What is the Deal With These Ads On Your Site, Sue?

So perhaps you’ve noticed that we’ve recently added some advertising on our blog?

Let me backup into blogger mentality. Two buzzwords in our community are “corporatization” and “sustainable model.”

Coporatization is the (necessary) evil of patronage, sponsorships and so forth. There used to be a time when the ads in the pride guide were all local small businesses for whom a $50 investment was a sacrifice. That was also the time when Pridefest volunteers slept overnight on the stage in Mellon Park to prevent vandalism. Corporatization brings us the great tools like the Corporate Equality Index which helps us understand the systemic investment of the companies in our community – not just sponsorships. Corporatization also puts Heinz in the Pride March AND on the list  of supporters of the Boy Scouts. Hmmm. That’s just an easy example. So J.C. Penney’s is all ‘Ellen’ but I’ve been told repeatedly that gay men won’t shop there. I’m also aware that a lot of gay folks can’t afford Penny’s (interesting contrast.)  Then we start asking questions like “How many queer people work there?” and “How do they avoid sweatshops?” and “Do they offer trans health insurance coverage?”

It is complicated and messy and it requires us to really think.

Rainbow washing? Photo: Dizolve.com
Rainbow washing? Photo: Dizolve.com

Sustainable models for independent blogging are rare. Sites like Huffington Post Gay Voices and smaller group blogging sites don’t pay bloggers for the content we create. That’s a serious problem. Yes, exposure for your personal blog is great, but only to a point. Blogs cost money – minimum of $300/year just to pay for the domain and webhosting. I can’t begin to calculate the hours of human time and I don’t want to because they are my investment. I’m okay with that. But you can only keep up that pace for so long and I’m in year 8 myself.

However, I still need to cover those fixed expenses. So I decided to engage in a three month experiment using two ad services – Google Ad Sense and Gay Ads Network. Ironically, this requires even more of my time to monitor the ad content- yesterday a Jerry Falwell ad showed up! – and block those that I don’t like. I’d much prefer to create & manage ads for local businesses, but one step at a time.

I’m very open to your feedback. We have control over ad placement – I want to be fair and put them where they are supposd to go because I’m not trying to pretend I’m not running ads, but I also can move the widgets around. If you see content that’s blatantly inappropriate, please ping me. Oh that reminds me – why are there so many half dressed men in the ads? Well, this is an LGBTQ blog and a lot of our readers are men. So I consciously chose to accept ads for gay men. And really, I must admit that I find some of the ads to be hysterical.

Does advertising on this blog (as of now) mean something is queeriffic? No. It means they bought advertising through Google or Gay Network Ads. Period. You need to be aware before you click.

Am I going to make $300 in 3 months on these ads? No. Hence the experiment part.

It is an experiment. I’d love to work with local companies who want to advertise to the LGBTQ community but there’s no clear mechanism to do that. If *you* want to advertise, hey – give me a shout. I’m also set up to barter ads. There’s a lot of flexibility, but I can’t find the best system without some experimentation.

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