Ads or No Ads?

by Katy on February 24, 2009 · 33 comments



Vintage Ad

I’ve been writing The Non-Consumer Advocate on a daily basis since last May. Sure, I’ve reposted a few of my popular columns here and there, but that’s still 296 days of content.

It’s a lot of work.

But I love writing the blog. And so far I’ve written for the pure enjoyment of it, with no monetary compensation. I’ve worried that ads would dilute my message and frankly, be pretty hypocritical. (I’ve been contacted by a number of companies that wanted to place ads, but I’ve always turned them down.)

I’m considering allowing advertisements, but be selective about it. Charities, green businesses, sustainable companies. None of the typical slimy internet ads.

So I thought I’d ask you, the readers to weigh in on the issue.

Should The Non-Consumer Advocate allow advertising?

Please share your opinion in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily February 25, 2009 at 3:15 am

Go for it! If it’s charities and sustainable companies I don’t see a problem with it. I’m not quite to the level of non-consumerism that you are, but I’d rather give my money to charity or know that I’m supporting something sustainable than support the big scheme of consumerism.


Jessica February 25, 2009 at 5:34 am

I think ads would be fine. I enjoy reading your blog and would not mind seeing ads.


Lynnita February 25, 2009 at 6:04 am

I think that ads would be fine, especially if they complement your great content.


Jeremy February 25, 2009 at 6:06 am

That’s the hardest question for an anti-consumer blog! One difficulty is that the easiest ads to sign up for are ones you can’t control, like Google and Yahoo. If you want to be selective it takes a lot more work.

I’ve kept my own blog free of ads to avoid the hypocrisy issue, but my blog is a bit political and I want to be more careful. I’d say if you can make contact with companies and services that you know and actually would recommend, then go for it – that’s advertising with integrity and I have no problem with that!


Patricia February 25, 2009 at 6:31 am

Please, please no ads! I enjoy your unbiased opinions and comments and I would be afraid that if you accepted ads that at some time you would be faced with the decision to hold back on your opinion about an issue or concern.

You may also want to read Green Inc. After working for almost 30 years in the Not-for-profit field this book definately points out the real concerns and sell-outs that many charities have become over the years by accepting funds and “guidance” from the for-profit world.

I’d hate to see your blog become part of the fuzzy area.


ToilingAnt February 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

Please, selective ads only– just things that YOU can actually recommend.


Bessie February 25, 2009 at 7:41 am

I think ads would be fine, and might help you out. It would be better to have ads that you are ok with, than just random ads, if that is possible.


Alison February 25, 2009 at 7:57 am



Marisa February 25, 2009 at 8:08 am

I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with ads. It’s the way of the world these days, and if you’re able to make a few bucks off your site, all the better!


deanna February 25, 2009 at 8:17 am

I’m ok with ads, but I do think you should be selective like you said – only green products or ads for organizations that fit your theme. It would be hypocritical to argue by nothing new but have ads for brand-new products.


Suellen February 25, 2009 at 8:51 am

I think ads would be ok, especially if they are “green” ads. If it makes it easier for you to keep up with the blog, I’m all for it. Plus, I may learn about a product that might be useful to me.
Go for it! I love your blog!


steplikeagiant February 25, 2009 at 10:10 am

Yes, ads would be fine. There are some things that one actually does have to purchase and as long as you are selective, I don’t think it water down your message. Marketing is not bad, it’s just that some marketers are bad 🙂 I can’t see you ever being afraid to state your opinion.


Mel February 25, 2009 at 10:10 am

I know blogging is very time consuming. I don’t go to very many sites on a daily basis, but this is one of them. I love the content and hope you will be able to continue sharing your valuable insight with us. That being said, if you need to have compensation through advertising in order to continue this blog without it becoming a burden on you or your family… Go for it! I agree with Lynnita, anything that would complement your content would add value for me. I love discovering new things. Just stay clear of ads that will seem hypocritical.


Kim February 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I think it would be ethical to include ads for nonprofit endeavors, services (e.g., mail in shoe repair, watch repair, etc.) as well as products that help you care and maintain the stuff you already have. Of course, the products would have to be environmentally friendly. You deserve a bit of revenue for all of your hard work!


Kristen@The Frugal Girl February 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I think it would be totally fine. Blogging takes a lot of time, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a bit of money for your effort.

I have a few ads on my blog, but so far it’s looking like they will just pay for my web hosting(barely!). So, I’m still writing for free(although, my blog has helped me to save money, so I guess I’ve gotten some money that way!)


Lisa Whipple February 25, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Oh, hell yeah! You need the $$, right? It’s not like Wal-Mart is going to advertise here. And even if they do, why not take their money? They’re not going to get new customers via your blog.

This is an entirely legitimate way to earn money blogging. I know you, so I know you won’t change your writing in response to advertisers.


Wendy February 25, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Katy, I stopped reading one blog due to the constant mention of a particular BIG BOX store. However, it is apparent that is not your style. Advertising is fine if it fits in with your values and writing. I look foward to seeing sponsers that you feel good about.


Catherine February 25, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Your readers already get a great deal of value from your blog. Ads for things that you actually approve of, have or would buy/use yourself may well add to the value. I also think that you have every right to cover your costs or even make a profit. You know what your values are and you will honor them. Thanks for all you’ve written so far. You have often made me think about my own actions and how to go about being true to my own values with your posts.


