And now a word from our sponsor

Howdy, friends:  sorry to have been so remote lately.  We’ve got house guests and a wedding this weekend, so I’ve been a little busy.  But, I wanted to share with you an e-mail I received the other day:

I’m interested in placing a promotional link on your page:

The link would be for a website which has art schools and college reviews as its main keywords.

I have a limited budget, but hopefully there is a reasonable price we could arrange.

Please let me know if you’re interested, and if not thanks for your time.


I'll just do it myself!

Now, I know I’ve joked here in the past about “monetizing” this blog, and this isn’t the first e-mail I’ve received asking if I’d accept advertisement.  But, this e-mail has prompted me to clarify my advertising policy here once and for all:  THIS BLOG DOES NOT ACCEPT ADVERTISING OR DO PRODUCT PLACEMENT.  There was nothing wrong in asking–but I’ve added this statement to the “About Historiann” page linked above.  My brother-in-law, a web guru, designed the template and pays for my server space, and I do all the work except for the technical troubleshooting that he does for me.  That’s it:  we’re totally D.I.Y. here, friends.

Full disclosure:  I was contacted by a historian in May whose new book has just been published.  She contacted me because I’ve mentioned (quite favorably) her first book here before, so she thought I might be interested in reading and commenting on her new book.  It’s a biography of an early American woman, and clearly of interest to me and to many of my readers.  I accepted a free copy of the book and will post a review and some questions for discussion.  But that, so far, is the extent of the swag, bling, or items of value I have accepted over the two and a half years since I started this blog.  I will consider accepting books on a case-by-case basis, and only if I’m asked in advance.  This seems like a reasonable compromise, since publishers frequently send books to journals in the hopes of getting a review.

What do you think?  Is that above-board and non-profit enough for  you?  (Or am I just too much of a Silence Dogood for some of you?)  For those of you with your own blogs, how have you handled the advertising question?  (And just how much money are you making on your blog?)

0 thoughts on “And now a word from our sponsor

  1. I’m anti-advertising for myself, mainly because when I started my blog I did it so that I could do whatever I want there without pressure to produce a certain kind of content or to attract more readers or whatever. I feel like ads change one’s relationship to the space as a creator, and like ads change readers’ relationship to a space. FWIW, I don’t think that doing book reviews is the same thing (though I don’t do those either on blog – my theory being that if I wanted to write a book review I’d do it for a journal under my professional name).

    Anyway, people contact me all the time wanting me to link to their for-profit sites, to advertise their junk, whatever. I don’t even bother responding – I just hit delete.


  2. As I’m sure you can imagine, Historiann, the revenue potential for America’s favorite dead dog blog is eNORmous. We get lucrative offers ALL THE TIME, and the temptation to pad our household’s furlough-depleted income is great, but we are, like you, ad-free and not for sale, not to anyone at any price. Oh, sure, I once accepted a gift from a devoted reader who used my attractive profile photograph to make a large silhouette of me that she lovingly sewed onto a book bag, but that’s it for us in the swag department.

    And yet, girlfriend, if you are ready to go into business selling “Excellence Without Money” tee-shirts and coffee mugs, we are ALL IN, as they say on another ad-free feminazi blog. You say the word and we’ll set up the Cafe Press account. Don’t we deserve a little something for all the hard work we do for the world?

    Oh, and Moose wants you to know she paid for that Cary Nelson book she’s been pushing on our readers for the past couple of weeks. Honor bright. No free books in our neck of the woods, though we would happily accept them.


  3. In relation to that first e-mail you received, that was almost certainly generated by a spambot, and not by a human being who actually looked at your blog and decided to ask you if you wanted to participate in their scumspam activities.


  4. Many of us are sent books by various people for various reasons. Unless we don’t accept a free book ever again, I think a book that you want to read, and that may trigger a set of posts on biography, or whatever, would be fine.


  5. I’m also anti-ad, but for the same reasons I’m anti-advice: I like to think of my blog as purely my space, and hate to open that door even a crack.

    That said, I think book reviews — to the extent you wanted to do them — would be an interesting feature. Not for me, but I’d certainly read them here.


  6. Dr. Crazy’s philosophy is where I am, too. This blog is for me, and if others dig it, that’s cool. If people don’t like it, they can stop reading. I don’t want to dance to the tune the piper calls.

