There’s been a lot of talk about advertising on independent websites this week, so I thought I’d outline my thoughts on the subject.
I run two types of advertising here on 512 Pixels.
The first is a sidebar ad, provided by the Fusion Ad network. The income generated from this ad covers my monthly hosting fee almost exactly. With this ad alone, 512 Pixels would almost break even most months.
Secondly, I run “RSS Sponsorship” ads, through The Syndicate. These ads show up as “linked list” posts on the site and in the RSS feed.
With most of the hard costs covered by Fusion, The Syndicate gives me the freedom to expand my coverage to include reviews. This income also covers the various fees and taxes associated with the LLC I formed earlier this year around the site and other projects, including Bartending and the 512 Podcast.
Lastly, I do offer a membership to 512 Pixels. Currently, the number of members is very small compared to the daily readership, perhaps because it comes with no real perks besides the satisfaction of helping me keep the lights on.
Without ads, I would be paying for this site out of pocket. With them, I can pay the bills and spend some money improving things on the site, as well as spending some money to help produce better content. That said, I’ve never once reviewed an item or run an article at the behest of an advertiser — and I never will.
I’ve never had a complaint about the ads here, and would be surprised if I ever did. I’m not doing anything any other major independent site does. I think readers have come to understand that if content is to remain free to them, things like ads are a necessary component of the site.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I don’t make a killing on this site. I don’t make nearly enough to go full-time with it. It is, however self-sustaining, and that’s all I can hope for it for now.