Monday, January 29, 2007

Monetizing Personal Finance Blogs (Without Being a Hypocrite)

ISPF and I have been having a discussion about the merits of blog ads versus blog tip jars. Personally, I hate the ads on most blogs--it might be different if bloggers negotiated individual advertising or sponsorship deals, but there's nothing weirder than reading a personal finance article with little blurbs about credit cards and payday loans pressing in thick from both sides. (Plus, text ads are ugly.) I'd rather provide ad-free content, and I'd consider running a tip jar to continue to make that possible. What would you think of that?

The broader question, really, is about how monetizing a blog about money affects its message. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Chris said...

I know that it would be a hassle, and perhaps it's not practical, but I appreciated how Ramit Sethi did it over at I Will Teach You How to Be Rich with his "2007 Guide to Kicking Ass." For around $5, I was able to give a little bit back for something that I find useful and enjoyable, and he provided me with a little additional content, too.

Tom Purl said...

I guess it depends. If you don't treat your blog as a business, then why put up ads? They add clutter and imply that you approve of every possible service that is advertised on your page. For this type of blogging, I don't know how successful tip jars are, but I've heard that some people are successful posting their Amazon wish list.

Otherwise, if you beef is with Google adsense, then there are a lot of other options that can give you more control over both the style and content of the ads on your web site.

HTH, and keep up the good work!

Tom Purl

Lazy Man and Money said...

It's funny, but I always thought that it was hypocritical to write about money and then not attempting to fully monetize my blog.

What example am I setting when I say that you look to increase revenue streams and then ignore an obvious one staring me right in the face?

English Major said...

LM&M, I know where you're coming from on that. I feel sort of silly neglecting the monetization aspect entirely, but at the same time, I don't want to accept ads that subvert the message of my content (like Tom Purl says, displaying an ad implies an endorsement of the product), and I don't like the idea of effectively selling my audience, you know? I might have a different visceral reaction if I got to work out a deal with a sponsor whose product I appreciated.

chris, I also liked Ramit's ebook idea. Perhaps I'll consider something along those lines.

SF Money Musings said...

I thought about all the things you can do to monetize the blog - adsense, and such. But it was just a hassle and I think of blogging as fun. And I worked in a lot of publications where there was a fine line for accepting gifts and money. So i felt like monetizing or doing pay per post was jeopardizing my ethics.

I like Ramit's ebook. It was fun to read and it got me thinking.

mOOm said...

I tried to sign up for AdSense at the beginning, nothing happened and I didn't bother to follow up. The ads are ugly and the money trivial.

TFB said...

Those ads are always exactly the OPPOSITE to what I wrote. I wrote about Elliott Wave being a bad idea, then I get ads for an Elliott Wave system. Ghrr ...

wil said...

Wow! I must be doing something wrong. I have a scant few ads, but always something I believe in, or at least am not actively opposed to. I personally am not trying to make money off my site. I want to put information out. If there's money to be made, I figure there are probably easier ways to make it. Not that I disagree with people trying to make money here. To each his own, I guess.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with monetizing something. BUT, let's not assume that everything should be automatically "monetized". That's a sad commentary on our culture. Some things can be done just for fun, others for the sake of providing useful information or services for free. Craigslist is the best example of this. Its owners have been offered millions of ways to earn millions or billions from the site. They refuse almost all of them, including advertising, because that is not their mission, goal or point.

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