Charyl February 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I value your blog and read it daily. One thing I appreciate is the uncluttered look and easy readability. If you must use ads to maintain your blog I support that and know that you will only use adverts that support the Non Consumer lifestyle


Gerard kiernan February 25, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Take any and all ads! Just keep them separate from content. Rent some electrons in cyberspace, but don’t rent your brain cells.
If someone wants to sell stuff with ads on a blog about not buying stuff, that is like a zen dare! Go for it


Pennie February 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

I am in agreement with the majority of your commenters–your site is as valuable to us as your time is to you. You deserve to be compensated for your many contributions.

I trust your integrity, that the ads you’d allow on your site would be for products or services that you would personally recommend.


Happy Mum February 26, 2009 at 12:03 am

Please, please — no ads. I think advertising of any kind would be distracting and would seriously dilute your message — even ads from ethical / green organizations. The fact that your blog is clean and uncluttered (as well as intelligent, thoughtful, well-written, and funny — of course) is very important to its appeal and effectiveness. Please don’t put in advertising.


Klara Le Vine February 26, 2009 at 12:41 am

I love the comment about a zen dare from Gerard – this really is putting your money where your keyboard is – it does seem so contradictory – even your Dave Wann mentioned how people can overconsume even green products.

I know you’re not receiving compensation from Dave for promoting his book, but that’s the kind of promotion that feels good to me. It’s quite a quandry, as yes, you do deserve money for all you are giving in this blog – but isn’t the point of so much you write of how we can live for less money and still be fully content. Isn’t the point of advertising to have people spend their money on their products – and of course, the cost of the advertising is incorporated into the cost of the product. I hope you can find an out-of-the-box way to create financial means to help you without the traditional ads.

Are you familiar with Flylady? she also gives out so much free help on the net but as a way of compensation she started making high quality products that would help her in what she is promoting – although alot of us loved her message, her promoting her products got to be too much – alot of people did buy just to support her.


Susan February 26, 2009 at 4:36 am

Please do not accept ads. Donations, sure. But not ads. I would no longer be able to take you seriously as a NON-CONSUMER advocate if your blog became polluted with advertising, “green” or not. My problem with “green” ads is that they still promote the idea that we need to BUY our way our of something. That is not the answer, as Mr. Wann points out in his post.


Sakeenah February 26, 2009 at 5:03 am

you should have ads and affiliate links, there is a way to do it to fit your site.
you can control the ads that show with google ads and you can promote books through amazon that you choose. Amazon usually has used for sale so this would fit right it.


Magdalena February 26, 2009 at 8:24 am

I’d say no ads. I know it’s a lot of work, and you work outside the home, too, but still…it’s not a step in the right direction. I don’t think I’d take ads on my blog, although other Christian traditionalists do. I realize that there is the religious aspect, but we are arguing for the same things, just from a different angle.


Christy February 26, 2009 at 9:29 am

I say go for it! My husband has a blog that he enjoys writing and a small business website. The ads he uses generate just enough money to cover his online costs. Those ads sure do help keep the peace in our household once the internet bill arrives! As long as you are selective with your ads, as I know you will be, I see no problem and it appears many of your readers agree.


Kathy February 26, 2009 at 9:36 am

I think you should be compensated for your work. Go ahead and accept advertising, but within your value system. Perhaps an emphasis on advertising services would work well on a blog like yours…

BTW: do you have any plans for writing a book?


Ali February 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

I agree with those that voiced “no advertisements, please”!! Plain and simple 🙂


Stephanie February 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I wouldn’t mind ads at all — you put in a lot of work to update and maintain your blog, and if the ads bring in a little money to help cover the expenses and provide a few perks for you, then I’m in favor of them.


Karen February 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I want to clarify something. Are you considering ads to help pay for the cost of hosting your blog – that is the bandwidth? Or are you considering ads to help compensate you for the time you have so generously donated all this time?

In either case, one answer would be what I have seen other valuable bloggers do – and what the Simple Living Network does. Ask for cyber angels to contribute to the cost of the hosting, or the compensation for your time in giving us this so valuable content.

I look forward to your blog every day. In my daily life and in this I am happy to pay for a valuable service. If some people can pay more and some less, so be it – that’s what cyber angels are for. Different levels of cyber angel get different symbols next to their name on the Simple Living Net

I hope this idea positively adds to the choices you must make in continuing the blog. I treasure what you share with all of us. I don’t treasure ads, no matter how green.


thenonconsumeradvocate February 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Just to clarify,

The site that I blog through, (Wordpress) is free, so I don’t have expenses related to writing the blog.

I would like to move towards making a living from my writing, so this would be a first step.

I also like the non-cluttered look of the blog, so moving to include advertisements would probably mean having to hire a web designer to help me set up The Non-Consumer Advocate in a way that would not be overly dense with content.

I would like to expand the blog to include discussion forums and other bells and whistles, so hiring someone with web knowledge will be happening at some point. (Anyone out there want to help with this?)

I think I’m going to hold off with ads for now, as I don’t want to ruin the site for a few measly dollars per month. (I have no idea how much I would get from each “hit” anyway.)

This is an issue I will probably re-visit later in the year. But for now I’m staying ad-free.

Non-Consumerly yours,

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Cheapchick March 17, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Yes you really need to go with the ads. That way you can continue to do what you are doing and spend the time doing it without feeling guilty that it may take away from your time or your family. It is a job……anyone who does it does so for 2 reasons…because they enjoy it and care about what they are writing and also because it helps pay the bills. How is it any different than writing a book? This way we can all aford to hear what you have to say. It is a way of share for free with the public what you want. Go for it.


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