Kissing "The Man’s" Ads – Should I Get Down on My Knees?

blog advertising
When first I began The Delicious Life, oh, about 530 posts ago, my only intention was to maintain the blog as an outlet for my rather long, overly drawn-out ramblings of cooking (a little) and eating (a lot). I could take a few (ha!) pictures, write at length to save my friends and family the drudgery and boredom of listening to me squeal and shriek and go on and on and on and on about food, and at the end of the day, gaze egotistically upon the wondrous nothingness of my obsession with Indian food, anything that brings me to tears when I eat it, Tony Bourdain, and a disappearing waistline.

Over the course of blogging, it became almost therapeutic – a way to funnel obsessive/compulsive list-making tendencies, ADD-driven dining out, and my childhood-scarred-by-Spam-and-Dinty-Moore into something that is far less destructive than hitting myself repeatedly with a bottle of Absolut Citron. Of course, I do that anyway.

So blogging was a side thing because at the time that I started, I was working for “The Man.” A few times a week, I settled into the comfort of a plushy cushy chair, took a deep breath, and like we do when we spend that hour in the therapist’s office, I just let it all flow out through the keyboard. It wasn’t really on the side, since I spent inordinate amounts of time doing it (but never at work! never!), but I still considered it a “hobby.”

Then that mysterious thing called “Life” hurled not one, not a dozen, but an entire Ford F-150 rear-cab-full of lemons at me. I was jobless, and blogging gradually went from being a “side” hobby to a full-time, weekends-included, non-paying, no-benefits, 401Special(k), you-pay-for-your-vacations occupation. I didn’t sweat it much because the EDD was sending me a bi-weekly *ahem* allowance. I thought that by the time I had to grow up, a lovely grown-up dream job would be begging me to do it. Please, Sarah, we want to pay you a million dollars a month to eat your way around the world!

“By the time” was a few months ago. The government threw back its thorny head, cackled it evil ugly laugh, and ripped from my unemployed hands the tiny tendril of cash onto which I was clinging. That gorgeous glamorous job of skipping around the globe in my peep-toe wedges and city shorts, dancing, drinking and dining hasn’t quite materialized, and well…*sigh*

I have to admit that way back when, I thought about running advertisements on The Delicious Life. I thought about it for about 14 seconds, and then *pshaw!* threw the idea into the trash compactor with the chalky, moldy rind of Brie. I didn’t want to “taint” my site with gaudy, “click me!” flashing animation ads. I thought they would take away from the “experience” of The Delicious Life, though I don’t even know what that “experience” is. I just didn’t want to do it. Nope, not gonna do it.

But now. Now I wonder. Should I? I have thought about it a lot in recent weeks. Should I do it? I sliced my pride and prejudices into a million little pieces, brined it, pickled it, vacuum-sealed it, and shoved it all the way back behind the kimchee in my fridge. Should I run ads on The Delicious Life? I went back to the trash compactor, and dug out the idea of running ads on The Delicious Life.

Should I get down on my knees and kiss The Man’s advertising ass?

I know that ad revenue is not huge. A few clicks here and there and maybe I could pay for stamps…to pay my bills! Heck, I could run ads and I could make a whopping…zero dollars! But then I think that perhaps something is better than nothing. But then I think, “Who are you Sarah? Why do you think anyone would even be here reading, let alone clicking on ads?!?!” I don’t know. Scary. It’s troubling me. Yes, ’tis troubling me quite a bit.

Should I? *sigh*

** a year ago today, we wasted away in maragaritaville at lula **

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  • KT

    Why not? I say, go for it. Who knows but that there might be a food blog explosion and everybody will be clicking like mad?!

    Or not. But I wouldn’t be offended by it … I like you, so I’d give you a click and a penny. ;)

  • onetomato

    it kind of sounds like you’re asking us readers if it would be okay if you did….which is sweet, and i say go ahead. you might as well get something out of this whole blog thing other than just some priceless therapy. :) and anyway, your blog brightens up my day so i’d click you as well. “aye!”

  • elle

    just do it-we like reading your stuff anyway.

  • Anonymous

    I never leave comments, but I must now. I love reading your site. It’s in my daily circulation. And I fully support bloggers using ads. People who get all santimonious about it drive me nuts. This is free entertainment for us, and if a few unsightly ads mean you can continue writing, then the no one should get in the way.

