Thursday, 16 June 2011

On Blogging, Brands, and Selling Out.


The thought of taking advertising on this blog has always repulsed me. I've never had a PR page, or a media kit, or any of that shiz. My blog happened accidentally. These days, though, it's getting trickier to navigate offers being made. Why am I saying no? Maybe, I could say yes to some things without compromising my integrity? And why am I laughing at myself using the word "integrity" to describe myself??

I have always loved the way Frank from PostSecret never opened his blog up to ads. Touting PostSecret as: "... the largest advertisement-free blog in the world." At last count, it has had over 447 million hits. Can you imagine the money that guy could have made? He does speaking tours and sells books, instead. I like how it's more of a movement ... a community effort, than some big branded flashy thing. Sometimes you just can't put a dollar value on things. People have called Frank crazy.

There is a site simply called "Ad free blog" If you add the badge to your blog, it means that you:

"Oppose the use of corporate advertising on blogs. You feel the use of corporate advertising on blogs devalues the medium; and do not accept money in return for advertising space on your blog."

I like this. Everything doesn't have to be bought ... and yet, try telling that to my husband.

He has grown increasingly interested in this blog, and how "we" can make money from it. Recently he tried to convince me to take out a half-page Edenland ad in our local paper. To get businesses involved, pump the ads out and the sponsored posts. I tell him again and again that I just can't do that, and when he asks me why ..... I don't have a clear answer. I just know I can't do it. (In the meantime, Dave steals the Ford this morning, sticks his work magnets on it, and asked me to drive around with them on for as long as we have the car. And then he tells me to take a photo and post in my blog. I tell him I can't, and he doesn't understand why. I ask him, does he want the internet to know his mobile number? He says yes. Well, ok hon.)

In the coming weeks I am going to rebuild my blogroll (it got lost the other day, from my transition from blogspot to dot com) onto a different page, and probably open a few spaces for rent on this blog - to other bloggers only, or a mixture of brands and bloggers ... I'm not sure yet. I always thought that if I did that, it would compromise what I say. I feel like I need permission. Perhaps I should follow my own advice .. "You are the boss of your own blog."

I'd like to take this whole shebang more seriously. I've always likened it to stealing time away from my family, so if I had more time to focus, I can build it up stronger and better than ever. (I want so much to start returning every single one of my emails.) Holy shit - what if I've only just BEGUN to blog?

I wrote about the Disney day because Rocco and I had such a great time. Hell - I'm getting full sponsorship from a certain purple drink to fly to America for BlogHer in August. I'll write a whole post about that here tomorrow, complete with full transparency around how it occurred.

I'm talking about Ford lately, because they gave me a $60,000 car to drive around in for a while. It's just an extended test-drive, really. But I intend to use this space - and that car, to raise awareness of things that need awareness raised. (And in the process, take the goddamn focus off MYSELF, and my stupidly plentiful "issues." )

In my dentist post the other day, I mentioned how bad I felt at getting teeth whitening when a large chunk of the world's population has no access to clean drinking water. (Oh, the poor rich white woman with the guilty conscience! VOMIT.) Not long after, I received an email from the people at www.lifesoapcompany.com .. a company started by two college graduates to ship premium organic soap in to customer’s homes monthly. "LifeSoap gives 90 percent of their after-tax profits to bring cleanwater to children and communities around the world."

At first I thought, what a crock. It's probably just scam, and they've photoshopped the faces of smiling South American children into their website. Further investigation led me to realise that it was not a scam. If my two boys grow up with such a sense of caring and social justice, I will be SO PROUD. The soap guys mantra? “Growing up, we desire success. But growing wise, we desire significance. We want to know that our life meant something.” – Juwon Melvin, Founder, LifeSoap Company

Shouldn't they be running around town getting drunk? No? People like this exist in the world? How can that even happen?

So. In conclusion: I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I promise to try and make the right decisions here. As if I can ever change, anyway. I now get a LOT of PR pitches and they're always, "Of course, you can change the words to suit the tone of your blog." Yeah. The tone of my blog? Why that's the tone of a desperate woman trying so hard to live life the best way she knows, complete with swearing, major fuckups, and inappropriateness. I was telling my dentist about how I wrote about her on my blog the other day, and she said she was going to go home and read it. So now my dentist knows I've been to rehab. And she hasn't done my crown yet GREAT.

I'll tell you one thing for free - the one, single reason above all else, of why I blog, and would continue to blog for free for the rest of my days?

You. The things you tell me back, the way we all can identify with so much .. you people are AMAZING.

::
Life Soap Company is on twitter and facebook

PS Dave just rang me and said, "Hon, I've been thinking. Can you upload your tweeter to your video blogs?"

It doesn't even make sense.
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