sell out

July 19, 2011 |  Category:   life rambling the biz

“Selling out” is kind of an annoying, throw away phrase, isn’t it? Like a visceral reaction to anything that goes mainstream or involves capitalism. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I think when we were kids, when we were out there regularly protesting the Persian Gulf War or protesting gentrification, or animal cruelty or pretty much anything else that we could protest, we swore that we would never compromise our beliefs. We tried to live outside the mainstream as much as we could within an urban environment, be politically and socially active, and temporarily drop out of society altogether during the summer months to camp out in the woods. So when did things change? I’m not in touch with the old gang from the East Village anymore. I don’t know what’s become of everyone, but there are ways you can find snippets of information if you were really curious, and I’ve been a bit surprised to learn that some of my old friends aren’t living their lives that differently from the ideals and lifestyles that we harbored when we were teenagers and in our early 20s. Why does this surprise me? Because I don’t? Would my 19 year old self shake my head at my 41 year old self because I have a mortgage? Because I’ve worked for ad agencies hawking products that I didn’t necessarily believe in? Because I’m not a vegan anymore and I wear leather? There isn’t anything wrong with any of this, of course. Some may call it “growing up”, but it does make me confront the fact that maybe those college years for me were more about experimentation and going through some sort of phase and less about making a decision to live life according to any radical beliefs. I have to admire some of my old friends for keeping true to themselves all these years, not that I feel like I’m not, but it’s like that often quoted Talking Heads song, “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

It’s not to say that I did a complete 180 once I became an adult. I think I’ve done my best to generally avoid a corporate life and seek out projects with non profits and arts and culture clients, brief stints in ad agencies aside. But the truth is, I like buying stuff. I like wearing leather shoes (I mean I really, really like shoes). I like making money. And ok, let’s be honest, I can never camp in the woods like that ever again. Maybe for a few days, tops, but weeks would just bore me to tears.

What does this have to do with anything, you may ask? I’ve been asked why I’m so opposed to selling ads on the blog and while my strong knee-jerk reaction is “no way”, I’ve had to stop and really think about why. I guess my first thought is that advertising is literally everywhere and it’s hard to escape in the real world and online. Website, apps and blogs are resembling billboards and it gives me a headache. This is one space on the internet – my space – that I can control and keep free of advertising. This is also why if you email me to mention a product, talk about your business, donate a product for your blog giveaway, do a giveaway on my blog or write a sponsored post, I will turn you down (unless for charity in a few instances). I may occasionally write about small businesses of my friends that I want to support, but if I don’t know you then it doesn’t feel genuine to me. I want to be clear that I don’t think there is anything wrong with making money off of advertising on your blog if you have the readership to make it worthwhile, but it’s not something that feels right for me. As full disclosure, I did run a product and design blog in the mid 2000s that did make money off of ads as some of you may know, but it seemed appropriate in context there and was part of a larger network. I didn’t fully own that blog.

This decision isn’t without the occasional internal struggle, I won’t lie. My stance has been clear: no ads. But as the blog gains more readers I’m faced with a financial quandary from time to time. I will disclose that the monthly bill to host this blog on a server isn’t insignificant. It’s a real bill. As the blog attracts more readers and puts stress on the servers and I get notices from my hosting account that I’ve exceeded my bandwidth limit for yet another month and additional charges will get billed, I face the decision to upgrade servers for the 4th time which would also increase hosting costs. You might argue that the blog should be seen as a promotional vehicle for our business therefore costs should be folded into our expenses, and it is, but you and I know that this isn’t what the blog is about and I actually can’t measure how many sales are driven from blog traffic. My guess is that it’s only a few. So can I afford to keep this blog? For now, yes. In the future? I don’t know.

So I wonder sometimes, why am I so stubborn about the issue? Even though internet advertising isn’t what it used to be 5 years ago, I have a general idea of how much I could make if I sold ads on this blog. It could help pay for our health insurance. It could buy me some free time so I can focus on W&S projects that I never seem to have time for. After all, I spend so much time here. Sometimes it takes me 6 hours and lost sleep to write a single post. What is that worth?

I don’t know what the answer is, my friends. Some of you have expressed that you would be disappointed if I started selling ads. I wouldn’t worry as I still don’t think I could do it and I’d feel I was being hypocritical on something I feel pretty strongly about. I always believed if I had the ability to earn money by other means, I wouldn’t earn money through the blog. But sometimes I do wonder if I’m being stupid by turning stuff down, including a recent decision to turn down a crazy opportunity that would perhaps be a real shot at my 15 minutes of fame because it didn’t align with my beliefs.

