I do not get paid to write this blog—though if someone wants to change that, I’m open to suggestions. It’s not even a particularly effective marketing tool for me, because my business isn’t providing backup services. Therefore, I make a few feeble attempts to realize a little compensation for the time and effort I put into the blog. In the interest of the transparency demanded by the blogosphere, I want to make my relationship with a few companies clear.
As you’ve probably noticed, I run Google ads on the blog and post pages. I’ve had AdSense on my blog since May 2005, when the San Francisco Chronicle gave me a mention, and have yet to actually collect a payment, because I haven’t reached their $100 threshold. Clearly, people are not coming to my site to shop. Either that or the value of a click on any of those links is pretty small. Of course, many of those contextual ads are for enterprise products, which few of my readers are likely to buy. Perhaps I need to tune up the tags and keywords I use in my posts. But I also think that my readers are smart enough to recognize ads for what they are and not click unless they really do want to buy that product.
Update as of March 12, 2009
Google wishes me to inform all my readers that they are collecting information on y’all through something called a “DoubleClick DART Cookie.” (Me, all I collect is the information that comes in through Google Analytics, plus your e-mail address if you sign up for the e-zine.) Here are the details on that:
What is the DoubleClick DART cookie?
The DoubleClick DART cookie is used by Google in the ads served on publisher websites displaying AdSense for content ads. When users visit an AdSense publisher’s website and either view or click on an ad, a cookie may be dropped on that end user’s browser. The data gathered from these cookies will be used to help AdSense publishers better serve and manage the ads on their site(s) and across the web.
Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet.
I first became an Amazon affiliate many years ago, when I was living in England and publishing an electronic journal about Greek and Roman theater. Back in those days, Amazon only sold books. Now that they sell tech products, and now that the blog is on WordPress and Amazon integration is so easy, you may come across some affiliate links to technology products that I describe in my columns. In case you’re not familiar with the way affiliate programs work, if you buy something through my affiliate link, Amazon pays me a (fairly microscopic) commission. If you don’t want me to get a commission, buy the product somewhere else, or go directly to Amazon.com instead of clicking on that link.
In May 2007 I got invited to join the TechDispenser network, which offers advertising through Adify. That’s the skyscraper visual ad you see underneath the Google ads. When no one buys an ad on my blog, they run public service announcements. I haven’t received any checks from them, either.
People sometimes send me Free Stuff to review. Some of it is fairly expensive stuff. It could conceivably be construed as a bribe. And let me tell you right now, if you’re thinking of offering me that kind of bribe—go right ahead. (The pejorative term for this is “blogola.”) However, this is not a pay-for-play blog. I disclose the source of the products I review, and often the name and agency of the PR rep who offered them, the better to let you take what I say with a grain of salt. And sometimes that Free Stuff doesn’t work. In which case I say so. So while I accept bribes, they won’t guarantee a positive review. (After all, even a free, expensive item isn’t much good if it doesn’t work as advertised.)
Spare Backup, Inc has been a client of mine since November 2008. I write marketing copy of various kinds for them. If I put something on the blog that I’ve been paid to write, I will clearly identify it as such. Anything I write about their products for the blog will be as honest as possible, but take it with a grain of salt, as I will naturally be inclined to be, if not biased, at least tactful. (Though I generally try to be tactful with everyone who sends me something to review.)
The Bottom Line
If you click on an ad or buy something through an affiliate link and I get money from it, naturally I’ll be happy. But I produce this blog mainly as a public service, and I don’t expect to earn more than I need to cover my hosting and domain registration costs. I’d be astonished if I ever earned enough to cover the time I put into writing it, given what I charge for writing blogs and articles for other people.