Quality Content Can’t Be Free — Why Advertisers are GOOD for Blogs


Our society is obsessed with getting something for nothing — or at least a getting really good deal on that something.

But, when it comes down to it, most of us adults understand the economy of “free” — someone is paying the bill somewhere along the line.

Free is not sustainable.

We understand that concept when we pay our mortgage, buy our groceries, and pay our phone bill. We understand that when we cash our paychecks.

And yet, there are some things that people expect to get for free — yes, you read this title of this post — content!

We fast forward past the commercials on our DVRs, we change the radio station when the song ends and an ad begins, and we flip past the advertisements in our favorite magazine, generally annoyed that this “money grabbing” is interrupting our good time.

And, watch out, if those ads interrupt us online — where we expect FREE — some people can get down right angry.

“How dare my favorite personal blogger put an ADVERTISEMENT in the middle of her feed!” “How dare that mom blogger write a sponsored post!” “They shouldn’t be able to make money blogging — they should be writing for free because… well… because…”

Yeah — exactly.

If a reader expects quality content from a writer taking time away from her family to produce top quality material, why on earth does that reader expect it to be delivered to her for free???

No one likes to be interrupted for an ad on TV — that is why people are stealing illegal downloads and avoiding ads. But the TV we watch is not “free” and the magazine we paid for $4.99 actually is subsidized. Even the mom blogging conferences we attend are made affordable by ADVERTISERS.

Marketing makes the world go round. Bloggers who spend money and time creating quality blogs need to monetize their blog.

And as much as someone may rage against the evil of advertising, it IS the advertisers that ALLOW us to have “free” content.


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Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.

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  1. Celeste says

    I read many blogs that have quality content and have not monetized or only have monthly sidebar sponsors (rather than constant reviews and sponsored posts). For some, writing is a hobby and they provide quality content and free resources to their readers without needing/choosing to be paid for it. I must admit that I enjoy these blogs much more than blogs like this, where almost every post is a review, redirection to another site, etc. Your site certainly has the right to promote itself–that’s just good business after all, and I’m totally in favor of that!! But I do object to the title of this post–quality content certainly CAN be free in a sustainable way if the blogger chooses.

  2. says

    I have to agree with you. Someone needs to take a step and state the facts about this. Too many advertisers are expecting bloggers to give them space for very little to nothing. I’m tired of doing reviews for companies that only offer sort term trials, or they say look over our site and write a review for pennies. Some don’t even offer graphics. I may not be at the top of the “quality” blogs, but still my time is worth more, and maybe we’d give more quality posts if we had more time to experience, or try, a product.

  3. says

    I agree with Janice on this one. What I have found is that those that use their blog just as a hobby usually do not create as much quality content as those that treat it as a business or side business to make a little bit of money. I mean how many times have you seen a blog post start with “Sorry it’s been a while since I have posted something” or some variation of this opening statement. I do think that bloggers should try to explore various ways of monetizing their content as many depend almost solely on advertising, but I am glad to see so much quality content out there on the web. Now the challenge is sifting through everything and finding the best quality content.

  4. says

    A lot of the blogs that I read and subscribe to have no advertisements. Mostly because they’re blogs built out of passion which is why they have some of the best content out there. Blogs built strictly for the sake of generating advertising revenue are usually sub-par at best as the authors make no legitimate attempt to supply quality/relevant information. Glad to see 5 minutes for mom is one of the few websites for parents that actually shares some worthwhile insight.

  5. says

    I totally understand what you’re talking about! I’m in the midst of selling my frugal blog MoneySavingLisa.com and many people did not realize that when I was holding a contest for someone to win an item, that they were typically coming from an individual or advertiser that pays for it. There were times I ended up paying an item not only for them to win, but then ship. Winning contests are a lot of fun, but it became harder to do after a while. I’ll have to continue on to the link you provided to read the rest.


  6. says

    Just finished reading the article at Babble.. I love good quality articles like that. That’s the reason why I’m selling my other blog because I can’t keep up with quality content since it is a blog that’s expected to be updated multiple times a day!

    Vitamix Reviews

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