Sponsorship vs. Ad-Free. Thoughts?

Ok. For about an hour over the weekend, I had a shiny new icon linking kind folks to information on how to become a sponsor on OMW! I removed it because I'm having mixed emotions on whether or not I want to take what began as a personal blog over to the (ahem) dark side...a blog with adverts.

Because really. Is it right for me? Right for this blog? I do know that click-through ad words and Adsense are not for me. Not at all. I wouldn't have been proud to have a bunch of random corporate "related" ads on my blog. I was was leaning towards the idea of small ad sponsorship from companies & businesses I heart mucho, like local etsy stores and indie artists and the like. But. Well. I don't know if I want that either. Here are my thoughts...

I like to review stuff. I like to give my opinion, too. People have even said that my edit valve for honesty is broken. So, could it be that folks might think that someone paid me off to give a glowing review of if they just so happened to be a sponsor (even though I'd never in a billion years ever do that)? Perhaps. Would a disclaimer that I'd never do that ever mean anything to readers? I'm not entirely sure. Would I care if people cared? Absolutely. I'd never want to compromise my integrity. Sometimes it's a curse, but I really do give a crap what people think of me. And this blog is mine. It's a projection of me in many ways. Whatever I chose would have to be a positive, accurate reflection of me, be something that reflects my own tastes, beliefs, whatever. Can I do that through carefully-selected sponsors? Maybe?

There are just so many people out there who I would freaking LOVE to have as sponsors. Businesses who's philosophies mirror my own, local & national boutique brands who deserve the nod and artisans who could use an affordable break (I've been there, trust me.) I can't lie. It would be nice to have a little money, but it would be even better to be building up my network of fellow crafty folks, small businesses and respected colleagues and sharing these amazing people with you. There are businesses out there who people need to support! Sponsorship is just one way to market a growing (or established) business. It isn't inherently wrong or evil, but sometimes abused. Hum. I don't know. I just don't know.

And another thing...what if the products or services a sponsor sold were terrible and I didn't endorse it as a company I'd use myself, but only discover this after they became a sponsor? Red line them and boot them from sponsorship? Does every blog with sponsors actually use or buy from each and every one of their sponsors? OR do you simply go off of your communication, their product, perhaps their philosophies and hope that their product is worth a damn and customer service is up to par before making the leap of hand-picking your sponsors?

Sound off, everyone. I really want to know what you think, as blog readers, writers and even as sponsors. What do you think of ads/sponsors on blogs? Annoying? Amazing? Have you discovered rocking companies or products via blog sponsors who you otherwise may have never found? Do you still trust testimonials on products if the item comes from a blog sponsor? If you have sponsorship or adverts on your blog, what thoughts helped you come to the decision to monetize?


MSM said...

Well I must say that every single one of your reviews I checked the link right after reading your blog.

I have grown to trust your tastes and judegements.

I see no fault at all in getting the ones that reflect you as a sponsor.

I cannot even imagine for one second how many hours you take blogging - it in itself is a business, and therefore I would say yes to getting sponsors.

The sponsors would be NUTS not to have you linked to them.

There is my opinion, for whatever it is worth.

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