Hosting Ads On Your Blog Is NOT Selling OutCecily Kellogg
In the eight years I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen more heartfelt posts about the evils of blog monetization than you can count. It’s an issue that crops up with passion every couple of years in the corner of the blogosphere that is usually called “personal” or “memoir” blogging (oddly, nearly every other corner of the blogosphere is exempt from this kind of scrutiny and judgement, except maybe food blogging).
So I wasn’t terribly surprised to read this blog post from a blogger proclaiming gleefully that her blog was going to remain ad free because, as she says in the title of the post, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” Here’s what she has to say.
I have never, and will never make a penny off of this blog.I will never accept a freebie. On the rare case that I offer a giveaway, it’s because A MONKEE has something MONKEE LIKE she’d like to share out of love. And if I love the Monkee thing, I BUY the Monkee thing. So that there is never any confusion about what it is that I am doing here. And I will never, ever, reference a link I’m not in love with just to gain a few readers. Goodness gracious.
I don’t know the author of that post. I understand her motivation to keep her site ad-free, but I have to object to some of her language later in the post where she discusses “purity” while referencing Thoreau and the Kingdom of God. Her motivations for keeping her site free of ads get to the heart of blogging, for sure.
We are successful because chances are that tonight some tired and lonely mom will click on a friend’s link and get lost in our essays and our comments and our love for each other.
But does that mean those of us that choose to take our love of blogging and make it a profession aren’t reaching out our hands to other moms? Does that mean that we are “for sale” as Glennon’s blog post proclaims? It’s interesting to note, by the way, that Glennon is currently shopping a book and being considered for reality shows all endeavors that I assume, of course, will make some money and use her blog as a platform.
Sigh. I don’t want to sound like I’m trashing Glennon, because I understand how it looks from where she stands, but my position is different. She says she spends two hours a day blogging; I don’t have the choice to spend that much time doing something I won’t get paid for, frankly. But I love blogging, and have nothing but gratitude for the ads on my site and my paid writing gigs (like this one) that make it possible to earn a living doing what is basically the non-human love of my life writing.
I refuse to feel guilty about that.
I think Tracey said it best at her blog Sweetney today.
“I chose to fight to do this thing I love. And fighting for it meant that, yes, I had to turn things around and make it profitable. Because I was no longer sitting in that seat of privilege, I had to change my perspective, and fast.
So does that perspective shift make me a sellout and somehow less authentic? Does accepting money for doing something you love necessarily cheapen or sully that thing? Does the knowledge that Shakespeare was paid for his plays cheapen them in your eyes? Does it make the prose less melodic, his insights into the human heart and mind less meaningful? Does it?”
No, Tracey, I don’t think it does.