By March 21, 2007

A commerce-free Gibberish

Some of my readers ask me why Gibberish is devoid of ads, banners, buttons, or affiliate links. I write a fair number of product reviews, and as one of my friends pointed out I might make enough revenue from AdSense to buy coffee or pay for my hosting each month. I have also received emails from vendors asking me to put a link from Gibberish to their site, or to participate in their affiliate programs.

However, Gibberish has always been, and will be in the foreseeable future, free of revenue-generating programs. Here are my reasons.

  • Remain objective. I felt very strongly against writing up a piece about Tanga after they asked me if I was interested in an affiliate program. The program involved putting a small graphical badge/banner that would give me points for having people purchase the item advertised or sign up for Tanga. Instead of doing an opinion piece about a product, I’d be marketing an item for a vendor, with a vested interest in the reader buying the item. Right now I don’t care if you buy an emergency whistle or a Nintendo DS Lite stylus or whatever. By adding compensation into the equation, that might change. Also, I don’t want to have to worry about issuing disclaimers about being affiliated with one company, while not being affiliated with another, etc. As it stands now, if you read about it on Gibberish, it’s an independent analysis.
  • Avoid turning Gibberish into a business. If Gibberish is a business, it becomes “work.” Right now, it’s fun. I get to write about whatever the fuck I want. If people read it, great. If not, fine. I’m going to blabber on anyway. If Gibberish becomes a “business,” no matter how small, I just know I will start fixating on my AdSense keyword rankings, cross-site promotion, what articles have the most sell-through clicks, and whatnot. I don’t want my content to be dictated by what I think will make money. I am also concerned about tax and business legality issues. What if I make enough money that I’d need to organize Gibberish as a business? I’d need a license then, and that might lead to zoning issues. What about paying state and federal taxes on income derived from my writing? What a headache.
  • Avoid work-related entanglements. My manager, The Captain, reads Gibberish on occasion. I mostly write a few entries at once as I can and queue them for publication during peak reading hours, which for Gibberish are during the workday. However, some posts are timely/short/whatever enough to go out at any hour. Adding a monetary component may complicate things, professionally.

Thanks to Google indexing, RSS aggregation, cross-site promotion, and just plain old time, Gibberish amasses a fair number of unique readers a day. By “fair number,” I mean more people than I could possibly imagine in real-life who would want to read this every day. For some reason, people keep coming back. I’d like to think it’s partly due to my objectivity, and staying revenue-free will help retain that objectivity.

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2 Comments on "A commerce-free Gibberish"

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  1. Me, I just like the way you write and it helps that we met through Ars Lounge.

    I’ve found that most people I’ve met through Ars Technica have at least one or two very interesting things about them and that a lot of them are also awesomely talented. I know that I can pick up a few things just by reading the various blog posts that come by.

    You also seem to be a genuinely helpful person and have left me a few very helpful comments at my own blog 🙂

    About those ads: personally I really don’t care that much whether a site has them up or not. I always ignore them anyway. Which actually makes me rethink my own strategy about them. I added AdSense ads to my site recently, but I doubt that they’ll net me much; my visitors just aren’t the kind of people to click on ads.

    Anyway… Just wanted to thank you for the useful stuff that you’re blogging about 🙂

  2. I won’t read a site where the ads are too intrusive. Not regularly, anyway — I figure sooner or later someone I *do* read will point me to any interesting exceptions.

    And sites which don’t do ads do seem to have a little more credibility to me.