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.