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Why Readers Hate it When You Make Money

haters gonna hate by thenestor

I have been blogging for like, ever. So, when my readers get all up in my grill about something on my blog that enables me to make (part of a) living, I always have the urge to get defensive. I am a true blogger through and through. If the FTC took away ALL means of blogging for money, I would still be compelled to blog. Even though I live in a capitalist country and almost everything around me is designed to part people from their hard-earned cash, my readers hate it when I make money. Why are they so violently opposed to seeing someone they love succeed?

1. Well first of all, they don’t love you.

Readers don’t read your blog because they love you. Even if you’re Dooce or The Pioneer Woman, two bloggers who are A-Listers because of their personalities, your readers still come to your blog for one reason. Because they’re selfish. Because you give them something, like inspiration, entertainment, eye-candy, or even motivation. Once that thing you are giving them dries up, they will cease to come. If they think it might be drying up, they will come less often until they are reassured that that thing is still there.

2. They’re insecure. They think you love money and sponsors more than you love them (or your content).

Even though readers come to your blog because they’re selfish, they think that what you have with them is special. They have an emotional connection with your blog, that’s why they read it. They want to believe that you have an emotional connection with them back. When they smell money (and they always do! We are professional consumers… we always know when there’s money!), they feel betrayed. When a reader sees a new ad where there wasn’t one, or a disclosure where they’ve never seen one, they freak out just a little bit. They think you will no longer love them (the reader) as much as you did before.

What the reader doesn’t understand is that you love your blog more than they could ever love your blog. You gave birth to the blog, you feed it, you change all its virtual diapers. You are with that blog 24 hours a day. You think about it during all your waking hours, and even during your sleepless nights. Hopefully you won’t let a handful of sponsors or opportunities distract you from how much you love your blog. Sometimes what the reader needs is a little reassurance that you won’t let the money distract you from the best interests of your blog. An honest blog entry about why you are monetizing (like this one from Shannon at Madigan Made) is probably all you need to keep your followers loyal, and convert some haters into fans.

3. They want to believe you do it (only) for the love of your blog.

When readers learn that you are making money on your blog, a certain illusion is shattered. They don’t want to imagine you getting a modest check in exchange for your outrageous efforts. When a reader has to think about anything on your blog that distracts them from their selfish mission of being entertained, it annoys them. If they read a disclosure, it shocks them away from the content of your post and makes them think that you sold out to write the post. It kind of ruins the whole thing for them there right at the end. When money enters the picture “they feel like your content is then compromised,” Tweeted QueerieBradshaw.

Even if it’s not. It’s not compromised, right? You didn’t sell out to write a $10 sponsored post about Choconauts on your organic cooking blog, did you?

4. They have a finely-tuned sense of entitlement.

Why pay for the cow when the milk is free? Who cares if someone else is paying for the milk?! I want my milk free, dammit! It has always been free!

No, actually, it has never been free. someone always pays for the milk. Up until you started monetizing, YOU paid for the milk. With your time, your effort, and your own money. You paid your own money so someone else could read your blog. And now they’re complaining about the free resource you are giving them. At our very cores, we are all selfish beings. We have all become so spoiled with the glut of free information on the internet that we actually think we deserve to get it for free.

But someone always pays.

5. If too many Other People learn about your blog, it can’t be cool anymore.

Like Hipsters, your readers feel like they knew about you before you were cool. Once you start getting cool with more people, you’re not as, uh, cool to early adopters. You becoming cool to the masses means you’re no longer their special secret website.

Yeah Pinterest really effed that up for the Hipsters.

6. Because they really, really love your blog. Like it is.

Most people fear and loathe change. Even the ones who claim they like change don’t like it when change is on someone else’s terms. A certain percentage of people will always complain when you change something. They will complain when you change your logo, your site design, your focus, when you increase the number of posts (or decrease them), and they will especially complain when you start to make money.

Just remember, when people complain, it’s because they love you. If they didn’t love you, they wouldn’t even notice, and they certainly wouldn’t take time to comment.

And a certain percentage of complainers are just haters. Haters gonna hate.

