What’s with the shopping cart? Or: Art vs. commerce.Posted by Donna Freedman on Aug 31, 2010 | 17 comments
I started this site for two reasons. The primary reason: I needed a place where I could write what I needed to write regardless of whether I could make money doing it.
The secondary reason: To make money doing it.
Like so many others, I’m looking for the infamous “alternative income stream.” A former editor pointed out that it’s risky for a freelancer to rely on just one paycheck source. He’s right. After all, I am supporting myself, paying for my own health insurance and building my own retirement. If my day job went away, I’d be so out of luck.
Plenty of people blog for free, for the sheer joy of words. Let me tell you something: Joy doesn’t pay the bills.
Two months after my first post I finally did put Google Adsense on the site, but frankly it doesn’t pay much. (I’ve heard that’s fairly standard for smaller sites.) I’ve also applied to run BlogHer ads; due to the waiting list, this process can take as long as human gestation.
Recently I found out about two other advertising possibilities, InTopic Media and Open Sky. I’m trying them both.
Here’s how it works
InTopic searches for keywords and company names in blog posts. You’ll know it’s an InTopic link because it will have a double underline, vs. the single-underline links that I put in myself. If you mouse over the link, a banner ad appears. Click and you go to that advertiser’s landing page; move away and the ad disappears.
Open Sky is a site combines social media and e-commerce, matching sellers (bloggers) with suppliers (producers of everything from cupcakes to organic beauty products). If I write about a product and someone buys it from my site, I get a percentage of the profit; the supplier gets his/her stated price first.
As an old print newshound, I have a horror of the blurring of the editorial and advertising departments. Yet I also need to learn to do things the way they’re done now – in a way that I can live with.
Selling – not selling out
Here’s what I promise:
- I will not write about a product I have not tried and found to be swell.
- I will not write about products that are incredibly expensive.
- I will not lard my posts with popular keywords and name brands just to get more ads.
That last one may sound silly. But while researching an article about making money (legitimately) on the Internet, I learned about a job ad for a blog content writer. It included this sentence: “Ideally content should make sense, but not essential” (emphasis added). Whoever was doing the hiring wanted somebody who could string keywords into copy blocks to improve search engine optimization.
I won’t do that. Anyone who has read me since I started a few months ago should know that I don’t think of blog content as, well, content. This is work that I believe in, work that I hope will instruct or inspire. It has to be done well, because it has my name on it.
Some days it may also make milk come out of your nose. But that’s not essential, either.
All right, folks, what are your thoughts? Let’s hear ’em.