Stupid integrity.

The girls had their first lemonade stand of the season this weekend. They made 10 dollars.

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  • lyn July 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Do what makes you (& your family) happy.

  • kimia kline July 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    i totally get why people have ads, and why people don’t. and while i know it pisses off a lot of readers, it’s really none of their business. its up to the blog owners. and at the end of the day id be much more disappointed to see this blog end than have a few sponsors on the upper right hand corner.

  • Terri July 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I hate ads but I’d rather have the ads than lose the content.

  • Christina July 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I am not opposed to seeing ads in your blog, especially if it means giving you more financial stability and freedom to continue doing what you do so wonderfully. Unless you are hawking products you do not believe in, hosting ads is not the equivalent of selling out. After following your blog for the past few months, I feel confident that whatever you ultimately decide to do, it will be with much careful thought and integrity.

  • Lindsey July 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    15 minutes of fame is just that: 15 minutes. Your level of celebrity is much more sustainable. Don’t compromise your beliefs now, you’ve come so far.

  • sara July 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Hum, such a tough decision to make! (even tough you seem you already made it a long time ago).
    If you put ads on your blog, nobody is going to judge you as hard as yourself.
    Sometimes wealth is beyond money. The pay check comes in an other form.
    There is no right answer, anyways. But… maybe it’s not just black and white! Maybe there is a way to make money without “selling out”.
    As a blog reader, I find myself never being too annoyed by blog’s ads because usually they are not from big companies but rather low key and match the blog content (a vintage store, an etsy hand made product, etc…). And their banners are far from being ugly. I shop and find really nice stuff through these ads. And in some ways, I still feel I m supporting a community, a kind of businesses that are not mainstream at all. “Selling” does not equal “selling out”.

  • Anna @ D16 July 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    You and I have talked about this plenty already so I won’t bother getting into it again, but there’s something I’m curious about. I frequently see bloggers mentioning the high cost of hosting and exceeding bandwidth, etc., and this confuses me. My blog is pretty high-traffic, but by total hosting bill for 20+ sites (though only my blog is high-traffic) for myself and friends is only about $140/year. That’s for unlimited storage and bandwidth. (And I actually haven’t paid a dime in years since I had an affiliate link for the hosting company on my old blog for a few years…those decade-old referrals have me covered indefinitely.)

    What am I missing? Is it something about the store site being hosting on the same server that’s causing your blog to be so expensive to run?

    I’m not criticizing, I’m honestly just wondering!

  • Jane Flanagan July 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I wrote a post about this recently too, after deciding to remove the (few and carefully curated) ads from my blog. It’s not the same dilemma as yours but I feel like many bloggers are at a similar crossroads. I completely respect any decision to have or not have ads, it’s the execution that I’m more cautiously reserved about. I’ve linked my post from my profile in case you care to read my two cents.

  • Katie July 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I’m new to your site – only been following for a few weeks. It’s quickly become a favorite.
    I would not mind ads at all. I totally understand why bloggers have them. And that they would make enough to pay a bill or two – I kind of can’t believe you haven’t done it already!
    If you ever decide to do it – I think most of your readers would be fine with them. I’ve noticed with other blogs I follow that once they are up, they are barely noticeable and people aren’t as upset as they thought they would be.

  • FL July 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    As a writer and scholar, my life has been dedicated to finding a way to live an economically sustainable life in a profession that I believe in. I understand what you’re saying about selling out–I too am a Gen-Xer that holds fast to some of the ideals of non-commercial transactions. But I also believe that artist and thinkers not considering the viability of livelihood makes it seem as if our work doesn’t hold any tangible value. I absolutely believe you should feel no reservation about placing ads if it means health insurance for your family. Accountability is more important, I think, than resistance, and you can control who you choose to advertise.

  • jen July 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    at 19 you have the luxury and privilege to make the choices to be a vegan, not wear leather, to be a radical since you have no concept of what it takes to feed a family. ha! but at 41 with kids, your choice is not just your own. every decision has a trickle down effect, especially to your kids. so if you need ads to support this site, do it! it’s not selling out, it’s being practical, you’re a mom, and it’s being business savvy, remember you are a small business owner.