And a certain percentage of those complainers and haters will leave you. Forever. That’s okay. Who wants the haters anyway? People will come and go over the course of your blog’s lifespan. Most readers are not forever fans. It’s okay if they leave, because as long as you are still providing the same great content and the same level of integrity to yourself, more fans will come.

And when it comes down to that, it’s okay if more fans don’t come. It’s okay.

7. They feel like marks.

Your fans have bought into you. They believe what you say, follow your advice, and have put you on a teeny bit of a pedestal. Like I said before, they believe they have a relationship with you. When they learn that you are making money on your blog, they feel somewhat betrayed. They think that your relationship is based on using them for their pageviews (or whatever), and it annoys them to think that.

8. They don’t enjoy the baggage that comes with a monetized blog (ads, sponsored posts, having stuff pushed on them).

Some parts of monetized blogs are just annoying. Ad are annoying. Flashing ads are more annoying. Popup, animated, video, and audio ads are the worst. Having your favorite blogger write about a sponsored topic can be annoying. Having them shill their latest e-book is annoying. It can all be a bit much, if you don’t do it right.

I’m not pretending to know what the “right way” to monetize is. It’s different for every person and every website. I am right this very minute annoying people at my blog with a rollover ad and a paid giveaway. I hope that the fact that I still provide the same amount of solid content (and even more great editorial conten than I used to before I got paid, actually), will keep my readers coming back.

9. Because most stuff in our society is mass-produced, people tend to undervalue other people’s time.

We usually think of people undervaluing others’ time as a makers’ problem. If you have an Etsy shop, you think about it all the time. How much is my time worth to someone else? If I spent 20 hours knitting this garment, will anyone pay $400 for it? Most likely, no. Not when they can get a similarly warm garment at Target for $20. And if they ARE willing to pay me $400, is it worth my time to knit for $20 an hour? And how much did those six skeins of Noro yarn cost, anyway?

Commoditizing your hobby is a very difficult exercise. People are happy to do their hobbies for free — they will do hours of backbreaking labor for the love of what they are doing. But when they learn that people wouldn’t pay them even $10 for that same 30 hour project, a bubble bursts. It devalues the work to the point where nobody wants to do it anymore. I personally would rather make crafts without getting paid and give them away than charge $2 for a tube of lip balm that took me half an hour to make. That’s why I started blogging in the first place! My blog is my product.

So back to my point. It takes a reader, what, five minutes to read your blog post? Because you’re good at what you do, you make it look easy. The reader has no idea that it takes you two hours of brainstorming, followed by a two hour shopping trip to get supplies, followed by a four hour trial-and-error process as you design your craft (meanwhile, you stop every two minutes to take a well-composed and beautifully lit photo), followed by an hour of photo-editing, followed by the writing process, which could take hours. At the end of that blog post that took Sally Reader five minutes to read, you have already spent 10 hours toiling (and $13 on the supplies). If she had to name a price she would pay you to read another one of your tutorials, the price she would name would be NOTHING.

10. They don’t know you well enough. If they did, they would just be happy for you.

If you are not a craft blogger, how did you feel when you read that last paragraph? Did you know it takes me 10 hours of various types of work to write a craft tutorial post? Until I told you, you just took that post that took you two seconds to gawk at on Pinterest for complete granted. And that’s fine. I don’t mind that you appreciate my work for two seconds and then move on. But don’t begrudge me the four bucks I made on ad revenue on that post.

Again, education must enter the picture. Readers don’t know because they don’t know. They have uneducated opinions all the time. It is up to you to tell your readers (if you decide to) more about yourself, even how much money you make or how you make your money, or how long it takes you to put together a post that they breeze through in a few minutes.

I usually err on the side of not saying anything. It’s hard for me to reveal too much about myself. Not because I’m afraid to reveal numbers, or ashamed at the ways I am making money off of my readers, but mostly because it is my blog. Even though a million pages are viewed on my website every month, it is still my blog, and at the heart of it all, I am selfish like everyone else, and I write my own blog for my own reasons. I don’t want to justify every move I make to my readers (even though I think they would eat that up like dessert… people LOVE transparency!)

11. They’re just not used to it.

As I mentioned before, change is hard. If something new happens, people don’t like the feelings they get in the face of that change. They want your blog to be old reliable, and change makes people unhappy. You are their happy place.

