Why is blog monetization such a taboo?
“Remember when your posts used to be good? I’m sorely disappointed with this blog now, Leo. I used to look forward to reading your posts, but no longer.”
“Me too…. Your Main Story/Post is actually just an advertisement for something you’re selling. Thats [not] very Zen. You are just posting one thing a week recently, and now you are starting to post advertisements for stuff you’re selling. It is a downward spiral.”
“This blog has basically become a money-making machine for you, Leo. How much commission are you getting for sales of this ebook through this website? You have lost ALL credibility with me. I am SO done with this website.”
Leo of Zen Habits is branching out into the lucrative ebook business. His last few posts were indeed a little different than his usual “50 tips for making your life better the Zen way” article template. First he announced his new ebook venture, then published an entire post dedicated to promoting another blogger’s ebook.
But I have to wonder: does the man NOT have a right to try and leverage his huge influence (over 50,000 subscribers), influence that he gained thanks to his talent (and yes, some luck too), to make money? Should he NOT make the most of this exciting time in his life and provide for his family?
Why is blog monetization by someone like Leo Babauta such a big issue?
People WANT to make money. Wanting to make money shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Perhaps Zen monks are the exception to this universal tendency to WANT MONEY, but Mr. Babauta is not a Zen monk. He is an American. He has six children. SIX! He has every right to turn his popularity into profits.
We want money because it means freedom. Money doesn’t make anyone happy or better, but being financially secure enables you to do what you WANT to do with this short, short life. And who wouldn’t want to secure the financial future of their children?
You can be smart and talented, and believe in Zen principles AND aspire for financial freedom. If I had his audience, I would sure leverage that to make me some money.
Having said that, perhaps it would look better if Mr. Babauta either spaced his product pitches a little more, or – alternatively – if he were more candid with his readers, telling them about his monetization efforts and saying that that YES, he wants to provide for his family and there’s nothing wrong with that. The site will still feature valuable, helpful content, but – in addition to that – there WILL be promotion of products that he tested and liked, and yes, promoting them would help him make a nice living. WHAT’S SO WRONG WITH THAT.
Photo credit: DouG!!