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You think you don’t have ads on your blog?

March 25th, 2008 · 3 Comments

BLUF- Think you don’t have ads on your blog? Think again! Each of the links on your pages is an AD with a very small audience- Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engine spiders. And that’s just the subtle technical part.

Blogger Banner at the top of many, many blog

Wikipedia: Advertising is paid communication through a non-personal medium in which the sponsor is identified and the message is controlled.

ooVoo Me

In a phone conversation yesterday my friend Lewis Green (yes 2 bloggers actually spoke on the telephone) told me that he hasn’t found an advertisement suitable for his blog. He readers could associate him with the advertisers and if they don’t have the same high ideals as Lewis his readers would lose faith in his honesty.

Google Blog SearchLewis is concerned about the advertisers not sharing his values. He is very strong in his belief that everything we do should work towards making the world a better place. I strongly agree with him and do I my best to work towards that end as well.

However, I disagree strongly with Lewis about advertising on his blog on two fronts. First there is plenty of advertising already on Lewis’ blog, and second readers can easily tell the difference between content and ads.

Lewis endorses LinkedInJakob Nielsen's Alertbox, April 17, 2006:

Consider the LinkedIn logo and button under Lewis’ picture. It is the single most prominent thing on his page. Why? Because #1) it’s in the most important position of the page. (people look at web pages from the top left in an “F”.) #2) it’s a button- which in and of itself is a call to action. The call to action isn’t strong- “View my profile… See how we’re connected.” But make no mistake it’s there.

Has anyone who ever visited BizSoltuionsPlus discovered LinkedIn and joined as a result of that little button? Do existing members visit LinkedIn causing more traffic and increasing LinkedIn’s revenue as a result of these buttons?

Lewis’ other adsAnd these icons which serve to let readers easily connect their chosen blog reader to a blog serve as ads in two ways. First they promote the various blog collection services, Yahoo, netvibes, Google, and Bloglines- but they also promote that blog too!

Now Lewis recognized that the first 6 inches of space on the right hand column of his blog is nothing but a blatant ad for him, his book and his services. And he even remarked that my blog has the “Contact & Hire Chris” link on my menu and he wants something similar. So I guess it’s OK to advertise yourself on your blog, but not to advertise others?

Here’s the part where non-technical marketing types miss a big piece of the picture!

Each one of these has a link in it pointing from your site to the Advertiser’s web site. That link is actually a paid ad with an audience of; Google, Yahoo, MSN, Technorati, and other Search Engines and Spiders.


Google, etc. rank sites with a heavy emphasis on the inbound links to your site. Therefore, all of these sites are gaining recognition from their audience (the search engines) by you allowing their links on your page.

Advertising Age Power 150 List

And how do they pay you? By providing a value added service to you. They give you a service for which you repay them with a link and occasional prospect referrals.

Official SOB

Maybe it’s an RSS feeder for your visitors, or a recognition/ ranking service, or maybe a social networking platform. But make no mistake Lewis, and the legions of bloggers who “don’t accept advertising” you do and you do it in spades! As Chris Anderson of Wired recently said- the new business model is free.

And don’t think for a second that just because you don’t have logo’s you don’t show ads on your blog. Check out your footer, and the areas around any of the widgets you display on your blog. There are bound to be a few of those ever present “powered by: ” links. And believe me, (almost) any link is a good link for the purposes of SEO.

So each and every illustration in this blog post is an ad. I’m advertising for the following websites in order of appearance:

  • Blogger
  • ooVoo
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Search
  • My Yahoo
  • Netvibes
  • Google Reader
  • BlogLines
  • MyBlogLog
  • AdAge Power 150
  • Successful-Blog.com

Oh Wait! No these aren’t ads- you know why? Because I’m not deriving any benefit from them. And there are no links to the sites. I’m not being paid for showing their logos and they aren’t getting anything in return. So this is PR, not advertising. The real advertising in my blog happens in the right and left columns. Confusing isn’t it?

This is the single best argument I’ve found for not showing ads on a site: Morality & the Good Life Blog

Stay Tuned for Part 2 next week!

Tanks for reading,


Thanks to Cheryl Waller for providing the link to the eye tracking chart exactly when I needed it! Social Networking really works.

Tags: Reasonable Social Networking · Reasons For Net Marketing

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Drew McLellan // Mar 26, 2008 at 7:34 pm


    I think you and Lewis actually agree…he’s just being more literal.

    We all have ads on our blogs. Heck, our blogroll is an ad for other blogs. A book review or a link in a post is an ad. Talking about Age of Conversation is an ad. Bloggers Social…an ad.

    The difference is intent. Lewis is talking about not making money from the implicit ads he has on his site. You are referencing making money via explicit ads put there for that purpose.

    But we’re marketers….talking about marketing. Of course, there’s marketing (ads) on our blogs.


  • 2 Chris // Mar 27, 2008 at 7:47 am


    I’m just trying to point out that payment can take many forms. While not taking money for the ads on your site you are receiving a benefit for the services these widgets offer both you and Lewis.

    And more importantly, that you are building links to them. And that for many of these Advertisers, that is more important than the cost of placing an ad on your site.


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