A while ago, NicoleandMaggie had a post on whether to monetize their blog or not (sorry, I can't find it). If I remember correctly, they decided not to do it because it would be more effort than they are willing to put on it. The discussion was interesting, though, since it ranged from people who said s/he didn't like blogs with ads because they were distracting, to moral issues such as what would you be advertising, etc. I know that the ethical aspect of monetizing a blog is more of an issue in the so-called "mommy blogs" and in the personal finance blogs, which are more likely to be contacted directly by advertisers. In the personal finance blogs, would you accept direct advertising from a payday loan, with their predatory rates? In the so-called "mommy blogs", would you do sponsored posts extolling the virtue of a product you don't really like? Also, is there a difference between sponsored posts, links in the text, direct advertising, etc?
I had always read these discussions as an outsider, and was fascinated by them. As you can all see, I monetize my blog in two different ways. I have Google Adsense (from which I earned an incredible $5.37 in August and $27.83 since I started the blog), and I run an affiliate program with Amazon (where last month was actually amazing, thanks to a reader that ordered a lot of films through my links. The profits will be wisely invested in more books, I promise). I know people come to my blog for my posts, and I doubt anybody cares about the fact that I monetize the bolog, the Google Adsense or even the aesthetic of the blog (which I know could be better). I've never been bothered by Google Adsense in other blogs, or direct advertising (I just don't click on it), but I always thought that I wouldn't personally take direct advertising from a payday loan, since I've seen first hand the wreckage they do on poor communities. All these came back again because to my great surprise, a few weeks ago, I received an offer to place a link to a website in an old post I've written. It is to a website that is an online aggregator of online and for-profit education (no, it is not this website, I put the link for free because I was interested in the discussion of the list of books). It wasn't a lot of money (but it was more than what I've done with Google Adsense so far), but I thought over it for a few days. I finally said no, because it went against everything I believe regarding education. On the other hand, I have Google Adsense, and I know they place those kind of advertisements. Somehow, I don't have a problem with it. I feel like the reader can just ignore the ad, and I didn't choose it. However, somebody could ask me why shouldn't I receive more money from this kind of ads, since I would basically be cutting the middle man. I know personal finance blogs and "mommy-blogs" are different in another way, too, that many bloggers derive significant income from those blogs while for me, this is just a platform to write about things I'm interested in (but I don't mind if a little money comes along, obviously).
So what do you think? Does it make sense to you? Am I being contradictory or hypocritical? What is your approach to monetizing (or making a little money) out of your blog? Do you think that it somehow changes the value of a blog if you see that it's being monetized? What are your personal stories regarding the issue? What is your take on monetizing a blog?