The good news is that people are adaptable. They will become used to anything (and fairly quickly). With repetition, people will enjoy a post despite the disclosure at the end, or forget that there was ever a time before that 300×250 ad box. The people who can’t get used to it will leave, and be replaced by people who accept the way you do things around here.

So fly free, little blogger. It’s okay to make money on your blog, even if you encounter snarky comments or other little discouragements. You will probably make a few mistakes in the process of monetizing your blog, but that’s okay. Mistakes equal experience points, and you can’t get experience without uh, experiencing things. I give you permission to make money with your blog!

p.s. This Monday’s #crafterminds Twitter Chat topic is “How to Get Paid to be a Blogger.” Please join us at 1pm Pacific/4pm E on Twitter!

photo: licensed via flickr & creative commons, by thenestor

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50 Responses to “Why Readers Hate it When You Make Money”

  1. Jessica Hill says:

    “Yeah Pinterest really effed that up for the Hipsters.” I am dying! πŸ˜€

    Great post, Heather. When it comes down to it, we just need to do what works best for each of us!

  2. This post was really good. I have had my blog for just over a year and finally started trying to earn a penny for all my HOURS of work I do. I’ve never seen my following # go down until I placed google adsense on it! It was so disheartening. I mean I started making 10.00 a MONTH off my ads and I guess that just irratated people that I earned about 5 cents an hour for all my work. (who knows, maybe they thought I started making 40/ hr?:-) Maybe I will do a post about why I put ads on the blog, part of me just wants them to get used to the “change” and move on but part of me wants to write out how SILLY it is of them to “hate” that I now try to make just an tiny bit of income (can I even call 10 a month income?) Oh well, your post gave me a little chuckle….it’s good to know I’m not alone!

  3. Thanks for the very, very thorough article!
    I think we, as consumers, have been “trained” to hate advertising. When we were kids, commercials would always stop whatever show we were watching (right at the really cool part). With the internet, pop-ups get in the way. Even our mailbox is littered with “junk” mail… the ads.
    So, when our favorite blog suddenly adds this kind of “clutter” or “interruption”, it is natural for many to react the way they have been “trained” to, ever since they first got control of the TV remote.
    However, the better way of looking at it is this: “WOW! I’ve always loved this site, and now that they’re getting compensated in more than comments, maybe I’ll be able to find even MORE awesome and stimulating content here!!” : )

  4. Debra says:

    For the life of me I will never understand why people get upset when someone else makes money honestly. I am excited that people get paid to make money doing something that excites them. This is still America.

    I go back and forth about whether or not to advertise on my blog but still haven’t decided what to do. My biggest concern is that if I do advertise I will really need to get serious about blogging and have a ‘system’ for posts etc. At the season in my life I am not sure if I want that pressure – I am sure I am making too much out of it though. πŸ™‚

    This was a great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Hope you make lots of money this month!!! πŸ™‚

  5. WELL EXECUTED POST. I so needed this encouragement that its OK. I loved this post.

    winks, jen

  6. Another great article, really got me thinking. I haven’t had any complaints but I guess I’m lucky because I rarely get negative comments. Anyway I think that also maybe these readers feel a certain guilt within themselves upon learning their favorite bloggers make money because a) they themselves did not make the money or get the free awesome Sillouette to test out and 2) they themselves read blogs while working at some job they loathe or wishing they had a job they loved like you. And you make it look so easy that they don’t understand why all these bloggers get paid for ‘barely any work.’ Yes, they DONT know how much work it actually is, and really unless you are a craft blogger (or food blogger or whatever) you just can not understand. And I feel like if I ever tried to explain it to my friends it would sound silly or too self-promoting. So I just don’t talk about it that much. That’s the most beautiful thing about the craft blogger community–everyone gets it.

  7. Lacy says:

    I love this post and you’re so funny! I love seeing your personality come out on this blog because that really doesn’t happen at Dollar Store Crafts. Just shared this link with all my blogging friends. I’ve spent WAY too much time on this site today. Thanks for the great resource. πŸ™‚

    • heather says:

      @Lacy, thanks for noticing. Yeah, I blew off a little steam in this post! πŸ™‚ It’s fun to have a blog where I can be myself (or an editorial version of myself)!

