It must be a year or two now since I first began running a bit of advertising on my web site. Initially I did so because the costs of running the site were increasing and advertising offered a means of offsetting those costs. As time has gone on, it has continued to cover the infrastructure costs and has also been able to go toward some of the books I buy to review and, when it exceeds that, to support my family. It has proven a real blessing to us in many ways. And, I hope, it has allowed you, the readers, to get your eyes on some worthwhile products. I’ve always sought to be careful with whom I allow to advertise, only allowing those whose products I find biblical. To be honest, I’ve always hoped that somehow along the way I’ll find a model that will allow me to dedicate much more time to writing in general (and the blog in particular) and while advertising has certainly not approached this level, it’s shown me that at some point it may be a far-off possibility.
I say all this because I want to alert you to something new. I am going to run a trial of a slightly different approach to advertising. To this point advertising has consisted of the banner ads in the right sidebar and the banner at the bottom of the RSS feed. I’ve often had several advertisers posting ads at the same time. And it has generally worked out quite well. But I am always trying to look ahead a little bit, to find other models that may work. In the coming weeks a couple of advertisers will begin a trial program in which they will be the exclusive sponsor of the site for a week at a time. There will be just one banner ad in the site’s sidebar in a given week, but a larger one that we’re accustomed to. There will be one banner ad in the RSS feed. And here’s what’s new: the advertiser will also provide a single “sponsored post” over the course of the week. In other words, at some point during the week there will be an article on the site that will be written by the advertiser and directed to you, the reader. It will be clearly marked as a sponsored post so there is no concern, I hope, that it will seem under-handed. This program will only be offered to advertisers who are interested in letting you know about products that are good–biblically sound and appealing to the kind of person who reads this blog.
The purpose of these sponsored posts is to alert you of interesting products but also, hopefully, to build a bit of a bridge between the companies or ministries and the readers. As I’ve traveled around over the past few years, and as I’ve gotten to know the men and women behind the scenes at ministries and conferences and publishers and so on, I’ve so often been impressed by their desire to serve God in the vocation he has given them. And I think through these posts we can probably do a bit to put a human face on the books, the conferences, and any other product.
Or perhaps not. I am always concerned that advertising will somehow cheapen the rest of what I do on this site. But we’re going to give it a shot regardless. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks and we’ll learn as we go. Feel free to offer feedback if and when you think it would be useful to me.