For some time I have been running Google Adsense adverts on my blog. Not long after I started running the adverts the revenue exceeded the amount of money I pay for net access, so it’s worth having.
I recently increased the amount of advertising by including an advert in the middle of the post and received one negative comment from a reader who doesn’t like reading content with adverts in the middle. I have just changed my advertising to have that advert spot in question be before the start of the content rather than in the middle (I’m not sure if that will make them more or less happy). It seems expected nowadays that there will be a moderate amount of advertising on all web sites which have good content and don’t charge membership fees, many of my blog posts cite as references pages on web servers run by media companies that have significant amounts of advertising.
Chris Samuel is considering implementing advertising  and is planning to not display adverts to “friends” (which means people who have commented or who are referred by social media sites).
One significant problem with this idea is that sometimes the adverts become part of the blog conversation. Google adverts give an idea of which of the things that people are prepared to pay money for are considered by the Google algorithm to be related to the post in question. In my experience it’s not uncommon for people who comment on blog posts (both through the blog interface and through private correspondence) to reference the contents of adverts. Also while writing this post I updated my post about car sharing because I discovered a third car-share company through the adverts on my own blog . I know one professional journalist who blocks the adverts on his own site so that his writing will not be biased (or be perceived to be biased) by his advertisers (which makes sense given his situation), but for my situation it clearly makes sense to review the advertised offerings of all three companies that compete in this space in Melbourne and there is no potential for bias (incidentally all three of them are advertising on my blog post).
A problem with giving a different version of the content for friends (in the more traditional meaning of the word – as opposed to using the word to mean people who have visited your blog in a certain way) is that they will not be able to correctly review your web site. I regularly notify friends and people who do worthy things of deficiencies that I discover in their web sites and occasionally receive such notifications from other people. I don’t want to have bugs in my site concealed from friendly people who would like to help me out and displayed to random people who don’t care and will respond by visiting another site.
When such things are discussed one topic that is mentioned is putting advertising in an RSS feed. I have no plans to do this, such RSS advertising would not be acceptable to Planet installations, but it would not be technically challenging to give an advert free feed to Planets but give adverts to everyone else. I think that most people who read my blog through RSS feeds will see adverts when they want to comment on my posts or when they want to forward the URLs or reference them in their own blog posts (always click on the permalink before forwarding – when a blogger messes up their permalinks it’s embarrassing if you forward them without checking).
So I encourage Chris to put adverts on his blog and to show them to me.