Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I write a silly blog six days a week because I like writing. But like many writers, I also like NOT writing. More than either of these things, I like Having Written.

There is satisfaction in a job well done, and also in a job that is just … finished. The doing is something I could do without, but without the doing, nothing would get done. I know this is confusing.

Once upon a time I had a job where I was paid to confront these contradictions, but in another strange reversal, for the past few years I’ve paid for the privilege of doing it. I didn’t think the money mattered very much until it disappeared.

My blog can be about anything, but one thing it is NOT about is selling stuff. I decided to spare my readers the inconvenience of looking at commercial nonsense alongside my own non-profit nonsense. In fact, I pay extra to keep my blog advertising-free. But now I’m being offered the chance to allow ads to be placed on my page with a real possibility that I will get some money in return for it.

How much money? Almost nothing, I think. But no promises have been made, and “almost nothing” is certainly not a guarantee. It could turn out to be absolutely nothing.

Dr. Babooner, I’m concerned that allowing ads on the page would clutter up the scenery and make my readers feel exploited. But sometimes when I’m writing and wish I was NOT writing, I’d like to think there was a nickel or two to be gained by persevering.

What should I do?

Sincerely,
Conflicted

I told Conflicted he should find some roundabout way of asking his readers if it would be OK to try the advertising thing. I suggested that he use some thinly veiled scenario that anybody could see is a description of the actual situation. Even if some people say they don’t like the idea and others simply don’t get it, when the ads show up and the complaining starts, he could say it was all a joke, or a mistake, or some sort of performance art.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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100 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. dear conflicted (c)
    this is the way of the world 2012 style. brave new world, farenheit 451, 1984, it could be fun to see what kind of ads showed up with a bog about space travel goats, bubby and his trauma of the week, senator beechely, it could be better than the blog, poetry, song, inspector goatlock… i say you try it and see if it gets in the way.
    in reality conflicted, i would guess you are taking this all too seriously. if you are paying not to have ads, stop. if some dolt is willing to pay for the privilege of appearing alongside your words of wisdom and wit, good for them and good for you. if it gets to be too much you can always direct your blog followers over to the trail baboon. we would never have advertising there.
    the advertisiment for cris craft and mercury for the 9th district could be a smile and the references to the nazis in the moral majority could bring out the ads for rush limbaugh is a big fat idiot. your readers may not like the idea that their posts are being followed but ask karl rove… they know all….

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    1. If my understanding of the system is correct, I don’t get to choose the ads. They simply appear. It would be interesting if products being advertised somehow shifted to mirror the topic of the day. Do you think that’s possible?

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      1. I’m sure it’s possible. It’s rather eerie how ads on certain pages mirror things in my life. I see ads for “Faithful Women Over 50 Wanted” and “Try These 3 Simple Tricks to Get Rid of Belly Fat” and “Underactive Thyroid? Do This!” What I find disconcerting about these is while, yes, I am over a certain age, and I have belly fat, and have hypothyroidism, I don’t think I’ve ever written online anything about those topics (until now) and I’ve never clicked on any of those ads, either.

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      2. I do think there is a method to how ads appear on people’s sites/pages, Dale. I’m not 100% up to snuff on the scientificals of it all, but I think there’s a program that searches for key words on each page, or in the titles, in order to better target what they’re selling to the folks who might be reading.

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      3. I think that’s what will happen they want like email on gmail to advertise to the community that cares about their product.
        We talk food advertise something goofy rather than automotive. Check othe word press blogs and lets find some with ads and see of they follow. If they are not there yet, my assumption is that will be the goal.

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  2. Good morning to all. Conflicted, I agree with tim about including ads. I think it would be okay. There might be some ads that tell people about good things that we don’t know about which are just fine and there might be others that come from people who want to provide support for your blog and aren’t too offensive or not at all offensive.