  8. All I can say is “Amen.” I haven’t received any negative comments since I added Sponsors and ads, but you never know….

  9. Heather,

    Thanks so much for saying what so many are afraid to bring up. You touched on so many valid points.

    I have never begrudged anyone making money at what they do, as long as it’s come by honestly. I have seen that I am in the minority though.

    I truly don’t get why people would not want someone they purport to love to do well, but then perhaps we have experienced this same thing in our personal lives – how many of us have felt unsupported by someone close to us when we have succeeded?

    I believe with all my heart that people don’t truly value that which is free – perhaps until it no longer is. So, do we all start out by charging to create a higher perception of value? We would certainly have smaller audiences, but they would be more likely to be invested in us and in our success if they were paying (even a small amount) for what we produce. Then again, that didn’t work so well for NetFlix.

    I believe the internet has been a wonderful gift in so many ways, but one result is that there is now an expectation that everything online is free. Personally, I would rather pay a bit for quality than wade through lots of rubbish that’s free. Perhaps I am alone in that thinking?

    Again, great post!

    Steph

  10. Peaches says:

    Whoa girl, you really know how to lay down the law! Well said. It’s a fine line to walk. I can’t imagine ever resenting someone for capitalizing on an opportunity, but I also know what a turn off it is when a blogger turns all ads and sponsored posts All The Time. It’s like TV shows –the ratio of 22min of show and 8min of ads is something we are accustomed to, but the second that ratio turns, the second I spot product placement, the second feel manipulated….I’m out and on to the next show. And I wouldn’t think twice about it either. Guess loyalty isn’t my strong suit!

    Also, I could not agree more with you about how important it is to recognize that * not everyone visiting a blog likes that blog.* And they don’t love you. No one ever admits this. For me, staring a blog was such an ego boost, but whoa is it different now. Now I operate with the understanding that 1 in 10 people are just gawking or saying “eww, what is that?” …now it’s much easier to keep things in perspective. Now I’m not trying to impress anyone, just want to share some sparkle. Haters gonna hate. Not my problem.

    Enough rambling. Again –well said!

  11. You nailed it. Thanks for a great post. Entertaining, and true!

  12. Great post, Heather! You described so many great reasons why people could be turned off. I do think that Internet and all the info out there conditions people to expect things/advice for free. People who don’t blog have no idea the time involved to create a post… Loved how your broke it down!
    It is ok to earn compensation for what you do… Writing and tutorials have value. Does anyone complain about ads on martha’s site or BHG when they need an idea? Is it because they are a large “corporate” entity and that makes it ok because it is expected? Just because a blog is run by only a few people doesn’t mean they can’t try to earn money, too.
    My journey down this road just started and I appreciate the shout out! Thanks!

  13. Heather!
    This was a great post! You totally hit the nail on the head. Monetizing is something that I started in april or so. And you know what? I think its made my blog better. I dont do small $14.00 craft projects. I cant afford to spend hundreds of dollars every month on projects. So my options were to moetize or post less. I have spent SO much money on my projects totally willingly) that now I can do it by promoting products that I loved and used when I was making nothing. The end.

    • Jessica Hill says:

      Mandi – Just wanted to shout out that you have done a great job of letting your readers know about what ad networks you use and why. I joined up with the Clever Girls after reading one of your posts.

    • heather says:

      Mandi, you do a really great job of being upfront with monetization and I know your readers appreciate that you are candid & real! But of course, you are that way with everything, so of course you would be that way with blog-money stuff too! You are true to yourself & your blog’s voice, and it really works!

  14. Shannon Fox says:

    Thanks for such an informative post. I really appreciate the time you spent writing it. Funny you mentioned Dooce. I found her years and years ago while looking up kitchen reno info. I never thought a thing of it when she started running adds. They are off the charts now. I think it’s amazing.
    I myself just started a blog about a month and a half ago. Before I did, I had been blog hoping for a long time. It never bothered me when I saw adds… I didn’t think twice. Actually, I thought they were probably pretty big stuff if they had adds running πŸ˜‰ LOL! Just my quick two cents. Shannon

