Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The one where she changes her mind

So I've made a decision. Isn't it exciting? I've drawn a line in my sandbox.

No ads on this blog.

Or at least, no ads on this blog TODAY. Maybe in some other circumstance, maybe with some other set of conditions. But not today, not right now. Hey, it's not much of a stand, but it's mine.

I'm not as morally opposed to advertising as Andrea. I don't think advertising is evil, in and of itself. But when I started reading stuff like Jen's post on GreenStone Media on Literary Mama, I started having second thoughts. And Ann's post reminded me of the reasons that I love and value blogging and being a part of the blog community and why I got so addicted to it in the first place. And finally, and perhaps most influentially, Marla's polemic on the subject tipped me over the edge.

Hey, do you think it's a coincidence that these smart ladies are my co-presenters in the Motherlode conference next month? It's not. These are women I admire and respect, women whose opinion I value, women who have been very careful not to criticize or even try to overtly influence my earlier decision to run ads on this blog. In fact, they've said they don't really care whether I run ads or not, and that the choice is all mine, and that they'll still respect me in the morning. How's that for peer pressure?

I could link to dozens of other smart, well-written and knowledgeable posts on this same subject that I've read over the past two weeks. Some supported the idea of advertising on blogs, some opposed it, and some were indifferent. But for me, it came down to an idea Marla planted in my brain, and ties back to Ann's exploration of blogging versus traditional media.

This blog is about me. (And you know how I love it when it's all about me.) It's my version of the story of us, of Beloved and Tristan and Simon and the other characters who populate our universe. It's personal, sometimes painfully so, and I just don't feel right about turning a profit on that. Maybe someday when a publisher offers me a contract, I'll feel different. But right now, $50 or $60 a month isn't the right price. I don't bear any ill will to people who choose to run ads, and frankly I'm not all that perturbed by ads that don't flash or blink or interfere with my reading of the content I came looking for. And maybe some day in the future, I'll be swayed the other way.

To be honest, there were other mitigating factors in this decision. Most of them had to do with logistics. I'd have to change my layout around more than I expected, for one. And you know how I feel about change. And then there were issues about how exactly the cash would wend it's way into my pocket, and that was more complicated than I expected.

If I were a different type of blogger, I'd have ads plastered all over the place. If I were writing about current events or pop culture or technology, I'd have no hesitation whatsoever. But this is me, and my life, and my family, and it just doesn't seem right to put that up for sale.

The blog isn't just about me, it is me. When I started doing this early in 2005, I did it for two reasons: to flex my creative muscles, and to record the minutia of our daily lives. Life is so crazy, so hectic, so fast-paced, that it's so easy to forget what it was like, and I love it when I stumble across something in my own archives that perfectly captures a moment - a moment that would have been completely lost if I hadn't taken a moment to write it down.

And then you all started showing up, and it became about you, too. One of things I most love now is the conversation that goes on. I love that you'll weigh in on the debate, but I also love the fact that you will laugh with me and cry with me and celebrate with me. This blog is a gift (background music swells to a crescendo) and I don't think I can put a price on that. I will happily share it with you for free, but I just don't feel right about selling it. Ya know?

There are a lot of posts out there right now discussing the commercialization of the blogosphere, and in particular the momosphere, and how politics and popularity may or may not be changing the blog world. These are important conversations, and I wish I had the time or energy or focus to contribute to them more coherently. But this is the best I can offer. This is my blog, and these are my reasons.

As always, I invite your discussion on this. All the other cool kids are talking about it, and dontcha wanna be cool?