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To Monetize or not to Monetize, that is the question

I’ve been kicking this post around in my head since last week when a co-worker pointed me in the direction of a Huffington Post article about mommy bloggers and our super-secret powers as consumers.

There’s a good bit of argument in the blogosphere about whether moms should monetize their blogs.

Some feel it’s a bait-and-switch.

Someone writes an article and readers show up and instead of reading the article, they’re bombarded with ads trying to sell them stuff and that’s just wrong because why shouldn’t moms just write about their lives for other moms and build communities without trying to sell stuff to other moms. ::stompstompstomp::

Y’all, I don’t get it. I don’t.

And I realize I’m perhaps the least qualified blogger on the block to be talking about this, but it’s bugged me for a while and since this is my little corner of the Universe, I feel like here is as good a place as any to discuss this.

I mean, maybe I’m not doing it right. Or maybe I’m not looking at it right.

One of the stats I saw floating around the interwebz yesterday (because it was International Women’s Day) was about how women comprise 53% of the world’s population but hold about 1% of its wealth.

And some of us are up in arms about the fact that others of us sell ad space on our blogs to maybe afford a sitter or a new pair of shoes or a latte because accepting advertisers or conducting a product review or two is selling out to the masses and relegating us to the role of the 1950s housewife? ?

Does that make sense to you? Because it doesn’t make sense to me.

In fact, it smacks of the good ol’ “Mommy Wars.” One Sanctimommy staunchly opposes selling ad space in the name of god-only-knows-what and shouts loudly from the top of Mt. Google that if the rest of us sell ad space we’re wrong and doing a disservice to women everywhere! That we’re preying on our fellow moms as consumers and furthering a materialistic society that says moremoremore! And that we’re wrong.


Because I see product reviews and ad space as…uhh…product reviews. You know, the kind that happens face to face on the playgrounds and in the office and on the phone when you find something awesome and you’re all “ZOMG! You have GOT to try this! It is awesome!” Seriously? You’ve never done that? You’ve never tried a product and loved it so much you wanted to marry it and have its product babies and told all your friends?

We’re living in an age where friendships and relationships are forming and growing online with increasing frequency, so it doesn’t seem out of the scope of normal behavior to say “Hey, people who know me and trust me! You need to try this!” because I think it’d be a product that would interest or benefit those people when they are people I know online.

What’s the keyword there?


Sometimes, a mom receives a product in exchange for a review. But not in exchange for her opinion. Because if she did that she’d be a dishonest sell-out (and I realize there are women out there who do that and THEY are likely the ones who should be receiving scorn if scorning moms is what you want to spend your time doing.)

Which is not exactly what we’re talking about here.

Back-ish to my point.

If you trust yourself and your own integrity and you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and you’ve built a community of trust with your readers wherein they can trust YOU, then your readers can trust that when you review a product or promote a business, you’ve done so with the honest intent of sharing a product and/or a person in which/whom you believe. One in which they can believe, too.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I will never sugar-coat my opinion if I’m asked for it. It’s a strength. And a weakness. So if you’re looking for an honest opinion, I’m your girl. (<–Shameless self-promotion, party of one.)

What’s wrong with that?

Why do we tell mothers they can be worker bees in the hive OR mothers, but not worker bees in the hive AND mothers? Why do we tell mothers that they can only attempt to bring in a little extra money if that bringing in of extra money occurs outside their homes in already established businesses and not from the comfort of their couches and yoga pants (and desks in the office, as is the case with many moms I know. Including me.)?

Because, let’s face it. We’re not all making millions from blogging like The One Blogger to Rule Them All out in Utah.

Am I alone in this? What do you think about monetizing blogs?

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Renee Malove

Thursday 17th of March 2011

Has anyone ever noticed that keeping a domain up and running ain't free?

I see nothing wrong with monetizing a blog as long as it's done in the right way for the right reasons. I don't want popups, but I see ad space on the right of this blog and that's fine with me. I don't mind product reviews or contests. I'm working with clients right now to connect with mommy bloggers to reach out.

Bottom line? Don't make your readers feel they're losing value. Don't promote products you hate. (I'd say think of your audience, but moms come in all shapes and sizes!) Don't turn your site into a walking sales lot. If you can handle that, I'm totally good with monetizing your blog.

The Animated Woman

Thursday 17th of March 2011

So good to read this post AND the reactions are especially interesting. I agree with MamaRobinJ about the aesthetics. Assuming I can control the content of the ads, the main thing I worry about having ads is cluttering up my blog. It may or may not bother others, but depending on the size / colour / placement of the ad it could bug me a lot.

Uh.... who is "The One Blogger to Rule Them All out in Utah"?


Thursday 17th of March 2011

I think if you have the right layout, the ads won't clutter the blog. It's all about the layout, and yes, to a certain extent, the ads themselves and how aesthetically pleasing they are.

And "The One Blogger to Rule Them All" is Dooce.

Jess@Straight Talk

Monday 14th of March 2011

You're so right. I WANT to know what other mamas are using. What things they love. Otherwise how else will I know to try something? I don't want to waste my money on crap and I'm so not in the know to be able to find cool products. So I love reviews! And if the mama happens to make a penny or two or keep a product? Who cares. More power to her.


Saturday 12th of March 2011

I see zero wrong with making money from your blog.

I have ads to pay for my hosting fees for all of my blogs. And to be honest, anything I have left from that? Usually gets spent at the very shops I am advertising! Ha!

I have been approached to do some product reviews, but none have fit what I think my audience would care for. Although I was approached to review maternity clothes. That would be fun...but I am not pregnant. :)

Getting free product is fun...but let's face it, there are not very many people getting super rich or scoring REALLY awesome products unless you have made it big with your blog traffic or you have an AWESOME relationship with a company.

And if you have either/both of those? You've worked for it and have earned it...just like any other job.


Thursday 17th of March 2011

This is how I feel. I got approached to let someone guest post on my blog who talks tech-stuff. And this? Is not the place for that, you know?

I'd like to be able to make some more money from ads now that I'm self-hosted. If I can get this to pay for itself, I'll be happy.


Thursday 10th of March 2011

I'm new to blogging, but totally with you and grateful you raised this. If someone values reading a blog, then I'd like for them to have whatever incentive it takes to keep doing it, and have no problem with them being compensated for their time. Time isn't free, and I think this is really liked to many people's misconception that being a Mom means not being very busy. As if! I know what a click-through ad means, and if I'm going to read a blog regularly I hope I'd have enough trust and understanding of the person writing to trust their sponsorship/link-to decisions. Glad to have found your blog. Keep it up!

That 1% statistic is amazingly disturbing. I wonder what it is for just the US?



Thursday 10th of March 2011

Those are my thoughts, too. Time isn't free and we tell people all the time to find a way to make money by doing what they love. I love blogging. So shouldn't I be able to make a little money at it? Shouldn't any body? (And by a little money, I truly mean a little.)

I have no idea what it is for just the US, but to consider that worldwide, we're only responsible for 1% of the world's wealth? Wow.

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