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AdSense vs. flattr, Ads vs. Donations – What’s Best? You Decide!

by Wolfgang Senges on October 16, 2010 in Business Models, Strategies, This Blog

Money in hands of beggar

© by Wessel Du Plooy | dreamstime.com

Not long ago, ContentSphere saw a comeback of GoogleAds. I just wanted to give them a serious second try. Yet, now it gets a new twist. As you can see, I also added flattr buttons for the entire blog as well as separate ones for each entry.

That means: I’m having two additional streams of revenue. Maybe I should replace the term “streams” by “drops”. However. I’m running a kind of study. What’s the best choice to achieve better revenues? Not that ContentSphere has that much readers (360 feed subscriptions). That’s why I’m not expecting big piles of money.

What’s the most attractive and acceptable to you – that’s the question. Ads, or directly asking for financial support?

Plus, as you will see later on in this article, it helps me in advising my customers. Artists, most prominently.

Ads and donations – both approaches might be seen with mixed feelings.

Ads, the way that AdSense provides, rarely meet the requirements the author of a blog has set – no matter what restrictions you define, many advertised products, services and companies appearing on your site you simply don’t really want to see there. Moreover, it distracts from your site’s layout. In particular, it’s the picture ads that do so. Actually, if they were reasonably professional, they would be more useful for integration.

flattr, on the other hand, might be dismissed as begging for money from your readers – or fans. This is something which is discussed quite controversial. Just have a look at older entries at Amanda Palmer’s blog. In my opinion, no matter if you are an artist, journalist, blogger or whatever – as long as you offer anything you are allowed to ask for a price. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be high quality content. Just look at the charts and you will see it’s not always quality that sells. In the end it’s up to you to decide whether to pay anything. Don’t you forget, in the case of flattr you are almost entirely free in deciding how much you are to spend at flattr. The minimum to spend per month is 2 EUR, and each content you flattr receives a fraction of the monthly total.

I don’t want to discuss the issue of ethics here. Similar to the use of Creative Commons licenses, there are artists who are convinced that art should be free for everyone. No work of art should be sold. Though, artists need to make a living. Even those artists who’d like to give away all or parts of their work for free.

Fact is, the most reliable income is based on several streams of revenue. It’s not necessarily a high income allowing for a life in luxury. Yet, it’s more securely distributed over several resources.

Advertisements along your work, sponsorship, endorsement, patronage, donations – any of those and even more should be seen as complementary resources of financial support. Pick the ones that suit you best, and remember to pick those that work for you.

And here we are. I want to be sure that I’m advising artists and customers the right way. Do advertisements help to generate additional income? Is flattr (or any other form of donation) more acceptable? Of course, it depends on your fans and customers, your image and your profile etc.

I’m curious to see how it works in the long run.

This post is also available in: German

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