As you have probably noticed by now, we have added Google Ads to the site. It was not an easy decision. Let me explain why we did it.
Josh Marshall has an excellent piece laying out some realities of the digital publishing world in 2017. As he notes, the cost of entry is low, so there is an overwhelming glut of content out there. And, as a result, making money through advertising is therefore becoming harder and harder. He predicts that just as newspapers are failing now because of the loss of advertising revenue, so too will many web sites begin failing due to falling ad dollars.
Nevertheless, we have added ads to the site, for essentially two reasons:
- To get whatever revenue we can from them, which we expect to be small.
- To motivate people to purchase Supporting Memberships – because those members will not see ads if they are logged in.
As Josh points out in his article, a membership-based site is much more stable in terms of revenue. And, more importantly, it can afford to focus on the needs and wants of its members, rather than simply chasing clicks and traffic. That sounds to me like a good model for good journalism and responsible advocacy.
So, our goal is to get as many paying memberships as we can, in order to keep the site sustainable. We will also be adding ads to the podcast; but there, the ads will be from companies and groups that we choose and contract with, so they will (we hope) not be as annoying or as intrusive as Google Ads are.
Do you hate web ads? So do I. So join the site as a Supporting Member, and stay logged in, and know that you are supporting the progressive voice for the Bluegrass state AND avoiding all the ads. <g>