  • Anna @ D16 July 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    p.s. I actually don’t believe in the concept of “selling out”. We are our true selves no matter what we do. Limiting decisions to match values established during times past has gotten the world nowhere on the whole. Do what’s right for you now and in the future, not what was right for you 20 years (or 20 minutes) ago.

  • Holly July 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Sometimes it’s not about losing readership or integrity when taking on advertisers, it’s that the blog becomes a “job” in itself. Kind of like when your hobby/passion becomes your job and all the fun is sucked out, and you need a hobby to relieve yourself of the stress. When you answer to others, things become different. At least this is what I’ve found. Ads on your blog would not bother me, and I would not judge you for them, but I think it becomes another somewhat corporate situation that must be managed.

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    @Anna, I think I remember you saying in the past that you get your hosting for very little because you’ve been with them for many years and have referred them to so many people. I suspect this isn’t the norm. Your total yearly hosting cost barely covers a fraction of mine. It has nothing to do with the store. The blog generates 12-15x more traffic daily than the store.

  • tina July 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Jenna, I think you inspire people in a very strong, deep way, to me that’s the beauty of your blog, it is very very inspiring and puts us in front of a mirror most of the time. I don’t know how you do it but you do it, at least that’s how I feel about sweetfineday. You should never stop writing, you are simply good at it, and maybe I’ve been selfish here because I simply enjoy reading you very much and I am not thinking about how much time it takes from you. I think if eventually you have to make a decision to either having or not having ads in your site all your readers are going to support whatever decision you make. keep inspiring us please.

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    @Anna I actually do think there is such a thing called “selling out” though it’s a term that is just tossed around casually and doesn’t really apply to most instances (like I hate when bands and artists are accused of selling out). It’s true, matching decisions to values established from the past doesn’t get us anywhere, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What about making decisions that compromise your current values to make a profit? I’ve been in situations where this has been a proposition. Am I being true to myself if I accepted something that made me uncomfortable, that went against what I say I believe in, solely because I wanted to make some money? I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think so.

  • jenny July 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I dont think you’d be a sellout if you put ads on your blog at all. I love reading it, and you have a unique voice and wonderful photography skills. I would be happy to see ads on there as long as they werent all flashy.

    I decided to try out foodbuzz although I’m not making any money from it really.

  • Holly July 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Also, a good reference, for quite some time now:
    http://students.ou.edu/M/Eric.C.Mai-1/DE.htm

  • Swedish in Atlanta July 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I see nothing wrong with making money off your blog. Especially if you have a family to support. I wish my blog had enough readers for advertisement:)
    Petra

  • Sara Jensen July 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Funny. A friend once referred me to another person as a designer. She wrote me an email saying “Dont worry I didnt tell her that you did stuff for Target or Costco.” I replied with “Why not?” She didnt think that it was arty enough. The way that I see it, work is work (I mean Im not designing smoking ads or something). Working for places like Target and Costco enables me to be able to afford to work on lesser paying and meaningful jobs. Im glad to be able to have stuff I worked on reach “the masses” and feel like people who cant afford to spend a certain amount of money on one of my totes might be able to afford one that Target made. That makes me happy.

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    @Jane Flanagan I remember when you wrote that post. It was good to reread it. Thanks again for the link.

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    @sara jensen This has little to do with design work being work. While I do find it sort of amusing some of the accounts I’ve been put on, I don’t actually have a moral dilemma over them. We’re not going to turn down whole foods, for example, if they wanted to sell our cookies. What I’m talking about is taking on ads and sponsorships and contributing towards a trend of where blogs are going with advertising. This is about blogging, not about work.

  • gia July 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    We are on the internet anyway, I don’t think having ads on your blog would change the appearance of it for me. I choose to read your blog for your writing and pics. As long as there is meat to your writing, I’ll stay.. (unless I go totally blog free).

  • Lauren July 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I recently started reading your blog and really enjoy it…a lot of that is because I appreciate that there is a lot of thoughtful content and not just a bunch of photos with a few words between (although I love your photos!). I wouldn’t see the addition of advertising as “selling out” at all. As a blog reader, I am more disturbed by product placement and freebees, honestly. I don’t have a problem w/ads that endorse products that the reader actually uses or has used, or that make sense with the general theme of the blog. I think adding some ads that might help cover your costs (at least) would be totally fine.

