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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.)

Comment

1.

opie

November 2, 2006, 4:21 PM

As I said before, I have no objection. You gotta live.

2.

XYguy

November 2, 2006, 5:12 PM

I only hope you won't take ads from Mr Damien Hirst or a publisher of the new book about Marcel Duchamp... When the money are involved, you can never predict what would be your next step... Most people, who are familiar with the issues discussed here, believe in your fairness and openess to opposite views. Unfortunately, money frequently means freedom of personal spendings but also partial muzzle of ideas which may become irritants to the advertisers. So, I hope, you won't loose your hard earned reputation somewhere on the way to get richer.
The personal integrity and own convictions vs needs of art patrons are the issues of many generations involved in the arts. So, you are not the first person to face this problem. Good luck.

3.

onajide

November 2, 2006, 5:12 PM

You know, I'm all for trying to cover some costs. I'm on the same road, so to speak, with me taking Miami Art Exchange to ground zero and working conceptually up from there. My coding partner said don't worry about what you want to do, just pretend you have a $50,000 budget and then figure out what you site should be. That's a nice kind of freedom too. :-)

Oh yeah, I'll beta test with ya....

4.

Katie

November 2, 2006, 7:47 PM

If I had any money, I'd probably send some to you. If ads are necessary to keep this blog up, it's worth the annoyance. Thanks for your continuing efforts to provide us with a variety of art news and well considered commentary, Franklin.

5.

jordan

November 2, 2006, 11:06 PM

I'm with Opie on this one F !

6.

degi

November 3, 2006, 1:32 AM

Franklin is so desperate for money he'd do probably everything for it, including a new friendship with Damien Hirst :-)

7.

Franklin

November 3, 2006, 7:42 AM

Thanks to all for the support.

It would be good if someone wanted to advertise their new Duchamp book here. My opinion of Duchamp ranges from cautiously positive (Large Glass) to wholly negative (readymades), and I'd be happy to advertise a treatment of his work. Hirst, whose work is roundly ridiculous, is welcome to give me money if he feels so inclined, but I doubt this is his ideal audience. If he wanted to be friends, well, human matters rank above artistic ones, and if he could tolerate my opinions, we could sit down for a coffee or something. This doesn't look like my kind of cat, though.

8.

Marc Country

November 3, 2006, 10:02 AM

His parents didn't name him 'Damien' for nothing...

9.

Caleb

November 3, 2006, 11:10 AM

As long as it means you can stay around, rock on.

10.

Bunny Smedley

November 3, 2006, 3:28 PM

Although advertisements are almost always more visually compelling and intellectually satisfactory than Hirst's oeuvre - not exactly a lavish claim, incidentally - I can't say that either gets me very excited one way or the other, if only because I'm so used to both of them by now that I hardly notice. Whereas I genuinely love artblog.net, Franklin, and sincerely hope it starts paying its way soon.

In the meantime, thanks for all your hard work in giving us this unfailing source of edification, amusement and encouragement - as well as mopping up after the internet equivalent of so many old-fashioned, Cedar Tavern-style bar-room brawls! The web would be a far poorer place without you.

11.

opie

November 3, 2006, 4:54 PM

Hey, Bunny. Good to hear from you. Visit more often. We need more & better brawlers.

12.

Franklin

November 3, 2006, 5:22 PM

Bunny, thank you. And ditto what Opie said.

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