Why There’s No Advertising on This Site

Question MarkI get asked at least once a week about advertising on my site. I appreciate that folks would like to place an ad here, but I’ve chosen to keep it ad-free.

Believe me, it’s not some altruistic thing.

It’s because I never approach any business related project or venture without a solid business model. And quite frankly, a model that relies on my content sending people away from my site, and that heavily relies on someone else (cough…Google) is not for me.

That’s not to say it’s not right for other people. There are those who make really good money with the free-content-and-ads thing — but most don’t.

Besides, it’s just not my style. I’m too much of a control freak.

Let Me Be Blunt

If you have the skills to produce quality content that make advertisers flock to you, then you should be charging for that content in some fashion. As a coach, a content producer, consultant, joint venture partner, or affiliate. Knowledge and creativity are valuable, and quality content is not as pervasive as some would have you think.

On the flip side, if you don’t have what it takes to produce solid content, then no amount of AdSense, paid text links, or link swapping services are going to help.

That’s not to discourage you. You just have to take a good, hard look at what group you fall in to.

I Guess I’m Just Used to Working for Myself

I consider myself an entrepreneur and a producer. I love sharing knowledge, making deals, and finding ways to help others reach their goals and be successful. I get a rush from it. I also prefer to work on my own projects and make my money from other ventures. This site is ad-free, because I do it for fun (and to promote my own stuff).

I’m self-employed because I never liked the idea of having a boss. And a boss disguised as an advertiser is still a boss.

That’s not the same as having a boss you say?

I know quite a few people who have been “laid-off,” so to speak, by their ad or traffic “boss” — without any notice. Their business was dependent on the whim of the search and ad gods.

Sounds like a boss to me.

I can’t say I’ll never do any advertising. Just not anytime in the foreseeable future, or based on regular models.

Of course, that’s just what I think. You may have a different opinion. But based on my experience and from what I see going on around me, my guess is that a bunch of you have thought the same thing at some point.

It’s okay, you can admit it. We’re all friends here ;).


  1. I’ve struggled back and forth with this same issue. Part of me loves the idea that I can earn money if someone chooses to click and ad, but there’s that part of me that doesn’t like having ads too. Glad that you know what you want, and are doing it!

  2. Bravo! I too do not have ads intentionally (http://7pproductions.com/blog) primarily because making money directly through content was not a business model of mine, and putting ads is not “free” money since it can make the website less attractive.

    Big fan of your site!

  3. So, do you make money with your blog indirectly? Is that what you are getting at?

    Personally, I think that advertising is okay in modest amounts. (Nobody want to read a splog.) That’s just my opinion, though.

  4. Hoto – Works for me 🙂

    Aimee – It’s just a matter of having clear objectives, then looking at the best way to achieve them.

    Al – In my experience, blogging has been a tool to make connections. For me, that’s where the value is.

    Laura – Yes, I do. And it’s not that advertising isn’t okay — everyone has their own opinion about that. It’s that for many niche players, creatives, knowledge experts, etc., there are much better ways to capitalize on their content.

    I’ll be talking a lot more about that in the coming weeks.

  5. i find selling advertising can be hard… and we always reserve the best real estate for ads. Maybe you have made the right choice

  6. Hmm..

    Honestly, I want to agree with you but feeling like ashamed. As I came to you blog, few posts back, for a chance of getting a link as a top commentator. This is good page rank 5-6 blog, so somebody suggested me to come here and post, so that I get a link.

    In the process (of doing posts here), I have started feeling like part of this thought ground. Thoughts here, have been thought provoking always.
    So in a way, I feel like everything here, including this thought of no ad. But yes, apart from my regular job, I like to have a bit extra money. So I would prefer to have some ads, but to the extent that my readers don’t run away.

    If you are not directly making money from this blog, I appreciate, because it is too tempting to making use of your page rank.

  7. Tony, I’m really, really looking forward to reading your thoughts on how to capitalize on content. Ads turn me off, but sometimes I wonder if I’m getting any return at all out of my blog.

  8. I share your view about ads versus other ways to make money from a blog. Knowledge workers earn their money elsewhere.

    In my case the decision is easy, I still have few visitors and do not risk much money by skipping ads.

