of advertising on the internet

Oh readers, dear, I have an important question for all of you. An advertising agency has contacted me about putting a few ads on Click Clack Gorilla. The money isn’t bad, and the ads would consist of linked keywords within the text. Aka sometimes words would be hyperlinks, and those hyperlinks would lead to websites who have paid for the mention. It doesn’t sound very intrusive, and yet, I hesitate.

What do you think? Would you be annoyed to see paid hyperlinks in Click Clack Gorilla text? Would I be?

This blog has never been about making money (though maybe in another five years I will finally have earned myself a ten dollar Amazon gift certificate through Amazon Associates, harheeharharhar), but about writing–keeping motivated to write more consistently, getting feedback from time to time, and having a real neat filing system for all the drafts. If it weren’t for Click Clack Gorilla my ship would have sunk beneath tiny bits of paper long ago.

And yet, getting some money for something I would be doing anyway sounds like a pretty sweet deal. And if an advertising agency is paying me, then I will never need to resort to hassling you all for cash when mamma needs a new pair of shoes. So what do you think? Do you have ads on your own site? (And has your experience been good or bad?) Would ads on Click Clack irritate? Or should I just stop biting my nails and do it already?

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Thursday February 03rd 2011, 7:30 am 20 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies

20 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

Give it a go and see how it works. If it fucks with your ethics or your head, drop the ads. You’re a writer, a worker, and there’s no shame in getting paid for honest work.

Comment by cheese 02.03.11 @ 7:46 am

Go for it! There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a little cash, unless you’re advertising something that’s against your values.

BTW, I love your site. I just discovered it the other day and have been lurking but hello :-)

Comment by Claudia 02.03.11 @ 8:29 am

Looking at it in a pro/con sort of way, the goal would be that it encourages you to write often ; the danger would be if it affects the content of what you are writing. If the money is worth the effort (in this case, no extra effort but rather the continued updates) and doesn’t have a say in what is produced, than go for it. I’ve never particularly noticed hyper-linked words, which also means I’ve never really clicked them.

Comment by Jerry 02.03.11 @ 10:00 am

Ok, in my opinion ads completely suck. But adblock will usually take care about it anyway, so in a way I don’t mind.

BUT: What you’re talking about isn’t advertisement. There is no border between ad and content. In German this is called “Schleichwerbung” and considered as something bad. Furthermore it’s search engine spamming by paid links. The so called ads – which can’t be blocked as the’re “normal” hyperlinks within the article – have another goal than create traffic to related commercial websites. This links are paid for to get a better pagerank in search engines (links = more importance), on the long run this could ruin _your_ pagerank when search engines block the ad-network. (This was a discussion within the german blogosphere recently, for a start try http://www.netzpolitik.org/2011/interview-sascha-pallenberg-uber-schleichwerbung-in-blogs/ )

Comment by gegenglueck 02.03.11 @ 11:54 am

I’m all for making money off blogs, but I’d do a little research into text link ads if I were you. They are supposedly the sketchy version of internet advertising.

Comment by Jul 02.03.11 @ 12:06 pm

Hmmm. Thanks for all of the feedback so far, guys. I can’t make up my mind about this for the life of me.

Some more information: The ads wouldn’t influence what the content was. I would receive a list of keywords that I would be expected to use in the next 40 posts I do. If I don’t use a keyword on a post, then there would be a random link the middle of the page (uuugly).

But assuming the keyword list isn’t totally strange that shouldn’t be a problem since I’m writing anyway, and having a word that needs to get used almost reminds me of those weird college writing assignments designed to take you off in directions you might not have gone in if left to your own devices. The example they sent me was of a blog that linked the word “holiday” to some travel website. You do not have to use the word in any pre-prescribed context, just use it at all.

As I occasionally link words to explanations of what the hell those things are, it certainly wouldn’t change anything about the site visually, which is one of my priorities here because I’m really neurotic when it comes to aesthetics.

Anyway, the agency lady also addressed the issue of having a problem with my own page rating (she said 40 links was few enough that my rating would not be affected by search engines noticing all the linking), which sparked mild worry on my part, having not previously had a damn clue that this kind of thing could affect my own page rank. I figured if it was an issue she felt she should address before I did, then it was probably an issue that was bigger than I realized. So extra thanks for the link Gegenglueck, I’m off to do some reading on the subject.

It does seem like the sort of thing that could be a harmless couple hundred bucks. Last night I was debating the pros and cons of getting a phone and internet contract so I can remember how to call people (since I’ve been in Germany I’ve had a prepaid phone aka have completely stopped making telephone calls that last more than 2 minutes, but I kind of miss it, and internet in my own wagon would allow me to skype with folks across the sea more often), and then I realized that this advertising deal would pay for exactly one year of that phone and internet, and that that would be kind of sweet. BUT. At the end of the day I don’t need the money for any survival stuff, so not doing it is also a viable option.

