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Blogging For Cash

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When people talk to me about blogging and maintaining websites for the sake of earning money, they tend to walk away with the impression that I am against the use of this delicious medium that we call the Internet as a financial aid. The only problem with this is that strictly speaking… I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong — my opinion on PayPerPost hasn’t changed, and I’m not about to cover my site in blocks of Google Adsense. However blogging as an occupation is not high on my list of heinous crimes. In fact, I read Dooce and as some of you may know, her adventures in blog-land have been prosperous enough to allow her to purchase a shiny new house. If you’ve got the talent to captivate an audience, I don’t see why you shouldn’t make a pretty penny out of it.

My problem lies with people who whore themselves out in an attempt to scrape together a few bucks here and there. Case in point: I recently joined the Digital Point webmaster forums because it seemed sufficiently geeky. I posted my introduction then waded through about 8 pages of “buy links on this PR5 site”, “PR4 site for sale” or “digg/stumbleupon exchange” posts all created by people who are obsessed with page rank, backlinks, “SERPs”, etc. All of this so they can deliver traffic to their crappy websites to get more money in dodgy click-through ad schemes.

As well as realising that I am sitting on a bigger goldmine than I thought — but am far too morally superior to exploit :P — it occurred to me that in a few years time I’m probably going to be the only person left (sat up here on my high horse) that hasn’t sold out for the sake of pocket change. Irrational paranoia or righteous worrying? That’s your decision.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

36 comments so far

  1. Mari said:

    The selling of high page rank-ed sites…is kinda lame. No, super-lame. For some of us it’s not pocket change. It’s keeping the electricity on.

  2. Amelie said:

    I’ll be with you on your high horse – there is no way I will advertise on ANY of my sites. Not even a for-profit one. I despise adverts and PPP is the most vile thing to hit the internet since spam (which some – myself included – would argue that PPP and similar are). Despite being relatively low on hits, I have a fairly well ranking site that I know people would kill to get a link on. If people are falling over themselves to put links on PR0 sites then seriously I can’t imagine what they’d pay for mine or yours which are much higher (yours especially so :P ). I am all for making money on the internet, but there are ways to do it and ways not to. Sell products, sell advice, but don’t sell spam (because to be quite honest that is all these pay-to-blog schemes are). *Rant rant rant* Seriously… I am so against PPP it’s getting ridiculous >:(

  3. Ben said:

    I doubt I will indulge into these money paying schemes. I am with you and find it just scrouing and pointless. Of course with Dooce, it paid off but that is like a one in a million case.

  4. Amber said:

    Personally, I’d still visit here if you succumbed to the corruption :P. I just think it might slightly ruin the experience. You wouldn’t be you, in my opinion, if you did.

  5. Amelie said:

    @Mari: There are much better ways to keep the electricity on; blogging for cash is not one I would be prepared to accept as an excuse. You’ll use far less electricity without a computer or internet, so get rid of those and you’ll have a lot more money. You’ll also have more money by getting rid of domains and hosting. (Btw, I’m not attacking you personally here – it’s this general mentality that people “need” to blog for cash because “there is no other way”. That is simply untrue.)

  6. Matt said:

    I think any type of advertising on personal websites is unnescessary. Unless you’re getting load of hits (like Dooce) then there is no genuine reason as to why it should be there.

  7. Julie said:

    I have to second Amelie there. If I bought a domain, I would have to beg for money to pay it. I don’t mind people asking you to pay for services, it’s just normal. I also don’t mind clicking on the ads on some sites I wish to remain alive (like TheFanlistings.org). But I won’t start clicking on insecure links just so the owner of xbunnies-x.org (sorry if this actually exists) can get a brand new iPod. That said, I believe that if Jem received 1cent every time someone comes here, she would be able to buy more than just a house.

  8. Stephanie said:

    I don’t have a problem with PPP blogs, as long as the blogger is blogging honestly, and isn’t lying to advertise, those who list the downsides and upsides, etc. You know, I wonder what happens to those bloggers who write poor reviews of what they’re selling? And I don’t really mind a few Google ads here and there if the money isn’t for luxury. But if you can afford to keep a personal site adless, then I’d keep it that way. It looks better.

  9. Melody said:

    I wholeheartedly agree, I shall not go on and elaborate how much I loathe PPP here. It just does not sound right to me when someone pretends to like something in an blog entry so that he can earn a very small amount of money from it. That insult the visitors’ intelligence. I am reasonably sure that you will not be the only one left, though. :)

  10. Becky said:

    I’ll be there with you, probably on a donkey though because I’m usually broke ;) I could probably make some pocket change (at least enough to keep me in my favourite soaps and coffee) by doing PPP or having ads on my site, but I’m not willing to whore myself (or my site) out like that, so I shall remain broke. Oh well, better to be broke than a PPP’r, eh?