    Any ad that helps pay for your blog and isn’t somehow troublsome would be okay with me. I certainly would trust you to not allow any ads that have a bad message, Conflicted. You put a lot of work into your blog, Conflicted, and if you can run ads to pay for your work, I think that is good. If ads are a way to support your blog and keep it going, I am very much in favor of them because I really want you to keep your blog going, Conflicted.

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    1. Thanks Jim. Like I told tim, I don’t get to allow or not allow specific ads, and there are rules. Here are some:

      “Automattic may, in its sole discretion, display up to three (3) graphic advertisements selected by Automattic on each page of your blog (the “Advertisements”).
      You may not make any changes to any Advertisements or otherwise interfere with the display of any Advertisements.”

      It does feel a bit unsettling to give “sole discretion” to something as impersonal sounding as “Automattic”.

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  3. I THINK THE IDEA OF HAVING ADS IS WONDERFUL. THE PAYMENT IN THE FORM OF COLD HARD CASH FOR THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN WRITTEN IS THE TRUE MEASURE OF IF YOU ARE WRITING OR MERELY SOUNDING AND EMPTY GONG N THE WOODS WHERE A TREE HAS FALLEN AND NO ONE WAS THERE TO HEAR IT UNDER THE ROLLING STONE THAT GATHERS NO MOSS.
    I SAY BRING ON THE ADS
    BRING ON THE PAYING PUBLIC WHO HAVE AN INTEREST IN ALL THINGS BABOONISTIC. WE HAVE A VOICE. LET IT BE HEARD FAR AND WIDE. THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING OTHER CATS HERDED TOWARD YOU BECAUSE OF THE WRITING TALENTS OF YOUR BLOGMASTER INSTINCTS IS A GLORIOUS THING TO BEHOLD. I SUGGEST FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN, AND THE NEW ONE IS PINTEREST WHERE YOU POST AN AD ABOUT GARDENING AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT GARDENING CHIME IN. IT APPEARS TO BE VERY COOL FOR ALL YOU INTERNET FANCIERS.
    I AM TOO BUSY WATCHING OUT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO SAY SARAH PALIN SHOULD NOT BE ELECTED PRESIDENT TO HAVE TIME FOR ANYTHING ELSE. DOESN’T THE ENTIRE WORLD WATCH FOX NEWS TO SEE WHAT A WONDERFUL POSSIBILITY WE COULD HAVE. HOW ABOUT A TICKET OF PRESIDENT PALIN, VICE PRESIDENT BACHMANN AND SECRATARY OF STATE GINGRICH, THERE IS A GOOD CONSERVATIVE BASE, NO TAXES, GAS FOR 150 A GALLON, AND DRILL BABY DRILL FROM MY KITCHEN WINDOW OVERLOOKING MOSCOW. OPEN THE NORTHERN BRANCH OF CAMP DAVID CALLED CAMP NANOOK FOR OUR CONVERSATIONS AFTER THE ELECTIONS WHEN THINGS HAVE BECOME MORE FLEXIBLE. ( I NEED TO ASK VLADAMIR PUTIN HOW HE DID THAT ELECTION RE-ELECTION THING. I THINK A TAG TEAM BETWEEN VICE PRESIDENT BACHMANN AND PRESIDENT PALIN COULD BE WORLD CHANGING. I BET WE COULD GET SOME AD DOLLARS SPENT ON THAT BLOG HUH? DRILL BABY DRILL WITH PRESIDENT SPONSERED BY EXXON OIL AND BP AND GOD LOVES AMERICA. COM AND VALVOLENE, THIS BLOGGING FOR DOLLARS CAN BE FUN, COULD YOU SEE THE AD REVENUES ALONG WITH THE REPLY COUNT AND TRY REACHING OUT FOR THE MEEK AND RICH WHO ARE FREQUENTLY HANGING OUT AT THEIR KEYBOARDS? GO AHEAD CONFLICTED TRY IT

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      1. I wish I could learn italics and have some fun, but every time I try to italicize a word or a few, I end up italicizing the rest of the paragraph.

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    1. This. Until the day comes when they invent an ad that will jump off the screen and follow you around all day until you click on it, I will ignore them anyway. But, that day WILL come, my friends, have no doubt – they’re probably trying to perfect that technology as we speak. Yay internets! :)

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  4. Since I’ve joined this merry band, I’ve wondered how/why someone like Conflicted would put out an intriguing/funny/thoughtful bit of prose or poetry on an almost daily basis for no monetary reward. I assumed that someone like Conflicted must REALLY love to write.
    Like B-A, I have trained myself to be totally oblivious to ads. They would certainly clutter up the cool, clean look of the blog but could be ignored.

    However, if there is any hope of making a nickel or two out of the deal, your users would probably have to NOT ignore all the ads. In hopes of supporting you, they could agree to click on things here and there. A click a day keeps you blogging away.

    How could your READERS feel exploited when you have given them 6 gifts a week for 3 years?
    Including Saturdays! I can’t believe you give the gift on Saturdays, too. (oops, maybe shouldn’t point that out. You might say, “Hey, what am I doing, doing this on the weekend, too?”)

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    1. Well said, needed saying.
      An issue associated with this is that if we want to keep the blog going we should be getting guest blogs in, which The Man may be reluctant to ask for if he makes a pence or two. Maybe you others have been writing them lately I have been remiss as of late. I always imagine Dale thinking, “Oh, I don’t want to write today, I’ll pull one out of the bank.” I also imagine we can delay his final burn-out point being delayed by keeping him in supply.
      I am in a bit better position than most for writing some, being retired and all, with no garden or shop, or the like. So I will make an Easter resolution to get a few in.

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      1. Thanks Clyde. I’m always happy to get guest posts, though I’m not as prompt as I’d like to be in responding. Burn Out Prevention (BOP) is an important part of our human resources mission here at Baboons Industrial Transglobal Enterprises (BITE).

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  5. I am trying to talk myself into going bake riding trying. I will in a minute. But I have been flirting with ramping up my blog and can tell you that Dale is paying out a bit to give us this gift.
    I am going to go get o the bike. I am, I am.

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  6. Regarding guest blogs, Conflicted, I enjoy doing guest blogs and enjoy having an editor to help me do them. I hope that guest blogs would be a part of your blog even if you use ads and I wouldn’t want any payment for doing a guest blog.

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  7. Rise and Advertise Baboons!

    I’m ok with doing whatever our Conflicted Dear Leader would like. I also will probably ignore them.

    However, after I thought the above thought, then I thought, I wonder how much ads are, could I do one for the biz, how would you do it?

    Once capitalism takes hold it owns you….so to speak.

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    1. I have no idea, Jacque. My guess is that the ads are funneled to a bunch of blogs and it’s not a matter of simply buying one site or one post. I know our little group of writers and readers, while we are valuable to each other, do not present an alluring target to advertisers all by ourselves.

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  8. Go ahead and sell the ad space. Then advertise some of your own products. Trail Baboon t-shirts, hats, and (perhaps most appropriately for baboons) diapers. That way you could earn a few pennies for the ad and a few more for the product. Campaign buttons for our 9th Congressional district could be fun to collect as would Dr. Larry Kyle posters.

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        1. For only 6 dollars a month for the next year automatically deducted from your pay pal account you too Edith can have a copy of a keepers cd approved for play in all penal institutions in Minnesota and wisconsin

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  9. Being a Minnesotan (and a Norwegian Lutheran Minnesotan at that), I now feel Guilt that Conflicted has been paying out of pocket so I can have the privilege of being advertising free while I read. And then Conflicted puts my little efforts up to boot. Ah, Conflicted, you are a kind-hearted soul. But a few ads will not cause any harm our divide our loyalties. If it puts a few more pennies in your pocket, so much the better. You could always do an old-fashioned fund drive where we get a mug or a canvas bag with a logo on it after we pledge a certain amount – but where would the fun in that be without your old Fund Drive Cronies? Plus, with our little gang we are likely to not raise enough to cover the cost of the mugs. Advertise away – I am happy to donate my daily “impressions” in the name of my daily dose of fun and good writing.

