(I went back and tried to bold the main questions for readers of this, I know I went a bit TL;DR on this one)
Long ago I set up one of my blogs with Google ads *cringe*. It's in a state of neglect at the moment, but still set up that way. Now I want to get more active on there again, but I do not want to do so until I solve this problem that's been bugging me. I think this has even become pathological and is causing some sort of cognitive dissonance which is making it difficult for me to post on that blog. I know, I'm a mess! Or maybe I've just been lazy. Or both... I find myself actually writing articles that would be well suited to the blog, yet I save them privately and never post them - and I am beginning to believe it is due to this problem that I've let grow over the years.
Basically... I just want to practice what I preach and not be a hypocrite or part of the problem! I do a lot of talk about social, political, tech and privacy issues (I can rant or debate just about anything) and for the most part I think I live my ideologies as much as one reasonably can. Keyword there is reasonably
. I'm not going to sit here and virtue signal, but I do my best - however I could use some help and advice here from those of you that have experience with this! I know some of my #distributed / #federated social media network still run blogs or other for-profit ventures, so how do you all do it? Can you share what, if anything, that you have wrestled with, or still do?
What about end-user perspectives? I know from my own end-user experience that I don't necessarily mind ads if done respectfully (not overwhelming or distracting, relevant to the site content, honest - all of which is rare), but I despise ads that have obviously used unethical methods (loud and annoying, plastered all over the place, disguised as legit content, etc. etc. etc.)!Does anyone out there know of any advertising service providers that are a) morally and ethically conscious, and b) also effective to a reasonable degree? Bonus points if they operate on open-source infrastructure! ;)
Obviously there's an alternative to advertising that's quite popular these days: donations
. I see myriad donation services out there, on websites and (even more so) on people's social media accounts. I'm not against this in any way! I just have zero experience with it. Does anyone here have experience going from an ad-based method of supporting a blog, service or project to a donation based method?
I'm interested in knowing how that went if anyone reading this has been involved in such a scenario!
The reason I'm hesitant about a donations-only approach is because, with the blogs I've operated or been a part of in the past, very few people are dedicated readers/subscribers. This is likely a symptom of the tech-oriented subject matter; a lot of what tech blogs post is the sort of things that might solve a problem, things one tends to find on the fly via search engine. I don't imagine people donate to a site they only visit occasionally, or only for a single how-to article... Of course, the scope of my experience in blogging is moderate, to say the least. Maybe I just need to learn more about gathering a loyal audience with my writing. That said, I don't feel my writing is the main problem (of course it could improve). I really just think an 'all over the place' tech blog is just something that, while it could generate enough traffic to make at least some ad revenue, it probably isn't something that would attract a following of passionate users willing to support it via donations. I could be wrong.
Does anyone operate a combination of the two? Ads and donations. How do you handle that tastefully and respectfully? I would imagine donating would get you access to a site with no ads, if possible (it would need a user system or some method to verify who has donated, of course). But I kind of feel like incentivising donations blurs lines a little.
Anyhoo, I'd just like to hear what you all have to say on the subject(s)! I appreciate anything anyone has to share! The bottom line is that I'll blog whether I make any money or not. After talking with you all, who knows, maybe I wont monetize at all, or just go with donations regardless of effectiveness.I do find marketing and advertising to be a despicable industry in general, but I also believe it can have utility in the right scenario, and I want to believe it can be done properly - I'm just not sure exactly how to do it properly yet.
I do want the ability to generate some revenue for some things I create, such as my blog, but I'm certainly not one to try to monetize everything - in fact quite the contrary! If you've been on my Friendica node you may know that one of the promises I make to the users is to never use the site, or their sign-up/profile information (such as email addresses), for market purposes of any sort; the node comes with no hidden agendas or ulterior motives. I can only hope to prove my sincerity and dedication to that ideal over time, as users sign up and see what the experience is. That said, my blog is NOT the same creature by any means. It's a service I provide because I hope to make money by providing something of value - so far I've failed at that. However, as I gear up to give it another go, this time I intend to do things more intelligently and more consciously.