Advertisements and Disclosures

November 25, 2011 by Gabe | [mmd] |

My recent move to a new hosting service was a little more expensive than I had budgeted for. I run this site as a monetary loss. I don’t consider it an overall loss because I’ve met really interesting people through the site and received some great suggestions that were worth the amount I pay for the hosting service.

However, I don’t make money off of the site. I’m considering a small change to that situation but I don’t want to change the nature of the site. I worry that if I start to make money off of advertising then it becomes work. It subconsciously influences what and why I post. So I am trying an experiment. I’m testing myself and the advertising model.


I’ve added a small advertisement to the sidebar. It’s for Marked by Brett Terpstra.[1] It’s something I use all of the time. I’m using it right now as I write this. It’s something that I want to see succeed and be an example of quality workmanship. It’s something I am doing for free. There may be other apps and I may start to get paid for them. I will make another post if that day comes. In the meantime, consider the ads endorsements for things I think are damn awesome. Awesome enough to maintain a perma-post on the sidebar. Yes, Marked is awesome.

Brett was kind enough to participate in my little experiment. I doubt he’ll make much, if anything, off of the ad. My traffic is very minor in comparison to a Marco or Shawn. Brett is taking a risk too. He’s now associated with my sidebar. Already the experiment is generating some data. I’m conscious that something I post will be viewed alongside his application icon. I hope that makes my site better.


In very few posts, I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link. Usually it’s an afterthought. That’s good, since I don’t want to post just to drive Amazon ads. However, I will always try to include a footnote when a post includes an affiliate link.

I don’t participate in ad or PR campaigns. I’ve been contacted several times to try an application or service but I’ve always turned it down. The primary reason is that I’m just too busy to fiddle with a new system or app that does not provide immediate value. I also want to buy my own stuff if I’m going to write about it. The cost is part of the value proposition for any app. OmniOutliner Pro is an awesome application. Is it $70 worth of awesome? Yes. Yes it is.

Finally, I want to make a comment about something that I’ve seen recently with sites I love but almost made me not pursue ads on this site. Several sites have participated in an ad campaign without obvious disclosure. They have written “reviews” of an app that they were also displaying as an ad. It took me awhile to figure it out since I read most of them as an RSS feed and do not see banner ads.[2] It was only after visiting one (and then each site in turn) that it was obvious to me this app was being advertised and that each site may have agreed to write a review. It felt wrong. I felt like I couldn’t trust the review except that I had already purchased the app and knew it was great.[3] I still felt very slightly cheated of a review I could trust. I also feel like I will always second guess every review from these sites in the future.

Can a site be paid to advertise a product and write a honest review? Absolutely. Should the reviewer disclose that they are being paid to advertise the product in the review. Probably.

So before I contacted Brett about Marked, I decided not to post reviews for companies/people/products that I currently receive payments from. That sounds like a good policy.[4]

There you have it. I now have an ad on

  1. That ad and the elegant css effects are 100% Brett. I’m just a monkey that pasted some text he provided.

  2. It could be argued that by not visiting the site directly, I’m forcing them to find alternative modes of advertising. They should get an RSS feed sponsorships then. I don’t mind sponsored feeds at all.

  3. I’m being awkwardly ambiguous on purpose. The Web sites and app in question are all awesome. I also have no direct knowledge of the cause and effect relationships I suggest. This is all supposition.

  4. This is my policy. I’m not preaching that anyone should do something because I do it. There are enough preachers on the Internet and I’m no role model. Also, everyone has their own set of requirements and demands to answer for. Mine are pretty basic.