose who advertises and I charge a rate rather than using the "click and we'll pay you" method. I thought this was a nice compromise as I would have control over who advertised on my blog. I have resisted the ads thing for a while but if I can make $12 grand a year or more and put that money into a college fund for my kids, it's hard to pass that up.

*This comment was sponsored by Whit and his bald head.

Mama Nabi

Believe it or not, I'm a bit clueless as to how ads work on blogs - I vaguely knew that someone got paid somehow. Ha, my blog's not the most visually aesthetic anyway so I don't know what ads would do to it.
On others' blogs? To be honest, I don't freaking care what someone else does on their own blogs - if what they write interests me, the ads don't even register with me (hence, my ignorance until recently of ads actually making money for the blogger). If I don't read their blogs, it's not due to the ads, whether annoying or tempting... it's probably because I find their writing rather tiresome.
That said, I personally wouldn't put ads on mine - I'd be afraid that I'd start writing for the numbers and not for my own peace of mind after a good vent. If I wanted to do that, I'd have gotten a real writer's job.


I almost stopped reading a lot of blogs (not to mention news sites) because the ads drove me crazy. Happily the new adblock software I downloaded for firefox (available at the mozilla site) seems to kill them all. Now I have no idea who has ads on their blogs, but in principle I'm with smartypants and metrodad.


I almost stopped reading a lot of blogs (not to mention news sites) because the ads drove me crazy. Happily the new adblock software I downloaded for firefox (available at the mozilla site) seems to kill them all. Now I have no idea who has ads on their blogs, but in principle I'm with smartypants and metrodad.


The ads don't bother me, either. I see them at pretty much every site I go to, and a blog isn't much different to me.

What I do dislike is a blog where the person has filled up every free space on the page with all kinds of crap like buttons and 'awards' and shit like that. THAT is the stuff I find distracting and uncomfortable for some reason.

I don't read because someone got an 'award'; I read because that person can hold my interest day after day.

And my idea is, if you can make money blogging, YOU GO!


I view most of the blogs I read in a RSS news reader (netvibes), so I never see the ads.


I so agree! I'd LOVE to make money by writing my blog, but I absolutely can't and won't put ads on it.

This blog is ME to the core; those ads aren't. It's that simple.

I admire postsecret.com because, though their insane popularity they're refused to advertise! Instead they sell books -- which is fine because people aren't bombarded by books when they're trying to do something else. You kinda have to SEEK them. Same with ads and blogs.

Stay non-profit, MD!



I'm not as put off by ads as I am when people ask for contributions for their personal Pay Pal account. When it's for a charity, I have no beef with it. But the person stating that they'd like us to contribute, so that we'll continue to read their personal opinions, something I share for free, then I tend to stop reading.

I have no ads, I don't do this for money. I have a job for money. Some bloggers have made blogging their job and that's great, but they can't expect us all to be willing to pay them. If that makes any since at all.

Now having said that, I am buyable, but only for the right company. :)

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

I don't even notice them on other sites.

I do notice the checks, though. And some of them are nice.


I've always loved the fact that you don't have any ads on your site, MD and that you don't put any of those award badges on your site.

Stay gold, Pony Boy!


The ads themselves don't bother me too much (I heart bloglines), but there is some question about whether ads change how people write. Bite My Cookie had a good post on this a week or two back. If you are writing for the traffic to pump up ad revenue, it seems to miss the point of why most people started blogging. I haven't dropped blogs specifically because of ads, but I have dropped blogs that saw a quality drop when ads meant a desire for traffic meant daily posts of no substance meant boring boring boring.


The ads don't bother me, as long as (a) they're not obnoxious (b) the content of the blog doesn't change and (c) they're not hawking something awful. The McDonald's ad was a bit shocking to me. I'm contemplating putting up ads, even though I only have, like, twelve readers. I don't see how it's any different from writing (for example) a memoir or a magazine article about your family and getting paid for it.

Also, I don't see how having ads on your blog is any different from writing for Babble.


I had Google Adsense when I started out about a year ago, but did away with it. I suppose, if there was a social cause I wanted people to donate to or something, I'd post that kind of advertising. But beyond that I don't see the point. I didn't start out to make money, and while it would be nice, I don't envision the day that I'll be able to give up my day job and blog for bucks. Plus, while my readership has grown, it's not nearly enough to make the ads pay off, so why burden my brilliant, beautiful and sexy readers with sidebars of crap!


How am I going to increase my beaufitul, sexy and intelligent readership if I have my link wrong? Ugh.

..This message brought to you by RIF - Reading Is Fundamental!


i hates the fucking ads. i'm w/ you dude!

JJ Daddy Baby Momma

I think it really depends on the type of blog. As yours is more of an introspective diary into the highs and lows of parenting and marriage, unless you were advertising Lexapro or AstroGlide or something, it wouldn't make sense. However, other blogs are more about the stuff, and I appreciate finding ways to get the stuff, as I wouldn't be checking out blogs about stuff if I could find it locally.


I don't even notice most ads, but I sure did notice the McDonalds one from FM. Especially since the blog I saw it on was one of the "food nazi" blogs that insists that giving a child chips is tantamount to child abuse.

I have ads on my site, and I have to agree with Goon Squad Sarah. The checks I get each month are very nice. I need the money. The money I make on ads feeds my family for a week. So I kinda LIKE my ads. But I'm careful with them. I won't put anything on my site that I wouldn't buy myself.


My opinion on blog advertising is definitely shaped by my career as a journalist: I heartily disagree with the statement, "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." I believe that would only be true if you went out and solicited the ads yourself -- otherwise, the line between content and commerce is far blurrier. I once wrote a bylined travel story for the NY Times -- does that mean that I aligned myself with all the advertisers that appeared in the section the same day my name did? Sure, their ads are what make the section possible, but that thought never occurred to me when I wrote my story. I wasn't writing for them -- I was writing for my readers. I think this is why I have no qualms at all about placing ads on my blog.

dutch from sweet juniper

This is really a tired issue that was fully hashed out ad nauseam when dooce started advertising.

Actually, it was already tired in the mid-nineties when indie bands started selling their songs for television commercials and all the hipsters had a collective conniption fit.

I'm sure this shit was tired when those Florentine hipsters in those fucking hats scoffed at Michelangelo for shacking up with Lorenzo de' Medici, shouting, "You're a sellout, Buonarroti!" in the Piazza della Signoria.

The McDonalds campaign is on my site. So what? The underlying premise that a writer automatically aligns his writing to his advertiser is false (unless one were to say, accept a free portable DVD player and then write a post about it). I'm kidding. I don't really want to be too harsh on you, MD, but by bringing this up and then backing away shaking your hands with the "I'm not judging anyone" you can't escape the fact that your position on this is shaped partly on your ideals but also by the fact that your blog is still just a fun side venture for you. You own a successful New York fashion company. When I was lawyering, I never would have put ads on my site. But several months after I quit my lawyer job to become a stay at home dad, I added ads to the site so I could support my family. It's very easy for that punk-rock kid to judge and condemn everyone for selling out when he's sitting on grandpa's trust fund. Or, in your current and my former case, a corporate salary.

My blog is not a diary. It is a place to self-publish my writing. We already know you don't shun the New Yorker magazine despite its ad-riddled pages. Why does Joyce Carol Oates get a pass for publishing another boring story between ads in there every other fucking month, but not a stay-at-home dad paying his mortgage by writing his own web site?

Most of the people bitching about my advertising already didn't like me. They are always on the lookout for a way to call me a hypocrite or make fun of me. But I trust that most of the people who care about my site and my family's story are savvy enough to look around the ads and understand that right now I am able to tell my story because the Medicis of the 21st fucking century have seen fit to pay me to do it.

I'm glad Mimi Smartypants is out there Fugazi-ing it up for the rest of us. Good luck with that, ma'am. But me, I've got a family to support. And right now blogging is how I'm doing it.


I don't like ads on blogs. Blogs are personal expressions, diaries, journals. Would you want someone to advertise in your journal? Maybe I'm too old skool or luddite or something, but I think it's wrong. If bloggers want to be thought of as writers, then no ads. Books don't have ads in them. Yet.


It's also the same argument from zine days -- zines with ads (i.e. sellouts) vs. zines that were total acts of self expression and passion with no ads. No one supported their families doing a zine, but nowadays people support their families from doing a blog. Blows me away.


(from the other KC)

I'm not anti-ads for others, but it's definitely not for me. There's a purity to blogging for me that I would lose with ads on my blog. Although, I might hypocritically have ads if I had a ragingly successful blog...if only to donate that money to charity. But then again, I don't need income from my blog. And I respect those who do.


I had the Google Ad sense for a little while, but some friends of mine tried helping me earn more money, so they clicked on it a bit too much and I got banned.

I liked them because they weren't intrusive.

Now I don't have anything. Except sometimes I post stuff from "payperpost.com" to earn some side cash.

And yes MD, I'm a recent graduate who desperate needs the money.

Hygiene Dad

A vendor approached me with an offer and I took it for a year. I'm happy b/c it's just a few words and they paid me (good money) upfront.

So then I decided to try the Google ads for a few months to see if there is any money in them...so far nada. I'll probably remove them in a few months if they don't produce anything soon.

If you stop reading me, I'll be disappointed. Honestly, I'd take off the offensive ones not to lose you as a reader. :)


I've seen this debate played out online since 1995. There have always been people that hate advertising on the web and those who accept it or ignore it. And there always will.

Frankly, I've never been able to understand why people get so upset by this. Watch television? Enjoy the ads. Listen to the radio? Enjoy the ads. Read a magazine? Enjoy the ads. Take a drive down the highway? Enjoy the ads. Why is the web supposed to be any different? I've never understood why some believe everything on the web should be free.

And Dutch couldn't be more correct. By showing an advertisement on his blog, the writer is not endorsing the product. That would be the same thing as saying a television network is endorsing the product that's shown in the commercial. Advertisers want to reach your readers. You are merely showing an ad that someone thinks your readers might be interested in (BTW, I use BlogAds and I have the ability to reject advertisers; I do not know if FM offers the same service.).

