Friday, December 08, 2006

Blog Advertising: Are We Selling Ourselves to the Devil?

Edited to add: If you don't have time to read this long, rambling post, just skip to the boldfaced sentence at the end. :)

A few weeks ago I decided to join the BlogHer Ad Network. I've read many posts debating the virtues of placing ads on blogs. Most of the debate that I've read in the mommy blogosphere happened around the time that BlogHer ads expanded beyond their test launch to accept more bloggers into the Network.

I didn't weigh in too heavily on the conversation at that point - mainly because I don't have a very strong opinion on the matter. To me, it's a completely personal choice as to whether you want to put ads on your blog or not. And putting ads on your blog or not putting ads on your blog is really not going to make any difference to me when it comes to whether or not I read your blog - unless your blog is so cluttered with ads that I can't read it easily.

That being said, I personally did not want to advertise on my blog for any product or company that I would be ethically opposed to buying products from. For example, I have never shopped at Wal-Mart, nor will I ever shop at Wal-Mart, because I do not believe the company is socially responsible. One of the things that I like about the BlogHer Ad Network is that it allows bloggers to opt out of running ad spots for companies or products they do not feel comfortable supporting. So, you will never see a Wal-Mart ad on my BlogHer Ad banner.

I guess my only reservation about placing ads on my blog is that I feel that I am contributing - if only in a small way - to promoting the consumer culture that I really do despise. I hate the fact that Christmas has been completely commercialized, for example. I hate the fact that the day after Thanksgiving people are in such a frenzy to go buy, buy, buy that they are trampling each other to get their hands on the new PlayStation. This kind of stuff makes me sick to my stomach. So, am I selling myself to the Devil? Some might say so.

And yet, I have ads on my blog. I do. And in the end, I felt OK with that. Mainly, I feel OK with it because I am not being forced to run ads for companies that I feel ethically opposed to, which helped make my decision easier. However, I still reserve the right to change my mind about my ads and take them off. I just feel OK with them right now and I truly don't feel I'll be going to Hell for it. :)

And let me say here, before I continue, that I am not trying to sell the Ad Network to you AT ALL. That is not the purpose of my post. So, why am I writing about this now? I'm getting there...I'm getting there...

I was happy to learn recently that the BlogHer Ad Network has begun running public service announcements for philanthropic organizations in our ad banners. In addition, we are now starting to see partnerships forming between sponsors of the Ad Network and the philanthropic organizations themselves.

So while you will never read me imploring you to go buy something advertised on my site, I will be posting now and then if there is a simple action that you can take with regards to supporting a charity that the BlogHer Ad Network is promoting.

And right now, TheFind is donating $1 per day to Doctors Without Borders each time you search for a "red" item in their search engine. The campaign is going to run until they get to a $10,000 donation for Doctors Without Borders. A $10,000 donation provides 10,000 people with vaccinations for meningitis or measles. Not a bad return for a couple clicks.

So what are you waiting for? Please go click on the advertisement running in my ad banner. Enter a search for red wine or something, and you'll be sending a dollar to Doctors Without Borders. You can do it once a day.

And hey, if I do end up in Hell for this, at least I'll be there with Doctors Without Borders and a whole bunch of mommybloggers. That's not bad company if you ask me!


Anonymous kim said...

doctors without borders is a fantastic glad to click once a day :)
and whats wrong with a few little ads for cute stuff or good causes? you do what you want!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

If you're going to hell for ads, take me because I just got this red dress that's bangin'! Also: I'll bring the margarita mix if you bring the salt.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Doctors without Borders is my favorite charity.

Fabulous tip!

6:08 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

I think it is awesome that you put as much thought and research into it.

Cool about the charities.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I say why not get paid for something you were already doing for free? As long as the ads don't change your blog they are just gravy.

9:03 AM  
Blogger radioactive girl said...

I love how you wrote this. I tend not to notice whether or not someone has ads, and don't really think it would ever influence whether or not I would read. But, I am all for good causes that are easy to donate to!

12:08 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

You're NOT going to hell!! Maybe the people at Wal-Mart are, but not you, no way!!!


1:39 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

I don't feel strongly about blogads one way or another...personal decisions for a personal blog, I say. I have only been to one blg that was SO riddled with ads that I coulddn't bear to read it, but aside from that, they don't bother me at all.

I did some searching for red wine, red socks, red boots, red hats. $4 baby! In a few clicks! :) Sa-weet.

2:06 PM  
Blogger jennster said...

i just don't understand why people hate the ads so much?!

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Momish said...

I honestly don't mind the ads (even Google ads). I would consider it myself if I thought it would pay off. And, I agree with you that finding socially responsible marketing like BlogHer does make it better. It really does! Thanks for the tip.

I haven't stepped foot within a Wal-Mart in over 5 years. Will. Not. Do. It!

You've won my respect, but then again, you always had it!

7:24 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

As you know, I'm with you on every count. Even walmart, which is banned from my blog right along with Domino's.

I love this public service effort - it's awesome. Thanks for reminding me to mention it at my place.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Who knew that blogging could be so full of moral decisions and questioning of one's character?? :) I agree with you, if someone has ads on their blog it doesn't alter my opinion one way or the other. I do love the public service idea though. That's a good iesa.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

oh yes. I hate Walmart too. They are the devil. No question about it. HATE them.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Lena said...

I wish my blog was my own because I would so do this.

Next year. *sigh* *sip of wine*

But, I'll click! ;)

8:14 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

I clicked yours! Now you click mine :)

(and I banned Walmart ads, too, along with Dow, Monsanto and Ortho)

8:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Doctors without Borders IS a great charity. LOVE them.

And so happy you won't advertise for evil Wal-Mart!

9:18 PM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Such a great charity. That's awesome!

3:10 AM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I like you've found a way to help a good cause. Definitely the holiday spirit more of us need to exhibit!

5:23 AM  
Blogger Lotta said...

Excellent post! I linked to it and to

9:40 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...


What is the deal with WalMart?

I'm from South Africa so have no idea what that's all about...

11:26 AM  
Anonymous karrie said...

One of the main reasons I am opposed to ads--on my blog--is not having control over the featured companies.

I still do not see myself running ads, but it is nice to know that there are ways to do so without compromising your beliefs.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Late to the party here but I have to give you a high five on the no walmart stance you're taking. I've never bought anything there and never will.

6:22 PM  

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