Google Adsense, Photography, Books, and Irony ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google Adsense, Photography, Books, and Irony

At What Price, Profit?

I never thought the day would come when Oprah would be parking herself in my blogspace. But
blammo! I looked up yesterday, and there she was—large, sensitive and overly empowered. "Oprah Books" was lounging in the upper left corner of my page, as if in silent mockery of all I stand for. The cut ran deep. After all, I’ve been known to pay considerably more for an admirable book (i.e. Bret Lott’s Jewel, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina) simply to get a copy that had retained its proud independence, unendorsed by Oprah. And all for what? I felt the sting of compromised convictions.

The trajectory toward this surreal moment began when I began to realize that this blog was getting enough traffic to generate a little ad revenue. Nothing life-changing, but perhaps enough to buy myself a new mechanical pencil next semester—and if things went really well, maybe even a couple extra erasers. The lure was irresistible.

On the grand scale of things, BitterSweetLife is still a microbe in an obscure corner of cyberspace, and will likely remain that way. Content that could be “monetized” will remain at the mercy of thoughts that will perplex and confuse most consumers and ad services. I mean, “BitterSweetLife?” C’mon. I don’t see BitterSweetLife becoming a buzzword until after a publish my novel.* The space I devote to talking about books and digital photography isn’t sufficient to attract much attention, and I’m ok with that. In the meantime, my route to fiscal sanity has very little to do with this blog.

This made Oprah’s appearance all the more a dilemma. What to do? Hurriedly chuck all my ads in a haze of self-absolving panic? Take BitterSweetLife off the air until the bug was fixed? Or just sit back and contemplate the irony?

The third option won out, at least for the moment. So here I am. There’s Oprah. Until she endorses my book,* we will never be friends. The irony of this little debacle is undeniably at my expense, but still slightly delicious.

* My book. Pure, unadulterated wishful thinking? Absolutely. At least until I get out of school.

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Camille said...

that is quite the conundrum. I flirted briefly with pimping my blog (between adsense and a random thing I found of craigslist where some dude would pay you $5 a day to mention certain products) until I realized a few things...

1) my poor readers already get enought adverts in their day without needing more (granted, the haloscan comments that I use have a little banner on the bottom)

2) and more importantly, I only have 5 readers... hardly enough to make any difference to the advertisers. (and i love each one of them)

3) while searching for a friend's blog, I googled his name and got his blogshare profile first and found out that his blog was worth $1500. I had to scroll to the bottom of the google page to find his blog. And when I did, the irony was compounded by the fact that he hadn't posted in three months. How can my friend's blog have value when he is presumably getting no traffic?

4) If I had taken the craigslist offer, i would have lost my autonomy, and probably my readers as well, because no one reads my blog to learn about products. Thus killing the "value" of the blog... since readers equal value.

be that as it may... I think your blog is uber-cool, thought provoking and appreciate how there is always something new.

Ariel said...

Camille, you unpackage the array of questions that jump to life at the mention of "ads." The whole thing seems chancy. I know a lot of people obsess about keywords, ad revenue, Google optimization, etc...and I part of me can see why! Earn a few bucks, you want a few more.

My resolution is to be content with the few cents I earn, triumphantly buy my new mechanical pencil, and not overhaul BitterSweetLife to make it ad-friendly. But the dilemma this raises - wholly independent, unfettered content vs. words tricked out for revenue - may beg further discussion...

Whatever the case, your closing compliment deserves to be printed out and hung on my desk for a few days. You're very kind.

And now I'll just head over to Blogshares, since your mention reminded me I haven't checked on this blog's value for a few months... ;)

Camille said...

I am glad you are getting a few mechanical pencils from your blog. I was sitting in traffic the other day and it occured to me that I must come off as the digital equivalent of an Amish person.

My blog's new byline really ought to be

"plain and simple, thank you very much"

Ariel said...

I'm not counting my pencils before they're bought, but hope springs eternal.

"...the digital equivalent of an Amish person."

You'll have to unpack that statement, you know. I'll be coming by your blog, looking for an explanation. Camille, the multi-talented artist and story-teller...Amish?

Camille said...

do you really want me to "unpack that statement?"

hmmm... I just deleted what I had written a moment ago because I looked in that particular bag and found a bit of unapologetic laziness, refusal to jump on every internet bandwagon, quite a large portion of underachiever-pomposity and the genuine hope that my wittage and mental gymnastics would be enough to make up for the lack of flash animation, interesting layouts and that hideous pea-soup green.

and I had hoped to dress it down and pass it off as a holier-than-thou version of neo-ludditeness.

now I kinda hope I didn't succeed.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife