Thursday, 2 April 2009

POV: Should I Monetize......?

The question came up again a few days ago from more than one source. A large camera retailer suggested I ought to enroll in its affiliate program, which essentially would let me make a small percentage on each purchase that originates from this blog. Another proposed that I enter a relationship which basically would do the same, but without the bells and whistles that comes with a blatant advert on my blog.

My reply to both was the same. I will not monetize The Travel Photographer blog. I just don't want restrictions (real or imagined) that come with having this blog going "commercial". I don't want to worry if my posts are too acerbic or, conversely too "soft". If I now mention a company, or a book, or a service, it's because I experienced it first hand...or have used a trial version of its product...or just because it looks or sounds good...or just because.

If I want to raise my concerns at instances of unethical, mealy-mouthed, or hypocritical photojournalism, or at whatever I feel is unfair or unjust, I will continue do so.

I don't need advertisers looking over my shoulder, nosily huffing and puffing if I bruise an ego or two...and I certainly want to express personal views on current geopolitical events, especially those that pertain to the Middle East. And I want for this blog to continue providing its sliver of exposure to those young photographers who want and need to showcase their work.

However, what I make an exception of are sponsors for my photo-expeditions and workshops. If product-makers are willing to offer discounts, trial products, decals, pens, caps, back-massages etc to participants on my trips, I'd be happy to plaster my photo-expeditions' websites with their logos and give them all the plugs imaginable...but it will be transparent and will benefit those who join my photo trips, not me. I have already done that successfully with a generous software creator, and it worked beautifully.

But for this blog, no way. This independence gives this blog credibility amongst its readers, and that's important. My blog will remain ad-free, commercial-free and, as expected, vehemently opinionated.

By the way, have you read that a blogger is making $20,000 a month just from banner ads! Now, if it's true, that's real money!