What should I click?

Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Sep 25 2012)
By: ranekoCC BY 2.0

We've been talking a lot about advertising lately, and this question came in from Jackie:

I hope you guys can find an advertising solution that works for you, since I want you to stay supported and paid for making such an awesome space! And I'll try to click on things like your Amazon affiliate site a little more.

Maybe you could make a post explaining how the ads work to benefit you, like the actual mechanics? I've found the behind-the-scenes posts pretty interesting, and I'm sure you have some readers out there (like me) who want to help you out. I'm just not sure what helps the most (page views? actual clicks? buying something?).

In terms of how to best support the Empire, since we have so many different revenue streams, there's no simple answer for that. Each blog is monetized in a ton of different ways, and each way has a different way of making money…

  • For sponsored posts, it's all about sharing, clicking, and hopefully buying. (But we don't make more money if you buy. The posts are purchased up-front, so while purchases don't make us more money, they DO tell the sponsor that it was a good investment for them to advertise with us.)
  • For affiliate posts, clicks don't matter — we only make money if you actually buy something. (But it can be anything — not just the products we feature)
  • For some banner ads (the ones listed in the sidebars under "Sponsors") it's about clicking and buying, although we don't make any money from either. These ads are purchased up-front and your clicks and purchases just show our sponsors that investing in Offbeat Empire is a great business decision for them.
  • For other banners (confused yet?) it's all about viewing or clicking. These are third party banner ads from AdSense or Glam — some of which pay per view, and others pay per click.
  • For the related post at the end of each post, we get a little bit when you click a link to read an article on another site.

…And this doesn't even include the other ways we have the blogs monetized like Skimlinks!

Ultimately, it's super complicated. While I super insanely appreciate y'all wanting to know how you can help support the Empire, truly effective advertising isn't about convincing readers to do anything as a favor… if the ad content or product looks interesting, feel free to click and consider buying. If it's not, don't worry about it. 🙂 If my business was dependent on readers knowing the "right" things to click, it wouldn't be sustainable. Just read and enjoy and click when you feel the urge.

Most importantly, thank you so much to every single reader who's taken the time to share their thoughts about our advertising and expressed concern about wanting to help support this business. We're so lucky to have readers who care so much about the publications, and are so invested in helping us making them as awesome as possible!

  1. Hey, that's me! I definitely got giddy for a minute at seeing my name and question appear on the site. My cube neighbor must think I'm pretty strange… 😀

    Anyway, thank you Ariel! I'm really glad you take the time to give us a peek behind the scenes (and responded to my question!). Not only is it interesting, but it's made me feel like I can help you guys keep the awesome content coming just by doing little things like disabling Adblock or clicking on the affiliate links when I'm buying stuff from Amazon anyway. And I have a lot more appreciation for all the work that goes into these sites–you and the editors are friggin AMAZING.

  2. very specific related question I have wondered about:
    Say I have a bunch of things in my Amazon cart (ie from adding cat toys and human x-mas gifts over time). If I come over to Offbeat Bride, go through one of OBB links to Amazon, and then buy the stuff I preloaded in my cart, does the Offbeat Empire get a piece of that pie?

  3. What about subscribe prizes like shirts or coffee mugs? "I am offbeat mama". "welcome offbeat home". With the website and or tag line on it somewhere, does someone make these already, did I miss it?
    Example I subscribe for $35 I get tee shirt I wear it to random places or parent event like baby wearing, I addict others.
    On the bad side you never know what us crazy fools will do while sporting our off beat flair

    • We do this kind of thing on the Offbeat Bride Tribe, but in my experience reader fundraising/membership drives aren't super sustainable. It basically amounts to badgering/pestering my readership to give us money… which just doesn't feel good to me, since we're not a non-profit. It's not like we're NPR leading some noble journalistic triumph… we're just a network of silly blogs, and lots of our readers are broke. I don't want anyone to feel pressured, and I'm also not comfortable feeling like I'm begging people for money that I'm going to go spend on, say, a silly sweatshirt for my dog.

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