Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ads on my blog. Do I share the money with you, my readers?

Need your help here.

Last week, I was offered a few quid for some advertising on my blog. I came clean and explained this might not be the best use of his cash. I'm usually on the buying side of advertising, so see lots of proposals and can honestly say that I'd have real difficulty justifying spending any ad money on my blog. I even offered to help find him more appropriate sites if he could explain his goals in more detail.

Despite all this, he still offered me money. For some text link advertising on selected pages here.

Should I take the money?

I know the reasons for not taking it. It might compromise the site design. It might compromise my views on the brand doing the advertising. Could I no longer be trusted to be honest? Am I selling out? Would it piss off readers and drive them away?

I was going to decline. But it does give me an opportunity to put a theory of mine into practice. So here goes.

What if bloggers were to share ad revenue with their readers? Without readers, no advertiser would be interested in my blog or any other. Unlike traditional media, readers contribute much more than passive reading. Wouldn't it be nice to share some of the financial reward with them?

If I took the money and shared it with you, how does this affect our blogger/reader relationship? Do we all profit from this? (With the exception of the advertiser in this occasion but I've been completely upfront and honest. But there are lots of blogs where an advertiser could get a high return on his investment). Or are we all worse off?

So this is my choice today. Do I...

  1. Decline the advertiser's offer?
  2. Take the money and share with you, my readers?
  3. Are there other / better options?

If we go with Option 2, I'll divide the money by the number of people who leave a comment or drop me a mail. It's probably fair to say that I put more effort into this blog than you, so the split should not be even. But since it is almost Christmas, and as it's not a huge amount of cash, I'm happy to split the money evenly this time. If you read regularly, speak up.

Also, it's worth noting that the advertiser may pull out after reading this, so this might fall through.

Love to hear your thoughts on this. If you know anybody with strong view or experience on this, please let me know.

Image via Riverwatcher09


Damien Mulley said...

If you take the money you shouldn't be sharing it. It's your hard work that puts this site together.

Pat Quirke said...

Agreed,nice seasonal thought, but it is your work, punted into cyberspace for free. We read it because we want to, think we might learn from it, any number of reasons. It is a two-way street, we expect to read for free, you do not charge. So, if you get paid, we do not profit.
The whole issue of feeling compromised, that is an individual emotion, can't help with that, sorry.

Anonymous said...

If you feel compromised taking the money then why not give it to a charity. There could be a nice 4 way thing there where 1. you benefit by raising money for a charity, 2. the charity benefits from the money, 3. the advertiser benefits by having their ads seen and 4. the readers benefit by knowing that if they read your blog then not only are they being enlightened but they are also helping raise a few quid for a charity. Win win win win. And a nice bit of PR etc.

Peter Tanham said...

That would be a bit of a topsy turvey model, no? You provide a great quality service, and you provide it for free. Besides going into the logistics of it (paying people to comment would incentivise spamming way too much).

What I would suggest is to accept the offer - take the well earned money for a top quality blog. And then maybe use a proportion of it to buy prizes, gifts, e.g. iTunes/amazon voucher for comment of the month?

Kevin Healy said...

Interesting idea - how would you have proposed sharing the cash? What percentage? More for the people who comment more often etc?

Anonymous said...

Paul, your readers have spoken. I think its a nice idea to share the cash and would happily have accepted any money off you (Im sure you must owe me some!). I agree with you, your blog is the success it is because people read and respond to your posts. Ok you put the effort into content that is great so you should benefit the most.

I have no issue with ads and they will only compromise the blog if you let them.

I do think donating to charity is a nice way around you feeling personally compromised. You could ask your readers to suggest a charity perhaps.

Paul Dervan said...

It's fair to say you are all in agreement here.

Personally I don't feel compromised but wondered about your views. Thanks for the nice comments about my blog too.

I'll accept his ad offer if he is still interested and will do a prize or donate to charity.

Conor, you owe me more than any advertiser could pay.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy the blog Paul. I agree with Damien. Keep the posts coming.Great work.

Paul Dervan said...

cheers Joe.


Anonymous said...

Take the cash and enjoy it. Editorial compromise is only an issue if you let it become one. The world of publishing is full of advertising and opinion living comfortably side by side. Blogs should be no exception.

Nick McGivney said...

If you share the cash, the relationship will of course change. If it becomes a successful model, the very success would surely generate new 'friends' coming for the payola.(Funny how today's my first comment!)

If you keep the cash then what are you doing other than taking marketing to its logical conclusion?

Your work, your pay is how I'd play it.

Paul Dervan said...

thanks Nick. I'm going to accept offer, and then take it from there. Not big amount of cash, so not a big deal. Wonder if my view would be different if it was a lot of money.

Roger O'Reilly said...

Funny how the Irish Times don't share any of the advertising revenue with the scribes on the letters page. Pretty much the same thing as posting comments on a blog.