Hey chocolate lovers,
Today marks a huge day in this blog’s life. While I’m really excited about what this means for we can accomplish here, I’m also very aware of how it impacts your experience on the site. So with this in mind, and in my personal goal of transparency, here’s what’s going on.
TL;DR— ads are the overall least interfering way to provide all the stories & information I do, without taking any potential income away from the craft chocolate industry itself.
Why The Ads?
If you’re a regular reader, first of all THANK YOU, and second of all, you probably clicked to this page because you were wondering “yo, what’s up with these ads?!” For all 4.5 years of this blog’s life, there have been zero ads served, and near zero income (what little there has been went towards web hosting). My desire to help people find better chocolate and plan more unique & enjoyable trips far outweighed my desire to collect a few dollars and impact your experience in any way.
But to be upfront with you, I’ve been working full-time as an English teacher for 3 years. In the 2 years since I decided to go at this site full force (treating it like a business rather than a hobby), I’ve spent thousands of hours and even more dollars putting out content in written, video, and audio form. As fun and cool as this [currently unpaid] job is, it’s definitely still a job, involving an additional 40+ hours of work a week of researching and writing and editing and interviewing and promoting. It’s impacted my life positively, of course (otherwise why would I do it?), but it’s also been incredibly stressful, frustrating, and expensive.
After years of trying to figure out how to create this job of chocolate travel writer, I realized that serving ads on the site had to figure into the equation somehow. I know that in order to not lose my passion & desire to help grow craft chocolate, I need to be able to earn an income from outside the industry. Ads are the base of how I’ll be able to do this. It’s sort of like base pay as a waitress, as freelance jobs are inconsistent, and I’m very picky about press trips.
I’ve been accepted as a partner at Mediavine, an exclusive ad network which partners with trusted websites to manage which companies are allowed to advertise on their site. Basically, on my behalf they vet and then negotiate with companies looking to buy ads on my site, and only serve you said ads if the company is willing to pay their minimum bid. This weeds out seedy companies, ensuring that nothing sketchy or malicious is ever shown on my site. If nobody meets the minimum bid for your area, you won’t even see ads.
Mediavine has a superb reputation among publishers, so finally reaching the necessary traffic to even apply— and then getting accepted— was super exciting.
How This Affects You
Basically, your experience on this site will now include ads. They won’t affect what, where, or how I write in any way, but they will be there. Also note that for the first 90 days of this site being a member of Mediavine, the company has complete control over where the ads are placed. But you are always welcome to report any ads you’re uncomfortable with; their team looks over each report every day to make sure your experience is the best possible.
For some further honesty, I completely re-wrote this page three times before I realized that most people won’t even read it. They come for the content, may or may not notice the ads, and then leave. Most of my trepidation stems from being part of a very selfless community in the craft chocolate sphere, and not wanting to break from that mold, but also needing to do what’s right for myself and my business. So for the 25% of you which seems to stick around and keep coming back, and the few among you wondering “yo, what’s up with these ads?!” this page is for you.
Side note: if you feel slighted or betrayed or soured by the ads, maybe you should ask yourself: Why shouldn’t creators get paid in proportion with how much time people spend with their content, learning and being entertained? I believe information should be free, but my time is not worthless, and I can’t keep treating it like it is.