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    1. Thanks Anna. I do take care to tell anyone who asks that the daily writing in the comments section is as fun, as well done and interesting as anything that appears above it in the main post.

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  10. I agree with tim, Jim of CG, B.A., Lisa of Mpls, and Ken of Northfield. No need for me to restate what others have well said.

    In addition to ads, I’m sure Conflicted has considered other potential income sources such as 1) a brand T-shirts and coffee mugs marketplace and 2) offering a “Donate Now” button. Were these options impractical?

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  11. I’ve appreciated the look of this ad-free blog, Dale, but would totally understand if you decide to take on some ads. I don’t know how much say you have in how the ads look, but I have one request: please, none of those animated ads where the person is doing the same motion over and over, forever. I find those ads incredibly annoying and feel like screaming when I see them.

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    1. Me too! Aghghghggh!
      Wordpress does promise quality – here’s a quote from a blog about the advertising program, called ‘WordAds’.

      “Over the years one of the most frequent requests on WordPress.com has been to allow bloggers to earn money from their blog through ads. We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better.”

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  12. Hm, am I really the only baboon with trepidations about ads on this blog? I hate the prospect of ads, especially the pop-up kind that seem to co-opt so many recipe cites. That said, I understand the desire to at least offset some of the outlay required to keep the blog going. I don’t know much, or anything, really, about what the alternatives are. Is subscription to the blog a possibility?

    I enjoy this blog very much, and some days, such as yesterday, I wish the responses would never end. I agree that this blog is a special gift from Dale to each of us. I think the symbiotic relationship that exists between the trail and the baboons on it at times borders on pure magic. I often chuckle to myself as I marvel at all the whimsy, wisdom, and wonder that spews forth in an unstoppable stream from my fellow baboons.

    Will some ads interfere with this? I hope not. I’ve come to rely on Dale and my fellow baboons to prod and tease my aging brain into daily workouts that it would otherwise not get, and I don’t want to jeopardize that in any way. In the end, I trust the lead baboon to choose wisely; go for it Dale, if you must.

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    1. I don’t follow any blogs but this one. Do other blogs charge admission or do they all afford to do it by having ads? I agree with PJ and DaninWoodbury that a Donate or Subscribe option would not be offensive. However, our small numbers (how many lurkers are out there?) might not make much of a dent in Conflicted’s wallet shortfall.

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      1. I believe that some blogs do have a subscribe or donate option. I don’t read any of those blogs, but I’ve heard of bloggers doing that. Maybe that would be an option that is more straightforward than having ads. And maybe we don’t want the ad people to be scrutinizing what we write here – this place seems different than other blogs or forums, where the people don’t know each other and don’t care about each other. This is more a community of friends. And I’ve always preferred a straight donation to something I value rather than “buy this product and 5% will go to support this cause” type of fund-raising. Of course, I don’t know how much money Dale has been shelling out on a monthly basis to keep this blog going…

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        1. Thanks for the concern, Edith and Lisa. Not much has been shelled out, to be honest.
          Less than $100 per year. And that’s what I would hope to earn back, if I’m lucky. I’m pretty sure the payday doesn’t go beyond that.

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        2. Bite me hats t shirts mugs and travail accessories should be launched in April as a for profit deal. Get those ideas and designs going baboons

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    2. Thanks for the principled hesitation, PJ. I would hate for ads to somehow twist the convivial atmosphere we’ve created here. That said, I can’t read the words “Lead Baboon” without thinking of heavy metal, and the phrase “That went over like a lead balloon!”