  15. I think you just fleshed out the whole psychology right there! So true.

  16. Jen Clark says:

    Heather! I so needed to read this tonight, after getting a nasty comment on my review over on Craft Test Dummies today! Jenny said it was the first hateful comment in 3 years there! (Go me! Ha ha!) But really…this post really hit the nail on the head. Haters will be haters. (And I agree with Lacey – LOVE seeing your personality come out here!! I laughed many times while reading this!) πŸ™‚

  17. debbie says:

    heres my take on it. like it or leave it πŸ˜‰

    i dont care if bloggers make money. i really, truly dont. ads dont bother me- static, flashing or pop ups -cause i dont ever see them (thank goodness for adblock!)

    what i do care about is the CONTENT of the blog. I have stopped reading several because all (it seemed)they started doing was ‘give aways’ and contests meshed with (in many cases) over inflated product reviews. If i want a widget, i will buy it. I might like it, i might not, but im sure as heck not going to comment, like, post, repost, and jump through umpteen other hoops to win this widget. and all too many times when they finally DO a project- it looks like my 5 year old made it.

    So go – make your money. I hope shannon makes millions (im not ashamed to admit, hers is my favorite blog and has been for well over a year now, though i rarely, if ever, comment on anything πŸ˜‰ ) But DO NOT lose sight of WHO you are, WHY you are writing, and WHY your readers have come to follow you in the first place. Losing sight of that, is a sure fire way to lose your most valuable fans.

    • Catherine says:

      I absolutely agree with you, Debbie. I have no problem with bloggers making money – – more power to them! Success is inspiring.

      But, as you said, content on some blogs really suffers. They might grow followers, but it’s boring & uninspiring to only see giveaways & product reviews.

      To each their own, I suppose. There must be many people out there who are fine with those kinds of blogs. πŸ™‚

    • heather says:

      I agree with you, Debbie. Bloggers who lose their original voice in favor of sponsored content have done it all wrong! Content is the most important thing. I agree with you – I don’t want to read that blog, I refuse to comment or enter their giveaways, and your last paragraph is spot on!

  18. Kristina says:

    I guess I am new and naive but I couldn’t have imagined readers would be angry about this-thanks for posting! I also know how time consuming it is to do all the hard work and the satisfaction in sharing your creativity with the world-it should be about that but why not get paid for doing something you love!

  19. Bravo! “up in my grill” Oh how I love that saying. I have heard of people getting upset over ads and luckily so far, I’ve not received any. Whew. Which oddly enough, I’m stick of what I’ve got going on my side bar…..looks like vegas lately. Now if they all gave me the return of a vegas jackpot, I wouldn’t mind so much.

  20. Great blog! Made me laugh. I was telling someone the other day WHY I blog. I used to be an editor at a national magazine. Then I decided to leave it all and have a child (awesome choice, I might add). So I blog to communicate with the working world and to moms and to nature lovers and craft lovers… all those people I used to chat with in the office. Now I lose money each month blogging and have stressed over monetizing, LOL. I appreciate your insights. Maybe it’ll be that “kick in the pants” I need to put an ad on my blogs…. πŸ˜€

  21. Michelle L. says:

    All those categories are so very insightful and true! My favorite part of your post is at then end, when you said that people who decide to monetize their blogs will make some mistakes at first. That’s a kind and reassuring statement to people who might be contemplating The Step. Thanks once again, H, for a funny and brilliant post!

  22. Sara @ Mom Endeavors says:

    Heather, this was fabulous!! I love this line,”So fly free, little blogger. It’s okay to make money on your blog, even if you encounter snarky comments or other little discouragements.” Because honestly, as you said, it’s still “YOUR” (universal, “You”) blog and really it’s all up to “you” to decide what to do with it, money or not! πŸ™‚

  23. Rhonda says:

    It’s baffling to me the number of people who don’t understand how I make money on the internet. (My grandmother thinks I’ve gotten swept up in a pyramid scheme.) Seems that while everyone who can figure out how to click a mouse is soaking up all kinds of info on the internet, no one takes the time to think about how it got there.

    In explaining what I do to other people, I get a lot of strange reactions. It’s like people think that the entire internet is a big volunteer project, or that info somehow magically appears from some mystical Google machine. And no matter how I try to explain my job, most people don’t really “get it.” Even many of my friends have this disillusion about the amount of time and effort that goes into blogging.

