Since completing my PhD I'm in that unenviable position actors like to call "between jobs". And because of the avalanche of cuts the higher education sector is facing over the next few years it's possible I could be in this position for a while. Therefore your humble scribe has started exploring other revenue streams. Becoming an Ebay entrepreneur is one possibility, and trying to land paid writing gigs is another. But there is a third option.
On Wednesday I was at a North Staffs "business breakfast" organised by Carolyn Powell of Bizfizz, which aims to develop networks between local small business people. I got chatting to Matthew from Pin Media, a website building/design start up. We talked about making money from the net and he told me I could make a modest regular income on the numbers AVPS has been getting of late (around 600 uniques a day).
Sounds fine and dandy. But of course, as everyone knows, the left has a set of uncodified but commonly understood ethics when it comes to money. Working for wages is fine. Unearned income from shares or property is less so. And, of course, if you're some sort of workers' representative in unions, council chambers, or parliament, the ideal position is to take no more than the average wage of a skilled worker. We are all mindful of the corrupting role money can play in the workers' movement and so we try and dampen down its corrosive effects as much as possible. And there's also the small matter of fighting the class struggle because we believe in socialism, not because we want to line our pockets.
This ethic is extended to blogging. No one minds comrades hawking their own books because it's a way of getting their politics across. Ditto for clothing. But what about making money from blogging itself? Just as you'd be hard pressed to find many Tory blogs that eschew the delights of Google Adsense and other advertising, the reverse is true of the left. In fact, I can only think of one left blogger who does.
So what to do? Are adverts an absolute and definite no-no for left blogs? Do adverts compromise the integrity of the blogger? Do you find adverts intrusive and distracting? Would you be less likely to regularly read a blog that features them? Are voluntary donations the only way left blogs can ethically raise cash? Are some types of adverts and advertising platforms okay and others beyond the pale? Should lefties deposit their commercial hang ups in the dustbin of history and use their advertising revenue against the capitalist beast?
What do readers think? Have comrades got experience of making money from blogging?