You have probably already noticed that there are no ads at Linuxchic.net. I get quite a few hits to this site and I probably could bank some extra cash by tossing up some ads. As a matter of fact, I have dabbled in that arena a time or two but always end up taking them back down. I am definitely not sleeping on a mattress filled with money and would love to have some extra moolah to cover hosting costs at the least. The problem is I hate ads. I loathe them. It’s a personal choice for the site at this time. Not to say that one day I won’t give in and decide that the need out weighs the want but right now I don’t want the clutter. I don’t hate sites that use them, I just don’t want them here.
There is also another debate on that front;I don’t want my posts confused with paid advertisements. Bloggers are making money and that is really awesome however, some of them probably shouldn’t be managing their own business. I choose blogs to read for their integrity. I want to be sure that what I am reading is not a biased post because of the paycheck they are getting for clicks or views or links or whatever. If I can’t be sure that what they write is unbiased when they say it is, then I will most likely stop reading it. I read some fanboy blogs even though I KNOW they are pimping out the devil because they are pretty upfront about it. They are biased but I know that going into it. What gets my goat are bloggers who are claiming to be non discriminate then selling their words to the devil. Embedding words into a post that you have sold is even more fly by night than the pay to post type deals. I don’t care if it is a stupid slogan or the a single word, if you got paid to stick that into your post, you have sold your soul to the dark lord if you don’t tell your readers that you got paid to stick that crap in there. A simple disclaimer somewhere in crazy small print would satisfy me. Just tell me. If I am too stupid to see the small print then that is my problem.
The pay for post is not as sneaky as slipping a few words in here and there, but in my opinion it’s more deceiving. We have all seen these types of “fake” articles in print magazines. Usually in print the “article” in question looks like an ad. It is typically printed with a different weight paper or glossier paper or something telltale not to mention the “Paid Advertisement” print somewhere on it. The problem with these types of advertisements on blogs is there is nothing physical about it. There are no paper types to distinguish it and I have yet to see “Paid Advertisement” in bold print anywhere in the article. If the writer is getting paid to review a product by a manufacturer then there had better be a disclaimer even if that review is honest and discusses pros and cons otherwise that writer is risking having their integrity called into question for not only that review, but any other opinion stated in the future. How can I trust them?
It’s really just a matter of principal so I don’t want to hear any whining about how anyone has to make a living. We ALL have to make a living unless we are blessed enough to be independently wealthy from birth, it is just a matter of how you choose to make your living. Advertisers aren’t holding a gun to your head. If you love what you write about THAT much, you could bag groceries for a living and still write. This “good vs. evil” conversation has been going on since the World Wide Web was born. Dot-Com? Commercialize the information I love? That’s crazy talk?! Oh wait, yeah, it is still going on just tell me it is a commercial because I really don’t want to be duped. Don’t cop out either claiming your banners and ads are enough to clue readers in that your “words” are paid for too. There is a HUGE difference to putting a column of ads on your site and selling words in your posts. If you call yourself a “professional blogger” you had best behave like one and take some responsibility for your business because that is what you site becomes the moment you put ads on it no matter what the profit or loss margin is for it.
If everyone else jumped off the cliff, would you be a lemming too?