Oh, money. Everybody wants it, nobody has it, and I hate talking about it. I’ve tried to keep commerce as far away from this site as possible – let’s face it, Disney fandom is a minefield of advertising already – and there’s just something about an old-school, sleek and ad-free webpage that I’ve always aspired to when thinking about this site.
I’ve always been willing to absorb the cost of hosting a site and all that – it’s worth it not to have to worry about placing ads and things on the page – but anyone who’s tried it knows that the field of Disney scholarship can charge a steep tuition with little promise of “financial aid”. There are certain items that are fairly easy to find, and certain items that are very difficult to find. Those who have those rare items are usually well aware of their worth, and while I’m more than happy to share my findings far and wide with whomever, some folks aren’t so generous. I’m afraid that by now I’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit that eBay has to offer, and have reached the point where some intriguing items are tantalizingly out-of-reach.
Over the last few months I’d considered a few options to help Progress City try and break even but dismissed them all aside from one small option. I set up an affiliate account with Amazon so that if any of you purchase something after following one of my links I get a tiny fraction of the sale. Mostly, I just couldn’t take myself seriously enough to put actual ads on my page, and as most of the other sites I deeply respect are also ad-free I was slightly embarrassed to consider it.
Then, mercifully, 2719 Hyperion posted a rather insightful discussion of the reasons behind their decision to add advertisers to their page. I now feel that, basically, if it’s good enough for those guys it’s good enough for me.
Jeff at 2719 Hyperion makes a good point about not being in this for fame or fortune. There are probably many easier routes to both those ends than doing what we do. I very much doubt that I would ever stumble into any amount of “fame” from this blog, but any notoriety I might garner only interests me in that it’s led me to very informed people interested in sharing valuable information about the subjects we hold dear. If gaining traffic helps me meet a few people with “insider” perspective then I’m all for it – I’m just not doing it to make me feel good about myself or play-act like I’m Edward R. Murrow.
It would also be very easy to slap a bunch of garish flash-animated banner ads up, have a few pop-unders (you know of whom I speak), and just have a merch-fest blowout. But that’s not what this is about, either.
To make a long story short (too late), I think I’m going to get a Google AdSense account and have a small, discrete column of ads beneath the content in the sidebar. Obviously, if you see anything you’re interested in I’d appreciate you clicking through. The same goes for ordering through my Amazon links, which I will continue to post, although I assure you that I won’t merely post large lists of products and I will never try and shill for something that I don’t find interesting or plan on purchasing myself.
I don’t yet plan on taking on specific advertisers as 2719 Hyperion has, but I’m not averse to the idea if you happen to know of any interested parties. If I ever do strike an arrangement, though, it will definitely be incorporated in a tasteful and discrete fashion.
One last item of unsightly commerce – during the course of my research I’m accumulated duplicates of several documents or items that I no longer need. Sometime soon I’m going to set up a small shop on eBay to post these surplus items. Rest assured that there’s no information that I’ll “hold back” from readers in order to make you buy these documents – they’re just things I happen to have one too many of and figure they might be better served in the hot little hands of people who haven’t seen them before. I’ll let you know when I set that up.
Thanks for tolerating this little bit of “inside baseball” – I excuse it by saying that the better Progress City does the easier it will be to bring you the random bits of ephemera that give such insight into Disney’s past.