Ad dilemmas and opting out

I've been lucky and happy to have some amazing companies sponsor Ill Seen, Ill Said and I'm extremely grateful for all their support. So, it may seem strange that I've phased out ads. For anybody who is interested, I thought I would explain...

As I hope you know, I always worked hard to ensure that I didn't overload my blog with ads and that those ads I accepted fit with my content and my readers. I turned down many unsuitable ad requests and I turned down all requests for covert advertorials, link swaps, free giveaways or contra deals, as I am vehemently against these things.

Still, when you accept ads on your blog (even selectively) you become part of a community of sponsored blogs. And when that community is moving in a direction that you don't much like, it's difficult to want to stay in the sponsorship game.

In my day job, we consider the ratio of ads to content on a web page. Six is considered high. One of the blogs I follow has over forty. But beyond ad volume, these days I have more heated conversations about editorial integrity in blogs than I do in newspaper websites. Blogging started out for me as a refuge from all that. So, I've been feeling a little deflated and at odds with this community, with the blogosphere. I don't like that feeling.

To be very clear, I do believe in hard-working bloggers and talented content-creators making money. And I don't think advertising is inherently wrong, necessarily damages editorial integrity or has to make a blog so ugly. Nor is this some hyperbolic anti-advertising or "ad-free blog" stance. But the standards and practices being set by the major blogs for advertisements are not to my personal or professional liking. And that suite of options has become the expected norm.

I've never made a lot of money from ads. And I'm not prepared to go to 25+ ads a page in order to change that. For now, I would rather put that energy into Coterie, into writing, into having some down time. This is a subjective decision and contains no implied categorical imperative for other bloggers. And I may change my mind; maybe the landscape will shift, maybe new options will open up. I very much hope so, even if it's still not for me. In the meantime, I've decided to take the bench and concentrate on other areas.

I hope that makes sense, but - as always - I am happy to answer any questions or hear any comments...
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