I was recently approached by a company that offered to post ads on my site. They referred to it as having my posts ‘sponsored’. They assured me that the ads would be specific to the content of my posts and that it could be a real money maker for me. It was an easy decision. I turned them down.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been approached by an ad company. And it’s probably not the last. I realize that there are a fair amount of shady companies out there who will just send a form email without looking at my site, but I’m just as sure that there are ad companies with real people who do good work. So just to save everyone a little time, below is an open letter to any prospective advertisers.
TacomaStories.com is a site comprised mostly of two things. There are interviews with local people. And there are articles about people who have been murdered in Tacoma. The interviews with local people often involve business owners who are working hard to promote their business and help make Tacoma the awesomely diverse place it is. So you can understand my reluctance to take an interview I’ve done with my friend who makes children’s clothes and accompany that article with, oh I don’t know, a ‘Baby Gap’ advertisement.
Similarly, when I write about someone who has actually been killed in Tacoma, I write it being fully aware that friends and family of the victim are likely going to read it. These are people going through a significant amount of grief and loss. I try to write with as much sensitivity to that as I can, regardless of the circumstances in which their loved one died. I can be as nice as I want to be, but all that goes out the window if that article is accompanied by an ad for a funeral home or a gun shop.
I appreciate that you think I have this tremendous opportunity to make money thanks to the popularity of my website. I’d love nothing more than to quit my day job and just write what I want to write forever. However, I’m not going to make money off the death of other people and I’m not going to cheapen my interviews by advertising potential competitors.
I wish you the very best of luck in your advertising future. I’ll think of you if I ever start a site I’d like to have ads on. But TacomaStories isn’t that site.
If you’re a local company that would like to advertise with TacomaStories.com, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me your story. I guarantee your potential customers will like that more than a flashing banner.
Note: The ads you may see on individual posts on this site are due to WordPress and not me. I have no control over them. I could pay them $30 a year to get rid of the ads, but as I make no money from this site, I don’t want to pay money to make the site work.