I don’t make any money creating this website – although in fairness I don’t expect sympathy as it is a long term investment and designed to support my book sales. But there are thousands, probably millions of people who do a similar thing; blog great content that is genuinely useful, often to a fairly small demographic, and far from earning a living it actually costs them money each month (if you are curious I pay around £60 a month in hosting and image licenses). Now, before we go on I’d like you to watch this – it will save me some explaining:
So, AdF.ly is a platform that connects advertising to the act of clicking on a link. In principle I am not against this as you are not explicitly recommending something, although be careful not to annoy your readers. People make money out of affiliate programmes all the time. One prominent blogger has reported earning over $400k in 10 years on the Amazon Affiliates programme; a club I am myself a member of and if you click anywhere on this site to buy my book you will be putting some pennies into my pocket (I made a disgustingly decadent £39 last month, but that was accrued over several months when I didn’t earn enough to qualify for a payout). In fairness I haven’t declared that affiliation on this site but I think my ‘interest’ in the book is pretty self-evident from my name appearing underneath the title.
AdF.ly is essentially a link shortener that lets you earn money purely by embedding links in your copy. Once registered as a publisher you can use it to create short links to every site you want to include in your text and when readers click a link they are shown an advert before the page is opened… if they sit all the way through it you will earn some cash – and with a generous referral scheme on top of the basic payments your earnings could mount up pretty quickly.
Before you get too excited I think the key word to note in that paragraph is IF. IF your readers sit through the commercial rather than closing the browser in a huff because your content is so riddled with advertising it has become impossible to enjoy. In my opinion it is fair enough to want to earn some money to cover your costs (and heaven -forbid maybe even put food on your children’s plates too), and if your readers value what you create for them they will most likely understand. You can use something like Ad Sense to earn in a less obtrusive way, as Google’s banner service works by embedding ad-banners in your pages and you earn if they are clicked on. But AdF.ly is a different beast as readers are forced into an advertising funnel in order to check up on your source links or follow up the story themselves – something I’d encourage everyone to do more often and certainly wouldn’t want to drive them mad with advertising! You’re not allowed to ask readers to click on your links – or even encourage it in any way – but I would definitely advise warning them that they will encounter the odd advertisement in this way if you don’t want to get up their noses.
If you do decide to go this route let me know how you get on. I might even put a few test articles up myself and see how it is received by my readers (that’s you by the way, so make sure you tell me if it gets annoying), though in the interests of editorial integrity I have not opted to monetise links on this page – so click away and be happy.