  9. Tony:

    Well, well, well, this was one VERY interesting post! As you know, I moved from Blogger to WordPress with the intention of expanding not only for the reader’s benefit but also for my benefit. I did leave some room in my business model for advertisements, just to explore that possibility. Of course, if traffic isn’t very high, there won’t be much money to be made but I found that when traffic spikes, so does ad revenue.

    So, I moved for the long term to give me room to try different things out. I liked Darren’s article at Probloggers about indirect ways of making money.

    GREAT article – very honest and forthright. As a subscriber to your site, I had been wondering quietly why you didn’t have any ads. And here’s the answer! Have you been reading my mind? LOL



  10. Tony you are correct. The responsibility for content on a blog is the authors. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us here in the virtual world. Thank you for Success from the Nest!

  11. Tony:

    I find this post quite amusing as I have been a devoted reader of this blog since I discovered it a few weeks ago, and I hadn’t even noticed that there WAS no advertising. When I am here I am so busy sucking up the ALWAYS EXCELLENT content that I barely look to the sides or even at the lay-out. Now, as a blogger this shows you I am a complete newbie, but in my defense you weave spells with your words and I get sucked right in.

    I’m a BIG FAN and I hope that in some way this blog is very profitable for your business. You deserve it. A consistently great blog is hard to come by.


  12. There is a middle ground of content that is useful or entertaining but which people aren’t prepared to pay for. And for some content you can make more money from giving it away and placing ads against it than you can from selling it.

    The key issue is one of credibility. Google Ads are great because everyone understands they’re adverts, there’s an independent broker there so you cannot be accused of pandering to a particular advertiser, and they’re actually helpful in many contexts.

    But I’ve often been asked to include link adverts in content and even to host a whole content section on my site. If I can put ‘ADVERTORIAL’ or ‘PAID CONTENT’ or something at the top, I have much less of an issue with it. But the people I was speaking to wouldn’t have that and there’s a big difference between selling ad inventory on a website and renting out the site’s credibility (and by extension, my own). That deal didn’t go ahead.

    Some people will see a website as a promotional tool (as you do, for products you intend to sell) and others will see it as a finished product in itself and won’t have anything to sell off the back of it.

    It goes without saying that I host adverts on my sites. The ads pay for the costs of running the sites and there’s a fair bit of content that is useful to some but that I’m not so fussed about sharing and would delete if I had to pay to give it away. And it’s nice to get a little return on the effort I put into running my sites without having to do additional work writing books and selling them, or creating other services.

    Advertising is a potentially good passive income stream, and shouldn’t be dismissed outright. But as you say, you can’t build a business model around it in the current climate. Not unless you’ve identified a niche and are selling the adverts yourself.

  13. I haven’t read much on this site but I don’t think it is a business. Therefore it doesn’t need to make money. I believe it is itself a form of advertisement: A traffic generator for a business or a person. Advertisements don’t make money. Sales do.

    If your site is your business and its not generating income then it won’t last long. If you sell advertising space then I think you can stay quite objective about what you are writing. If you sell products directly, it is natural to become biased. Your blog can turn into a plug for your products. Selling advertisements on a shopping website is counterintuitive.

    This site is interesting because it seems objective and sincerely helpful. The author’s statement rejecting altruistic motives and the new venture that is described in the about section discourages me a little. I would like to read another article by this author detailing exactly ‘How There is no Advertising on this Site’.

  14. Thanks for all the great feedback. Sounds like most of you got the point, and that’s very encouraging.

    For those that didn’t, I don’t think I’ll be much help :).

  15. Just arrived here because of the link in the link in Genius Wire. The headline was intriging enough to make me read the post.

    And I like your story. We too don’t have adds on our site (the site is in dutch, so I don’t know if the link is of any use to you). Not only because we don’t like adds ourselves, but also to stay independent. We have received proposals from camping sites and even offers to stay on their camping for free, but we don’t do that. Furthermore the content is more and more community generated.

    Besides, the site is a hobby of my wife (i’m just there for some of the technical stuff) and the costs of the site aren’t that high. I can’t say we won’t sell out if somebody offers an obscene amount of money, but I don’t think anybody would want to pay anything remotely near the amount they would have to 🙂

    With kind regards,

    Fred Schenk

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