This September, 2021, will mark the 20th anniversary of chcollins.com (I had a homepage on tbns.net before that) and the 11th anniversary of the debut of The 100 Billionth Person. There are two main, and equally important, reasons I have maintained my own website all these years: to give me a reason to be creative, and to make connections. I’m lucky that it has served both roles — though it would always be nice to have more readers!
What the site was never about was monetization (entrepreneur-speak for making money). Not worrying whether the site makes money has given me the freedom to follow my whims with respect to content. If I really wanted to make money on this site, my blog would have to be about something — and I’ve never been able to come up with a coherent, noun+verb answer to that question. (I bet you can’t either.)
This means that I’ve never — except for a very brief experiment years ago — displayed ads on these pages. My readership is so select (entrepreneur-speak for practically no one) that it wasn’t worth either the hassle or the visual intrusion. In any case, I have obviously been willing to do what I do for free for two decades.
So what changed? The unexpected popularity of my series of posts on picture hanging and framing: Why Frames Tilt Forward, The “Hang It With Two Hooks” Calculator, and The Physics of Hanging Pictures. Together, these posts are visited about 1000 times a month, by readers in the U.S. and around the world. And much of that content has been copied and pasted into other websites and Facebook pages, without my permission or attribution, in the U.S. and around the world. So apparently there is some value in those words.
My spouse, upon hearing this (still modest) tally of visitors, urged me to capitalize on the situation and place ads on the site. At first I objected, for the reasons mentioned above. But then I thought of a compromise: (a) I could place one ad, and one ad only, on each of those three posts only, (b) I could donate any advertising revenue to charity, and (c) if the ads turn out to be totally out-of-character for the site, I can always remove them.
And so I’ve done this deal with the devil. Even though my week-to-week readers will not notice a difference, I felt the need to come clean about this. I hope the ads are lucrative, for charity’s sake. (Unfortunately, the ads that have been served up so far have not exactly inspired my confidence.) I’ll let you know how it turns out in a future update.