Poll On The Future Of An Inkophile’s Blog


Gobsmacked to learn that WordPress is moving to an ad-based model. No announcement before implementation so no more recommendations from me. Apologies to anyone who may have seen an unsuitable ad.

It was only by luck that I found out about the new policy. Making a profit is a good thing and I don’t begrudge them that. However, I do take issue with having to pay to keep my blog looking the same as it has for the past five years. Costs are mounting to run Inkophile. Whether this is the deal-breaker will be determined shortly.

Some readers have expressed an objection to ads on a review site. Considering the number of hours and the effort that go into writing a blog, breaking even much less making a profit, should be acceptable if a challenge to achieve. In my case, that “profit” would be used to finance more products to review and upgrade equipment. That should be a plus. To be sure, there are some manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who send their wares for public review and sometimes for private feedback, so there would still be some items about which I can write regardless.

What do you think? Should Inkophile remain ad free or would ads be an acceptable compromise to keep Inkophile open?

Oh, and my advice? HOST YOUR OWN BLOG! Did I say that loudly enough? The hassles that go with the free sites are not worth it and moving a blog is a ginormous undertaking. Better to start where you would like to wind up – free from corporate dictates and independent in how you operate.



  1. I am not sure why this is a question. Your advice in your last paragraph says to host your own blog. You can still use WordPress. Heck, I’ll host it for free for you (assuming your bandwidth/space issues aren’t crazy).


    • Yes, I can still use WordPress for free so long as they can place any ad they like on it. It could even be for a product or company that I have found to be lacking in either quality or integrity or both. Readers won’t know my experiences or opinion. They’ll just see the ad and most likely take that as an endorsement. Then there are the ads that express opinions I don’t hold or on a subject about which I would prefer to stay neutral. Political ads are a good example of that situation. For a fee those ads can be eliminated.

      Perhaps, I expressed this poorly in the original post. Inkophile was intended to be either cost neutral or finance its own products to review. A number of generous people have sent products and that has helped enormously. Without their help, this blog would have died a long time ago.

      My advice to host one’s own blog stands though I might take you up on your offer. Evaluating my options will come soon. All the links with WordPress in them would be broken and a daunting task to repair. For someone who isn’t technically oriented, a migration looks like a very big project with over 600 posts to handle. Yikes!


      • What I meant in my comment by “you can still use WordPress” is you can use the wordpress CMS (content management software). You are aware that WordPress can run on both host-yourself setups as well as hosted-by-Wordpress setups. I am saying cut clear of their free service. I know you understand my next statement since you said it yourself in your post but – WordPress doesn’t owe anyone anything. They are a for-profit company. They have every right to put ads or whatever in their *free* product.


        • You are right and I have read good things about using the software. The only thing I would miss is Akismet which does a terrific job of catching spam. But it seems every time I have a few free minutes, writing about ink and pens is what I do – not upgrading Inkophile. In other words, my creative side beats the the technical side by miles.

          Absolutely, WP can do what it wants. That is why it makes more sense to use a platform and service under one’s control.


  2. I think ads are acceptable if they’re related to the content of the blog. A good friend of mine runs a food blog where she hand picks ad partners independent of the hosting service. maybe you could do something similar. I don’t want to see how great the latest fad diet is on a pen and ink blog, but a sponsored ad for Goulet Pens would look fine. Contact companies whose ads wouldn’t look absurdly out of place on Inkophile, give them stats about how many pageviews you get per month, and ask if they’re interested in sponsoring you.

    My two cents: wordpress is clunky and awful and… the complete opposite of what a functional blog should be. I have not had one single issue with Blogger in several years of using it, and they don’t shove ads up your butt. Even after buying a domain name (they’re partnered with google apps) I get the occasional email asking if I want to sign up for google ads, but that’s it. No pressure. And if I wanted to switch to an independent host and keep the same blog template, I could.


    • Point about the food blog is well taken. WordPress doesn’t allow free blogs to pick and choose the ads. I think only broad categories are available for revenue participation. Sponsored ads weren’t allowed in the past, but that policy was clarified to include many exceptions.

      Blogger was my host and platform for another blog a number of years ago. I don’t recall what about it did not work for me back then, but WordPress suited me better when Inkophile launched. Losing the use of the template would be frustrating, and another good reason to recommend creating one’s own independent nook on the web.


  3. I’m so glad you’re spreading the word. I was just about to set up a site where ads would be horribly inappropriate. Now I have time to arrange something else less affordable but more in keeping with my intended purpose.


    • Happy to help.


  4. Wow. Interesting news. I’d been contemplating switching to WordPress from Blogger because the tools seem more sophisticated – but I am ad-free by choice and, for me, that’s the best choice.

    For you, I think it’s a matter of doing what works best for you. I do see ads on some other blogs, and I can differentiate between the blog author’s work and the ads – though occasionally it’s difficult. I’m not a big fan of ads on blogs, but I also understand that people have to do what they have to do – if the ads are needed to support the blog, such is life. I’d rather have an ad-supported blog by someone (such as yourself) whose opinion I value and respect than lose that contact point with that person.

    Good luck – I’ll be curious to know what you decide.


    • The new model does change things. Did you read the info at the WordPress link? While WP has had inconsistent functionality in the past, in the last year it has been fairly stable. I haven’t lost posts though I do save frequently. The tool set is fine and the widgets are helpful. Having a sponsor has come up several times, but WP hasn’t made that easy. Maybe in future it will be a good option. I’ll probably let them run ads so long as it doesn’t destroy the look of the theme. If the ads are obnoxious, I’ll migrate or grow a new presence elsewhere. We shall see…


  5. I don’t get near the traffic you do but I pay less than $100 a year for domain name and hosting. Far from free but worth it to me to retain full control.


    • That sounds reasonable, but when I add ink, pens, paper, and assorted other items to review, the budget can get out of hand quickly, though it sure can be a lot of fun along the way. 😀


  6. Almost every site everywhere I visit has ads all the time. I don’t really see them. A few sites preroll a video ad before I am allowed to view content. I can even ignore those.


    • Doesn’t that say something about the effectiveness of those ads!


  7. Maybe you could modify your template to show a disclaimer near the ad. I voted “Either way is okay with me” as I can overlook most ads. When ads get in the way of content I’m trying to read the I move on to another site.


    • The ads will be at the bottom of each post. Participating in the program will place them in other locations. Posting a caveat is a good idea. If I had a choice, I’d rather put a link to an Amazon portal for Inkophile recommendations as a way to earn money, than to carry ads over which I have no control.

      Glad you won’t be offended by the ads. It’s the way of the web these days.


  8. To keep it in context, though, you can go no-ads for $30/year and the ads don’t show up on nearly every post or for nearly every reader. The free service is pretty exceptional, all things considered, and less than $3/month for no ads is quite reasonable compared to the price and time of doing it yourself. Just my opinion as a regular reader 🙂


    • Hi Chris!

      Good to hear from you. Under other circumstances, I would just pay the fee. Adding the $30 to other expenses makes it over my current budget especially with wanting to purchase new product to review. So I’ll likely just let them run ads. *sigh*



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