To Monetize or Not to Monetize?

Readers,

I’m thinking about the relative merits of accepting advertising for One In Jesus. Hit counts are up for 2009 and I could actually generate some cash. I’ve already decided that my share will go to some worthy cause. I started the blog with no commercial designs, and if God blesses my writing with an audience, God should get the increase.

But I see pros and cons.

Pros

It’s tempting to take essentially free money from advertisers and give the profit to God. And it would be nice to offset some of the costs, although this really isn’t an expensive proposition.

Cons

Posting advertising could make the site look commercial and create cynicism among some readers.

Advertising could create a conflict of interest. If I accept ads from Zondervan or 21st Century Christian, I might be tempted not to bite the hand that feeds.

Although the ad services promise the ability to limit ads to family friendly fare, something tasteless or salacious might slip through.

And so …

And so I solicit your opinions — to advertise or not?

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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17 Responses to To Monetize or Not to Monetize?

  1. David says:

    The time you would spend worring about who to accept and not to accept as a sponsor would take away time from your family and your passions. I don't see this site as a money making proposition, I see it as your passion to help people think about their relationship with God. God doesn't need money he just needs us to serve him to the best of our ability. With that said, the question you have to ask yourself is, will commercializing this site make it serve God better? If not , then why spend the time thinking about it?

  2. I wouldn't use paid ads. The conflict of interest concerns and sniping would just be a big mess. Publishing companies all own one another these days. Anytime you commented on any book, and I love to read your comments on books, you would be guilty of some type of conflict of interest.

  3. Alan says:

    Keeping it non-commercial adds an air of purity and innocence that would be lost if you start receiving advertising income from the site.

    If you choose to take advertising, my advice would be to choose your advertisers personally and to keep the list short (ideally, one advertiser — maybe something like a church supply company).

  4. Tim Archer says:

    I write regularly for Heartlight.org, a site that accepts ad.

    Someone went to see my article the other day, then asked me, "Why did you put a Navy ad next to your article?"

    I can understand the attraction, but it doesn't seem worth it to me.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  5. Erin says:

    I vote a big "NO" to the ad thing.

  6. JdB says:

    Well, looks like I'm swimming upstream. The Scripture "A laborer is worthy of his hire…" was the first thing that came to mind. I think if the ads are appropriate and do not take away from your honest interpretation…and I'm sure they wouldn't…then why not take their money and appropriate it for a great cause.

    However, the bottom line with me is, it's your blog. I'm a visitor here and enjoy it greatly. As long as the content doesn't change and I don't get bogged down by all the ads, it doesn't affect me, so whatever you decide is ok with me.

  7. I just run a script on my blog from the New Wineskins site that people can click on to buy CDs and books from several publishers. It generates no revenue for me, but it helps NW sell books and CDs to people who want them – and who can't get ZOE Group CDs anywhere else.

    It conforms to whatever css style is on my blog, so it fits in. It's only three items deep, and not very wide.

    You just paste in <script src="http://www.wineskins.org/uploads/1025.js&quot; type="text/javascript"></script> and that's all.

  8. Dave R. says:

    I can see it now, ads encouraging the reader to enjoy a quarter pounder with cheese and a Bud Light. And you thought that the Quail Springs folks were ridden pretty hard.

    Seriously, I doubt if most of us would care a great deal.

  9. Joe Baggett says:

    Kepp it neutral and Christian based otherwise use the dough to further the kingdom without shame.

  10. I'm on the "don't really care" side.

    I cannot imagine the "revenue stream" causing any conflict of interest for you. But then again, will it even be enough to bother with?

  11. Jim Kuykendall says:

    I can see it now! Your site wil split into at least two factions, those "fer" it and those "agin" it. No two ways about it, a split is in the works here. Forget thekitchens, the bible classes, paid staff, orphens homes, mission society and such, this will be a real 21st century split – on the internet no less!!!

    Jay, it isnt the ads, its the content. Put limits and standards on what is advertised, and keep your journalistic principals intact. If you use the fees to pay the bills and upkeep for the site. If you want to give it away, then do so. If you want to keep it for yourself then thats fine too. It all comes down to you. I think you are principaled enought to discern for yourself.

    Set the ad standards, if they still want to buy and ad on your terms, take the money.

    Above all else, keep up the great work.

  12. Jay Guin says:

    From an email —

    I would suggest strongly NOT to advertise.

    But I’ll still read your entries even if you do.

  13. Jay Guin says:

    From another email —

    Admittedly without giving the matter any real thought, my gut reaction is to say that I hope you won't advertise. That is partly for the reasons you listed, and partly because (and it's late and I can't call up the right words) it sorta tarnishes the purity of purpose you seem to reflect. It is the American Way to capitalize on talent, and you have the talent. You're good at what you do, and you know it, and we know it. I view it as magnanimous of you to freely share your gifts with us without expectation of remuneration, even though I understand you would give the proceeds away. I just think the addition of advertisement will somehow confuse your message or intent.

    That said, I will now sleep on it, pray about it, and if I change my mind I'll let you know.

    PS If you welcome financial support I will cheerfully 🙂 chip in.

    Thanks. No donations are being solicited. I'm not a charity case.

  14. Jay Guin says:

    Jim,

    I think you're right. We're about to see the birth of two new denominations ("Church of Christ — no ads" and "Church of Christ — ads"). I wonder which group will be listed in Churches of Christ in the United States?

  15. Neal Roe says:

    It seems that you already are monetized in that you offer your books and speaking gigs for a fee. And that is appropriate. You are a talented writer, site designer, comic, and speaker, all for His service and rightfully compensated. I am encouraged that you are doing so well. God is good all the time.

    How about local churches buying ads? We all need to get better exposure and your content is a great way to draw attention to our local works. I read something great about the Spirit on your site, tell a friend who had a question about the Holy Spirit about your site, they read the piece and see http://www.VeroBeachChurch.org . Our church pays $300 per month for the share of voice cube you sell ten times. Viola…$3K comes your way. Budda-Boom-Budda-Bing.

  16. Justin Allen says:

    Am I the only one who never clicks on border ads? Either way, I guess no click-through paper from me Jay.

  17. Jim Kuykendall says:

    Jay –

    The one that would be listed in the "Churches of Christ in the United States" would depend on which one
    advertised musical instruments!!!

    Sorry, I could'nt resist that comeback!

    Blessings to all – those listed and those not!!

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