Friday, August 03, 2007

Should My Blog Feature Advertising?

Yesterday, the Peter Rost of the blog BrandWeek NRx reported that U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee had approved a bill designed to shield both bloggers and journalists from federal prosecution for protecting confidential sources. But, and its a big but, the bill excludes casual bloggers by stipulating that the protections apply only to those who derive "financial gain or livelihood" from the journalistic activity. However, he notes that based on the wording, it is expected that bloggers who receive "even minimal revenue from advertising" would be covered by this bill. Rost believes this is a major milestone in the blog world, and further blurs the line between bloggers and journalists.

The key, however, is that ad revenues are an important distinction, if for no other reason than the legal protections that the legislation would provide. While most casual bloggers are unlikely to run into legal issues anyway, with unwarranted telephone taps in the name of the war on terrorism, its not inconceivable. While its not law yet, the development did make me consider whether I should consider taking advantage of Google's AdSense tool on my blog. I'm already registered so I can share in any revenues generated from my article published on, so it would not be a major undertaking to include something on my blog, and I might just derive some revenue, too. You know the type of advertising I'm referring to: outrageous and downright deceptive (and untrue) claims of miracle, natural cures for diabetes, including the autoimmune variety known as type 1. However, Google is pretty ethical about it, with prominent designation indicating "Ads by Google" so readers can judge for themselves.

What does anyone else think or do? What about the legal protections it might soon afford? How many of you already feature this, or some other type of online advertising? Would you consider the blog any less credible?


Major Bedhead said...

I have no issues with advertising on blogs as long as that advertising doesn't compromise content or make my computer crash. I wouldn't want to see a ton of flashy, blinky ads just because I find them annoying, but normal ads are just fine with me.

As for Adsense, I don't think you'd make much off of it.

This topic has been floating around the mommy blogosphere recently because of a session at the recent BlogHer conference in Chicago. If you want some good advice on the subject, go over to A Mommy Story and check out her post called Make Money From Blogging - But How Much? She links to some good sites that may help you answer this question. They aren't diabetes-specific, obviously, but advertising info is advertising info.

I don't have advertising on my blog - not out of some holier-than-thou thing but just because I don't have the readership that advertisers want. Yet. I'm working on that, though.

Jenny said...


I found the diabetes ads served by Google to be so loathesome that I did not see how a person could ethically display them on their site--especially since you only profit if some poor fool clicks through to the site promising to get "67% of Type 1 diabetics" off insulin.

People who defend these rotten ads, and there are too many of them, say that people are smart enough to know better, but the email I get from victims of crap like Cinnergen tell me otherwise.

Year ago when I made a trial of the Google Ads on my diabetes site I contacted Google about the ad promising to get Type 1s off insulin and got a softsoap response from Google that made it clear that when it comes to diabetes Google is quite willing to "do evil".
They are still running that ad several years after my protest.

If this ever turned into a real issue, I'd be happy to buy an ad on your site for the same kind of pittance Google would pay you--a few bucks a month, and you could do the same for me. But I don't think it really is going to be an issue.

We are much more likely to run into legal problems with well-funded corporations who have the legal staff to sue even when they know they don't have a case because they know we don't have the resources to counter their suits.

Anil said...

I do not think it makes sense to use the Google AdSense if you want any control on your site content.
If you just want to put a money source on your site to be more journalistic, go with some other ad controls.
Here are some ideas -
1) You can link to the Amazon site to sell the particular books etc you recommend.
2) You can sell a specific ad from your site of something you believe in. I am sure there are people out there willing to help you out with that.

I think if you want to keep your independence, you will need to keep control on what appears in your blog.

AmyT said...

Goodness, People, you can easily block the "bad eggs" out of AdSense. But revenue is VERY minimal anyway.

I view my blog as a credible publication, like any other, that separates the Editorial section from the Advertising section. All is good as long as the two don't mix...

Best of luck,

Bernard said...

I agree with AmyT. AdSense revenue is minimal (I've 'earned' less than $40 for six months). But you can block obnoxious ads. If you do that, your revenue goes down, which is just fine with me.

I think some revenue makes sense. If for no other reason that to cover the bandwidth and hosting costs (I use blogger, but host the content on my web site).

It'll be interesting to watch that legislation. Scott, do you have a bill number?