Helping each other

This past month, I made $0.84 in Amazon referrals. Okay, sure, that may not sound like much (I have a grand total of $7 and change sitting in my referral “bucket” since starting this blog), but I am grateful, since it means that people are actually clicking the Amazon links on this blog. Any money I make through that is being cycled right back into the blog in the form of new books for me to read and review.

Looking at the balance this morning got me to thinking. Some people disparage those who write blogs and have referal links or ads on them. The general concensus for people who feel that way seems to be the assumption that people who have such things are clearly doing what they do for profit only. Either that or they’re begging for handouts.

Myself, I don’t see it that way. For one thing, maintaining a theme blog is difficult work, especially when it comes to creating enough interesting content to keep readers coming and coming back. I don’t begrudge a person the chance to make a kickback or two for all the work that they do. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to convince people that bookblogging, for example, involves more work than just posting a review or two once a month and getting then getting more free books than you can handle. I put work into this blog. And I freely admit that I don’t put as much work into this blog as some others put into theirs. So for all that work, I don’t see any harm in the blog maintainer making a few bucks from their hobby.

By my way of thinking, assuming that such a thing is greed is much the same as going to a craft fair and complaining that everyone there should be crafting for the love of the art, not to make some extra cash.

Secondly, it seems that most people who have ads or referral links or ads do much what I’m doing, and cycle the profits back into their blog. Whether that results in them renewing their domain name for another year, paying a designer to come up with a new look for the blog, or purchasing the very things that they talk about on their blog. Those things don’t come for free. They have to be paid for. In some ways bookbloggers have it a bit easier than some other kinds of bloggers, since even if we get no review copies and can’t afford to purchase books, we still have libraries, or the occasional free book from an Amazon sale or a self-pub author. There are options. The person who writes the award-winning travel blog, though, has to have the money to travel. Product reviews involve actually buying a product to review. Even craft blogs, since even though you may not find yarn talk that interesting, craft supplies are not free. Again, if somebody’s providing content, then I see no harm in them making a little bit of money, especially if that means they get to keep providing content. The money isn’t just padding a bank account. it’s going right back into the site in one form or another.

If I see a blog with ads, I usually try to click on any that seem interesting. It helps the blogger, and takes all of 10 seconds of my time. If I’m going to purchase books, I’ll try to use a referal link, since it gets me to the same place and once again, helps the blogger.

I don’t mean to be preachy here. I’m not saying that everybody should do as I do, because my way isn’t for everyone. But I do disagree heartily with the idea that blogger who use ads or referral links are blogging only for the money it can make them. 99% of the time, that’s blatantly false. There are easier and quicker ways to make a few dollars, after all, than to run a blog.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go be happy with the $0.84 I earned last month. I didn’t expect it, I didn’t beg for it, but by damn, that doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend it’s not worth anything or that I didn’t work for it.

4 comments on “Helping each other

  1. I'm with you. I don't see how it hurts anyone, either. I'm not a fan of hugely intrusive ads, but what's wrong with a link to buy a book that you've just read a review of? If anything, it's helpful! I also click ads when I enjoy what I'm reading. It's a two-second way to say “Thanks!”

  2. I noticed something on Amazon affiliates I hadn't seen before, this morning…there's a tab called aStore where you can create pages of items that can either be added as a new page on your site, or linked to on your site. I immediately went to work and created a store of all of the books I've reviewed on TheLiteraryGothamite.com…I love it because, sure, there's maybe a tiny kickback to be had, but also because now it's easy to locate all of the books I've covered. Before I just had a tab that linked to all posts with a “review” tag, but this is so much better. And I had fun doing it. There's something to be said for that, I think.

  3. I recently read a blog post that takes up the question: why do we blog, even though we don't get much traffic on our sites? The gist of the blogger's answer was that we blog because we want to, because we have something to say, and because expression, no matter what the medium, is part of what being human is. I have links to amazon for almost all of the book images on my blog, and I only did it because I thought it would be nice to maybe earn some credit to use towards more books. I also appreciate it when other bloggers do the same because it saves me time hunting for the book I might want to buy.

    I haven't made any credit money yet, and it's not really that important for me. You have a great site here and I appreciate your thoughts on this.

  4. Wow. I never thought of people objecting, or tab linking to Amazon for a kickback. I've kept away from ads as I do find them a little annoying, but I don't begrudge them.

    Blogs are hard work. And can be expensive. I am on a shoe string budget and often go deep into history to review older books because, well. I own them already. Plus, I enjoy bringing them to the forefront again.

    Still, a blog is a work of love, and that's a lot of work. So no, I don't think anyone has room to complain over a few bucks.

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