Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is it possible to monetize your blog without obnoxious ad clutter?

Seattle Public Market. Marc Olivier
mon·e·tize
[mon-i-tahyz, muhn-]verb (used with object), -tized, -tiz·ing.
1. to legalize as money.
2. to coin into money: to monetize gold.
3. to give the character of money to.
4. Economics . to convert (a debt, especially the national debt) into currency, especially by issuing government securities or notes.
I like to keep my blog clean, but that doesn't mean I'm opposed to earning money off of it. So when I heard about the scandal surrounding Pinterest's use of Skimlinks, I wasn't scandalized; I was intrigued. When I assessed last year, I concluded that it was costing me too much money to get in shows (framing, entry fees, etc.) and so I decided that 2012 would be my year of unabashed commercialism and shameless optimism. Instead of the "epic fail" project, it's time for the "epic success" project.

I don't want to turn into one of those blog that's covered with pop-ups and flashing ads, so I decided to try SkimlinksHere's how it works:
  1. you register/apply. It's free, but they might take a day or two to approve you. (If you have content that might be offensive to their affiliates, or if it just doesn't seem like a good fit, then you won't be approved.)
  2. once approved, they give you some code to paste into your blog (or other website)
  3. whenever you link to products (and sometimes when you don't—I'm still figuring out the details), they make sure the link goes to one of their affiliate sponsors. What that means is that instead of me trying to hit up different companies for some kind of cut, I get connected to a host of merchants (such as Amazon, Target, Canon, Adobe, Macy's, and tons more) and I get somewhere between 3%–20% commission for people who click through from my site and the purchase something.
The whole process is fairly low-key—in fact, that's why it was a scandal when Pinterest didn't disclose that they were quietly swapping out links so they could make money (I say, more power to them).

Will this earn any money? I have no idea. It's not as if I'm some mega-blog with untold amounts of traffic. But since this is my year of living commercially, I thought I'd give it a year and share my experience. If you decide to try it out, click on one of the skimlinks links in this post or use the green referral bar in the sidebar of my blog (because—you guessed it—they also give you a cut for referrals).

Will this change the content of my posts? No. And I certainly won't start recommending products I don't believe in, and I certainly won't hide my motives. Just as I documented last year's "epic fail" project, this year I plan to document my various attempts at commercial success.

4 comments:

alfajri syp said...

hello, nice to meet you

FZ said...

Thanks for the information Marc! Has this been successful thus far? How easy is it to work with? Reading the site now... after clicking on 'your' link :) Thanks again!

FZ said...

forgot to subscribe...

Jerry M. Mingus said...

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