Should Change From Within Advertise (Poll)?

For a while now, I’ve been wrestling with a dilemma.  My time is pretty precious these days.  I am working more and more, and I am always picking up on new projects.  I am hoping to start a book soon, and I really want to find a way to see certain friends and family a bit more than I have been able to lately.

As I think about the demands on my time, I inevitably think about Change From Within.  I love blogging once a week.  It gives me a chance to really dive into tough issues, and it forces me to take the time to really think about and craft my own understandings of some of the tough issues of our day.  I spend anywhere from 2-6 hours a week on the blog, and while I enjoy every minute of it, when my time is strained, I can’t help but think about the dreaded advertising (Dun Dun Dunnnnn).

While it would be great to be able to pull in a small amount of money simply by having my loyal readers click on my blog, advertising brings up a whole host of issues.  I mean, what if I publish a post on the objectification of women, only to realize that this American Apparel ad is appearing on some people’s screens as they access my blog:

Or maybe I am writing on racism, and a link to this Duncan Hines ad pops up:

Plus, there are just certain corporations (Wal-Mart, McDonalds, or Nike) that I would plain not want associated with my blog.

The tough part is that once you open the door to advertising, it is pretty tough to restrict what kinds of ads appear on your site.  I mean, you can strictly say that you don’t want porn advertised, but some ads (like the one above) are not much better.  Thus, you just kind of have to deal with the crap that appears down the side bar.

As an avid consumer of blogs, I also just don’t like to read with silly, flashy advertisements down the side.  I hate seeing a fast food ad or one for a dating site at The Beautiful Struggler, but at the same time, I know Sista Toldja is working hard to provide amazing insight in her writings, and if she wants to do that full time, she has to find a way to pull in some revenue.

Thus, I wanted to ask my readers through a poll how they would feel about seeing advertising (even if crappy ads like the ones above are included) as they read my musings at Change From Within.

Please Please Please take a second to vote.  Comments are also appreciated.

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6 thoughts on “Should Change From Within Advertise (Poll)?

  1. Deciding whether to have advertising here to help sustain the work you do seems like a hard -and distasteful, to say the least- decision, and I don’t envy you it! Though I imagine you’ve already considered alternative methods to help sustain the blog, I was wondering if you’ve considered adding a donate link (to something like, say, a PayPal account) to the blog.

    I don’t know if it would be more or less successful, in helping to sustain your work, than adding advertising, but it would provide a different way for readers to support the work you do and without the dilemma, distractions, etc. that advertising would create.

    Also, on -more or less- a side note, I really hate online advertising (it is visually distracting, it clutters and makes it harder to view the content I came to the page for, makes the page load slower, and -as you point out- can be offensive), and because of that I use a free add-on for Firefox called Adblock Plus (http://adblockplus.org/en/).

    It automatically and seamlessly blocks all online ads (everything from the ads before a YouTube video plays, to the ads that load on the sides, tops, bottoms of pages, etc.)–happily, I can’t even remember the last time I saw an online ad while browsing the internet from my computer, and I am always blown away by how heavy the advertising is on the internet, whenever I use a browser that doesn’t have the add-on.

    So, if you started advertising on your blog, it would have no effect for me–your blog would look exactly as it does now (unfortunately, since the ads would be blocked from loading, you wouldn’t get any revenue from me viewing your blog, though).

  2. Also, I’m really surprised to see that, according to the poll, almost 80% of readers here -so far, at least- would be okay with having any type of advertising here! I don’t understand–are the vast majority of readers here really not bothered by the idea of having advertising on the blog that -potentially- would directly contradict the type of social justice that Jamie writes about and encourages everyone to strive for?

    …I’d be really interested to see more comments from readers here, expanding on their poll choice and what they think!

    • Ben,
      I voted like the other 80ish% for Jamie to advertise if it means that this work can continue in a sustainable way. I did so because Jamie’s overall well-being (including financial) is important to me. I have learned how to ignore or simply not see the advertising that comes up on my browsers (enlarging the screen and scrolling all the way to the left for instance). I think the high percentage of folks voting in the top category speaks of the avid-ness of Jamie’s fans and our gratefulness for having his perspective in our lives. I do expect that seeing advertisements like the one for American Apparel will be a jarring contrast to the convictions of this blog, and it’s something that I am totally willing to work around.
      I think your idea of adding a Paypal donating option is a great one! I wonder how much activity it would get… hopefully Jamie considers it!

  3. Jamie,

    This is a really tough decision, and like Ben, I don’t envy your having to make it. I can say that, personally, should you decide to use advertising, I would continue reading your blog. I would understand the reasons behind your decision, and while I may not like every ad that appeared, I would trust that you had done your best to avoid as many of the offensive/inappropriate ones as is within your power to do so.

    However, this is ultimately your decision, and as such, I think your opinion is the most important. I think that it comes down to how you yourself feel about it, and your motives for providing (or not providing) advertisements. Having read your blog for months now (although this is my first time commenting on it), I have a lot of respect for your opinion. Both from knowing you personally in college, and having read your blog, I can attest that you are a conscientious person who is passionate about doing your part in improving the world we live in.

    And so I think it comes down to you. If you can defend your (at this point, hypothetical) decision to use advertising on Change from Within without feeling that you are compromising your integrity, or feeling sick inside, or ashamed, or too much of a hypocrite, then do it. If you alienate a few of your readers, so be it. If, however, you cannot defend your decision and still feel good about yourself, then don’t do it. Ultimately, you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of your actions/decisions, and so choose the one that you are happy to live with.

    I hope this helps. It’s just my two cents — I’m sure there are plenty out there who disagree with me, but that’s the way life is. And if anyone else has ideas or insight, I hope they will post them for you as Ben and I have done.

    Good luck!

  4. […] few weeks ago, I asked my readers whether they thought I should advertise to make my work more sustainable on Change From Within. […]

  5. For those of you who are wondering, I’ve decided to post a “Donate” button to see if it generates any donations without going to the use of advertising!

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