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February 19, 2008

Shocked! Shocked to find that advertising is going on in here!

 

That’s right. I held off accepting advertising on this here blog for a very long time. Google Ads were not right for me because, although you can specify the types of ads you’ll accept, as far as I know you can’t accept or reject specific ads. Also, I was concerned about appearing biased in my posts. I didn’t want to deal with the possible conflict of interest.

But I’ve given the issue a lot of thought and noticed that many, many other bloggers whose opinions I respect are accepting ads on their sites. I put a lot of time and energy into research for this blog, which is my passion and joy, but it would be nice if there were occasional remuneration. (I have no book deal or other type of support for this site. It all comes from my pocket.)

Now, in my posts, I sometimes endorse certain products that I think are great for the environment and lowering our plastic consumption. So in the interest of full disclosure, I want to give you a rundown of what is and isn’t paid advertising on this site and why I chose the types of advertising that I did.

1) Products I advocate in my posts will NEVER be paid endorsements. Never ever. That’s a promise. It could happen that I’d endorse a product in a post and then that company would place an ad on my sidebar. That could happen. But the body of my posts will not ever contain paid advertising. And if I’ve received any free product from the company (like the Preserve toothbrushes a while back) I will disclose that info right in the post.

2) BlogAds: You’ve probably noticed the brand new ad for Ed Begley Jr’s new book at the top of my left sidebar. That’s my very first ad sale through the company called BlogAds. BlogAds gives me the ability to accept or reject any ad, so if an ad appears in that spot, you’ll know it’s for something I like. I don’t know how you guys feel about Ed Begley Jr, but I think he’s doing a great job for the environment, and you might want to go back and read Crunchy Chicken’s interview with him in August of last year. If you are interested in learning more about his book, please click the “Read More” link in the ad. It helps him AND ME!

Oh, and if you have a product or service that can truly help us reduce our plastic consumption and lower our environmental impact, please feel free to click the “Advertise Here” link. I’d be happy to accept your ad.

3) Sustainlane Green Ad Network: Underneath Ed’s ad is a long strip which right now is advertising the Sustainlane Green Ad Network. These ads also appear in a box a the bottom of each post. This is a new program I’ve joined, so I haven’t sold any ads yet. What you see are placeholder ads which will be replaced eventually with actual ads. I’m not sure I’ll be able to accept or reject every ad, but I do trust Sustainlane as a company and use their web site often. If you haven’t visited, it’s a very useful, user-driven database of environmentally-friendly resources with user reviews and ratings. You might not agree with every product on the site (I certainly don’t) but as a user, you get to rate products and give your two cents. And I’ve actually visited Sustainlane’s office in San Francisco a few months ago to meet the gang and pick up a T-shirt. The staff are a truly committed bunch of environmentalists, whether you agree with all their opinions or not.

4) On the right sidebar, under the Subscription Form, is an ad for Ideal Bite. Ideal Bite is another useful tool that I personally use. When you sign up, you receive a free eco-tip in your e-mail box every day. Some of these are about brand new “green” products or businesses. Others are about ideas for how to save resources. I don’t necessarily agree with all their tips, but like Sustainlane, they too have a way for users to leave comments. And once you sign up, you can search their database for specific topics of interest. Signing up for the tips is free, and I receive a few cents for each person who signs up by clicking through the ad. So if you’re interested, by all means, click away!

5) Finally, scrolling down the right side, you come to the Amazon.com list of books that I have been reading. I used to keep a list of books through a program called Library Thing which lets you catalog your books and place a widget on your site to let others know what books you like. But then I found out that the Library Thing got paid by Amazon.com when people followed its links and purchased books. I thought, why shouldn’t I be the one getting paid?

But here’s the thing. I’m not advocating buying new books. Borrowing from the library is way more environmentally-friendly. Buying used is better than buying new. Amazon.com can be really useful just for getting information about books you’re interested in and sometimes reading excerpts from the books themselves. But if you really want a book and can’t borrow or find it any other way, why not order by clicking through the Fake Plastic Fish link and sending some of the profit this way?

