Sponsorship Is How This Works, Stop Hating

I always try to see the best in people. I always want to give someone the benefit of the doubt. I mean, we all have the capacity for rational thought, right?

It’s very disheartening to me that so many people believe a blogger somehow loses their credibility once they become sponsored. Some of us just don’t have six-figure incomes behind our blogging efforts. Hell, some bloggers are barely working with five figures. Steven Hodson explains the situation pretty well in his post There’s Web 2.0 and Then There’s Reality:

One thing is more than apparent when you look in on Web 2.0 and the constant chatter about all the cool hardware, software and ideas. The majority involved in this space have no idea of what being on the other side of the technological divide is like or how it is limiting the adoption of the things they believe in. They talk about dropping a couple of grand on a new laptop in the same way they I would order breakfast or they line up to fork over a couple of hundred for a new cell phone without even blinking an eye. For them the connection is forever flowing whether through never ending broadband connectivity or wireless goodness. On the other side of the fence though real life has a habit of slapping you back to reality and your position in it.

In most other realms, being "sponsored" or advertising to gain revenue is readily accepted as a natural means to be able to do what you want in life:

  • Girl Scouts sell cookies door-to-door
  • Musicians seek deals with major labels
  • Young athletes dream of being drafted
  • Aspiring writers look to get published

Of course, there are those haters out there who think you have to sell your soul to the devil in order to get a sponsor, or get signed by a major label. These people that are leery of  anything that remotely looks like you might be taking a step up from obscurity. They are certain that you will have to bow to the Sponsorship Overlords and you can no longer be trusted. Those people should just cock those tin-foil hats to the side and take a long walk off a short pier.

It seems that if you run a relatively small blog, you are not allowed to step outside a certain realm of acceptable revenue methods. AdSense and other advertising networks are your place. Steven says it plainly here:

It seems that unless you are a part of a blog network or some big name blogger the idea that you would even think of stepping beyond the bounds of ad networks and god forbid go looking for deals of your own then you are stepping beyond your pay grade and need to be put back in your place. The most common method of slapping forward looking independent bloggers back into place is by calling their ethics into question. (full article)

Now, I am new to all this blogging stuff. Sure, LiveJournal says I’ve had a blog since 2004-05-13 08:24:15, but I only started blogging seriously within the past few months. Maybe there is something that I’m missing. Maybe this whole idea makes sense to all you veterans.

As far as I’m concerned, this whole attitude is bull. No matter what you’re doing in your life, you need a way to fund it. Some people have jobs, some have been successful as entrepreneurs, some are just spoiled.

There are others of us who simply have not been as fortunate. Those of us who haven’t even seen an iPhone in real life, who are tied to computers as old as the web itself, who look at gadgets on tech blogs and realize they will really be nothing more than eye-candy.

Why should the "little guy" get shafted? Why should I be restricted in seeking funding for the things I want to continue doing? Why can’t I be allowed to pull myself up by my bootstraps? Are you going to open up your own wallet to help me reach my goals? If not, who the hell are you to judge?