  11. Shari said:

    I’m not against any forms of advertising on sites; my problem is the people who put so many ads on every imaginable corner of their sites that I don’t know what the real content is anymore. I also don’t appreciate the people begging their visitors to click on their ads. I find this particularly bothersome, along with having to read 100 PPP entries in my feed reader everyday. I’ve started putting ads on my site not because I “badly need” it, nor because I want something luxurious and all. If that was the case, I’d have just sold my domain or move to a free domain hosting site. It’s not “the only way” , but an additional way, of earning money for me. The money I get from my site goes to the child sponsorship programs I’m in, and the charity projects I’m involved with. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not being too angelic and self-appraising here :) But most of my personal cash goes to those stuff anyway, and I see the potential of selling myself — or rather, my site — out, so what the heck, I decided to go through it. If only I use the money for my own good, I’d have bought myself a laptop or a broadband connection already. But no, more than 75% people in my country are so poor they barely get to eat once a day, and I’d rather lose my visitors who are staunch advocates of adless websites than not try every possible way to help my people. This is only, after all, the internet, and my [offline] responsibilities to my people weigh heavier than answering to anyone online. ;) That being said, I still get annoyed with people whoring themselves out just to earn money online. It’s one thing to be diplomatic about it, it’s another to be not.

  12. Amanda said:

    I’ll whore JW out for money if I ever reach half a million unique visitors every week – that should be enough to buy me a house you think? However, as I don’t see that happening anytime soon, it’s not really an issue. :P

  13. Gabrielle said:

    I had to put advertising for a few months on my main site when the government told me to quit my job – complicated story, just had to do with getting medical insurance and Disability. Never any of my personal sites because that’s plain silly and they wouldn’t take up enough bandwidth to make me poor. Then somebody donated a huge chunk of money to remove the advertising. My website isn’t the biggest site around but enough people tell me they rely on it for support that I was willing to take leave of my instincts and add advertisements when I couldn’t afford to pay. It even took some swallowing of pride to allow donations at that time. Now I’m giving all the people who donated then and now freebies like extra avatars, file attachments, extra PM space, etc. because I feel bad. I think Amazon says I’ve made nearly 2,000 just through that, never mind Paypal. People keep coming forward, asking if they can donate. That it would be an honor. I just try adding new features and things they will like and keep on maintaining the board and site.

  14. Rhys said:

    As somebody with a number of ad revenues on my blog (not pay per post), I feel I should explain why I do it. I do have an understanding of what you are saying. If you have a look at “Making Money Blogs”, a lot of them are utter garbage as they all post the same thing within hours of each other, but with different referral links. One thing I do not like however is the “holier than thou” attitude. Fair enough Jem has stated that you don’t want adverts on her blog. Which is fine. I have no problem with that. I don’t like the attitude that some people have where they “name and shame” bloggers for having adverts on people’s blogs, or stop reading a blog because they have something like Google Ads or Text Link Ads, even the occassional PayPerPost (if a blogger’s good, then they’ll find a way around it via catagorized RSS). Everybody who blogs does so for a reason. The good ones get popular and the bad ones stop, whether or not they have adverts on them or not. It’s a fact of life. Would you use a worse search engine than Google because it is adless? No. You wouldn’t. Bloggers are free to do whatever they want on their blogs, they paid for the hosting, they pay for the domain, they invest time and effort in building their blogs. Unless bloggers are reimbursed for all of these, then adverts will still keep appearing on blogs, and nobody has the right to tell any other blogger what they can or cannot put on their blog.

  15. Han said:

    I HATE ppp – anything that means you can’t post what you want. ads, meh. as long as their not everywhere their fine! My revenue goes straight to my hosting!

  16. Chans said:

    When you visit a site where you can’t see the actual blog due to all those adverts spread all over the place it’s time to click the little red X. I hate adds on personal sites anyway but I’ll look past it if the blog is worth reading. However I don’t think you’ll find me participating in the adds thing, it’s a waste of space

  17. Aaron said:

    Those google ads don’t bother me too much. Most people put them in a place that’s still viewable but it doesn’t obstruct the blog or the content. I don’t really grasp the idea of PayPerPost nor do I plan on adding it to my website. What really bothers me are website covered in those free iPod ads, either from freepay or ezyrewards. Some of them just have like… hundreds of them everywhere.

  18. Claire said:

    I think the crux of the issue when it comes to monetising blogs, is that it’s not WHAT you do, but HOW you do it that can make or break your integrity as a blogger IMHO. I’ve tried, tested and trashed various ad methods on my blog (Adsense, AuctionAds etc) for anything from 24 hours to 2-3 weeks as I tend to go by the saying “don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it”. I’m currently testing PPP (on VOX to limit any resulting damage) to see if they really are hideous by nature, or if it’s just down to bad writing. So far, I think it is the nature of the beast as no matter what I say, it sounds very wooden. So PPP will be another one consigned to the “bad bucket” for me, it seems. The only type of “ads” I’ve been comfortable having on my site are Text Link Ads. They’re discreet, unobtrusive, and give me the right to choose what gets advertised and in what way. I am paid for “eyeballs” NOT clicks, so there is no obligation on my readers’ part to do anything other than what they did “pre-ads” either. I don’t feel as though I am selling out or “polluting” my blog as my content has not changed, the design and function of my site has not changed and I am not sitting there with my hand out to my readers bleating “click this, donate that, sign up and complete X over here” in every post. My readers are free to ignore the 2-3 text link ads in the sidebar, should they feel so inclined.

