A Lesson About Your Blog From Facebook

Watching The Social Network for the second time, I was struck by something that I noticed the first time but liked even more the second time.  According to the movie (and this must be true because the facts support it) Mark Zuckerberg declined to take advertising to support Facebook.  It was an inspired intuition.  As he stated in his this interview, like a lot of what people do in Silicon Valley, he built Facebook because he liked building things, not with the idea of getting money or girls out of it.  Funny thing is, that when someone has a truly original idea and is passionate enough about it to want to create it so that it can see the light of day beyond the lightbulb in their heads; and when someone has an idea that is born from their own needs, fascinations and issues, bringing it to life is of value in itself, and the other, more tangible values are likely to follow.

When your blog or your website starts generating serious traffic, the urge and temptation will be there. It’s passive income. But, you have to weigh that against the cost of interfering with your message and with your readers.  You have to weigh that against interfering with the focus of what your blog does.  You can always justify taking advertising.  It’s a way of paying for your work. It’s a way to present products or services that will be helpful to your readers.

Yet, I would be hard pressed to think of a blog where the advertising contributes anything to me as a reader.  I can’t think of a situation where I would miss the advertising.  Advertising is a compromise. While I would not blame anyone for taking advertising on their blog, I do think you should never delude yourself into thinking that it is better for the reader in any way.

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