To ad or not to ad

Well, that’s some interesting timing.

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, 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, the free service requires that the URL for your blog has the name WordPress in it (e.g., and 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, 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 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.

Enter WordAds.

Back in November 2011, 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, 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.

19 thoughts on “To ad or not to ad

  1. Gee, feel privileged. They don’t seem to like animal blogs much. Animals make Freshly Pressed only occasionally and I’ve NEVER been asked to participate in their program.

    1. Rumpy, I’m sorry that we humans are so bigoted.

      We owe you MUCH more recognition than you receive, if only for the amazing fact that you blog so well with those paws of yours, while we have such superior fine motor skills ability.

      That you are also very entertaining makes this situation even more unfair. Judging by the fact that you get many, many more comments than me, I’m sure that you meet the traffic criteria.

      Say, did you sign up for WordAds? Cuz you had to have submitted the online form in order to be considered.

      It’s not too late, so: Click here!

      As for Freshly Pressed, I’ve never made it there, as far as I know, although I have been on Eco-Pressed a few times.
      Good luck.

  2. I say steer clear !! I don’t pay anything for my blog and would have no idea whether there are ever any adverts on it.. I can’t see any but then would I or is it only the veiwers that can see them?? Can you see any on my blogs???

    1. The ads are only visible to folks who aren’t logged in WordPress users.

      It’s not always easy to test this, because you might have your browser set to remember your login and automatically log you in whenever you go to your blog. You could try using a different browser that doesn’t have your login stored.

        1. Hmmmm. Strange, but good for you!

          Here’s what WordPress say about ads:

          Note: To support the service (and keep free features free), we sometimes run advertisements. We try hard to only run them in limited places. If you would like to completely eliminate ads from appearing on your blog, we offer the No-Ads Upgrade.

          I definitely have seen them here at Fish & Bicycles when I wasn’t logged in, and I hated how they looked.

          Maybe it’s because you’re in the UK?

          Either way, I’m more and more convinced that I don’t want ads, whether I get a kickback or not.

  3. No information whatsoever is provided as to how much money will be earned.

    So true. We’re trying out WordAds on our blog for now just to see how much it will make. If we get peanuts for it, then we’ll remove it. The ads are only worth putting on a site if they can earn a lot.

      1. 4 months?!

        Embarrassing to say, but if I’d been doing WordAds since I started in October 2009, to date I would have only made $25.

        But, I don’t like that I feel embarrassed by that, so here’s even more detail: it took me a year and a half to reach 10,000 total views!

        I hate when I start getting sucked into caring about how much traffic I get, but I occasionally do. Writers like to be read, even though the best writing advice I’ve ever been given was to write like no one is reading.

          1. Oh and that was very good advice.. I take photos these days because I can’t seem to stop!! so a bit obsessively. Have to do something with them after that!! so a blog is as good a place as anywhere… and I learn a lot about myself and about photography from peoples comments… AND there are some fab people on the blogosphere… count yourself amongst them 🙂

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