At the moment I feel like I should try it out and then ditch it after those 40 links if it irritates me. But then maybe it’ll be too late (with page ranking stuff). Or I’ll get all frazzled and in hate with all this fun writing because of weird ad agency pressure.

Off to inform myself some more.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 02.03.11 @ 1:50 pm

Hello Nicolette :) I felt to add my twopennethworth here… as I understand so well the need for topping up the pennies… and think your tipjar’s a great thing. But I personally hate ads on blogs, I think it lowers the feel of the page hugely. I’m all for your writing and work making money and your readers helping with that but I find pages with ads really put me off. They have a “spammy” feel about them that makes me leave immediately. I have personally decided with my blog to never have these kinds of google/word link ads, or sponsor anything (which I have been asked to do)… I only make money through the sales of my artwork, a donations button, and yes, about £4 per decade in amazon associates links.. :)
Good on yer tho for all the great things you do! I would say why not start up a little shop selling, um, I don’t know what… or begin a “pay for a year’s phoneline” campaign. I would certainly donate to this :)
And by the way, when I was in the truck, I had a mobile internet dongle which was slow or fast depending on the area, but it enabled skype – and in the UK it was peanuts to skype to a landline too :)
Anyway, enough waffle :)
Cheers from over here to your wagon! x Rima

Comment by Rima 02.03.11 @ 6:28 pm

Rima: Thanks for the input. As the only person not related to me who has ever used the tip jar on this site, I feel the urge to give you a high five whenever I see your name.

Anyway, I feel that way about internet ads usually too. Linked words have never bothered me though, as I usually use them to just link to other posts I’ve put up for reference, or to explain things I’ve said, or whatever. But still, you’re right on about them, even the word link ads, giving a website that spammy feel. I tend to immediately jump ship on those sites too, unless I’m really in love with the content, which has been the case a few times.

I love the idea of doing a “pay for my year’s phone line campaign.” Now why didn’t I think of that? That would be a much lovelier way to do it. (Speaking of, the phone line would be a rather minimal cell phone contract with one of those internet on a stick deals where you have the internet through a usb port. A pretty cheap deal in the long run really. Would only need to earn about 450 euros to cover it.) As for a little shop, that’s a sweet idea too. Actually, I already have a post scheduled for tomorrow in which I attempt to sell some Black Diamond Express Train (the band I sing in) cds. Curious to see how that goes…fingers crossed and stuff.

Gegenglueck: Read that article and jebus what a racket. Certainly made me think twice three times more.

At the moment it’s looking like it is going to be a big no to the advertising scheme. Will probably sleep on it tonight again and make a final decision tomorrow.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 02.03.11 @ 6:39 pm

Go for it. Usually you can stipulate that anything you might not want to advertise will be omitted. And they clue off your keywords, so unless you write “Wii” they’re not gonna sell a wii from you. It’s unlikely that folks like-minded enough to read your blog will suddenly say “eureka! a wii is exactly what will make me happy in life!” But if they do, well, thanks to advertising, maybe they’ll learn a life-lesson. ;)

At any rate, you can stop at any time, yes? And as always, we’re big boys and girls on the interwebs, and can click or not where we choose. :)

Finally, just make sure you are clear when you DO want to link something from your words. And if you get tired of it looking like you’re promoting these links, ditch it.

Whew, I guess I had a lot to say about it. :) Mainly I just love reading your adventures and wish to support you!

Comment by nim 02.03.11 @ 6:41 pm

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, gut reaction, etc. only – and what you choose to do will not be judged by me, as a reader!

Ok, so at first I thought “of course she should do it.” THen I thought again…they are truly paying to create backlinks, and they are doing that to help their pagerank. The textlink ads are definitely sketchy, in my opinion. Sidebar ads? Sure, do it. Sponsored posts? Sure, do it. But sneaky little links to God-knows-what? I’d never do it on my site, simply because it feels sketchy to me.

My biggest concern would be that I would only want to allow advertising for products and companies I believe in, which is why I’d stick to sidebar, clear-cut ads.

Comment by Jane@ The Borrowed Abode 02.03.11 @ 6:46 pm

Sponsored links on a blog, even more than sidebar ads, cause me to seriously question the sincerety and value of what the writer has to say. (Especially the ones where, if you accidentally mouse over them, you get an ad balloon right in the middle of what you’re trying to read – ack!) I’m incredibly relieved to hear this probably won’t happen here, in my favorite blogfind of 2011 thus far.

I honestly didn’t even realize there was a tip jar until reading these comments. It’s kind of confusing to have the tip jar link be a photo that appears to be an illustration for the (non-tip-related) paragraph below it. Would you consider making it more distinct/visible?

Comment by Lindsey 02.03.11 @ 8:28 pm

this sounds spammy. i think it would cheapen the writing somehow; just knowing you have to use certain words seems weird. i’m all for you making money from this blog somehow, but this particular advertising seems kinda crappy.

