Yesterday, I received a really nice comment after I whined about my lack of professional qualifications:
"You're a writer." I live for comments like that.
But I had to chuckle a bit at Jane's observation that I carry a lot of ads and widgets on the site, because the revenue they bring in doesn't pay for my Typepad service. And I've finally concluded that some of them are more trouble than they are worth.
As of tomorrow, I will no longer be carrying ads from the BlogHer network. As I told them in my resignation letter:
I think it’s probably the best program out there and appreciate the fact that the only significant traffic I get are on the days when my posts are linked under the ads.
It is because I don’t get significant traffic that I don’t earn much from the program, and so don’t expect to earn more from any other program. I’m thinking of dropping ads from the blog entirely.
My reason for this move is the strict standards on when a sponsored gift can be written about. I feel I already disclose when I’ve received something (hell, I disclose when I talk about a product and I HAVEN’T received anything), and television programs and magazines are able to run ads for non-competing products alongside their freebies, which are only ever disclosed in very fine print at the end of the program/book. I realize this is a selling point for your team and I appreciate how successful you have been with it. But I’m tired of what I think is a double standard for bloggers and all other media.
The case in point was when I was asked to remove a post about what was happening during the holidays at Disneyland. Yes, I was able to review the offerings as part of a sponsored blogger event, so the tickets for me and my family were worth about $400. But the topic of my blog is life in Southern California – to some people, that’s synonymous with Disneyland. It’s relevant and a subject I would be writing about anyway (and have written about many times). I disclosed that the tickets were free. It was odd to move that post to the review blog (where it didn’t really belong). And travel publications/shows are given fam trips ALL THE TIME and it does not affect their ability to run ads from other destinations.
When I worked in radio and ran an interview with an artist, I did not have to disclose that I received his recording or attended his concert and received my two-drink minimum for free, courtesy of his record label. When I worked on the Tonight Show and we spotlighted interesting new products, we did not have to disclose that these were sent us by manufacturers eager for the free exposure. Movie critics go to private screenings… and some are flown out to press junkets to interview the artists. Yes, the larger news organizations insist on paying the way of their reporters – but not all do and they are not required to disclose and they are still able to run ads for competing movies.
I may or may not be a writer. I'm definitely not much of a businessperson.