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Requesting Your Opinion on Golf Blog Advertising

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Categories: MiscellaneousSite News

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"Drive for show.  Putt for dough, son."

“Drive for show. Putt for dough, son.”

When I started this blog back in 2004 it was entirely for my love of the game.  HOG was intended to be and still is a great outlet for commentary on everything from golf course architecture to equipment to solving the shanks.

As the blog grew the overhead grew with it.  Overhead would be hosting expenses, travel expenses (PGA Merchandise Show etc), and so on.  I was actually kicked off many shared servers because the site sucked up all the bandwidth.  As a result, I had to get my own dedicated server which is considerably more expensive.  Because of operational costs like the dedicated server, I started taking on ads to offset the costs.

Despite the site’s visitors and readers increasing every year since it began, ad revenue has dropped, big.  I’m talking 80-90%.  Why?  Part of the reason is the decline in the golf industry, but a large reason is Google.  Google changes their search algorithms and/or policies and that has a big effect on ad revenue.  One type of ad may become taboo, like text links.  Text links used to be a nice revenue source for a few years.  Recently however, I’ve actually had golf companies who paid for months or years in advance email and ask to have their links removed because changes in Google’s algo means those links hurt them more then helping them.

The net result is that I’ve cancelled all text link ads.  Google ads are still producing, but at 1/10 of what they did two years ago.  As a single, independent blogger without the budget or SEO team large golf sites have, I can’t spend all my time trying to figure out the latest change in advertising and search algorithms.

I’ve thought of cancelling all ads entirely but that would mean I’d be operating in a hole.  Well, I should say more of a hole.

Over the years I’ve declined hundreds of requests for online casino or gambling ads.  I’ve also declined paid post types of ads.  I still receive many requests for these types of ads and can’t help thinking that my Google revenue is nearly worthless as it is so why not try them for a time and see what happens?

So I pose these questions:

  • Would an online casino, sports betting, or gambling type of ad turn you away or diminish your opinion of the website?
  • Would an occasional and clearly marked “advertorial” post turn you away or diminish your opinion of the website?

I have every intention of keeping HOG up and running for many years to come.  An activity which takes up so much of my time which could be spent with my family or actually playing golf should cover its own costs and hopefully produce some fruit.  The golf gods know I’ve been sewing seeds for years.

3 responses to “Requesting Your Opinion on Golf Blog Advertising”

  1. databat says:

    In my personal opinion, casino, etc ads would not turn me off. They are all over the web, and if you can make money on them, more power to you.

    Advertorial posts, so long as they don’t take over the blog, would also not be an issue for me. They can actually be informative and show you great features of new products. But they need to be labeled.

    The two things I hate the most, and which does turn me off a site, is pop-up adds. Things that all of a sudden pop up or scroll across my screen frustrates me and I hate them. Also, advertisement video clips that start on their own when you visit a page. I read this at work, and sometimes I have my speakers up for various reasons. When a web page starts a video add, it can be an issue when everyone around hears that add running. There are some sites I have stopped visiting because of that.

    Again, just my two cents on the issue!

    • I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I totally agree on your points. I very much dislike “take over” ads where you have to close a window or click something to get rid of them. Same with popups and those obnoxious video ads. If I choose to do an ad for a casino or something not totally golf related, it would only be a small graphic and no craziness.

  2. SimonM says:

    Tony, I agree with the first post completely. The reason it wouldn’t put me off is that you’ve already established a relationship with me through quality posts etc. You also are upfront about the necessity of what you are considering.

    It’s possible, of course that new visitors might feel differently and not become regulars. Personally though, I am totally on board…more power to you.

    Simon.

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