Advertising: An apology
Post #899 • November 2, 2006, 3:18 PM • 12 Comments
Today Artblog.net takes a big step. I have installed a script that accepts orders for display advertisements and generates the appropriate links so I can take payment for them.
Ads have never appeared here before, so I feel I owe my readers an explanation. After considering other options for supporting my work here, advertising seems like the least unacceptable of them. I refuse to put content behind a paywall. Registration suggests some interesting possibilities, and two headaches for every potential benefit. Therefore I'm opting for a split between merch and ads, and if the coding gods smile upon me, we may have the first of the merch available tomorrow.
I do this with a bit of regret, because I like what not having ads represents: freedom, purity, integrity. I will do my best to maintain them. But I also must consider the larger picture. Newer readers might not know that I now paint and work on Artblog.net full-time since retiring from teaching in March and relocating northward. No one to my knowledge has made a living from publishing his own art criticism since Vasari, so on the face of it, it looks like a nutty idea. On the other hand, the publishing landscape has changed markedly even since Artblog.net started in 2003, ever more in favor of the Internet. The Globe recently reported that the paper, since the New York Times purchased it in 1993, has lost half of its value. Circulation at the Boston Herald dropped 11% since last year. Everything is trending towards the Web, and here I am already. Nutty as it is, with my URL, my Google ranking, my relative comfort with both technology and prose, and the facts on the ground in the publishing world, it seems cowardly not to give it a go. Who knows - maybe the whole blogging thing will blow over and it will all come to naught, but my nature calls for a fair attempt. Damn the torpedoes.
Ads will consist only of non-animated images of a fixed width: no text ads, and no movement. Ads will never appear inserted inside the content, and are restricted to the right-hand sidebar, where I intend to keep them in perpetuity.
Those whom the ads bother, please accept my apologies; I'd far prefer that someone just pay me to exist and do my thing. (You would too, I'm sure.) I enjoy producing Artblog.net, and if a few things line up just right, a bit of your patience is all you will have to pay for regular doses of two-fisted art writing. Let's see how it goes.
(PS - if anyone wants to beta-test the system, I'd be grateful. Just put a message in the message field to the effect of, "I'm beta-testing! Don't actually charge me." Forms are not completely idiot-proof, but they will repel uploads of overlarge or non-image files, and nothing ought to be broken with good input.)