    It’s frustrating when you eatsleepbreathe your blog(s) and no one sees it as a “real” job.

  24. jamie says:

    whoa. this rocks. i just started monetizing last week and this is exactly the encouragement i needed. also, i have tried to explain to people countless times why it wouldn’t be a great idea to sell the things i knit!!! you summed it up perfectly.

  25. Pat says:

    You know, I love blogs and I am an Oldie-Goldie.
    Free Enterprise is the reason the U.S. is so popular
    for those who want to become citizens.

    We are too worried about being politically
    correct, the truth is that you will never please
    the entire blogosphere.

    I do love your blogs, of all types and descriptions.
    It reminds me of walking down a street at night and
    being able to look inside and see a family watching
    tv or having dinner. The difference is when you write
    a blog, you’re basically inviting your friends and
    neighbors to come in and visit!

    There’s no free-lunch, no share-the-wealth unless you
    work to put the $$$ in your own pocket and share it
    with your family. You are a small business and deserve
    compensation for your time.

    Don’t worry about those who gripe, invite them to try
    the same thing for their blog…chances are, they don’t
    have one.

    You deserve every nickel you earn if you write the
    blog, take the photos, host the link party….blogs are
    hands down better than any magazine.

    Keep up the wonderful work if you are a blogger! Hope
    you make a lot of money so you’ll keep sharing your
    tips, ideas, crafts, and expertise!

  26. I’m six months into blogging and am perhaps one day I’ll make a dollar for what I do, but I’m rather enjoying learning something new. I also appreciate the extra traffic that the blog drives into my Etsy shop.

    I hope you make tons and tons of money from your blog, but most of all, I hope you continue enjoying it. I enjoy your posts!

  27. Emily says:

    I am now a follower of your blog BECAUSE of this post. Best of luck!

  28. Kat says:

    I would love to make money with my blog,but I haven’t got the faintest idea how, so I wholeheartedly applaud you and anyone who can! Phooey on the naysayers. They’re mad because they can’t claim that prize!

  29. Suzanne says:

    I don’t have ads on my either of my blogs, but one of my blogs is designed specifically to promote my business. However, I do try to provide value in the form of ideas and information with a very soft sell on products. How do folks tend to feel about that?

  30. Vic says:

    I just realised I’m a selfish hipster. I swear I had no idea.

  31. Trent says:

    If some of your readers hate on you for making money from your blog then you never would have made a dime from those readers anyway. Ask them if they would take time write a blog on a daily basis without ever expecting to make money from it. I bet none of them would!

  32. Mary says:

    Hi Heather! I have been ‘loosely’ following Dollar Store Crafts and just recently subscribed to your YouTube videos. After reading this post, I am so impressed with your knowledge, writing style, ‘blog-wisdom’ and humor! I am a ‘blog-hopper’ who toys with the idea of doing my own little crafty/life blog but am clueless. (I might even start doing little ‘haul’ videos myself. Sometimes I get so excited about what I’ve found at the Dollar Store/Michaels/Goodwill/garage-saling that I have to tell somebody about it! By the way, in my neighborhood, The Dollar Store and Michael’s are right next door to each other! Plus there’s a Big Lots just a few doors down!) Sorry, I sound like a dork. Really, I’m kind of a cool chick, but when I come across people who like the same kind of stuff I do, I tend to gush :p
    Anywhoo…You and your posts will be my number-one source for ‘blog-ucation’. Thanks, Heather! (o;

  33. Dee says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful info. πŸ™‚

  34. Nikki says:

    Thank you so very, very much for this post!
    I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me for wanted to monetize!
    And thank you for saying it’s OK to do…I feel much, much better (and much more confident) about the path I see my blog taking now!

  35. Heather, I have come back again and again to this post. Blogging can be so rewarding, but it can also be so incredibly frustrating. Just today, I wrote a post about my frustrations with Pinterest and about credit not going to the people who actually created the projects (or rooms) that are being pinned. I can’t believe some of the comments I’ve gotten! One person told me that my post left “a bad taste” in her mouth, and that I had “sucked the fun” right out of my blog with my post. It immediately reminded me of your #1 point above. She doesn’t give a crap about me. She comes to my blog because of what I can give to HER.