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  13. Good Easter to all who celebrate it in whatever form.
    I am off to my daughter’s soon. It will be a rough Easter for me. I react very badly to lilies and so have not gone to an Easter service for a few years. But the grandchildren are involved this year so I must attend. We went to a cantata last night in a church which bothers me. So I am starting out in tough shape, as I can tell from the typing I did above. My wife wanted to go and was sure the church would not bother me. I periodically have to prove these things to her.

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        1. Gluten-free communion wafers sounds like something right out of a Lake Wobegon monologue, Dale! Is that for real??

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    1. hey Clyde, I also am allergic to lillies. If you clip the stamens out of the middle, which my church does, the allergies will stay aat bay if it is the lily pollen that you react to. I went to church and survived!

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  14. just my two cents, Dale – i agree that this blog is such a gift that you’ve given us – at YOUR expense- over the years. go for the ads – i can ignore them easily enough. and i hate to think of you spending your hard-earned money without any recompense! i’d willingly ignore or even click to experience your warm humor and interesting, thoughtful prose and poetry.

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  15. Time to crank up the baboon golden circle pins and coffee with dale events for big contributors( 6 dollars and up?)

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    1. I’d happily contribute $20.00 per year to keep the blog ad free. I understand that Dale is concerned with “contributions” or “donations” making the blog a tax nightmare, but surely we can figure out a way to make this happen without getting in conflict with the IRS. No?

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        1. We each give $20-40 in unmarked bills to Bubby, Bart or Loomis. They launder the bills (with extra fabric softener) and hide them in a location known only to Conflicted. He collects them in a casual sort of way, whistling and looking skyward. Mission accomplished; the IRS is none the wiser.
          Or, forget the subterfuge. Any of us could give Conflicted up to $13,000 per year as GIFTS and there are no tax issues.

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        2. Lisa, somehow I had expected the solution of the unmarked bills to have come from Edith;
          but the $13,000.00 gift suggestion, that’s pure genius. Get out your checkbooks, baboons.

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  16. Afternoon,

    I’m no fan of adds, but like others have said I don’t pay any attention to them either. And I sure don’t want Dale shelling out much money to keep this going.
    Besides, there’s always ‘Pop up ad’ blocking software… (uh oh, maybe they’re watching me and now I’ll be getting ads for them?? Not to mention ‘Blocker blockers!’)

    A little rain here; just enough to make the fields sticky.

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    1. Rain cost me a round of golf with my boys this morning. We had a slot from 10-3 where golf was scheduled but the boys thought I was nuts to stand in the rain. I wonder if they are really my children sometimes.

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  17. Go for it, Conflicted. I agree with PJ and Edith that there is a certain aesthetic here that could be lost, but you have done so much for us for so many years now… I feel a little conflicted myself because you seem to be expressing some level of burn-out and that makes me feel so sorry that I haven’t done more to help. I really do enjoy reading and replying every day, Dale. I don’t want to take this for granted.

    I also agree that there seems to be more camaraderie and depth here than on other blogs. All of you feel like friends to me and my days would not be the same without your “voices.”

    If key words are indeed what triggers the ads, it will be interesting to see which ones appear. Ads for eco-tourism in Africa? What will they do with Dr. Babooner and Inspector Goatlock? How will they react to Loomis Beechly? Maybe we’ll see ads for tutors for Bubby. What sort of advertising might appear in response to topics about colonizing other planets? Will we see a lot of ASPCA ads in response to topics including Bart the Bear, goats and baboons? Ads for Escalades or Navigators in response to topics about the Sherpa?

    The imagination runs wild…

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    1. that would be worth the price of admission, just anticipating what ads would come with what.
      i will open a pay pal account for the bite me fund and it will be a voluntary deal. it will take a couple of days and a discussion with the banker but it wil be done by next weekend. we may have to offer a certificate of golden circle membership or a bite me paper clip in exchange for the dollars in the transaction. i like it without ads but can live with the ads if thats the path or our lead balloon chooses to plug into the flight plan.