Comment by finn 02.03.11 @ 10:12 pm

Glad, the link was helpful. Selling CDs from your band – probably with a special selfmade cover – sound much more better to me than spamming.

Btw: probably you don’t need 450,- if you use free acess elsewhere for major updates/downloads, a prepaid usb-stick for 5gb/month from companies like fonic would do it. If I remember right they charge once 50,- for the stick and 2,50/day with a maximum 25 of a month, so if you don’t use it (or lack the money due to decreasing cd-sells) you don’t pay.

but can’t you set set up a wlan on the wagenplatz and share the costs anyway?)

Comment by gegenglueck 02.03.11 @ 10:40 pm

Personally, my first thought is it runs against some of the things I admire most about your blog. I have not read most of the previous comments and have no idea what this would actually look like, but judging from keyword advertising in other websites it could be quite annoying. I imagine reading one of your much-appreciated occasional anti-consumerist rants and then accidentally hovering my mouse pointer over a word, say “stove” or “vegetable” or “kitchen” or some book you mention, to receive prompt shopping recommendations as to where I could get these things.
My 1 Cent: do it if you have to, don’t if you can afford.
Then again I wouldn’t blame you for anything. My own financial situation is currently such that I would offer half my soul for €100 and then start negotiating downwards…

Comment by Jan 02.04.11 @ 12:26 am

I am just a very new and casual reader of your blog, so I obviously don’t have as much of a vested interest as some of the regular commenters here, but I think this is a terrible idea.

Assuming these are the same sort of inline text ads with which I am familiar, they almost never have useful or relevant context upon which somebody would actually click; for example, you might mention that it’s a “dog eat dog world” and the word “dog” leads to a link to “buy puppies online!” Technically, the word and the ad are thematically linked, but it doesn’t really make sense in context, and nobody is going to want to buy a puppy just because they saw the word “dog” on a webpage. You should also keep in mind that the “ad lady” is a salesperson and, as such, will probably say just about anything including lies to get you to sign up for their service.

Maybe you should look into some of the smaller “boutique” ad networks. The only one I am familiar with is http://fusionads.net/. This is not a plug. I don’t work for them and I’m not affiliated with them in any way.

Anyway, best of luck.
Nick S

Comment by Nick S 02.04.11 @ 2:15 am

Just an honest comment: ads and linky ad-thingies are the last thing I’d expect to find from our dumpster-diving bauwagen-wohnunging urban gurrrilla! Just. Say. No. Thanks.

Comment by ian in hamburg 02.04.11 @ 10:20 am

Personally I really hate ads on personal blogs, but I know it’s a personal decision. For me, my blog is not a billboard, it’s just something I do for me. I rather resent that ads are increasingly intruding on everything we seem to do in life, and now our blogs, too? :-( I’m with Ian on this one!

Comment by Jen 02.04.11 @ 11:59 pm

Sounds really spammy to me too. I think people might be distrustful of your site if the links were hidden like that. At least if you have banner ads or something they’re out in the open, vs. sneakily hidden in the text, where people would be expected to find links that you had put for their perusal, as opposed to ads. I think there are other ways to make money… I’ve actually made $.54 from amazon associates so far…!

Comment by fishinthewater 02.05.11 @ 4:38 am

Hey kids. Thanks for all the comments. (!!!) That call for lots of different perspectives worked out even better than I imagined it would.

I’ve decided not to do the ads. It was mostly the article link that gegenglueck posted about what the ad agencies doing this are up to that made up my mind. The main reason that I considered it at all is that when people throw money at me, I generally tuck it in my bra, smile, and say thank you. But this money has too many annoying strings attached.

Lindsey: Good idea with changing the tip jar photo again. It used to be the gorilla with a sign on him that said “feed me.” Funny thing is, when I changed it to the wagon picture, I got my first ever stranger donation. Haha. But changing the picture again would certainly clarify that a bit.

Gegenglueck: We do have access to internet in some spots here, well, just in the kitchen and every once in a while in my wagon or The Beard’s. But as the kitchen wagon is a heating nightmare in the winter, I’ve been pretty frustrated a couple of times about internet, especially about missing skyping opportunities. That’s what is making me consider the stick thing at all… Another plus is that I would like to stop commuting to my two-day-a-week job and start working at home. Then I need fast internet available consistently. That’s another problem, the university wlan likes to sporadically disappear. But then I would be saving a shit ton on train tickets that I could use for the internet charge.

We are currently looking into internet for everyone here that we would split, but at the moment I don’t quite believe we’re going to get it together and get an internet that is going to let me do the things I want when I want. But we shall see. Unfortunately none of us here are particularly tech handy. Would probably be easy to do and then mirror so that it reaches every wagon if we had someone around who knew their shit, but we don’t. Anyway, fingers crossed and stuff.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 02.05.11 @ 12:54 pm

I read your blog regular, it makes me wish I was about 40 years younger,
I might be a bit conservative, but I really don’t think advertising is a very good idea.

Comment by Ron 05.22.11 @ 12:29 am




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