    I’ve had a couple of them even suggest that bloggers who actually want credit for their projects and pictures are being too sensitive and over protective of their work. WHAT??!!! That immediately reminded me of your #9 point above.

    So yeah…the whole “making money” issue is a sore spot for some readers, but the points you’ve made cross over to other areas as well. I feel very irritated today with all of this.

  36. Betz White says:

    Awesome post! Good for you for putting it out there so eloquently. Thank you!

  37. tammy says:

    I loved this , thank you. I too have had difficulty in feeling ok about putting ads on my blog. I feel better about it now. Words of wisdom, thanks.

  38. Barry says:

    One of the things that people object most strongly to is a sudden attempt to monetise a blog. ‘So you’ve been giving away all this content for free, and now you’re changing the rules’.

    Most bloggers start with free content then, when they get enough followers, think ‘ok, now I have enough people, it’s time to monetise.’

    Readers know this, so when an established blog start to try to make money some will think that you were <always in it for the money, you just weren't honest about it up front (so your content is now devalued). They can feel like a bit of a sucker in that they supported you from the start with their time and attention because they thought you were producing something different and of value – but it turns out you were just suckering enough people in to milk for cash.

    Others may feel like you're now adding a cost to something that was free – even sidebar ads are a 'cost' to the reader in terms of intrusion and functionality for the reader.

    If your up front about your desire to make money from the blog from the start, people tend to throw less of a hissy-fit when you attempt to do so. My advice? If you're going to put ads on your blog/sell products/ask for subscriptions/offer real-life consulting etc. then be up front and do it from the start, even when you have no readers whatsoever.

    If a reader knows you are attempting to set up a business and chooses to follow you they'll be totally fine with your money-making content. If however, you build a following and then try to monetise it, be aware that some people will get upset with you.

  39. Robin says:

    So true … why do people get so mad when someone else makes money?!? Just ridiculous!

  40. Laura says:

    I hate to be the naysayer here, but it’s not that people begrudge you earning money (and I don’t think that’s what the article was saying, more the commenters). I think all of us blog readers are in favor of the blogger making money, so that the quality content can continue.

    Many of us (and I do this for a living) blog because the great content sells your product or service. Now, many bloggers aren’t selling a product or service, and if they’re only in blogging for making money, I think they will get a rude awaking, because it’s hard to make a lot of money by having people click on AdWords or being an Amazon affiliate seller.

    So, maybe the real question is, is it worth alienating your faithful readers (who after all, are the ones who made you popular enough to sell ad space) for $10/month in revenue from AdWords?

    One other thing to keep in mind, selling your own ads (though worth more money), can be a major time suck. You have to value your time too.

    I’m all for making money by blogging, but at what cost?

  41. Nikki H. says:

    I am not a blogger but a lot of people in my family own their own businesses and slave away nonstop and make a meager amount of money at it, so I thought this post was interesting.

    It reminds me of a little anecdote that happened when I was 18. My mom and I had a very small business making quilt tops out of our basement. Our primary customers were Amish and Mennonite people, who would buy the tops (the design part of the quilt) from us and then finish it by doing hand quilting. Most people in high school and college have to work at McDonald’s or Starbucks. I considered myself quite lucky to be able to go into my basement and sew to make a little money.

    One day my friends and I were entertaining ourselves by jumping on a trampoline and coming up with things to make fun of each other about. (This was just a hilarious thing that we did, none of us took anything personally.) I was feeling a little left out because no one had come up with anything to make fun of me about. Then one of them said, “I’m Nikki and I take advantage of Amish people by selling them quilts made in my basement!” We all laughed and another friend said, “More like, the Amish people are taking advantage of the public by selling them quilts made in Nikki’s basement!”

    The point of all this is, the first thing that comes to people’s mind when you say that you’re selling things to Amish people is that you’re taking advantage of them. Even though we were selling them a quality finished product for less money than they’d probably spend on the fabric ALONE at one of their local suppliers. And they in turn were able to charge less for their handiwork and had a better chance of selling it. But whenever money comes into the picture, people on the outside assume that SOMEONE is being taken advantage of.

    PS– I wasn’t offended by my friends’ comments, it just kinda made me think.

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