Since the beginning, I’ve resisted having paid ads on Daylight Atheism. But I’m wondering if the time has come to change that, and I’d like to know what readers think of the idea.
I’ve been thinking about this because, lately, I’ve been getting a more-than-usual number of e-mails from strangers who want me to promote their projects or give them financial help. The other week, there was one from a liberal Christian pastor who deplored how right-wing Christianity has become and wanted my help to raise funds for a documentary he was making that would, he claimed, get Christians back to “what God and the Bible say”. (That one went into my “unclear on the concept of atheism” file.) This week, there was one from an atheist group asking me to spread the word about a new secular charity they’re starting, and one from a P.R. agent for an indie film that he boasted was sympathetic to the atheist viewpoint, among others.
I want to do my part to help build the secular community, and I’m always willing to support worthy efforts toward that end. But I realize that I put my own credibility on the line when I endorse one of these projects, and I’m wary of asking anyone to spend time or money on an effort I personally know nothing about. (Also, I’m a little annoyed by the emotionally manipulative language in some of these appeals – in particular, the film promoter, whose e-mail read less like “We think this is a great film that your readers would enjoy,” and more like “If you don’t see this movie, the Christians win!”)
It occurs to me that the best way to deal with e-mails like this would be to have paid ads, so people who write to me seeking publicity could just buy one. But until now, I’ve never had ads on this site because I personally find them distasteful. I know that some bloggers have them to defray hosting expenses, which has never been an issue for me – Daylight Atheism is my hobby and I have no problem paying the bills for it. But it would be a neat and simple way to handle requests like these, and it could be useful if the site ever does grow to the point where hosting would become a financial burden on me.
I haven’t made up my mind about this by any means, and I’m hoping for some feedback about it. I’m still considering how I could implement ads if I do have them. One way would be to have small textual or image ads in the sidebar (no animated ads, I promise that). Another would be to have “sponsored posts” like some other sites do, though I worry if that wouldn’t keep a sufficiently clear separation between my opinions and paid advertising. So, what do you think?