Ad-Free Blog & Keep Your Day Job

Ad-Free BlogAd-Free Blog is a simple site that caused a lot of controversy. Two pages were set up about 2 years ago to supply a graphic for blogs declaring “This is an Ad-Free Blog.” The creators, Keri Smith and Jeff Pitcher, have popular blogs themselves and were receiving solicitations for advertising as well as “mentioning” products in their content. Being the upstanding folks that they are, and generally concerned about the proliferation of advertising in general, they created the Ad-Free Blog graphic and set up a site.

I met Keri and Jeff (my neighbors at the time) when they were amidst a backlash to Ad-Free Blog. There were being called unrealistic and ignorant. A counter site, called popped up encouraging bloggers to “Have Fun and Make Money!” Jeff and Keri are smart, thoughtful people and addressed legitimate criticisms on a very thorough FAQ. Buried among the “what planet are you from” comments, much of the criticism stems from an indignant opinion that “I have the right to sell advertising on my blog and make money!”

However, a recent Reuters story confirmed a suspicion of mine. Most people don’t make money advertising on their blogs. Check out these figures:

The catch, according to some, is that much of the money flowing toward the Internet is concentrated on a few dozen of the most popular sites. That has left smaller, less well-known sites at a severe disadvantage when it comes to attracting advertising money and surviving.

In the United States, the top 50 Web sites accounted for more than 90 percent of the revenue from online ads in the first half of 2007, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The top 10 sites accounted for 70 percent of the revenue.

All the while, the number of Web sites continues to grow, creating more competition for audiences…

All that bickering over the leftover 10 percent.

I know people that have Google Ads on their sites, and I have yet to meet anyone who has received a check from Google. Why? Your balance has to exceed $100 before they issue a check. And this can take years. There are so many sites that use Google Ads and are too small to get paid that, according to wikipedia, Google has a $370m balance of unpaid accounts. And Google is bringing in money every month from advertisers paying for that space. Is it clear who’s coming out ahead here?

The only way one can get paid from Google is to wait it out and break the $100 mark, or close your account. If you have Google Ads on your blog maybe it’s time to close the account, collect your $15, and post the Ad-Free Blog badge.

Related: In January 2006 I wrote about Ad-Free Blog on Stay Free.

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