Friday, July 20, 2012

On Advertising and Integrity on this Blog

It's been a few weeks since I started accepting advertising content on the blog.  The law requires that I disclose the potential for ad revenue, particularly if I receive ad revenue from any product I endorse, but I want to share more than that with you...I want you to understand what motivates me.

First, let me put this all in perspective:  Blogging is a bit like working in radio...unless you own the platform (Blogger/Google) or you're Howard Stern (Pioneer Woman), you're not making much money.  With the misconceptions laid to rest, let me tell you why I blog.  :)

Playing trains at church while Momma sews with the Gals.
I blog because I love writing, sewing and photography, and I love sharing my life as a stay-at-home mom and my other life as a military member.  For me, the collision of these worlds is increasingly dynamic.  Certainly the blog has always been about me and my interests, but that's not all.  I blog because I always wanted something of a record of my kids and the life we're sharing with them as they grow and change.  Though I began writing several years ago, my blogging became sparse over the last few years because I moved my presence more heavily to one of those social networking sites.  While I continue to be very active on my social properties, I realize I've lost much in expression and documentation by not taking the time to put together longer, more thought-out posts.  My family deserves depth from me again.

Why not just keep a journal?  There's no easy answer.  I suppose part of it is the opportunity to share those things that I enjoy in a way that's easily accessible to friends and family.  It's also given me tremendous joy by allowing me to connect with others who share my passions.  My site has been a great launching point for many conversations and friendships.  Another part is the accountability of writing publicly.  When I'm committed to the process, I'm pushed to write more often and forced to be more careful of the places I allow my mind to wander.  It's easier to focus on what's good in life and harder to wallow in the bad if you're plastering your thoughts on the web for everyone to see.  (At least, for me.)  In my every role, Christian, wife, mother and Air Force officer, I'm enormously conscious of the impact of my public words and how my actions reflect on those with whom I am personally and professionally affiliated.  By disciplining first my words, my thoughts and actions follow in turn.  Artistic personalities need to share their joys and I'm no exception.  This gives me a place to do that -- express, document and share -- but by its very nature the process also pushes me to be my best self.

Now that you understand a bit about my underlying motivation, let me lay out my philosophy on products and advertising.

I can promise you the following things when it comes to ads and endorsements on my blog:

a)  I have little control over the ads you see to the right of my blog feed.  I do have some choices about size and placement -- I chose not to have ads all over the page -- and I can filter certain types of products from being advertised.  For example, because we're big Dave Ramsey fans, you may see a banking ad, but you will not see a credit card or loan ad on my blog.  If you ever see an offensive ad on my blog, please contact me and I will address it immediately.

b)  If I recommend a product, it's because I really use the product.  I won't tell you to use a product simply to get paid for endorsing it. 

c)  I occasionally write product reviews...usually when I feel particularly strongly one way or the other about a product's performance or have gotten several questions about a product.  To date, I have purchased every product I've reviewed or recommended with my own money.  If I am ever given a free book, pattern or product to review, I will disclose that information in the posting.

d)  I link to many of the products I recommend.  Some of these links generate a small amount of revenue, but most don't.  Sewing notions are not terribly mainstream, so it's rare for me to have that ability with most products I use.  Because it varies from product to product, and because I link from within the body of text, I will generally not distinguish between paid vs. non-paid links.

The bottom line is that I recommend products based on my experience, not freebies or ad income.  Certainly, I hope my income from this platform will increase -- I would love someday to help support my family with my artistic passions (and not just my military muscle).  ;)  I would simply ask that if you decide to purchase a product that I've recommended, doing so through one of my links may help support the website, which allows me to keep generating the creative content you've enjoyed.

Thank you for allowing me and mine into your world ... you are humbly, gratefully welcome in ours.

God bless.