  • Nick

    Why not? Try AdSense first and see how much you can get out of it – an ad between each post can’t hurt anything.

  • Julian Hsu

    Agree with the above sentiments- you produce something of value for the rest of us readers out here- it seems eminently fair to support yourself with advertising. Adsense is easy to set up, and the ads are not all that unsightly, and have never flashed as far as I can tell on my own site.

    Best of luck,

    Julian

  • Craig

    Sarah:
    Altruism is not your lot in life, go for it and never look back.

  • shay

    Don’t angst over it for our sakes, go for it!

  • Your Loyal Friend Mitchell

    Do some ads and don’t look back. You have disciples (like me)who enjoy your humor, honesty, and and finger lickin’ good descriptions, and your disciples should not be offended in the least that you would like to pick up a little something to pay the bills. I love your integrity and concern for our precious little attention spans, but you don’t owe us, Baby, we owe you!

  • Neil

    I actually think it was good that you asked your loyal readers ahead of time, especially since blogging is such an interative medium. I would feel a little offput to show up one day here and see ads. This way, you prepare us for it. I don’t particularly like ads on blogs. I think it takes away from the soul of blogging, but who’s to stop progress. Everyone’s doing it. I’ve thought of it, too. So, go for it. If you tell us that you’re actually making some worthwhile change, maybe we’ll all join you.

  • Anonymous

    yes, you should do it. don’t even give it a second thought especially if it is allowing you to do something you truly love.

  • nosh

    Sarah, go ahead. But let’s create some sort of signal so when we read an entry waxing poetic about the virtues of The Olive Garden, we’ll all know.

  • Grace

    You have to eat, so we can read about it.

  • Lei

    Go for it!–I want to keep reading your thoughts on life and food, and if you need ads to support it, more power to you, and ‘The Man’!

  • Lei

    Go for it!–I want to keep reading your thoughts on life and food, and if you need ads to support it, more power to you, and ‘The Man’!

  • spottee50

    Yes, I would definitely do it. Please check out this hilarious site: http://www.oddtodd.com It’s about where we’ve all been and there are banners and goods to be had which might work for you too. Also, I would look into Amazon affiliate ads and setting up a PayPal tips jar where readers can donate to your cause. You take time for us readers in cyberspace and “why not get paid for it too?” One never knows where it can lead – look at Chowhound. I have continued to read your blog despite moving to Japan two years ago and I still find it entertaining though sometimes it’s tough not being able to try places you mention or return to places we’ve both been to. And yes, “I’m still singing the virtues of Mori Sushi.” Gambatte ne!

  • Rachael

    It’s easy enough to take down if it doesnt work, so I say go for it…

  • Catherine

    As Starsky (2004) would say, Seriously, do it. Do it. Do it.

  • KathyR

    It’s your blog. You can do what you want. Run ads, absolutely. Whatever works. I’ll come back, ads or no.

  • Michael

    Do it, with some recommendations:

    1. Try to identify what kind of ads you think people would click on, and find somebody who can provide them. You may be limited in choice here as programs like Google’s AdSense automatically serve up ads based on their idea of relevancy, and you have no control over that. My suggestion would be to try to find somebody who provides text advertising from local L.A. restaurants. Citysearch might have something like this.

    2. You can probably expect something like 1-3% CTR (Click-Through Rate) rate for ads on your blog. That is, for every 100 pageviews, you’re likely to get 1-3 clicks on ads. You’ll probably get something a 7-10 cent CPC (Cost Per Click) for ad clicks. Figure out how many pageviews you get, multiply that times the CTR, then multiply that times your click earnings, and there’s your estimated revenue.

    3. Where you put your ads on pages is important. If you jam an ad unit in the right column at the bottom, it’s not going to get any clicks. If you jam it right in the middle, you’ll see a higher CTR, but some users might come to your page, say “Ugh! Ads!” and then leave. Then again, your content is compelling, so it probably won’t matter. You’ll need to find the right balance between CTR and user satisfaction.

