Monday, December 21, 2009

Tales From the Blog side

On the blog side of things (continuing from my previous post):  I signed up for the Amazon affiliates program, which I’m trying to decide if that’s making me a crappy sell out, or an inventive monetizing blogger.  As such, I haven’t utilized my affiliate status yet.  I’m leaning toward the side of it not being such a bad thing since I know I’m an honest guy and would only push products that I can get behind, and would never try and deceive folks about it.  I would just have the links there as an option if folks want to support me.  Thoughts?  Anyway, since a lot of it would be comic books (or graphic novels if you will), price wise, Amazon is the way to go anyway.  Sheesh!   So…. We’ll see whether or not, and how much, I implement that.

Speaking of such things, I noticed that webcomic guru Kris Staub’s daily webstrip Chainsawsuit asked everyone to update their RSS feed over the last week or so.  The new feed goes through Feed Burner (as does mine, they give you nifty stats), but also includes AdSense ads.  HMM!  At first I felt like “well that’s kinda cheap and annoying!”  But the fact of the matter is-- particularly in the web comics/blog arena-- we’ve built everything around free content, so it only makes sense to monetize a bit. 

RSS feeds seem to be the toughest nut to crack, too.  Anything good an serialized on the net pretty much NEEDS to have a feed.  And I know from my own habits, that I pretty much stick everything in my Google reader, and read it from there.  I rarely surf to the original article, but just stay in my reader just read the feeds.  Even feeds that are summaries-- typically don’t get my traffic.  They’re just more likely to get ignored. 

The problem is that the blogs and web comics that make their (little) money from ads, may gain a huge  and extremely loyal audience through RSS, but none of that translates into traffic to drive the ad money.  So, in that sense, while RSS ads are not yet common, and feel a little invasive and cheap, it something that makes sense, too, in a lot of ways.  RSS ads are probably the way of the future if we’re going to survive the free content era.  Well, y’know, with the free content still intact.   It will be interesting to see how things pan out.  But in the mean time, I’ll have to try and not be so annoyed by ads in RSS feeds.

Really, when I found out I had the option of doing that, I thought to myself, “who would do that?!?!”  But I think its telling that someone at the front of the webcomics movement like Kris Staub, one of the big four that most of the rest of us look up to, even if what we’re doing is nothing like what they’re doing, is the first I’ve seen of this phenomena.  

Coming full circle back to my affiliate consideration… still not sure.  I’m going to test it out and see how it works.  Seems like there’s various options from simply putting links in my blog to items of interest to a full blown “recommended reading” widget on the sidebar.  I just feel a little funny about having that, AND Project Wonderful Ads, AND AdSense ads.  Holy cow. But on the other hand, I really wouldn’t mind getting some good books in front of people.  Or funding my blog a little bit.   So, we’ll have to see. 

No ads in my RSS for the time being though.

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