Everyone Has to Pay the Mortgage…

…or the exorbitant rent here in the Wild West of gentrification (Silicon Valley), where rent control is as rare as a 45-year old woman with graying hair working in tech.

Updated 01/05/18: I’ve decided not to put ads on my site. I have a few affiliate links here and there that I’m in the process of removing.

And so I am thinking about changing my site to self-hosted one in order to—among other benefits—add affiliate banner ads to online stores that carry products I would use myself (and thus earn a small commission if readers buy anything).

As a minimalist, I can live with myself if I add affiliate links (many of which you’ll find in this paragraph!) to a store such as Life Without Plastic. I bought my safety razor there (which I love) and I own other products this small, family owned business carries, such as reusable stainless steel lunch containers and Kleen Kanteens. While I sew my own cloth produce bags and cloth napkins—pads even—I realize not everyone wants to make everything themselves (or has the time) and would rather buy them.

Things you won’t find on my blog:

Affiliate or any other links to Amazon. I work for a book publisher. I love books. In its quest for world domination, Amazon sells books at a loss, in the hopes that customers will buy other stuff, like diapers, flat-screen TVs and food-like products. How can independent bookstores compete when Amazon sells books for less than what the indies pay for them? Why doesn’t Amazon find a different loss leader? Why pick on the written word of all things? And how does Amazon get away with predatory pricing? (One caveat: If I write my book, which I intend to do, you’ll find links to Amazon reviews of it on here. At the rate I’m going, that won’t happen for a while.)

Reviews of thneeds. Occasionally a very nice crafty maker type will contact me and ask me if they can send me their wares in minimal, recyclable packaging. If I accept, like what they send and think readers will find their products useful, I may write a post about said products if I have time (I’m awfully busy!). I do not get paid for this.

Sponsored content. I have worked really hard to keep up this blog. I conscientiously buy my food—unpackaged, organic, local and cruelty-free. I shop religiously at the farmer’s market. I cook all sorts of stuff. I capture yeast from the air! On here and on Facebook and Instagram, I have built up a decent following, making these sites prime real estate for content. I won’t pimp them out.

However johns will always ask.

Before I begin my rant, let me say that 97.5 percent of my emails come from absolutely lovely people…

But occasionally something like the following lands in my email…

Subject line: Exciting opportunity to [prostitute yourself] work together 

Dear Anna [or some other abomination of my name],

I was checking out your site [i.e., you checked out my traffic stats on Alexa and know I hardly crash WordPress’ servers so why add to my disaster of an Inbox with your email?] and think your content makes a great fit for our fast-growing, innovative, Palo Alto based, series-A funded startup that’s poised to completely disrupt the vertical space of [more jargon that—as an English major—I have done my best to block out]. We would love to send you one of our [useless gadgets that I would never encourage anyone to buy…did you read even one post on here before contacting me?] and pay you [wages that would waste my time since I have a decent paying job, thank God] to write reviews about it.

Please contact me for more information on getting started [as if].

I hope to hear from you soon [you won’t],

Someone [who has to pay the rent] from some PR firm

9 Replies to “Everyone Has to Pay the Mortgage…”

  1. It’s good to be open about this stuff, and of course everyone needs to earn some money in this world we live in. Good luck with your future plans for your blog. 😊

    1. Thank you Tammy 🙂 That earn money thing always gets in the way!

  2. Have you looked into this to ensure you could have ads from just the companies you want? I ask because I know someone who has a monetized blog and she doesn’t have full control over her ad content.

    1. Hi Becky. I can join affiliate programs of companies of my choosing (that have affiliate programs…) and then place their banner ads on my site (but only if I switch to a self-hosted WordPress site…for now I can only have links to pages of my choosing). So I joined the affiliate program for Life Without Plastic. There probably aren’t too many companies I would want to have ads for. But I love that one. Here’s more info on how their program works: https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/affiliates#.VzsoCecrK2w

      The tricky part is switching my blog over. WordPress will do that for me. Switching does have its disadvantages though. Then of course I will want to spend a bit of time tweaking my new blog, and time is always at a premium… ~ Anne Marie

      1. Finding time to tweak is one of those things always on the to-do list but always getting bumped for something else.

  3. Maureen Pegg says: Reply

    Good for you. I enjoy blog. You work hard at it and are so focused on living a zero-waste, plastic-free lifestyle, that I’m sure I would find ads placed on your blog quite interesting.

    1. Thank you Maureen. It’s a lot of work just researching what kind of site to move mine to, so this may take a while (or not happen at all). I’d be VERY particular about what kinds of ads I would allow. ~ Anne Marie

  4. I understand the move and the desire for transparency. I’ve mulled over where I stand on such issues with my own blog and there are a couple things bubbling away in the background here along similar lines too. They key for me is to find a way to do such things with integrity that the chimes with the overall direction of our blogs, whilst acknowledging that as much as we can be self-reliant, thrift, forage or barter, “coin of the realm” is necessary for certain aspects of life. A delicate path to walk but doable. Good luck with your selected links and dodging all those emails from folks who don’t bother to get to know you, your principles and your content.

    1. Thanks Meg. I keep going back and forth on this. First, I have to change my blog to a self-hosted one. So choosing that is a big decision and may take a while…wish I could barter for that one 😉 I noticed some bloggers have ads with headers at the top that say “sponsored by.” That sounds much more palatable!

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