    4. You could also try doing an affiliate program and serve up cost-per-acquisition type ads from, like, Commission Junction. This would be along the lines of, “People who like to read about LA restaurants would be interested in clicking on an ad for PetSmart.” Not so sure about that one for you, but it might be worth investigating if you can identify relationships between your readers and their interests outside your content space.

    5. At the very least, like somebody above said, sign up for Google’s AdSense (it’s free), run an ad unit somewhere on your site for a week, and see how it goes. If it’s not working for you, just take it down.

    Shoot me an e-mail if you have any questions. I’d be glad to help any way I can – your blog is cool and you should keep doing it.

  • Kirk

    Sarah – Please go for it, if it means that you are to keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Annix

    Hey, Sarah, I’ve been reading your blog for a while (and read through all the archives – I guess we Korean gyopos are all a bit obsessive ;) but never commented, although I love your writing. Just wanted to let you know that there’s one more reader here who wouldn’t mind clicking on one ad or two if it means supporting you and your site. Bonne chance!

  • sarah

    wow.

    wow.

    thank you all so much for your encouraging comments.

    it may seem weird and, well, i suppose it exposes how embarssingly much food blogging is a part of my life now, but this issue about running ads was really weighing me down. i have been thinkig about it so much – i even dreamt about it the other night. *blush*

    i realize that this is my blog, and i always tell myself that i’m writing it for no one else but myself – who cares what anyone else thinks!??! right?

    but if it truly were only my blog, i wouldn’t make it public. i’d just write every day and never publish anything out on to the big bad web. certainly i don’t want to be writing and doing things on the delicious life just to please everyone else, but when it comes down to it, it matters to me a LOT what other people think. i do care about what readers like to see and read here.

    thank you all so much for sharing your opinions, and especially for the encouragement. it’s nice to have the back-up, you know? kind of like why you take your friends shopping when you have to buy a new outfit ;)

    and who knows…maybe ads will be so successful that i won’t even have to think about a job!

    uh, ok. maybe that’s taking it a little too far. LOL!

  • sarah

    wow.

    wow.

    thank you all so much for your encouraging comments.

    it may seem weird and, well, i suppose it exposes how embarssingly much food blogging is a part of my life now, but this issue about running ads was really weighing me down. i have been thinkig about it so much – i even dreamt about it the other night. *blush*

    i realize that this is my blog, and i always tell myself that i’m writing it for no one else but myself – who cares what anyone else thinks!??! right?

    but if it truly were only my blog, i wouldn’t make it public. i’d just write every day and never publish anything out on to the big bad web. certainly i don’t want to be writing and doing things on the delicious life just to please everyone else, but when it comes down to it, it matters to me a LOT what other people think. i do care about what readers like to see and read here.

    thank you all so much for sharing your opinions, and especially for the encouragement. it’s nice to have the back-up, you know? kind of like why you take your friends shopping when you have to buy a new outfit ;)

    and who knows…maybe ads will be so successful that i won’t even have to think about a job!

    uh, ok. maybe that’s taking it a little too far. LOL!

  • Anonymous

    You should do it.

    By now, most people should be used to ads on websites. Sure, it’s pretty nice when you come to a site without ads, but it’s not horrible when there are. Just make sure that NOTHING pops up. That’s annoying.

  • Anonymous

    You should do it.

    By now, most people should be used to ads on websites. Sure, it’s pretty nice when you come to a site without ads, but it’s not horrible when there are. Just make sure that NOTHING pops up. That’s annoying.

  • sarah

    anonymous: oh yes. i HATE popups on a site. ANY site. that’s one of the reasons why i hate epicurious.com, even though i love it as a resource. they even have a “goodbye” popup when you close their site. that is annoying as all hell.

    no popups from me. i promise.

  • peachiee

    Wow- I was gonna say that having ads on your site will make it a different experience for your readers, but it looks like everyone is for it. The masses have spoken!

  • not-so-secret-admirer

    Hi Sarah; Jason (jasonkang77) here. I say do it; they don’t really take away from the experience of your site. Noone is forced into clicking an ad. But I’ll click them multiple times a day just for you. ; )

  • not-so-secret-admirer

    Hi Sarah; Jason (jasonkang77) here. I say do it; they don’t really take away from the experience of your site. Noone is forced into clicking an ad. But I’ll click them multiple times a day just for you. ; )

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