  • Anna @ D16 July 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    @Jenna: Ahh, but see (your reply to Sara)…there’s the rub. I think the decision to put ads on a blog makes it “work”. It’s no longer just blogging at that point. It’s a means of income, and there’s a responsibility that comes with that that I think takes the blog out of the realm of a “hobby” (for lack of a better word). It’s then a job, and even if it’s not your primary source of income, becoming reliant on that source of funds does affect to a degree your involvement with the blog. I’m not making an argument for or against ads, but I think it’s interesting that you make the distinction between work/blogging.

  • Anouk July 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    People pay for magazines, people like reading blogs – including me-.
    So why not paying for reading a blog: paying with reading or just see ads.
    You said it costs you a lot of time, so why not get some money for it.
    If people really like your writings and pictures they will keep following your blog, I definitly will.

    Everybody who read your blog will know you’re not only keeping a blog for the money

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    @Anna I see what you are saying about how a blog becomes “work” once you start relying on the income, but I still make the distinction for myself (not for anyone else) because of the nature of content, regardless of whether it’s making money or not. My other blog most definitely became a “job” and that’s why I “quit”. I maintain this blog for my sanity and a place to post my photos which in turn motivates me to get better at photo taking. I While I’m not saying that what your saying wouldn’t happen here, I would be very surprised if it did.

  • dolittledesign July 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I agree with Gia. If having ads will not change how you write then you are not ‘selling out’ while having some extra income. Ads are everywhere like it or not. I have come to accept seeing ads on side bars of blogs and tried to focus on the content. What I don’t like are mentioning/linking of products/services of sponsors/advertisers in the writing themselves or disguised them as ‘giveaways.’ Those are true turn-offs for me… I have to admit I like your current set–up a lot (no external ads only link to your shops) and admire you for it.

  • Jesse July 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    As a cheery old woman told me recently on an airplane, don’t take everything too seriously, we only travel this way once. If you need/want to put up ads to pay for the blog, then do it and don’t agonize over it. Be choosy with your ads if you want, accept ads from small businesses or artists, give them a platform to meet like-minded customers while paying for your blog. Or don’t. Or try it on a temporary basis, see what you think, and go from there. But as my mother always says, always think of the grand scheme of things. Putting ads on your blog doesn’t mean you lack integrity, and not having them doesn’t make you more authentic, or whatever the case may be. It doesn’t have to define who you are!

  • Juliet July 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I do find your blog so refreshing because it is ad-free. But as many others have said, I’d much prefer to read a few ads if it means you can continue to host this site, share your thoughts and convey the poetry of life as you do through your words and photos, without having to jeopardize your family’s financial position. I’m really moved by the honesty of this post. I’ve never really thought about how much it costs to host a blog; I can only imagine how much time it takes to put together each post – but the result is worthwhile – the fruit of your labor really holds a light up to us all. You’ve helped me come to see a lot of overlooked beauty in my life, the simple, precious relationships. I’m the breadwinner in our family, and for a looong time I’ve felt resentment, stress, and isolation in having to carry the financial burden of a family of four on just my shoulders. My husband, a freelance artist, has taken care of the our kids full-time for many years and in my mind I’ve emasculated him over the years, because I’ve thought that he “can’t take of me financially” even though he takes care of everything else in our household. But your words of wisdom helped me come to realize that the burden I carry was my choice all along. He never asked me to take on a grueling career so he could stay home with the kids. He was more than willing to work at whatever trade he could (in fact he did, before he was laid off on 9/11). Financial stability was what I wanted for our family; I didn’t have it as a kid and I swore that I wouldn’t put my kids through that stress. Well now I have a career that is grueling, I work 60 to 80 hours a week, this path I’ve chosen has put my kids through altogether different stresses than I had. (And there is no guaranteed financial security no matter what path you choose, as the economy has shown in the past few years.) You’ve helped me realize I was the one who never believed that as a freelancer, he could actually support us. I lost a lot, by making the choices that I’ve made and seeing the world as black and white when it came to careers, but as your posts remind me, there is time to cherish what we have now and laugh at the stupid ways of our younger selves. My choices have often been dictated by fear, but I don’t have to keep on that path. I’m totally babbling, but I just wanted to say, your posts have a profound way of stirring our consciousness. I’ll read the ads, if it means I can still read your words.

  • dee July 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Whatever you decide, I imaging most of us will choose to keep reading and seeing your beautiful photos. I have quit reading some blogs because a quarter or more of the content has become giveaways or promotions—but I am hoping you will keep this blog going at least until the girls grow up! Of course, there’s always the twice a year public radio style fundraiser option to cover server costs, too.

