Question: Am I a sellout for putting the strip of Google ads at the top of the page on my personal site?
To be perfectly honest, I debated this for a while. I've had ads up on the Success Blogging site since the beginning, and the site has basically paid for itself in the first month. However, that, while still not entirely a business, is more of a pseudo commercial venture, so ads seemed not entirely inappropriate there. But this is my page. Am I crossing the line by pawning the space at the top?
I don't think so, and here's why:
1) The ads don't cost you anything, not even in terms of the annoyance cost. They don't drop cookies, pop up, make sounds, or drop spyware on your PC. They just sit there, white on black with a little grey, seemlessly blending into the color scheme of the page. (PS... I've decided the format needs an upgrade... that's like Project #7 on the list... too much to do.)
2) They may actually provide a service for you. Perhaps they link you to something useful.
3) A good deal of the traffic on my site isn't necessarily from friends and people I know. I get a lot of random traffic passing through. I know that because I can see where people are coming from. I think 10% of my traffic comes from people Googling "Gmail Notifier" or "Stanford MBA". I think of my ads like a commuter tax for those people. You don't live here, but you use the content. Why shouldn't you contribute?
One thing is bothering me, though. There's an ad at the top that directly competes with Success Blogging. In fact, the website has a very similar name. Of course, there's plenty of room for consultants and speakers talking about how blogging can make you successful, so I'm not that worried, but still, if I had the choice, I'd rather not be advertising for a competitor on my site. Or, perhaps his success will help my own and vice versa. Anyway... I'll keep you posted on the progress.