Would Advertising Offend You?

by Jason Falls |
Jason Falls
Jason Falls

I’ve had a couple of discussions with colleagues at South by Southwest about the monetization of blogs. I’m also asked to comment on monetization strategies when I speak about blogging. While I have a cursory understanding of the topic, I don’t practice blog advertising or affiliate marketing myself, sans some Google ads on my personal blog.

The decision to remove advertising from Social Media Explorer (I had them once) was made because I subscribe to the, “Because Effect,” philosophy coined by Doc Searls. I don’t make money from my blog. I make money because of it. The thought leadership platform attracts emails, phone calls and opportunities for me, Kat and David to connect with potential new clients on behalf of Doe-Anderson. The absence of advertising probably makes for a cleaner user experience as well.

But here are some arguments I’ve heard from friends this week as to why I should incorporate advertising on SME:

  1. You can better advise clients about affiliate programs, pay-per-click advertising and blog monetization.
  2. You’ve reached a level of traffic that could put a little spare change in your pocket and you deserve it.
  3. You could use the money to improve the blog, invest in email marketing tools, supplement what you’re doing on a volunteer basis for Social Media Club and more.
  4. You of all people will do it in a fashion that won’t offend your audience.

And here are my thoughts in return:

  1. I can do more research on those type programs and perhaps play with them on my personal blog, though I don’t have much time to push content there.
  2. Unless I leave or lose my job, spare change from my blog isn’t necessary. Sure, I’ll take all I can get, but unless I have a need to meet my personal bottom line.
  3. Having the ability to afford some extra marketing tools would be nice, but I’ve made it this far without them.
  4. Sure, but does the switch from giving away my thoughts to monetize them not deteriorate my credibility in some eyes, even if minutely?

Honestly, until these conversations popped up, I hadn’t given advertising on Social Media Explorer much thought. Regardless of my real job, my hope is SME will always serve as a place where you can get insight, analysis and opinion on social media tools, technologies, programs and strategies. Advertising wouldn’t change that.

But this blog is as much yours as it is mine. Would ads, and I would insist they be relevant to the general topics we cover, turn you off? I’d love your thoughts.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).