So, those are all the types of advertising on Fake Plastic Fish at this time. All other badges and links on the sidebars (like, for example, the new Goods4Girls badge which I will tell you more about tomorrow if you haven’t already heard) are unpaid endorsements of sites or organizations that I personally recommend. If I add any other paid advertising, I’ll let you know. I’m also going to post this information as part of my FAQ. I didn’t create this blog to make money, and I’m really just hoping to maybe recover some of the expense of the web hosting and domain registration. If any of you have ideas about the ethics of accepting advertising, I’m open to any and all opinions. I remember once when No Impact Man proposed accepting donations on his blog, the uproar was so loud he quickly changed his mind. But I think the reason for controversy was that folks felt he was already making money from his book deal and therefore shouldn’t be asking for money on the site. I’m hoping my few ads will not create such a stir.
 



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9 comments
Katy Farber
Katy Farber

I just found your site and like your message and mission. I write a blog about environmental health for familes at Non-Toxic Kids. I too am trying to find out how to sustain my blogging life! I recently signed up with Sustainlane and am eager to see what happens. How have you found BlogAds to be?

SootsandArya
SootsandArya

We wonderz same thing.Dis look like begin of bootyful frenzship, do.

terrible person
terrible person

One question: why did you have to use a movie still, and risk a copyright infringement suit (sure, you could argue fair use, but it might be tough) when you could instead have used a your husband as Rick Blaine and one of your cats as Captain Louis Renault?

Crunchy Chicken
Crunchy Chicken

I posted a review of Ed Begley's book in my post today, in case anyone is interested.Also, Betty, I can't believe you aren't advertising your new show? I guess you don't want to blow your cover... or do I need to make a poster for you?

n. &amp;amp; J.
n. &amp;amp; J.

I think that since you put so much personal time and energy into such a great message that you should get some recompense for that. I also think that the effort that you put into choosing the ads shows your dedication "to the cause".http://badhuman.wordpress.com

Clif
Clif

Like Jennifer, I use Adblock, though I haven't set it to block the ads on your site. My only request is that you try to avoid ads that make it hard to read your content - that means anything with motion, flashing, etc., that can give one a headache who is trying to read what is on the same screen.

terrible person
terrible person

Borrowing books from the public library is indeed a good thing, but you have to remember to renew them or you accumulate massive fines. If you're near a large university with a good library, try to get borrowing privileges there. At UCB, for instance, you can do so my joining the Alumni Association (you don't have to be a UCB alumnus or alumna!) Anyone can join for $60 a year and then you can check out books from all their libraries. (Most of them are open to the public for in-house use, but it's good to be able to take books home.) And you can keep books out pretty much forever if no one else requests them. Hey, but what's with the centered text, instead of left-justified? Have you become more centered in life, instead of justifying your conduct on the principles of the left?Oh, and my office manager, whom I've been bothering with little success to green our law firm (most people here don't care much, as I've noted before) saw me filling my Klean Kanteen from our filtered-chilled-tap water cooler (not big plastic bottles trucked in!) and asked me about it. She actually wants to make them available to everyone in the office, to replace bottled water! Yay!!! I sent her links to the KK Website and to the appropriate FPF post. Keep your fingers crossed, everyone!

just ducky
just ducky

I think you are bringing the ads on board in a responsible and thoughtful manner. So, I do not have a problem with them. You are being upfront and honest, which is the most important thing in my opinion.Blogging can be very time consuming. When you end up spending oodles of time on research, it takes a lot out of a person as well as their schedule. That's probably why I've been more of a casual blogger and not focused on a specific topic...I have zero time and energy! But when you add in personal financial expense like webhosting and such (on top of the personal/emotional investment)--I don't think it's wrong to allow for some kind of expense recovery as long as it's done in a straightforward, honest manner. I had a problem with NIM's brief accepting of donations as he has gotten a book deal and movie deal and by his own admittance was saving a large amount of money over the course of his project by not buying new things, not paying for travel, etc. That, to me, was crossing the line...just my opinion.Long story short--Fine with me. Keep on keeping on.

Jennifer
Jennifer

Funny enough, I can't see ANY of the ads because I use an add-on to Firefox called Adblock. It just removes the adds and moves the rest of the sidebars up to cover the spaces.I never know who is advertising or not. :) I can't tell.That being said, I think properly disclosed ads are fine. I reject all ads from my end automatically (using adblock), and that is my choice... but I don't think ads done in the way you are suggesting take away from a page.I do think that it is now your job to be extra careful on appearances of ads and your actual content, as it looks like you are planning to do.At the close, you deserve to be paid for your time. :)

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