There's a Genea-opportunities discussion being hosted this week over at Geneabloggers.com.
Today's topic is "Genealogy Blogging: For Fun or Profit?" Should genealogy blogs have advertising or affiliate links? What constitutes a commercial blog versus an individual genealogy blog. Is there a balance that can and should be maintained?
Before this discussion was launched, I had no idea folks had an issue with affiliate links on genealogy blogs. They are the norm elsewhere. I've yet to see any evidence of negative reaction anywhere in regard to this blog, but others have said they experienced it.
Are we in it for fun or for profit? Why must it be one or the other? If my purposes for blogging were captured in a pie chart, "fun" would have the biggest piece, but marketing, research, networking, socializing, finding new cousins would be pieces as well. This blog does not earn me an income, but I use it as a channel to market my services and network.
Those margins to the sides of this blog post? That's real estate my friends. You can build on it what you will. Me? I've chosen to monetize a portion of that space with some affiliate links. I'm pretty transparent about this and have said as much in my disclosures page. I do not make much, but it's still positive income and it doesn't alter my purpose for blogging.
Commercial versus individual genealogy blog: I've been approached by others who want me to put their article(s) on my blog, but these usually smell like spam or are just way off topic. I don't get paid for my blog posts. I don't expect this to change in the future, but I've also learned to never say never. I read the work of several respected bloggers who have clearly-stated sponsored posts. The concept is not foreign in mainstream blogging.
Can and should a balance be maintained? For me, the answer is yes but each blogger's definition of balance is going to be different.
My interpretation of "for profit" might differ from yours. As the genealogy field stands right now, I don't believe you can make big bucks with your genealogy blog. It's a small niche and the numbers just aren't there. If you can make it work, more power to you. My affiliate links are there 24/7. I don't have to maintain or promote them with the exception of a routine check every now and then. This is my balance.
My take-away is this: I have distinct reasons for blogging, but while I'm doing those, why can't I make a little money as well?