  • EmmaC July 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I totally understand your need to have a space that is all yours and how advertising might disrupt that feeling of safe-place. I also wonder if there’s a middle ground somewhere. Not all ads need to be those annoying, flashy, and irrelevant banners. Can you control the ads you put up here? What if you approached local stores and vendors who you love about placing ads on your blog? I really know nothing about marketing or how ads work on blogs, but maybe some brainstorming outside the box would help you find a solution that would bring in some money without compromising your morals? Good luck!

  • DAB July 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I was hoping that you were going to end your post by telling us you’d decided to put up ads! If they can make that much extra money for you (health insurance?!), with NO time or effort on your part, by all means, do it! I think it’s a no-brainer and by no stretch of the imagination would it mean you have less integrity- and if anyone thinks otherwise, that is his/her own issue. Best of luck!

  • Aura July 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    This is something I struggle with, as well. In the beginning I said absolutely no to ads, but that was easy when only my Mom and husband were reading my blog. I did some research recently and found out I could be making almost an extra couple thousand dollars a month, and those numbers hurt. With a baby and my husband in school full time, every little bit helps, but I still can’t bring myself to do it.
    Like you said, my blog is the one space I can control. I get so fed up with seeing people trying to make money off of every little thing, and it feels good to know that I continue to do it because it is a creative outlet for me.

    Recently I took part in a project for Sakura Bloom (baby-wearing company) and it bordered dangerously on the line I draw with advertising. When I originally agreed to do it, I was not aware that I would have to mention the sponsors on my blog. What it came down to was that what the company stands for is what I stand for, and I don’t have an issue speaking on behalf of companies, and businesses that go along with my ideals. I am glad to promote something I love myself.

    Maybe you can find your happy medium and only accept advertising from small businesses that you feel strongly about?
    Good luck with whatever you decide, and surely the people who genuinely appreciate you and this space won’t be offended.

    All my best,
    Aura

  • R @ Learning As I Chop July 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    $10 is pretty good! I just came over a few days ago and am loving your blog. Do what feels right to you.

  • Evie July 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    As someone who spends a lot of time reading blogs I can say that ads do not bother me. I rarely read sponsored posts but I understand why people do them. Even with hosting costs aside, blogging can take a significant amount of time.
    I do admire your integrity. You always say what is on your mind when most people would be afraid of causing controversy. I know you are doing this for yourself but I, for one, would not think any differently of you if I saw ads on your blog one day.

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    @Juliet Your comment has been one of the most amazing comments I have read here. Thank you so much.

  • Stephanie July 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve only been around for a few days but I wouldn’t be upset if you decided to do ads, heck – if it will help you pay for health insurance, then I say go for it! My husband and I often use these two sayings: “Don’t let life happen to you” and “Live deliberately” – the last one pulled from Michael Pollan. I think that you’ve given plenty of thought to this and you should do whatever is best for you and your family. Your content is what keeps me coming back, not whether or not you have ads on your space (I think I mentally block them out, anyway).

  • Abby July 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    $10 is great for a sidewalk lemonade stand!

    I’ve recently started reading your blog and working my way through the archives. You have created a very thoughtful and authentic corner of the internet, and I am enjoying spending time here.

    I will say that when I found you, I was pleased to see that you had no ads. Mainly for the first reason that you identified; it’s nice to have a space in your life that is free of advertising.

    A few months ago, two adamantly ad-free blogs that I read started advertising. I’m still unsure if I’m bothered by this or not. I think they made the switch a little indelicately, but aside from that, I keep asking myself – what is my problem with ads? And, more to the point, perhaps I’m in the wrong here, since a non-ad stance means, in essence, that I expect people to provide content for free.

    So, I’m still unsure on this one. The thing with advertising is that it affects us in subtle ways. Perhaps the presence of sponsors would change you and your content, in ways that weren’t immediately obvious. And if so, yes, that is an issue to me, from an integrity standpoint.

    But from a pragmatic day to day point of view, I’d like to see you succeed and if ads would help with health insurance, well then that’s good. I guess that’s where “selling out” starts to get blurry, because there is good in providing comfortably for your family too.

    As an aside, I appreciate that you’re fairly outspoken on how hard it is to pay for quality health insurance. We need more outrage.