    I’ve done other book reviews, or have mentioned books here (such as Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, and Judith Bennett’s History Matters, because I thought they were interesting or raised thought-provoking questions. I won’t review any old book–just ones that appeal to me. Susan makes a good point in that I get free books (unfortunately!) all of the time. They come unsolicited. (But I don’t want that to happen because of the blog. No, thank you!)

    I’ll have to think about the Excellence Without Money (Your University’s Logo Here) t-shirt and coffee mug scheme that Roxie mentions. Advertisements for ourselves: why not?


  7. I used to have an Amazon affiliate link in my side bar (I used it mostly because I could feature books I was currently reading) and one quarter I actually made about $20 through people clicking through (and mostly buying other things because the books I had in the sidebar weren’t that expensive).

    That’s the extent of “monetizing” my blog, though. But I think you’d be onto something if you made those “Excellence Without Money” t-shirts and travel mugs available!


  8. I don’t have anything on my blog that generates money. I don’t have any objection to anyone else putting up ads or anything else, I’m just not interested in commercializing my own space. Partly, I don’t think it would be remotely enough money to be worth it; if I really would be able to pay my rent or something with it I bet I’d cave, but I’m quite sure that wouldn’t happen. And partly because if I put up the ads, it would turn the blog into something intended (even if only a teeny tiny bit) to make me money, and that would turn it into work and a source of stress. I have enough obligations in my life; I don’t want my blog to be another one.

    I also think the only people who’d be willing to advertise on my blog are unlikely to be people I’m interested in having advertise. (I got a hysterical e-mail sometime in the last year or so telling me how much they liked my science blog and how they wanted to feature me at this [totally scam] “science” website. Science?? really??)


  9. Beyond the mugs, I’d be happy to pay a genuine premium for a “Historiann” T-shirt. If everyone could get one, bespoke to a screencap of their favorite post (sans comments, just the front page), that might be a way we could contribute at least a mite to the maintenance of the commonweal, without risk of airplanes flying across the page, trailing banners, as on commercial sites.

    I’ve even got a mock-up of my first order taped to the bulletin board. Heck, the price of “crushed cotton” Ts at J-Crew is going off the wall! But alas, even baby steps down the trail of communitarian capitalism can lead you onto a slippery slope, process-wise.


  10. Uh, just how much money might one expect, I mean if one was will to accept advertisers, from publishing adds on an academic blog? If that was one’s style.


  11. Well, I think the book reviews are fine if you want to do them; I’d do them under my professional name, me, but you do as you see fit.

    I do take advertising, in the form of links (under the category “Blog Supporters”), and I don’t let it influence what I write; I’d take advertising from anyone; I’m broke.

    This year I only have one ad and only got $200 for it. Last year I had 3 and raked in a total $800 and it made a difference. The price I quote is $365 (a dollar a day).


  12. That having been said: if anyone is going to have big time advertising they should probably look into the tax situation. Technically everyone should, including me.


  13. P.S. Fratguy – I’m told the rule of thumb is that you have to get 100+ hits a day. I typically get 100-200 and I’d think this blog gets more, it could probably charge a higher rate.


  14. I dunno. A free book in exchange for a book review seems like a reasonable quid pro quo. The valuable commodity there is not the blog space, but the time a person is willing to spend reading the book reviewing it, and posting on it. So really there does not seem to be any conflict of interest or ‘gain.’

    Putting ads on the blog seems fine to me, especially if you need the $ to cover the cost of administering and running said blog. I do like visiting Historiann because it is well designed and an oasis of visual calm in an otherwise visually blighted blogosphere. Most other blogs (HNN, I’m looking at you) remind me of the nineteenth century urban landscape where you are assaulted by advertising and bad typography at every turn.

    But in terms of dollars and sense, your mileage may vary: the “L”-squared household is strictly a non-profit operation these days. And frankly I have never found myself on a vocational path that paid anything better than break-even in good years, so don’t take my advice on ads too seriously!


  15. No, not to make real money, 100+ seems to be what you need just to have anyone advertise with you at all. Then for them to keep advertising with you, there has to be a certain click-through level on the ad.

    I think Bitch PhD and Field Negro’s blogs work for them like a part time job, due to ad income … Dooce is rumored to support a family of 4 with hers … I don’t like reading blogs with ads on them and usually don’t, and I wouldn’t like to feel constrained in what I write by advertisers.


  16. Pingback: Monday round-up: Stampede-a-riffic! : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

  17. Historiann –

    I agree that this site should not be used for advertising products such as Titleist Pro-V1x golf balls, Titleist MB690 forged blades, or the Titleist 975D driver.


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