  19. Vixx said:

    It’s not for me. As I didn’t add the ads to CG.com I can continue to maintain that I have no advertisements on any of personal sites. It’s a personal preference; I don’t mind ads if they’re unintrusive, but they’re simply not for me. I just find it all a bit tacky. I do, however, have ads on a joint-owned SH forum. But that’s only because it costs in excess of £300.00 ($600) a year to maintain – so it’s not for profit, just for maintenance. I continue to maintain that PPP is just horrible, though and have found myself not visiting sites that do for I genuinely find them to be absolute crap.

  20. Ashley said:

    I don’t know much about PayPerPost. You have to blog on a certain topic or product?? I don’t mind any ads on sites so long as their not included in every blog post or flashing at me at the top of every page. I’ve found some interesting things through ads on sites. :D

  21. Hev said:

    I will never advertise on any of my three sites for any amount of time. Yes, I will take donations, but I don’t push them. I may eventually sell my completed cross stitched items on Amarantine, but I don’t think that is the same thing as advertising, but then that is my opinion. So you won’t be alone, Jem. There will be others with you.

  22. Angela said:

    I will also be on that high horse of not advertising. I immediately leave any website that has PPP, and my adblockers generally take care of the rest. So no one’s making any money off me! Who even clicks ads anyway?

  23. Lexa said:

    Angela, I click ads ;) If there’s a link that interests me I’ll click it, whether it’s an ad or not. Personally, I think blogging for a job is a fabulously fun way to earn a living – if you’ve got the talent, whether it’s PPP or not, I’m all for a live and let live. But, I don’t like the idea of people manipulating other sites just to inflate their own sites worth, like technorati favourite exchanges. I feel like I’ve been conned.

  24. Annie said:

    I don’t have a problem with discreet advertisements but when they’re plastered all over a site it’s just too much, and could result to the visitor not wanting to view the site anymore.

  25. Maja said:

    I’ve offered free hosting to hundreds of young aspiring future web designers and alike since 2003 constantly pouring my own money into providing this quality FREE online service without asking them to put any ads or alike on their website. As such, putting the google ads on my own blog pays for the money I’ve had to cough up over the years for the things I do for others. A sacrifice I had no problem to make as I make sure they’re a faded part of the website, not the main feature. Significant difference. Pocket change? Ha! I make more then that ;)

  26. HannaPai said:

    I don’t know… I have so negative attitude towards ads. But it’s not so much the google ads that stop me reading some blogs as ppp. I want to read people’s thoughts about life etc… not just some praising “reviews” about new razor (or something similar). I kind of thought that idea of blogs is to tell what you think, whether it is just telling what you have done today or critical views of world politics. And sure you can say that you’re telling you own opinion about that razor. Ah maybe, but usually style in ppp posts is distant, it’s like watching TVshop, they’re faking. But hey that cool if somebody can buy a house.

  27. Mat said:

    PPP I don’t believe is ‘evil’ if used correctly. If you are going to blog PPP then dont make the site ‘personal’ because a blog can be used for advetising but it shouldnt be advertising one minute and what they had for breakfast the next, that in itself to me i find rude and intrusive. Text link ads and click through schemes I don’t really give two hoots about, you gotta pay the bill right? and as stated above. You spend your time, money, resources on developing the site so why shouldnt you deserve some kind of pay for your efforts. Condeming the very nature of trying to make a buck is ridiculous..all around you it happens everyday it’s how your government runs it’s how your economy keeps afloat…What should we boycott tv because it comes with advertisments? the internet is just another type of medium for communication it was bound to happen soon.

  28. Jordan said:

    I really don’t pay much attention to this anymore. I’m just so tired of hearing “If you are involved with PPP or you have ads, I am removing your link because I’m a pretentious bitch and do not want to support your website… But if you have another ad-free site I’ll link it!” Whatever, it’s their own opinion and website, but some people take far too much advantage over it and need to just get over it. Though I did read about you using rel=nofollow for some blogs; I don’t see that as bad since you’re just doing something on the backend as opposed to being a drama queen about it. All I know is that whenever I see an anti-PPP post, it might as well be a legit post FOR PPP.

  29. Jem said:

    ^ If being specific over who a person links to makes them a pretentious bitch, there are a whole lot of pretentious bitches on the web (myself included). Deciding to not link someone because they PPP is no different to not linking to someone because you find their blog tedious, can’t stand their writing style or just aren’t interested in the same topics.

  30. Chrissy said:

    I’ll be right up there with you. I have no intentions of ever selling out. And I am glad to be a pretentious bitch. :) Thanks, Jordan. :D

  31. Jordan said:

    Jem, it’s the concept of removing a link solely because of what the blogger wants to blog about and making a big deal out of it. Just remove their damn link and don’t blog about it. Otherwise you’re (general) just being a drama queen and ranting about a topic that’s been done thousands of times, and no doubt in other languages. What makes a person who has PPP and removing their link, versus removing a dead link. Yes, let’s all go on a diatribe and act holier than thou. On that note, I hope PPP dies a rotten death from the IRS because I’m so damn tired of hearing about it one way or another.

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