Strap yourselves in! Also, shit!* Who wants $41 worth of goods and/or services and/or imaginary benefits!

I don’t mean “strap yourselves in!” in the sense that I am about to say something that would so totally rock the foundations of your world that you will need to put on an imaginary seat belt for the imaginary shock, because one, I can’t imagine a single thing that I could say on my personal blog that would have any kind of even slight tremor effect on anyone outside of my direct sphere of influence (which includes two dogs and Phil, who has been pretending to be deaf lately) and two, because come on, that would be a lame thing to say. I should get over myself if I said stuff like that, because, shut up, hypothetical me.

No! I am saying it because my blog is clearly in danger of listing strongly to the left, and… uh… you might… fall off?

Ok, that was equally lame.

But anyway, if you are reading through a feed reader, you probably have not noticed and that’s okay with me, because I read through a feed reader so often that sometimes, I’ll click out of it to comment, and have maybe four or five tabs open of blogs on which to leave my brilliant thoughts, and it will have been so long since I actually VISITED the blog that the design has completely changed and I forget what I was going to say in the first place because I have NO IDEA WHERE I AM.

But if you have looked at my blog in, oh, I don’t know, the last 17 minutes, maybe, you will have noticed that there is a change, and the left hand side of the blog is looking quite nude, and I have [finally] removed my BogHer ads.

For something that has so irritated me for so long, I can’t really explain why they lasted as long as they did.

I was going to list out my reasons here, because I know that there tends to be some general interest in why people stay with or leave the BlogHer ad network, but a lot of the reasons I’m leaving aren’t specifically my own – that is, I’ve seen a lot of other people (people I like) be treated quite poorly or unfairly by the network. While not my personal experience, that definitely factors in to whether or not I want to continue to be associated with them.

And it’s not really a money thing – I know a lot of people end up leaving the network with complaints of poor payout, only receiving a check quarterly, when they cross the minimum revenue needed, but that’s not really the case with me, either. I mean, I’ve gotten a check every month since I signed with them. Not a huge check, by any means, but not a manicure and cup of coffee check, either. An actual check that I will need to report on my actual taxes.

Though there was the time last year that the checks suddenly dropped by more than half, explained away with a letter about the “slow season” after the holidays (though house ads advertising BlogHer itself continued to run). The highest traffic month in the history of this site ever ever ever resulted in the lowest check I ever got. That was… weird, but no big deal. Though it was kind of a big deal when the revenue never really recovered and another letter about another slow season went out earlier this month.

And it’s not really about the restrictions the contract places on the blog – I don’t really need to say “fuck” in my post titles, and I’m not really worried about giving away anything that costs more than $40 because no one has really ever asked me to give anything away.

Oh, except for one time, and the item I gave away was significantly less than $40, but I still got a letter from the ad network citing some rules that I didn’t really understand, especially considering plenty of other blogs did the same kind of thing, and I had to take it down (I didn’t, but I did move it from general view). And the letter about ad placement I got one time, which had me tearing my hair out trying to get my ads in line in the layout, even though other blogs had the same kind of thing going on was also kind of annoying.

I will miss the visits I get from the BlogHer headlines that ran beneath each ad, but I can’t really say I’ll miss having the headlines on my own blog. Most of them were okay, but BlogHer always attached one of their own headlines onto the bottom, as did iVilliage, and some of them were pretty objectionable, to me, anyway. Which is what matters, because it’s my blog. Also, there was this phase for a little while where the bottom headline they ran said (AD) next to it, but there was no extra pay for running that (AD). That stopped, though.

Well, they stopped putting (AD) next to it, at least. They still run the same kind of headlines. They just don’t disclose it as an (AD) anymore. I guess because you should pay if you’re going to run an (AD). I don’t know why it would bother them to pay to run the (AD), though. I can’t say I know how advertising works, but they take out an overhead cost from the revenue and then split the rest with me, and take the slightly bigger half, so it seems to me they’d do pretty well if they just kept that (AD). They’d get most of the money anyway.

That stuff is annoying, yes. It really is. But, you know, I had a wedding to pay for, and while I was getting more and more uncomfortable with the ads… I had a wedding to pay for. Now, I no longer have a wedding to pay for, but I do have a baby coming, and I’ve heard they can be a bit spendy, but I just can’t deal with it anymore.

The actual reason (which is actually an overarching reason covering many smaller reasons) that I no longer wanted to run BlogHer ads? (Besides no longer getting the monthly email that was part information, part advertising AT me)

As time went on with the ads and the things that happened to other people and the things I observed myself, I started to think things that I don’t like thinking. I do not want to be the type of person who thinks thoughts like, “This is what happens when you get involved with a woman-run organization.”

