Just a few days ago, in my post about Fish & Bicycles nearing its 1,000th comment, I mentioned that I don’t make a penny from this blog as an excuse for not being able to offer a prize for the 1,000th commenter.
For those who don’t know how this blogging thing works, here’s some info that will make the rest of this post make more sense.
I use a service called WordPress.com, which offers free blogs, hosted on their servers, with 3GB of storage space for images uploaded and embedded in posts. Like most “free” services on the web — Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. — while users don’t have to dish out any money to use them, we do volunteer to help those companies make money via advertising. At WordPress.com, the free service requires that the URL for your blog has the name WordPress in it (e.g. blogname.wordpress.com), and WordPress.com places ads on “free” blogs from which they, not the bloggers, make money.
Now, unlike Facebook and Google, where ads appear in the sidebar and there’s no way to remove them, WordPress.com offers a $30/year upgrade that will remove all ads, and you can also pay $17/year for a “custom domain”, which removes “wordpress” from your URL.
I’ve been dishing out the the $17/year for the fishandbicycles.com URL since I started my blog in October 2009, and I recently signed up for the No-Ads upgrade, because I didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t earning anything from the ads that appeared, and WordPress does not allow users to run their own ads in order to earn money, using services like Google’s AdSense.
Back in November 2011, WordPress.com announced that they will start to offer a program that would place ads on approved blogs and that the bloggers will earn money from the advertisers.
The criteria for an approved blog?
Selection will be based on level of traffic and engagement, type of content, and language used on a blog. Some blogs may not be accepted.
So, like I started off saying, interesting timing. Tuesday I mentioned that I don’t earn money from Fish & Bicycles, and the very next day I received an email from WordPress.com, informing me that Fish & Bicycles has been approved for the WordAds beta.
I suppose I should be flattered, but I’m way too conflicted over whether or not to participate.
Taking a look at the Pros and Cons, you’ll see it’s a bit lopsided.
- Money: It would be nice to at least make the nearly $50/year to break even
- No information whatsoever is provided as to how much money will be earned
- Ads are ugly
- Limited control over actual ad content
- Terms of Service include this unappealing item:
- You hereby consent to the use of your name, likeness, blog name, and any associated content or logos by Automattic in connection with advertisements, articles, and other similar communications conducted by Automattic relating to WordAds.
As of right now, I’m leaning towards resisting the carrot and stick. $50/year seems quite a reasonable expense for a good, ad-free product that provides me with a vehicle for my creative expression and a social media connection to readers all over the world.
I know I won’t be able to quit my day job on the WordAds earnings, I’m not hard up for cash, so there really isn’t much point to it.