  • Deirdre July 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    It’s true you can have small like minded businesses do ads, and it can lift up everyone. I’m in the same boat as you, family of four, hustling every month to make it all work. Stress up the ying yang twins. I started advertising these last few months through blogs (it was not even on my radar, as i’ve had no time to read blogs) but I needed to drum up money. It’s really helped the bottom line. I like that I’m supporting another person/family that is going it alone, rather than giving google or some other billion dollar corporation money for ads. This is afterall, the wild wild west and you my dear are one of the pioneers.

  • Kiana July 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I totally hear where you’re coming from and I can see why you think ad space would mean that you’re selling out. But first remember that people toss that phrase out all the time without having a firm idea why they’re doing so or what they mean by that. Secondly, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but these are tough economic times. Most of us don’t have the liberty to work regular 9-5 jobs even if we wanted to (and I should know because I’ve been applying to a whole bunch of different jobs since January with no luck) which means that we’re left looking for unorthodox means to pay our bills. I’m not saying we don’t have the luxury of having a conscience, I’m saying that these days we don’t have the luxury to starve.

  • Mackenzi July 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    As a small business owner, I am thrilled when quality, well-read blogs have ad space for sale. These days it is increasingly more difficult to ‘get the word out’ and advertising on compatible blogs is one of the best ways I have found to market my shop. If you decided to rethink your ad stance someday, I am sure you would find a plethora of lovely, indie owned shops you could partner with. Best of luck with all your endeavors!

  • Lia July 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I think that you have the right to get some money back for all the hard work and information that you share with people here. I have found tons of inspiration, and great info in your blog and I would not have mind some ads. I think that affiliate programs would be a great thing for you because you can choose a few companies that are already your favorites and share them with all of us. I loved to learn about the children’s stores where you find great clothes for your kids and I would not have minded if you had all those links as ads, it would have made it easier, in fact, for me to go to each store, instead of googling the websites.

  • audrey July 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    You don’t have to host obnoxious flashing, blinking ads, do you? Many blogs I know have ads that correlate with their content, and they’re actually very visually stimulating as well. You have a very specific aesthetic, and it’s guaranteed you can find products and businesses that represent that same aesthetic. You really don’t need our permission, all you need is an explanation of why you think adding ads to your blog is right for you, and anyone who cares will get over it. Your good friends aren’t going to disown you for making money off your blog, seriously. It’s quite possible you’re putting too much value in what your audience thinks of you. 😉

  • Jenna July 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    @Audrey I’m not asking for permission. I don’t think I’ve asked for permission from blog readers for anything and if I cared what people thought that much, I don’t think I would write about many of the things I do write about.
    I did say that some readers expressed they would be disappointed if i had ads, but I mention that because I find it odd that they would even point this out when I have never talked about having ads on the blog. This is more of an internal struggle.

  • Mary-Ellen July 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I just have to be honest. If a blog has ads, or any kind of sponsored posts, product placement, etc., I just don’t read them anymore. In all honesty, I lose respect for the integrity of the blog and feel like I am being manipulated. That’s why I loved buying Sandra Juto a “cup of coffee” in appreciation of being ad free.

  • jenna July 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I think ads are perfectly acceptable as long as they’re thoughtfully curated (a la Cup of Jo) and not just randomized blasts. I get the desire for going without, but it doesn’t seem to justify the extra expense, especially when you have the readership. But of course, do what feels best for you!

  • Taysa July 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I do believe there is such a thing as “selling-out”. Everyone cringes to think that they would be accused of it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t without justification. You have a family to feed and clothe and protect. If your blog is causing a financial burden and you see it as an extension of your business/career, than yes, it makes sense to sell ad space.

    But personally, one of the things I have loved about your blog is that it is ad free–and your content is honest and personal. Of course I don’t think your content would change if you started hosting ads, but I’m not sure I would keep reading to see. For me, I’m looking for ways to circumvent constant advertising, not find more of it.

  • Nan July 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I will still come here & read faithfully even if you “sell out”. Do what works for you. No blame. Your blog is lovely and if it helps support your family, all the better. You have integrity in your writing and that’s what matters, not whether you have ads or not. I also think you’d have great ads, you have great taste.

  • Jen July 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I vote for your including advertising. Not only will it help you out, but it could help out some businesses you truly love. Personally, advertising only gives me the creeps if it is insincere. Ads are great for little businesses. Also, you’d never let your blog become one of those ones with barely disclosed ad-riddled posts wrapped in cutesy endearments or air kissing.

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