Advertising Makes You Look Desperate

From time to time, people write to me to let me know how they feel about the way we operate the website. Some people seem to object to the idea that we should ever sell anything at all and some people don’t like being made an offer no matter how genuine it is.

As some wise person once said, you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. But you simply can’t please all of the people, all of the time.

Today, I received the following comment from a reader. It concerns the advertising that appears on our site and I thought that I would answer it here in open forum just in case anyone else was thinking the same thing. Oh, and thanks for asking Ross:

Do you know how tactless and desperate you look having an advertisement for women’s shoes next to an article about personal growth and self esteem? The content of your articles generally wants people to achieve spiritual balance but the advertisements surrounding those articles draws them more into the world of material gratification. I know your enterprise is also a commercial one, but have some respect for people.

Our site contains thousands of pages of good quality, free content and many free ebooks because I have always felt that, when people turn to the web, they generally want free information. There are a limited number of viable ways to provide free information if you are trying to make a living as a writer. One method is via advertising.

In the past, I have fully disclosed how this site generates income. I have no difficulty in letting people know that a good chunk of the revenue comes from advertising. The advertising on our site is primarily served by Google’s Adsense program and I am very grateful indeed for the Google program. It is probably the easiest way for a website owner to make a return on their investment of time; in my case, a seven year investment of persistent effort.

The Adsense program, however, is not perfect. When advertising is served via this method, it may surprise you to learn, for example, that I have no direct control over which adverts appear. However, this is generally not too much of a problem because usually the Google spiders make a pretty good job of serving context relevant ads. Of course, being robots, they sometimes get it wrong. It would appear that must have happened when you viewed the article on which you commented.

In addition, sometimes the ads are a bit ugly for my own taste. But these shortcomings are minor inconveniences that I choose to tolerate for the present. The day may come when we will be able to remove advertising from the site completely, but for the time being, they are an important part of the site’s monetisation strategy.

This site is not a commercial enterprise, it is a writer doing what he loves to do: helping and encouraging people. Advertising has helped me to achieve my goal of becoming a full time writer. Finally, I would genuinely like to think that I always endeavour to treat people with proper respect.

9 thoughts on “Advertising Makes You Look Desperate

  1. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Christopher

    Thanks for taking the time to make your comment. I really appreciate your support. Just reading in between the lines, I can see that you understand what it takes to succeed as a writer online. Those comments surely come from someone who’s been there, done that and got the T shirt. It is as you rightly say, quite a mountain to climb to get to the point where you have built an online business as a writer. But what a privilege too. I absolutely love what I do.

    Will 🙂

  2. Christopher A Pinckley

    Hello Will,
    I will most definitely add my two cents to this as I am now considered one of the most successful self-published in the industry, thus qualifying me as an expert on ‘writers trying to make a living doing what they love.’

    First, although I feel as if you are one who does not take these things personally Will, people need to understand the mountain of work that goes into creating a living as a writer these days. It is not easy to do what we do and be able to financially sustain ourselves. Thus, sometimes we need to solicit the funds to continue to do what we love and be of service to our community via any means necessary.

    Is it really such a big deal to see an ad for women’s shoes after you have enjoyed some inspirational, quality content from someone who clearly enjoys providing it?

    Anyone who attacks the way independent writers or authors make their living needs a wake up call; let’s see you do it. After the publication of my first book ‘Reality Creation 101’ I put in 16 hour days for about 3 years straight (in between running a full time personal training and rehabilitation business on my own) to make that book a success. True, I believe in the power of manifestation, but it also requires ‘action’ as well. And, it required that I put out a mountain chain of free content. I did actually, at one point, receive a ‘review’ (if you could call it that) from someone who thought that I was ‘selling out’, so to speak. Easy to say that behind a keyboard, but I’ll tell you what; anyone who says that is most likely jealous or scared to do it themselves. Sorry to say, but the truth hurts.

    Conversely, I appreciate authentic feedback from my readers if they see something that they feel does not ‘fit’. In other words, if something rubbed them the wrong way I do not mind, in the least, if they reach out to me to say so. However, if it is merely an egoic slight then I will tell them so. I like to stay open to learning and growth, but complaining about selling out via advertisements is petty at best, and denotes extreme hypocrisy at the most. “I want free content and inspiration, but don’t try to sell me anything”


    …just…my two cents…

    Keep doing what do Will and give scant attention to anyone who complains about ‘selling’ or ‘ads’ as you deserve to make a living doing what you love, just like every single other person in this world 🙂

  3. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Roger

    Thanks for the suggestion (and article link). We have recently made our channels targetable on the advice of Google, which is what the article was about. What it does is increase the price advertisers may be willing to pay for an ad; however, it doesn’t necessarily increase the relevance of the ad, which was what the original person complained about.

    Thanks too for your encouragement.

    Will 🙂

  4. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Don

    Thanks for your your support – I genuinely appreciate it. It is clear to me that the person who made the original comment just does not understand how the web works and that others do. My purpose in publishing and replying openly was simply to spell out the reality. I don’t mind that he expressed his thoughts frankly either. In fact, I love it when people get involved and post meaningful comments whether I agree with them or not. It shows that people are reading and thinking about what I write.

    Best wishes,

    Will 🙂

  5. Don Hill

    Will, I, for one, would like to thank you for providing the tremendous amount of free content that you actually do!

    This complainer appears to be under the mistaken impression that somehow this site became THEIRS, and not yours to do with as you please. And in the process, they seem to be quick to condemn you as some sort of money-grubbing greedy pig for simply attempting to defray the real expenses associated with operating your website.

    You and I both understand that we ALL must ascribe to SOME degree of materialism, or we would soon cease to occupy this physical plane altogether (unfortunately, food, water and shelter are “material” things which must be obtained somehow).

    I’m not sure if the complainer understands that if nobody clicks on any of the ads, nobody makes any money (which the complainer apparently has a problem with). That’s the beauty of a truly free market – most people will obtain what they want, and ignore the rest (irrelevant ads). In the online world, people vote with their mouse instead of their feet.

    I realize that the complainer is most likely on a quest to find their OWN center, and may have set their own frame of reference quite a distance from where it should be – if their goal is inner peace. When they read so much EVIL intent on your part into what amounts to a random accident in ad selection, it’s an indication that something is wrong somewhere – and from MY perspective, there’s nothing wrong with YOUR position at all.

    Thanks again,
    – Don –

  6. Tom

    Perhaps the reader who insinuated that having an ad for shoes on a site that primarily strives to help people with spiritual balance was somehow disrespectful should look down. Does he or she wear shoes?

  7. Roger

    Will, I beleive you can actually target your adsense words to consist of specific content. This takes a bit of effort on your part, but it can be done. Try a google search on “targeting Adsense”.

    Keep up the good work.
    Roger – Founder, Benevolent Bid

  8. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Linda

    Thank you for your kind words – I really appreciate them.

    There is no reason at all why you should not succeed with your writing if you stay committed and recognise that you are in it for the long haul. If you need help along the way, just let me know.

    Best wishes,

    Will 🙂

  9. Linda K

    I really enjoy your writing and, like you, have my webpage set up with Adsense. This is all new to me, but perhaps in time I too will be making a living writing. Even writing is new to me, but a great way to express my desire to help others over the roads I have already traveled. The ads are what they are. Anyone who knows about Adsense understands their presence and purpose. I’m here for your content! Thanks for everything you give us.

Leave a Reply