Monetizing My Blog

I spend a lot of time working on my blog, and I used to think it would be nice to get some money out of it.

Years ago I got two emails from different ad agencies at the same time. They wanted to place ads at particular essays for $50 a year. I decided to give them a try.

My first correspondent wanted a link on my “Does Alcohol in Teens Lead to Adult Woes?” essay, connecting to a website offering help to alcoholics. I agreed. But when I read the actual text, I couldn’t stop laughing. The text they wanted to use was, “Many studies have already claimed that teenage alcoholism could lead to more problems later in life.” How ironic! This ad would follow my essay explaining that one of the studies is completely bogus. I rejected them.

The second agency wanted an ad accompanying the essay “Subtraction Problems, Russian Style.” I placed it. They wrote to me (and I reproduce it with all of their errors intact):

I really appreciate your efforts on this. As I checked the text link, I have seen that the text link has been label as “Sponsor ad”. Kindly omit or delete the word “Sponor ad:” or you may changed it to “Recommended site or Relevant Site” but I would love to prefer the text link be seen as natural meaning no labeled inserted on it.

They wanted me to pretend that I recommend their product. I was naive enough to think that I was selling space on my page, but what they really wanted was for me to lie that I like their product.

Before this experiment, I hoped to find some honest ads for my blog. After this experiment, I realized how much stupidity and falsehood are involved. Since then, I ignore all offers of ads that come my way. That’s why my blog is ad-free.



  1. Mark James:

    Maybe consider Patreon or a similar system?

  2. Frank Wilhoit:

    See, this is the downside of the scientific method. You made an experiment, but it wasn’t worth making and its outcome was known in advance.

  3. Nick:

    I signed up for Google Adsense. I host a single module I place on each page with a clear label above it saying ‘Advertisement’. It’s a single banner advert per page. Readers are familiar with the concept of ad banners so they know it’s not an endorsement, and with only a single advert it does not get in the way or seem gratuitous. It doesn’t generate a lot of income (a couple of dollars a day), unless I get an article reposted on somewhere like hackernews when it will rise to double digits. It’s far too little to even consider living off, but it does pay for my annual server hosting costs.

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