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        1. on splendid table yesterday lynne rosett casper mentioned a first fact i hadnt heard before. she said the first friday the 13th of the year is the blame it on someone else day. i bet i can use that.
          happy first easter of the year krista i caught the full moon and opend the door about midnight. 40 degree moonlight felt great last night. enjoy the day. are you hanging with family? that old republican easter gathering?

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        2. There is no waiting at PayPal for this option – if you have an account and Dale’s e-mail address you can log in and “send money” today. I just did. I don’t think we need to involve a banker – the account is already active, though not originally intended for this use. FYI, I classified mine as “Gift”.

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        3. Dale needs a pay pal account in order to cash it. I neglected to ask and assumed setting it up would be the correct next step. You are one step linda
          Dale you have pay pal?

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  18. Do what you have to do, Dale. Whatever feels right. I can ignore ads with the best of them, and if you need subscribers, I’ll be there. I still owe you (and the late, great, Jim Ed Poole/Tom Keith) bigtime for all the wonderful radio you sent out to me for 25+years.

    Chris

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  19. I think accepting Ads is trouble. You can’t go back. Think of the mess Netflix created for itself when they changed subscription fees- screwed up their brand, pissed off their customers and their stock never recovered-

    While that’s a for profit example point is-changing a model from common community of followers to invasive ads will change the context. And If ad takes more buffering time on my devices to load I won’t wait for it and will just abandon the site

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  20. I’m in favor of anything that keeps the trail going. Ads don’t bother me on several other blogs I follow, I don’t see them detracting from this one. Go for ads, subscription plan, product sales or over/under the table donations. I’m there. I may be mostly a lurker, but I value the trail, its history and it’s conflicted leader. Keep up the wonderful tradition in whatever format makes sense.

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  21. I had no internet access yesterday, so haven’t weighed in yet, but I also wanted to think about this for awhile. I will say I am apprehensive about ads on the blog. What bothers me most, I think, is the likelihood that an advertiser will undervalue what this blog has to offer, by looking at its users as merely a number, and a small one. The public broadcasting model has long been that although the audience numbers might be insignificant compared to commercial broadcasting, there is value to an underwriter in having an audience that genuinely cares about the content. They’re not just channel surfers. I seriously doubt that anything that calls itself Automattic will appreciate this.

    Dale, I don’t think you are being entirely fair if you don’t first try a tip jar model before resorting to ads. You probably didn’t think when you started this venture that the audience would develop a sense of ownership in it, but many of us have. You haven’t yet given us a chance to help pay the landlord voluntarily, and I, for one, would like to have that chance.

    You say taking donations complicates things. True, operating as a nonprofit 501(c)3 would get complicated. But you can use PayPal to put out a virtual tip jar through and treat it as self-employment income. If you collect ad revenue, that is also self-employment income, so you are not making things any worse for yourself than that would be. The only stumbling block that I can see is your reluctance to ask us for money, and I think that could – should – be overcome.

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  22. I just recently discovered your blog after having moved from St. Paul to Asheville, NC 8 years ago. The Morning Show was one of the biggist things I missed in my move, and discovering your blog has been so warming for me! I’m sure the question of advertising is 100% hypothetical…so hypothetically speaking, there’s very little that could take away/distract from your wit and wisdom which I, and I’m sure countless other readers, appreciate greatly! So do what you gotta do to keep on sharing your amazing, silly brain, Dale!

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  23. It’s too bad the ads can’t be the same as the ones on TLGMS. On Monday, we could have that one about…what was it? Lloyds of Monday? And so on.

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    1. I love that idea. I really have missed the ads, as much as the music and the talk.

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      1. And was it National Excusers to come up with an excuse so you could miss work…

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  24. I’m perfectly willing to put up with ads if necessary, but I do prefer the “subscription gift” idea if that works.

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