How Advertising Works on the Art of Manliness

by Brett & Kate McKay on May 27, 2011

in Blog

From time to time we get questions/concerns about how advertising works on the Art of Manliness, so we thought we’d take a minute to explain the hows and whys of our advertising policies in a question and answer format.

Q. Why does your site have advertisements on it at all? Shouldn’t AoM just come from the heart?

A. The Art of Manliness definitely does come from the heart. But in order to keep that heart beating, we need food in our bellies and a roof over our heads. Kate and I each spend 40-50 hours, 7 days a week working on the Art of Manliness; we work extremely hard to keep top quality, interesting posts coming to you each day. We couldn’t do that if we couldn’t support ourselves. The Art of Manliness is essentially an online men’s magazine. And like every magazine out there, ads are crucial to keeping it alive. But unlike paper magazines, we do not charge any kind of subscription fee. The Art of Manliness is entirely free. Ads make that possible. Here’s the bottom line: without advertising, AoM would cease to exist.

Q. Okay, but why use banner and newsletter advertising instead of selling ebooks like some blogs do?

A. Instead of having ads, some bloggers make a living by selling ebooks and programs that cost anywhere from $25-$400. We have purposefully chosen another route. We want to make almost everything on the Art of Manliness 100% free because we want the information on AoM to be available to as many men as possible, regardless of their income level. AoM is a lot of fun, but it can also really help men improve their lives, and we don’t want there to be any obstacles in getting access to this important information. I’ve heard from readers who have had to save up just to buy our $11 print book, so I know it’s an issue for a lot of guys. Becoming a man shouldn’t stretch your budget or cost you a dime. So we’re committed to keeping the articles on the Art of Manliness 100% free and advertising lets us do that.

Q. What is a sponsored post?

A. As the Art of Manliness has gotten bigger, we’ve gotten different and new kinds of advertising opportunities. One of those is the “sponsored post.” That is when a company sponsors an article or a series of articles. A sponsored post is the equivalent of having a radio program or television program “Brought to you by _____________.” Companies do not write the posts or control their content, rather their sponsorship simply makes the piece of content possible. The Art of Manliness will never allow companies to control our content nor will we ever post advertisements masquerading as articles. We decline many, many extremely lucrative advertising opportunities because the advertisements do not fit with the site’s high values or because they would be too intrusive and annoying for our readers. We like sponsored posts as the sponsorships provide a very non-intrusive way to allow us to provide quality content and keep the site completely free for users.

Q. I just saw an offensive ad on your site. Why would you allow that company to advertise with you?

A. The ads on our site are automatically generated by ad networks; we do not typically get to approve the ads before they appear. So ads may show up occasionally that do not fit with the values of our site, and we may not know about it, especially because different ads show up to readers in different geographical areas. So before you write us an angry email, please know that the placement of the ad was likely not intentional. We can’t control the ads that show up, but we can block certain ads from showing up. So if you see something offensive, click on the ad, and send us the url and we will block the ad immediately. This is a great help to us. We are committed to keeping AoM a blog with high standards, and we have turned down thousands of dollars in ads because they did  not align with our values, and we will continue to do so.

Q. Many of products that you give away are top dollar items. Are you saying that I need to spend big bucks to be a man?

Definitely not. The giveaways are designed simply to be fun and to give readers a chance to win some nice stuff. That’s it. We would never say that you need to buy “x” to be a man or to be manly.

Q. This doesn’t apply to me because I use ad-block software to block ads when I read the internet. That’s okay, right?

A. Well, not if you want The Art of Manliness to stick around. There is a common misperception that websites make money from people clicking on ads, and if a person doesn’t click on ads anyway, there’s no harm in them not showing up. But we don’t make money on clicks, we make money on page impressions, that is, the ad simply showing up on the site. When you come to the site and use ad block,  you use our bandwidth (which costs us thousands of dollars a year), without contributing any revenue. It’s sort of like going into a restaurant and eating the food without paying, which is in my opinion rather unconscionable. For more on how devastating ad blocking is to the sites you love, I recommend this article. If you like AoM and want to support what we’re doing, please consider white listing artofmanliness.com in your ad block plugin. Thanks!

Thank you for your  support of the Art of Manliness. As we continue to grow, we promise to strive to balance the support needed from advertisements with the sincere desire to not overly-commercialize the site.

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