As a lady, I don’t like thinking negative things about ladies as a whole, but being a part of the ad network and watching the goings-on in the ad network, and what seems pretty clearly to be favoritism and look-the-other-way-ism and other kinds of uncomfortable -ism type things that I’d have to make up words for has made me start to think stereotypically negative things about groups of women and organizations for women run by women.

So. That is [vaguely] why I have ditched my ads, and while I’m not especially afraid to get into specific specifics, we’ll just see what direction the conversation takes.

More importantly, however, is the vast expanse of nudity on the right hand side of my blog.

I’m thinking of filling it up with old school dancing baby. I was feeling really nostalgic for dancing baby this morning. Maybe some badges. I’m not really a badge person, as I am a lifelong non-joiner, but I feel like maybe all that blank space is screaming out for some kind of 125×125 declaring my position on some topic or membership in some conglomeration of like-minded bloggers. Let me know if you have a badge for me to put in there.

I’ll probably put some ads back in eventually, when I get around to it, and as has long been my stance on this blog, I don’t particularly give a hoot if you don’t like them, or object to what I choose to advertise or whatever. When you come to my door with a check, we’ll talk.

Until then, badges?


25 thoughts on “Strap yourselves in! Also, shit!* Who wants $41 worth of goods and/or services and/or imaginary benefits!

  1. -R-

    I don’t think favoritism or look-the-other-way-ism is a woman-led company thing. I mean, I think people complain about the same things in companies run by men, but they call it the old boy’s network or whatever. So yay, everyone is bad at running fair organizations!

    TJ Reply:

    Like I said, I didn’t get in to specific specifics, and while I know that favoritism isn’t any uncommon thing in any organization, that’s what this particular situation made me thing. A lot of little things went into it, just so you know that I’m not running around being a woman-hater all willy-nilly. It’s just how this situation(s) made me feel, which is why I exited.

  2. cindy w

    I keep thinking about ditching them, for pretty much the exact reasons you outlined here. I’ve just been too lazy to fool around with my blog layout. And I have no idea what I’d put in that column in its place. I’m FAR too lazy to seek out advertisers on my own. Eh. Someday I’ll get around to it.

  3. cagey

    I removed myself from the BlogHer Ad network last fall. Mostly to free myself from the monthly reminder of the paltry check (or more often than not, the lack thereof) of how much my blog sucked and how little traffic it was getting. I needed to write for myself, without worry as to numbers and/or $$.

    And holy crap. It WAS freeing. Never say never, but it will be a long, long time before I attach a monetary value to my blog again.

  4. Maggie

    I got rid of the ads a few weeks ago, for generally the same reasons as you (and Cagey up there). It WAS freeing, but I still have no idea what to do with the giant blank column on my site. TOTALLY bugging me.

  5. Rachael

    For what it’s worth, I like the fact that it’s so… peaceful there now. With ads, you get whatever they wanna shove in there, so it could be random riots of color, maybe with motion, and it just drags the eye away from what I came here to read. That said, i usually read through a reader, but when I’ve clicked through to comment, I often was feeling a bit… bombarded. I’m sorry you’re losing a check, but glad your page is a bit less bombard-ful. :)

    TJ Reply:

    I really didn’t feel as though the ads themselves (with a very occasional exception) were all that intrusive.

  6. Delicia

    I echo what Rachael said.. I don’t use a feed reader, I just go to the blog pages. It was rather lovely to come here and go.. Ahhhhhhh TJ’s blog is back.

    TJ Reply:

    Just for the record, I had no problem with having ads and will likely replace them with more ads.

    I’m sorry people had problems with the ads or think that they had any effect on the blog itself, but… it’s not going to stay ad free.

    Rachael Reply:

    Totally understand, I don’t expect you to :) Just a personal preference to have ads be totally ignorable ‘cuz well… mostly I just don’t care about their content!

  7. Swistle

    Dude, you could totally have shocked us by announcing, say, twins. And that you were taking on an additional husband to help take care of them.

    TJ Reply:

    Did I ever tell you about how way early in the pregnancy, I was on this forum and I posted a response to someone basically saying how RELIEVED I was when the first thing my OB said when checking things out was, “Ok, looks like just one baby in there.”


    “How dare you not want twins!” “You need to be grateful for what you get!” “How can you say you even want a baby if you were RELIEVED that it wasn’t TWINS?”

    Because… because… I was like, stymied. Thing is, Phil and I are reasonably certain that we’re “one and done” and twins is… you know, TWO.

    Which is not ONE.

    People acted like I would have SOLD the second baby on the black market or something. OMG. I still get all tense thinking about it, because, you know, first time mom, new pregnancy, violent message board attack by hormonal women…

    Anyway. In summation. Still just one baby, still very pleased with that fact.

