For the last few years I've always had some kind of advertising on this blog. At first, it was Google Adsense, which I've now replaced by Carbon ads.
While AdSense had a higher payout (usually 4x to 5x higher than what Carbon can deliver), the ads were always ugly: online dating, flashy commercials, bright colours, ... nothing that actually fit the style of this blog.
Since I care about design and esthetics, I replaced those ads with Carbon -- an invite-only advertising network. They also care about the looks and can deliver better looking ads. If you're not using an adblocker, there's an example in the top right corner of this blogpost.
They track you. They know you.
Getting rid of ads
When I rebuilt this blog 6 months ago, I famously said 'fuck ads'.
But as you can tell, there are ads on this blog. While I don't write for the money, having a constant revenue stream of semi-passive income (1) is pretty nice.
Since Google's ads were too obtrusive and ugly, and Carbon's ads not paying enough, I'm going to test a 3rd option: direct sponsored deals.
If you've got a brand, service or product you want to promote to around 100k visitors each month, you can now purchase advertising space on this blog. As soon as that happens, all ads will be removed and only the sponsorship message at the top will remain.
(1) With the amount of time that goes into writing detailed blogposts, I wouldn't exactly call it passive though.
No sponsored posts
I considered a fourth alternative, one that blogs like HighScalability use: sponsored posts. Someone pays you and writes a post, you publish it on your blog.
But that feels wrong as well. It's my blog. These are my words. Readers are assuming they're reading what I have to say. Not some random company spamming your RSS feed.
So I'm removing that option from the table too and going big on sponsorships with companies or organisations I can actually endorse. Companies that offer something a reader of this blog might actually enjoy.
It's a lot like advertising on the cron.weekly newsletter: whatever it is you're trying to sell, it needs to fit with the audience. Both for your sake (you'll get much better ROI) and for mine (I don't come of as a money-grabbing idiot that'll sell anything for a few $$).
I'm curious to see where this goes. I also haven't decided yet what I'll do when there isn't anyone willing to sponsor this blog. Let's assume, for the time being, that I won't have to think about that case. :-)
Want to sponsor?
Have a look at the explanation, the statistics, what you can expect and what kind of content you can promote here: sponsorships.