Like Dutch, I am a stay-at-home dad. What money I make through advertising on my blog definitely helps our family.


Like another poster above, my blog reading is done via RSS feeds - it removes all ads, formatting, etc and gives you the pure information in a well structured way. With Safari RSS (on a mac, or windows now too, I suppose) it will even tell you when there are new articles to be read, so you don't have to waste time sifting through several sites in case there's news to be had

Amy / Girl's Life

Amen, Dutch and Chaq!

I agree with some that ads can be intrusive, but I have them on both of my blogs and they have been very helpful with rent while my husband looked for a job. I use Text Link Ads mainly, and those are not in your face at all. Businesses just pay you to have their link on your site and I can reject any of them I don't want or think would be appropriate.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I love to write and I would be writing freelance if I weren't blogging. So I would be getting paid for that. This way I just get to do it on my own terms and I don't have to go out and look for assignments.

Just my opinion...if ya'll don't like ads, I respect that, too.


I briefly considered having ads on my blog, but it felt pretentious since I had, maybe, 15 readers. =P No, really, I don't post frequently enough to earn any money off it. But if I did put more work into my blog, I would totally be more than happy to get paid for it.

I'm with Rachel and L. and Dutch and Chaq. Honestly, I think you're over-simplifying the issue (or, not you, I guess, but Mimi Smartypants, but you "couldn't agree more" so...). Just because Dutch has an ad for McDonald's on his blog, totally doesn't mean I suddenly think he and Wood have aligned themselves with everything McDonalds has ever done. Seriously? The world is simply not that black and white.

Likewise, over at kimchimamas, I don't feel like I'm aligning myself with every thing our advertisers (though Blogher) have ever done just because I post something there. Honestly, most of the time I don't even notice the ad, but even when I do...is someone really going to give us a hard time for the ads we put on our blog, the proceeds of which have been donated to charity? (sorry, I am the queen of the run-on sentence).

"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." - That's all well-and-good, but ultimately some folks want to get paid for their creative expression. Because they have families to support and the rent to pay. If they're talented enough to have loyal readers, then why shouldn't they be able to do what they enjoy and be able to pay their bills at the same time?


Another RSS reader here, so I'm less exposed than some.

Live and let live is my working philosophy, but I do agree that when you put ads on your site, you're supporting the companies who put those ads up - you're *promoting* that company. They are paying you money because they get something out of it. Arguing that you're not supporting them is like arguing that you're not supporting your employer in a salaried job. Nope - you're getting compensated AND you're supporting the company.

For me, it's not about the concern that writing will change to suit the advertisers, it's about the fact that your writing, and my visiting your site, gives these advertisers what they want.

I read blogs with ads, watch my broadcast TV with ads and read my ad-filled NYT online. I don't like supporting advertising efforts, but it's a compromise I've chosen to make because I'm cheap, and there aren't always ad-free substitutes available.

Choosing to put ads up is a valid choice. Choosing to boycott a blog because of those ads is also valid. Problems arise when folks feel entitled to have others support and facilitate their choice. (Expecting no one to contest or discuss your shiny new ads vs. expecting all content to be provided for free without ads.)


This whole discussion reminds of grad school, when the journalism students (which I was) encountered writing students in the MFA program, some of whom would suggest that the writing they were doing was superior to the writing we were doing -- because, after all, they were artists. They were honing their art, created for art's sake, while we were simply learning a trade. And we would look at them, blink, and say, "So? What's your point?" and get another beer. I certainly didn't see anything wrong with what they were doing -- i just didn't buy their argument that it was in any way superior to what I was doing, and I still don't.


For the record, BlogHer absolutely lets its ad network members decide what kinds of ads they will accept. Bloggers submit a list of goods, services, companies etc. that they don't want advertising on their blogs, and in that regard, the blogger is able to control the advertisers. (My "no ad" list is very specific.)

I used to feel like my blog was this pristine thing and that I didn't want to make money off the backs of my kids etc etc, but then I decided that if I could control it, why not get paid for what (after several years) I considered my work.

Having worked in marketing for years, I'm also savvy enough to recognize when companies are trying to take advantange. For example, I will accept products for review (esp things I actually use like laundry detergent, books, and moisturizer), and I may or may not give a favorable review. But try to get me to do your marketing writing for you in exchange for 2 ounces of stain remover? Nuh uh. Bloggers need to be keenly aware of what they are worth to these advertisers and PR people. If you are going to get paid, get paid what you are worth. It's better for everyone all around. If more people did this, maybe we wouldnt have to read advertaposts pretending to be real posts anymore.

Anyway, back to the motivation for accepting ads. For some people, myself included, it may be a matter of finances more than anything. After not working for 3 years, getting a little runaround money was nice. And when that turned into grocery money, then preschool money (and so on) even better.

I put something out there that people consume, I get paid, my family benefits. I'm am all for supporting parents who choose to stay home with their kids. Some of us have sacrificed a lot to do so, and if a little ad money makes life easier, it's a good thing in my opinion.

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