    Flame Reply:

    I think people are just twin crazy because all the “celebrities are doing it/have twins”. People just get offended to make themselves think they are so much better than everyone else. I think they just like to put themselves out in the spotlight – ZOMG! I have an opinion and HOW DARE YOU disagree with me. Whatever… get over yourself AND your opinion. :)

    You get what you get and you deal with it.

  8. Liz

    Ok, so here are some of my honest questions, which are aided in full part by extreme ignorance on my part:

    (I am not a BlogHer member/user/whatever-er, and I have very little understanding of the ins and outs of blogging as a business, etc, and I’m ok with that, but when I read posts like this, I’m so far from understanding context that I feel like I miss a lot. So)

    1. Is BlogHer the only game in town? Is it “BlogHer or Nuthin'”? Because it kind of seems that way, but I understand perception does not really equal reality, most times

    2. If it IS “BlogHer or Nuthin”, it’s interesting to me that you’re ok with “Nuthin” — not interesting in a judgmental kind of way, just in a “wow, there must be some fucked up shit in that world if ‘No money > Some Money'”

    3. Hm. Actually, that’s kind of it. I can completely understand why you wouldn’t want to be a part of an organization that annoys you (and, it would seem, offends you). So, um, yay, for you, then.

    4. Wait, as a follow up: Is BlogHer basically like a pimp? And the choice to not use them giving you a chance to whore yourself (I did not intend for this to be offensive when I started this train of thought) vs letting them passively whore ads to you? If so: rock on TJ.

    TJ Reply:

    1. No, BlogHer isn’t the only ad network around. Some are harder (or impossible, in my case) to get in to, some don’t pay as much, some are less appealing for other reasons. It’s also possible to go without an network and sell your own ad space. This takes more effort, but is likely what I will get around to doing. Eventually.

    2. While it’s not BlogHer or nothing, for the time being, I have opted for nothing. I’ll get my final check and there will be no more money coming this way.

    3. Thanks, haha.

    4. I am now free to independently whore myself to anyone who asks, where previously, BlogHer would choose and run my ads and there were VERY strict rules (not worth bothering with at all, in my opinion) about who and what and where I could advertise anything else. I’m a free whore now.

  9. Kristin

    The title gave me a chuckle.

    The ads never bothered me, but I do LOVE how much faster the page loads now.

    TJ Reply:

    Yeah, they SERIOUSLY dragged it down. Like, an unreasonable amount.

  10. Kelly

    I have not opinions at all about BlogHer.

    But the Dancing Baby? Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please put up the Dancing Baby! I love that freaky little thing. OH! Or dancing hamsters.

    And if you decide to pimp your real estate all on your own, I’d love to rent a piece of it. Assuming I could afford it. ;-)

  11. Aunt Becky

    I think I need a dancing food baby on my blog where the ads used to be. Because FUCK. OBVIOUSLY.

    I got all offended a couple of months ago with mah BlogHer ads and took ’em down. I’m not unhappy that they’re gone at all. Mostly because I was mad at BlogHer ads when I did it. Why? I’m kinda bitchy.

  12. Chaninn

    Your site, your choice. I thought they were a colorful blur (I very rarely read ads) and yes, your page does load much faster now.
    A dancing baby would be both adorable and appropriate.

  13. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    As a (relatively) newish blogger with not a lot of traffic, I sometimes DREAM of making money off my blog… And so I find this post both fascinating and also very mysterious and bewildering.

    I’d love to ask many questions about why BlogHer is apparently so sucky, ads-wise, (or more-wise?!?!) but I don’t even know which questions to ask.

    Becky Reply:

    I was thinking the same thing. I have only a general idea of what BlogHer is/does, other than the conference thingy every year. And I’m nosey; I want to know what’s going on. But I understand if you don’t want to share it. That’s ok. I have to get used to people not wanting to share things with me that aren’t any of my business.

    Anony Mouse Reply:

    I’m still running them on my meagerly-trafficked blog. I still get about a manicure/coffee amount of money every few months, which is why I’m Anony Mouse today.

    I don’t like the double standard. For example, I went 2 1/2 weeks without posting and got an email saying I’d only get the BlogHer PR ads because I wasn’t updating. Yet, some of the big named mommybloggers could go 3+ weeks in between posts and they still had ads.

    Once I got an email saying my ad was too far down on the page, but it really wasn’t, according to the standards I had. I skooched it up by a few pixels and all was fine again.

    I’m thinking about ditching them because instead of ad-ads, the majority of my ads are “See what (mommybloggername) says about how important (product) is!” and I get a bit itchy about promoting someone else’s blog when that someone else is getting free product and actual money for writing about product.

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